Alo-Ha! Friday
Charles Memminger

Scientists put their
finger on gecko toes

Scientists in Oregon, of all places, claim to have discovered the secret of how geckos keep their feet clean.

Now, you can argue whether gecko foot hygiene is a fit subject for scientific inquiry. But you can't argue that if anyone is going to be sniffing around gecko feet, it ought to be scientists from Hawaii, where geckos are house pets. Would Hawaii scientists presume to investigate how Oregon ducks and beavers keep their little webbed footsies clean? Never. Because, you know, who cares?

The researchers from Lewis and Clark College justified their study on the grounds that if we know how geckos keep their feet clean enough to adhere to walls and ceilings, we could manufacture adhesives with similar properties. It apparently rains so much in Oregon that scientists are climbing the walls, or at least wishing they could.

The research allegedly shows that geckos keep their feet clean and sticky simply by walking around, shedding dirt as they go. Right. These scientist brainiacs obviously have never snuck into the kitchen at night and caught geckos cleaning their feet in half-empty wine glasses.

Now the news ...

Giving fish a hand

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) » Missouri conservation authorities have approved fishing with bare hands.

As of this summer, fishing enthusiasts will be able to "noodle" or "hog," as hand-fishing is called, a practice that has long been a misdemeanor offense.

Hand fishing, used to catch slow-moving, bottom-feeding catfish, was frowned on because it depletes breeding-age catfish. It can also be dangerous. Noodlers sometimes come up with fistfuls of agitated snakes or snapping turtles.

(In a related development, conservation officials also approved bare-handed moose and bob cat hunting. Hmmm. Maybe the hunters and fishermen will need a little conservation.)

Scientists pester bugs

BORNEO (AP) » A "monster" cockroach and other new insects have been discovered in the jungles of Borneo, scientists report.

An expedition of caves and cliffs, lead by the Nature Conservancy, also said it saw previously unknown fish and plants.

Said the conservancy's Scott Stanley. "If something is not done soon to protect these areas, dozens of species could disappear before anyone knew they ever existed."

(Said a monster cockroach, "If these conservation idiots come tromping around, nobody would have known we were even here." He added, "And they stepped on my cousin Maurice.")

Honolulu Lite on Sunday:
"Do Not Remove This Tag Under Penalty of Law" and other silly warnings.

Quote Me On This:
"Our doctor would never really operate unless it was absolutely necessary. He was just that way. If he didn't need the money, he wouldn't lay a hand on you." -- Herb Shriner

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Tuesdays, Thursdays , Fridays and Sundays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com

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