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Do not sink teeth into animal testicles

Bob Ream, chairman of the state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission, was driving to north-central Montana just before sunrise to hunt deer, when a deer jumped in front of his car and made the trip unnecessary. The deer was a goner, "but only its hindquarter was damaged," reports the Independent Record, "so Ream tagged it." Even though his job involves setting hunting regulations, Ream apparently didn't know that tagging a roadkill is illegal. After he told a game warden what he'd done, the animal was confiscated and Ream was issued a warning. That wasn't even the worst part: The deer also totaled his Subaru.

Larimore Nicholl in Colorado Springs thinks readers of that town's weekly, The Independent, desperately need "laws for a good life," so he hasn't been shy about sending his suggestions to the editor for everyone to ponder, if not follow. Some examples: "Never believe the ultra-rich give a damn about you, or care about creating a job for you," "Don't get born again, just grow up!" and "If someone asks you to go to war to fight 'the enemy,' tell them: 'You go ahead, I'm staying behind to protect the children.' " He also advises: "If you work your tush off, you have a chance of a satisfying life; if you don't, you have no chance."

Cowboys might have castrated lambs with their teeth back in the Old West days, but this is not a good idea now, says the Centers for Disease Control, in case you were wondering. As well as being messy, bloody and unpleasant for all concerned, especially the animal, using your teeth to bite off animal testicles can lead to campylobacteriosis, a disease that causes diarrhea, cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting. The subject came up because last June, two men who were working on a ranch castrating lambs decided to do it the old-fashioned way. Both cowboys got sick, and one man ended up in the hospital, reports the CDC in a dispassionate bulletin to Wyoming officials describing its extensive medical investigation. Bloggers had a field day, including Maryn McKenna, who writes "The Further Adventures of Germ Girl" for Wired. She translated the government's advice to the state this way: "CDC (says): Do not castrate lambs with your teeth. (Related: Do not be a testosterone-fueled idiot.)"

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HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor