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The skinny

The skinny: In a snap(shot), grandmother makes diagnosis

Life saver

In a snap(shot), Grandmother makes diagnosis

Beverley Warner got a picture of her grandson, Ewan Boarder, 3, on vacation in Isle of Wight, England. Warner looked at the photo and became alarmed at the white shadow she saw in his eye. "I had read a story last year about retinoblastoma and saw a picture of a child with it," she told London's Daily Mail. "I thought Ewan's eye looked similar." Doctors hadn't noticed the cancerous tumor before, but when asked to look for it, there it was. They had to remove Ewan's eye to get rid of the cancer, but they got it before it spread. He has been fitted with a prosthetic and is expected to make a full recovery.

Animal kingdom

Giraffes don't want to swim, but could

In the event you were wondering, scientists are pretty sure giraffes can swim. They wouldn't be good at it. And as far as anyone knows, one never has. But a couple of scientists created a virtual giraffe on a computer and ran the numbers and decided it was possible. The results of their study were published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, because, well, where else would you publish a finding like that? There was no explanation as to why the scientists studied this.

Science of sewage

Mozart helps with decomposition

In an attempt to promote rotting, the sewage plant in Treuenbrietzen, Germany, will employ Mozart. Scientists there determined that the microbes that eat away at waste are stimulated to decompose faster to the works of the composer. So the newspaper Markische Allgemeine reports that classics like The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro are being piped in around the clock. The thinking is that the more waste broken down, the less they have to move. "If it means we can save ($1,200) per month on sludge disposal, then it would definitely be worth it," said plant manager Detlef Dalichow.

Dearly departed

Mourners watch for 'Grim Eater'

Wedding crashers are one thing, but New Zealand is dealing with a funeral crasher. Undertakers are distributing a photo of the man they say is showing up uninvited to services and helping himself to the buffets. "He had a backpack with some Tupperware containers so, when people weren't looking, he was stocking up," Danny Langstraat, funeral home director, told the Dominion-Post. "He was showing up to funeral after funeral. We saw him three or four times a week." Officials say that funerals in a church that have had notices published are basically public events, and there isn't much to be done about it.

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

The skinny: In a snap(shot), grandmother makes diagnosis 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 9:59pm]
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