NewsQuirks 332

Scent of a Woman The most powerful sexual stimulant for a man is the smell of pumpkin pie and lavender, according to a medical study by Chicago neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alan Hirsch. The amorous aroma increased the crucial blood flow in his volunteers by 40 percent. Next came black licorice and lavender, which scored a 32 percent increase, followed at 20 percent by the smell of doughnuts and pumpkin pie. Admitting that the "mechanism of reaction is unclear," Hirsch said he plans to use his discoveries to treat impotence and to market his research to perfume companies.Mr. Fixit Unable to find a drill to bore a hole in his car's exhaust pipe, Joseph C. Aaron, 20, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., got his gun and tried to shoot one in it. The bullet fragmented when it hit the pipe, and pieces hit Aaron in the leg. In Halifax, Mass., police accused Robert Brinson, 28, of trying to blow up his ex-girlfriend and her family at home using two bombs like the one that blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City. Police said Brinson's bombs were considerably less dangerous because he mistakenly used potting soil instead of fertilizer.Mensa Reject of the Week When Customs agents at New York's Kennedy Airport charged Colombian native Carlos Trujillo, 30, with not reporting currency of more than $10,000 after they found $60,100 hidden in a knapsack on a Mickey Mouse doll in his luggage and $10,495 in his pockets, Trujillo volunteered that he had another $18,900 in $100 bills rolled up in 27 condoms, which he had swallowed.Post-Cold War Blues Problems continue for Russia's cash-strapped military. In September, the Northern Fleet dispatched heavily armed sailors to force the state electric company to turn the power back on at one of its nuclear submarine bases. The utility had stopped service because of overdue bills, the 16th time in three years that military facilities have had electricity cut off for non-payment. Elsewhere, the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda reported that Russia's strategic forces are so desperate for cash that they hire out soldiers for menial work such as digging potatoes. As a result, it said, some nuclear missile sites are so short-handed that crews often work double shifts. In October, Russian space officials announced the three crew members aboard the Mir space station would have to stay there at least one extra month. Space agency spokesperson Anatoly Tkachev explained the planned four-month mission was being extended because money problems delayed construction of the booster rocket needed to transport the crew's replacements and bring them home. One scheme Russia is undertaking to raise money is to become a cheap dumping ground for nuclear waste from the West. Despite warnings by Russia's atomic safety regular, Gosatomnadzor, that the country's nuclear reprocessing industry is on the verge of breakdown after repeated leaks, system failures and numerous other weaknesses, the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy, Minatom, began seeking international customers for a new reprocessing plant in central Siberia. The plant is expected to earn about $1 billion a year.Point of Honor Greece ended its 18-month economic boycott of Macedonia after Macedonia's parliament agreed to remove a 16-point Virginia Star from its national flag. Greece had imposed the crippling 18-month boycott insisting that the star is its property.Looking for Loopholes Billionaire Kenneth Dart moved from Florida to Belize in 1994, citing tax reasons for changing citizenship. This September he reportedly persuaded Belize officials to apply to open a consulate in Sarasota, Fla., home of the Dart Container company he heads, and to appoint him to run it.Tragic Coincidences Original Mousketeer Billie Matay, 52, was robbed at gunpoint in September in the parking lot at Disneyland. Laura Kucera, 20, survived four days in a ditch after being shot in the head last October by ex-boyfriend Brian Anderson, 22, then struggled through therapy to walk again. She died near Omaha this September while driving to visit her grandmother when her car ran off a gravel road into a ditch. John Roller, 68, was walking home from a convenience store in St. Clair, Mo., in October when he stepped in front of a van, which struck and killed him. Police reported the driver of the van was Roller's 44-year-old son Dieter. When Miguel Gonzalez, 32, reported for his anger-management class in Honolulu drunk and disruptive, police said anger counselor Charles Mahuka, 39, lost his temper and beat Gonzalez into a coma.Everyone's a Critic Police who charged Framingham, Mass., insurance executive Richard Rosenthal, 40, with murdering his wife by slitting her from her throat to her navel and impaling her heart and lungs on a stake, said he told them that she had criticized him for burning their pasta dinner. "I had an argument," he explained. "I overcooked the ziti." Rosenthal was arrested in August shortly after the murder when he followed a couple home and tried to talk to them about gun control because their license plate read "357 BAN." He apparently assumed it was a reference to a caliber of gun, but it was actually just a random-issue plate. The couple called police, who found Rosenthal's 4-month-old daughter in the back seat, along with a plastic bag full of bloody clothing.Road Woes Traffic is so bad in Indonesia that authorities have banned vehicles with fewer than three passengers. According to Road and Track, the rule has created a new profession: passengers for hire by the hour. One solution proposed for the Netherlands, which has the highest density of cars in the world, is shared rental. Participants would no longer own cars but would have access to a cabinet of keys to several cars parked near their home. One government official forecast that by 2010, 2 million people will be sharing cars.Compiled by Roland Sweet from the nation's press. Send clippings, citing source and date, to POB 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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