The truth is out there: 10/10/2009

A weekly look at the world

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*If historical coincidences are ominous, then the Tory party's choice of HQ during conference season is an unfortunate one. The Grade II-listed Midland Hotel in Manchester was allegedly the planned staging post for the Nazi party following its intended invasion of Britain.

*This week marks the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the barcode on British shores. It first appeared at a branch of Key Market in Spalding, Lincolnshire. A US invention, the first designs were circular and were greeted with much scepticism, people allegedly fearing the lasers used to scan them.

*Scientists have discovered a new species of glow-in-the-dark mushroom deep in the Brazilian rainforest. The find, published in the journal Mycologia and reported by Horticulture Week, is one of seven new species of glow-in-the-dark fungi found around the world, bringing the total to 71. Though psychedelic-looking, the new species is not believed to be hallucinogenic. It is called Mycena luxaeterna, which, as the name suggests, was inspired by Mozart's Requiem.

*The Nikon Small World Competition recognises the best in microscopic photography and this week it was won by Estonian scientist Heiti Paves of the Tallinn Institute of Technology for a 20x magnified picture of thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). The species is important according to New Scientist, after it made history in 2000 becoming the first plant to have its entire genetic code sequenced.

*Police in Washington state believe they have cracked the case of the joy-flying "barefoot burglar" after arresting Colton "Colt" Harris-Moore, 18. The teenager is accused of a slew of crimes including stealing three light aircraft which he took and crashed in the past year, according to CNN. His crimes have become so notorious he even has a fan page on Facebook.

*A hotel in Venice Beach, California, has come up with a novel way to fight the recession, according to The Los Angeles Times. Hotel Erwin hopes its new package offering a free tattoo and a bottle of tequila will keep its 119 rooms full. Meanwhile, San Diego's Hard Rock Hotel will lend you a Harley-Davidson motorbike during your stay, The New York Times reports.

*New roads may seem an unlikely solution to the world's climate crisis but that is exactly what one US inventor hopes to achieve with his new "solar road panel". This week, Scientific American magazine reported on the work of Scott Brusaw of Sagle, Idaho, who is currently building a prototype of his solar road panel which will help to power the national grid via super-strong solar panels under roads.

*A quick-thinking security guard has shot to fame in the Philippines after saving part of the former first lady Imelda Marcos's shoe collection from floods that devastated the country. The 200-pair display was moved upstairs just before flood waters swamped the ground floor of the Marikina Shoe Museum near Manila.

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