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Odds and Ends

May 21, 2001

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Researchers working to create biodegradable car body parts are looking to the cannabis plant as a possible source of raw materials.

A team at the University of New South Wales is trying to develop car parts that would deteriorate after a car is scrapped, reducing waste. The team says hemp _ made from the cannabis plant _ might be the way to go.

``Disposal of old cars is a growing problem, especially in Europe,″ said associate professor Alan Crosky.

Crosky said a plant fiber-based material would be renewable and biodegradable.

``It would also be light, which would be a huge advantage in environmentally friendly battery-powered cars,″ he said.

Researchers are looking into whether hemp has the strength and durability needed for the job.


PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) _ Frog legs are getting a lot of attention in town _ and not because a new restaurant opened.

Ann Henry, director of the Scranton Nature Center, started noticing something unusual when a tadpole at the center began its transformation into a frog.

``Legs began to grow out everywhere. Legs sprouted from various parts of the body, including the head. New legs would sprout from the older appendages,″ Henry said.

After more than two months of growth, the frog had 15 legs, she said.

``The two back legs seemed to be somewhat normal in shape,″ Henry said, but the other 13 ``are very small and don’t seem to move at all.″

The cause of the frog’s deformity is unknown.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Tastykakes, the popular line of baked treats, have apparently inspired more than an appetite.

Four paintings featuring the classic Philadelphia snack cakes are among 32 works by Jan Elmy being shown at a Philadelphia art gallery.

``It’s classical, traditional painting, done in a very traditional style, except she’s including items that are from pop culture,″ said Mitch Zamarin of Rittenhouse Fine Art.

The paintings featuring Tastykakes include the exhibit’s signature work, ``Kandy Kakes Go Way Out West.″ The painting, which was bought for $5,800 before the show opened, depicts a set of spurs, a tin coffee pot and a Kandy Kake _ a type of Tastykake _ nibbled on by the artist.

Elmy’s paintings also feature such edibles as Reese’s peanut butter cups, Hershey’s Kisses and Sunkist fruit.

When the Tasty Baking Co. learned about Elmy’s project, it shipped her three cases.

``What I didn’t paint, I ate, and I gained 13 pounds,″ Elmy said.


HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ Portable roadside signs are supposed to inform drivers about traffic conditions or detours, but for a while signs on four New Jersey highways announced: ``It’s a boy.″

Signs on routes 80, 4, 208 and 17 flashed the message over and over Friday, announcing the birth of Joseph Dellechaie, grandson of builder Joseph Sanzari.

The state Department of Transportation was not amused and asked Sanzari, who was at the hospital with his grandson Friday, to change the messages on the signs as soon as possible. The messages were taken down Friday afternoon.

``The variable message signs are owned by the contractor,″ DOT spokesman John Dourgarian said. ``The message was programmed by the contractor. The Department of Transportation controls what should be on those signs, and we have indicated that only messages pertaining to construction are to be programmed.″

He estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 motorists might have seen the roadside birth announcements.

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