The skinny

The skinny: Oh, joy: New cockroach discovered in South African park

Creepy crawly joy

This roach is not meant to be squashed

It's not news that would make most of us jump for joy, but it's the stuff that appeals to entomologists: South African scientists say they have found a new species of cockroach. To make the reaction more uncertain, the roaches were discovered in a popular tourist destination. Cape Town's Table Mountain National Park is home to the world's only jumping cockroach, which this week was named one of the top 10 species discoveries of the year. The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University oversees the annual list, which this year includes a glow-in-the-dark mushroom, a leech with enormous teeth and a spider that weaves giant webs.

Ratting them out

Display of giant rodents gets okay

Union activists have the right to display giant inflatable rats outside business offices during labor disputes. The National Labor Relations Board says putting up a 16-foot-tall rat balloon is allowed even if the business is not directly involved in the conflict between the union and another employer. The carpenters union and other labor groups often use the giant rat as a form of street theater. The goal is to shame companies that hire outside contractors who refuse to use union workers or pay union-scale wages. Business groups say the giant rat is too coercive and confrontational.

Campaign law

He's a candidate like any other

Now that President Barack Obama is formally a candidate for re-election, the Hatch Act has kicked in, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel reminded the vast federal bureaucracy. That's the law that prohibits government employees from engaging in political activity while on the job. Among the guidance imparted by the special counsel: The only photographs allowed of Obama are the official ones that hang in most federal offices across the country. And, the memo said, those pictures must be displayed "in a traditional size and manner, and should not be altered in any way (e.g., the addition of halos or horns)."

Got soy?

Dairy princess is lactose intolerant

Laurel Gordon of Washington state has been putting on a tiara to promote milk products the past two years as Grays Harbor County's dairy ambassador. Good for her, you say. But Gordon has her sorrows to bear: The 18-year-old from Elma is a lactose intolerant dairy princess. The Daily World of Aberdeen reported that unless Gordon takes special pills, her body is unable to digest milk, so she drinks soy milk. But her family operates a dairy farm that has been in the family for 150 years, and she believes in the product. She's competing for the state's dairy ambassador title in June.

Compiled from Times wires

The skinny: Oh, joy: New cockroach discovered in South African park 05/27/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 8:44pm]

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