Brief asides


POSTED: Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Open season on pythons

Sure, Hawaii has giant flying cockroaches, but we must remind ourselves that it could be worse. Much worse.

The number of Burmese pythons roaming South Florida has gotten so bad that the region held its first python hunting season, open to experts only, and snared 37 of the critters. Scientists estimate there could be tens of thousands of pythons loose in South Florida, having reproduced after being set free by pet owners or escaping from pet shops battered by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.



In China, wealth takes toll on health

Syphilis, once virtually eradicated in China, is surging as migrant workers make more money, and use it to hire more prostitutes, a senior health official said. The country has seen a tenfold increase in the sexually transmitted disease over the past decade, with the number of new syphilis cases now growing by 30 percent a year. Chinese health officials recognize that such unintended consequences of the economic boom prove costly on many levels, and are promoting condom use to help stem the spread of syphilis, HIV and other STDs.



Quaint Hawaii inns passing into history

First it was the Laie Inn; now, it seems, it's the Hawaiiana Hotel.

Fans of old-time Hawaiian ambience are lamenting last week's closure of the Laie Inn, which started in 1964 as the Laniloa Lodge, to make room for a bigger hotel. In looks, utility and quaintness, the 48-room walk-up was about the closest thing Hawaii had to a roadside motel. Now, it seems Waikiki's 54-year-old Hawaiiana Hotel on Beach Walk, whose lush tropical courtyard enchanted regular guests, is in bankruptcy. A moment, please, to lament the loss of charm.