LONDON (AP) — Why DO zebra have stripes? It’s a question that’s been around as long as zebras have been around. And now, scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of California at Davis think they may have landed on an answer. The researchers dressed horses in black-and-white stripped coats, stood them with horses that were unadorned — and waited for the flies. The same number of flies appeared to approach both types of horses. But researchers found that fewer horseflies landed on the ones decked out in stripes. The conclusion? The stripes seemed to somehow confuse the horseflies as they tried to land on the striped horses. And that suggests the stripes exist to give zebras protection from blood-sucking insects that can spread disease.
MOSCOW (AP) — Building an awesome looking snowman can win you accolades from your neighbors. But for some people in Russia and Ukraine, building an awesome snowman can win you money. A YouTube channel that’s popular among Russian speakers has announced a prize of $1,500 for the tallest snowman built by viewers. And, as in the case of any competition for money, the participants took it seriously. A group of men in eastern Ukraine had the inside track on winning — but armed conflict and weather did them in. They say their snowman was 36 feet high. But between the warm weather and force of blasts from the warring factions took it down. There are rules for the snowman-building contest. For one, all the crafting has to be done by hand — and each entry must have a carrot nose.
HOUSTON (AP) — You may remember a recent story in which some people looking for a place to smoke pot entered an abandoned home — and found a caged tiger. Also pretty memorable: the audio recording of the phone call placed to get help after the surprise would-be toker-uppers found the tiger. The Houston Chronicle obtained a recording of the call. In it, the woman who dialed for help — and the dispatcher who took the call — appeared shocked at the find. The caller had to assure the dispatcher, “I’m not lying” — and described the tiger as being “pretty big.” No one was hurt — but police suggested there could have been injuries, since the tiger was inside a cage that could be easily opened.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II