With animal welfare groups succeeding in halting use of elephants, featured performers for decades in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus acts, next jobs for the pachyderms --- since some live up to 70 years and are not yet ready for retirement --- could be in sniffing out explosives, notes Grumpy Editor.
But animal rights groups, for years accusing the circus of mistreating elephants, might not like that either.
New research, involving the U.S. military, conducted in South Africa indicated elephants excel at identifying explosives by smell. In tests involving TNT, the large mammals were trained to raise a front leg.
Watching elephants lift legs in circus acts in “The Greatest Show on Earth” has been going on for 145 years as children and adults applauded.
By 2018 the company will retire its 13 traveling Asian elephants to its conservation center in central Florida.
An Associated Press story from Johannesburg, South Africa, cited another benefit in using bomb-sniffing elephants: they remember their training longer than dogs, according to Stephen Lee, head scientist at the U.S. Army Research Office, a major provider of funds for the study.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
An up-and-down stock market in recent days (with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing Friday down 145.91 points to 17749.31) was blamed mainly on a strong dollar, with the thinking being that a strong dollar, making goods more expensive and less competitive overseas, will smack profits of U.S. multinational companies. But look for another (and constant) reaction at the conclusion of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday with mention of “an increase in interest rates” as soon as June…Much chatter during the week about a New York Times front page photo showing President Barack Obama leading hundreds of marchers on a street in Selma on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the landmark civil rights event. But missing from the printed picture were George W. Bush and wife Laura, also in the front line. Although both Bushes were to the right of the street’s center yellow double line, both could have been included with proper cropping, thus showing current and past presidents participating…A week-full of “vanished” Russian President Vladimir Putin stories cluttered print and broadcast with headlines such as: Questions persist on Putin’s whereabouts. Putnin drops out of sight. Moscow mystery. Unseen Putin prompts speculation about health. All simmered down after a Saturday photo appeared in some media showing the Russian leader back in action…Retired veteran NBC News reporter Lisa Myers, in Des Moines for a speech, noted “the deterioration in the quality of journalism you see on TV,” adding, “there is less and less interest in network television today holding the White House or any other part of government accountable. I fear there is a calculation that the audiences they are trying to reach don’t care that much about the serious news”…U.S. intelligence on vacation? A headline over an Associated Press story Sunday with a Washington dateline: U.S. unsure whether bombing has hurt al-Qaida group in Syria...Media continue to shake up Californians with earthquake forecasts. Latest came via a report from the U.S. Geological Survey which warned the risk of a significant Golden State shaker of at least magnitude 8.0 has increased to 7 percent from a prior estimate of 4.7 percent --- with possible multi-fault ruptures. The USGS also predicted the state is almost certain to experience a 6.7 magnitude quake within the next 30 years…Say that again? On the climate change front, a study by researchers at the University of Potsdam in Germany claimed a weaker jet stream and atmospheric circulation in the summer, caused by a reduced differential in temperature between the equator and the North Pole as the Arctic warms faster than the mid-latitudes, “has made weather more persistent and hence favored the occurrence of prolonged heat extremes”…Yummy TV viewing. “iZombie,” airing tomorrow night on CW, has a medical worker turning into a zombie, quitting the hospital to work in a morgue --- where she munches on brains, with noodles and hot sauce.
Movie attendance by 18-to-39 year olds last year fell to the lowest level in five years, reported the Motion Picture Association of America. (Maybe more zombie flicks are the solution.)