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The Artist

Amazing art and an interesting view of the world.

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View from a Rhino House: bringing home home the bacon

In the US, Washington state is about to see the US’ first legal market for recreational marijuana, & (this being the land of opportunity) there is already a host of new money-making opportunities flowering.

Pig breeder Susannah Gross is part of an experiment with a solution that seems to make the most of marijuana’s appetite-enhancing properties – turning weed waste into pig food (although as I recall the “munchies” mainly involved large quantities of unfeasibly sweet candy).

Four of her pigs whose swill was “super-sized” with plant leavings ended up 10 – 15 kilos heavier than the 6 other pigs from the same litter when they were all sent to slaughter in March.

The experiment is latest outcome of a ballot measure approved by Washington state voters last November making their state one of the first to legalize the recreational use of pot (the other was Colorado). Both were among the 20 (-ish) states with medical marijuana laws already in force.

The federal government still classifies cannabis as an illegal narcotic & the present administration has not yet said what actions, if any, it will take to really piss-off its core voters as well as the “States’ rights” groups. (Maybe cross-issue groups will form to address both issues simultaneously. Rand’s Ravers has a nice sound, no?)

Proposed regulations that were circulated in the State last week to govern the new recreational-use industry seem to leave open that possibility. The rules proposed would ensure that the marijuana plant waste must be “rendered unusable prior to leaving a licensed producer or processor’s facility,” adding specifically that mixing it with food waste would be acceptable.

Ms. Gross’ pigs were butchered by William von Schneidau, in March he held the first “Pot Pig Gig” at the market, serving up the marijuana-fed pork as part of a five-course meal.

He quickly sold out the remaining weed-fed meat at his shop but is plannning another pot-pig feast later this summer, he said.

“Some say the meat seems to taste more savory,” he said.

The big question of course, is whether pot-fed pork contains any measurable traces of THC, the mind-altering chemical ingredient in cannabis.

The European Food Safety Authority reported in 2011 that “no studies concerning tolerance or effects of graded levels of THC in food-producing animals have been found in literature.”

Time for a bacon sandwich, methinks.

"When they had the weed it was bad enough, what idiot decided to try them on E?"

“When they had the weed it was bad enough, what idiot decided to try them on E?”

View from a Rhino House: a snake in the grass (well, more in the library this time)

The UK’s Foreign Office has spent £10,000 to re-stuff the corpse of a giant 120-year-old snake, at a time when government departments are being told to cut-back on non-essential spending.

In response to a Freedom of Information request from the Guido Fawkes political blog, the Foreign Office said the 6 metre anaconda (named after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert) had been in poor condition & required “essential maintenance”.

“Albert the anaconda was presented by a Bishop from Guyana, to the Colonial Secretary in the 1880’s”, the Foreign Office said.

The huge reptile hangs in a Foreign Office library & is recorded as a “departmental asset” in the FO’s books.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office dismissed the suggestion that remodeling Albert’s looks might not be considered “essential” after voters were warned just last month to brace for “painful decisions” on the economy.

“It is quite a bit of money, but he is a very big snake & we are required under government rules to preserve, in good order, this historic national treasure & departmental asset”.

Come any closer & you’ll see what a “painful decision” really feels like……

View from a Rhino House: monster tower mess

The world’s tallest broadcasting tower has run into a slight problem – a large number of users can’t hear a thing it says.

The ¥65 billion Tokyo Skytree was opened in May this year. Standing at a fairly lofty 634 metres (the Eiffel Tower wimps out at 324 metres), the idea was that at the start of next year it would take over broadcasting from its elderly relative, the Tokyo Tower.

Built in 1958, & demolished no less than 8 times times in Godzilla movies alone, the Tokyo Tower ran into problems when its 333m height was deemed insufficient for broadcasting digital TV, radio & data signals to the populous Kanto region surrounding Tokyo.

Despite being 300m taller than its revered forerunner & towering over all the nearby buildings, Skytree is also having difficulties which will delay the signal cut-over from the Tokyo Tower for some time.

NHK & the other broadcasters began test signals in July but found that either because the radio waves were “too strong” or because “consumers’ antennae were in the wrong location”, some households received no signal, regardless of which direction or area they were in.

To work out exactly what the real problem is, the radio waves from the old (yet reliable)Tokyo Tower would have to be suspended completely during peak daytime periods, which would obviously upset consumers (& more importantly, sponsors & advertisers). So everybody is scurrying to find a face-saving work-around that does not involve actually just sorting the problem out.

An NHK spokesman told the media  that efforts are being made to correct the problems by May, & when pressed he admitted the extra costs involved, to date, have been enormous.

Skytree came in for even more bad press recently when it emerged that ¥30 million of the ¥11.7 trillion allocated for rebuilding around the city after the devastating 2011 tsunami & earthquake was actually spent on adverts promoting the tourist attraction-cum-radio-mast.

Why is there never a 60 metre tall radio-active dinosaur around when you really need one?

Size does matter, but if 600 metres brings just more reruns of Dallas, then it’s time to “get outa town” – fast!