Cartoon Potatoes by Nick D. Kim, Ph.D. Take a look at Nicks home page.
A World Without Beer?!
This is actually no laughing matter. According to an article in the New Scientist, breweries worldwide are on the verge of running out of cycloheximidean arcane fungicide antibiotic vital for checking the quality of the yeast from which beer is brewed (cycloheximide is added to samples of the brewers yeast to test it for bacteria that would otherwise spoil the beer). Evidentally, the company in Japan that holds the sole rights to manufacture the substance has halted production since learning cycloheximide can cause cancer and birth defects. As a result, cost of the remaining stocks have jumped from as little as $40 per gram to as much as $1800 per gram. And with supplies dwindling, beer lovers everywhere may well soon be facing a very real Last Call.
In an effort to determine the intelligence of the octopus, researchers at Brighton University in England resently taught one of the eight-tentacled creatures (which they named Roger Moore) to unscrew the lid of a jam jar filled with crab bait. During initial attempts, it took the octopus 21 minutes to accomplish the feat. Within three days the creature had trimmed the time to 1 minute. However, researchers determined that unlike elephants, an octopus easily forgets: Give him a break for a day or two, said BU biologist Tim Fulford, and he completely forgets.