Saturday, October 29, 2016

Brazil’s Mythical ‘Super-Chicken’: What, Exactly, Is a Chester?

New York Times
28 October 2016

What in the World

By Simon Romero

The urban legends abound. Do they really migrate all the way to Brazil each year from the North Pole? Do they really gorge on hormone-laced feed? Do they even have heads?

So much mystery shrouds a poultry staple on Brazilian dinner tables that geneticists, science writers and cooks all find themselves grappling with the same vexing question: What is a Chester, anyway?

Some say the bird is an aberration created by crossing turkeys with ostriches. Others contend that they are fathered by three-foot-tall roosters. Some go as far as to ask whether they are grown on trees in a lab. Photos and video images of living Chesters are intriguingly scarce, encouraging fanciful speculation. […]

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Candle Causes Fire in McGill University Residence

McGill Tribune [McGill University, Montreal]
25 October 2016

by Janine Xu & Miguel Principe

[…] One commonly heard story among students who lived in Rez is that of a first year girl who forgets to blow out a candle in her room before leaving. The candle lights her curtains on fire, setting off the sprinklers and flooding three floors, after which she supposedly drops out of McGill, never to be seen again.

“The way I heard it was from my floor fellow,” said Alex Levesque, U3 Science and a floor fellow at New Rez. “[As the story goes], she had a single room, and her boyfriend would come over a lot. One time, […] they decided to light a candle to set the mood, and [it lit up] the curtain, which instantly set the sprinklers off.”

It’s a story oft-repeated, and for good measure, too: According to Levesque, first-years frequently tend to set off the sprinklers. With no real fire, sprinkler systems can cause extensive damage to property.

“[Supposedly] it soaked through her room, and probably two or three floors,” Levesque said. “That caused […] $200,000 in [damages], but they said she did drop out […] partially because of the money, but [also] because people were rude to her after that.”

This story is alarming, indeed. The cautionary tale is used by all floor fellows, but actual details differ from residence to residence, raising questions about its validity. […]

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Swimming Pool Regularly Drained After Blacks Use It

Quad City Times [Davenport, Iowa]
9 October 2016

Bill Wundram

Truth can easily escape. One persistent urban myth surrounds the old Natatorium, once Davenport's block-long downtown swimming pool at the foot of Main Street. It was built in 1922 and razed in 1977.

The urban myth makes the claim that for years, African-Americans were permitted to swim at the Nat only one day a week. Then, the 500,000 gallons of water would be drained, and the pool refilled next day.

This unbelievable story was told and retold so many times that a plaque stating just that was posted in 2011 during an effort to create a civil rights walking trail. […]