Jurassic Park, Bend EditionThis past Thursday, Source staffers received an alarming press release from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office. Apparently, an emu, the flightless bird usually found in Australia, was captured in northwest Redmond. This not only prompted staffers to declare "Second Wayward Emu Located" the best e-mail headline of the day, but also, upon reading the press release, to realize that the emu is not just a flightless bird, but a capable assassin.
According to the press release, "While emus are not considered dangerous by nature, they do have a nail on their toes, akin to a knife, which is used in kicking away predators and opponent emus. Their legs are among the strongest of any animals, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. They are endowed with good eyesight and hearing, which allows them to detect predators in the vicinity. If provoked or cornered, they will fight."
This thing sounds more terrifying than a Liger, a la Napoleon Dynamite, bred for its skills in magic. With its knife-toes, heightened senses and wire-demolishing legs, emus sound like modern-day Velociraptors. Luckily, this emu, along with a previous wayward emu, was captured and returned to its owner in Redmond. But that won't stop us from fearing the large talons of the emu. (SR)
Shake, Rattle and Steam
The long-running effort to harness the as-yet untapped geothermal energy at Newberry Volcanic Monument got another small boost this past week when a study commissioned by project manager AltaRock Energy found that fears over increased earthquake danger associated with geothermal development at Newberry are unfounded. According to the study, performed by Oakland-based URS Corp., the geothermal project would create no additional earthquake activity for residents in nearby Sunriver and La Pine.
Fears over man-made earthquakes have swirled around the "demonstration" project since it was revealed that the Department of Energy had rebuked AltaRock for failing to reveal that a similar enhanced geothermal project in Basel, Switzerland, had caused more than 100 small-scale quakes and at least one structure-damaging quake before the project was abandoned.
AltaRock has downplayed the quake danger, which can result from the fracturing of heated rock after cold water is injected into the drill wells to produce steam. That steam is piped back to the surface to spin turbines that generate electricity. While the Newberry project is officially a partially government-subsidized "test" project, if successful, the resource could be developed into a full-scale power production facility with the electricity headed for California. (EF)
Arsenic-Eating Life Form Discovered
NASA announced the discovery of a new life form. Unfortunately, it's not a friendly alien who's come to do our laundry and dishes. Instead, it's just some lowly bacteria some scientists found in Mono Lake in California. Boo.
But there is still reason to be excited about this. Here's a little science lesson. Up until just a few days ago, all life on earth consisted of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. That's what you, I and everything from whales to pond scum uses to create DNA, RNA, proteins and cell membranes.
But that's not how these lake critters that were found work. Instead of using phosphorous, this bacteria uses arsenicto create its DNA. Yes, arsenic - the stuff that is poisonous to everyone else (but was used in building houses until the '50s, whoops!). Potential benefits of this new life form include cleaning toxic waste and helping to create an arsenic-based alternative fuel. Or, you know, an arsenic-eating laundry-and-dishes-doing friendly life form. Just saying. (SR)
But It Works in the Movies!
Three local young men ripped a page out of Beverly Hills Cop III and started buying up Bend with counterfeit money. The Bulletin reported on Monday that Tyler Jo Shinkle, Brett Allan Hudspeth and James L. Dhaenes were caught allegedly using $20 counterfeit bills at 7-Eleven on S. Hwy 97. Man, 7-Eleven, is it the Slurpees or what? Because there's some crazy stuff going down at your stores. I mean, just last week, we saw a strung-out-looking Santa and an Elf doing the crossword puzzle, some people having what may have been a domestic dispute and a fight to the death over the last Four Loko. OK, we made the last one up. We actually bought the last Four Loko.
Each young man was arrested on multiple counts and more arrests are expected and Bend Police are asking people to be on the lookout for fake money, as the three used counterfeit $20 bills at numerous other Bend businesses, including many downtown. Hey boys, while you did get caught, at least you didn't have to incur the wrath of Eddie Murphy. (SR)