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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Ave Roma

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday October 30, 05:44 pm
Aqueducts, concrete and now: beer spread? Thank you, Italy

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

The Italian food company Alta Quota has introduced spreadable beer, which it said is ideal for “appetizers and cheeses” and “to decorate or fill” pastries, cakes and ice cream. The product, Birra Spalmabile, is composed of 40 per cent beer but contains no alcohol. (United Press International)


The Truth Gets More Inconvenient

Climate change and overpopulation helped create the terrorist group ISIS, according to researchers at New York’s John Jay College Center on Terrorism. Charles Strozier and Kelly Berkell blame catastrophic weather for ruining 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders and knocking two to three million people into extreme poverty, turning many “climate refugees” into terrorists. “Environmental stressors and political violence are connected in surprising ways,” the authors said. (The Huffington Post)


Tourist Unattractions

After army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha led a successful coup in Thailand, the unrest, a curfew and martial law caused tourism to slump. It was rebounding four months later when British tourists Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on a resort island beach. Prayuth, now Thailand’s prime minister, responded by warning that bikini-wearing tourists were vulnerable to attack “unless they are not beautiful.” (BBC)


Enter: Ebolatron

A robot that hospitals use to disinfect and destroy bacteria and viruses may become a key weapon in the fight against Ebola. The device, developed by Xenex and used in 250 U.S. hospitals, relies on a xenon bulb to emit powerful ultraviolet light, which fuses the DNA of a virus and kills it. Xenex’s Mark Stibich added that the germ-zapping robot, dubbed “Little Moe,” could rid a hospital room of germs in five minutes and destroy Ebola on any surface in two minutes. (San Antonio’s KENS-TV)


What, Too Soon?

Ebola protective clothing will be popular this Halloween, according to social media, where users are posting costumes based on Ebola emergency responders wearing goggles, rubber gloves and full-body suits. New York Costumes manager Tony Bianchi said Ebola costumes would be homemade because no manufacturer has produced any. “There are certain things, you just don’t go there,” he explained. (Reuters)


The Nationalist Sport

Officials called off a scoreless soccer match between Serbia and Albania in the 41st minute after a drone flew into Belgrade’s Partizan Stadium carrying a flag symbolizing the extension of Albania’s territory to wherever ethnic Albanians live. Albanian fans had been banned from attending the qualifying match between the two Balkan rivals, resulting in an overwhelmingly pro-Serbian crowd of 32,000 who regarded the flag as an insult. Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic pulled down the flag, but when several Albanian players tried to take it away, a melee involving numerous players ensued. Some spectators threw objects, including flares, from the stands, and several ran onto the playing field to join the brawl. Serbs accused Olsi Rama, the brother of Albania’s prime minister and one of a handful of Albanians permitted to view the match, of controlling the drone, but Serbian authorities were unable to find the drone’s operator to confirm their suspicion. (CNN)


Buzz Kill

Three state pot shops in Washington stopped selling a marijuana-fortified drink after bottles exploded on the shelves. “It sounded like a shotgun going off,” Zach Henfin, manager of Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham, said. He removed the remaining bottles to a steel box the size of a small dumpster outside the store, where they continued to explode randomly for the next 10 days. Manufacturer Mirth Provisions blamed the explosions on a batch of sparkling pomegranate soda with “a higher yeast concentration” and promised the stores refunds. “Sometimes when you’re creating new products in a new marketplace,” Mirth founder Adam Stites said, “there’s a little bit of a learning curve.” (United Press International)


Buzz Kill 2: Electric Boogaloo

Looking to broaden their market, Colorado pot shops began selling marijuana aimed at beginners. It’s available in edibles, following reports of first-time users becoming ill after eating medical-grade pot without knowing how much of the psychoactive drug THC to consume. New low-dose products include a marijuana-infused soda 15 times weaker than other brands and “Rookie Cookie,” which contains 10 milligrams of THC, a mild dose for adults. “For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edible,” Holden Sproul, who works for the maker of Rookie Cookie, said. “Now it’s a new market, and people want something that won’t get them so inebriated they’re not functional.” (International Business Times)


Buzz Kill: With A Vengeance

Marijuana growers in northern California and southern Oregon threaten coho salmon already facing extinction, according to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife study. It estimated pot growers siphon off millions of gallons of water from streams where young salmon struggle to survive. Other threats by legally and illegally grown pot include clear-cutting forests to create pot plantations, building roads that send sediment into salmon streams, and spreading fertilizer and pesticides that poison the water. “Logging is regulated. Vineyards are regulated. It is time this industry was willing to be regulated,” said environmental scientist Scott Bauer, the study’s lead author. (Associated Press)


Buzz Kill: The Final Chapter

The Pacific fisher is increasingly falling victim to rat poison used by illegal marijuana growers in the Pacific Northwest, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a result, the agency wants the cat-sized mammal (which is related to the weasel) officially declared an endangered species. (The Washington Times)


Irony Illustrated

A fire truck responding to a fire in Silver Spring, Maryland, had to stop en route after it caught fire. The fire started in the engine compartment, then spread because it was a ladder truck and carried no water. The crew battled the blaze with hand-held fire extinguishers until another fire truck arrived to put it out. (Associated Press)


Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet.

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