Rhinoceros with zebra stripes

Inverted Rhino, Anyone?

It’s only me, folks — Whoopsie! Back on the porcelain throne for another sideways glance at the world at large.


You know when you’re at a loose end and you don’t know what to do? Your fed up with crosswords, and you fear you may ritually disembowel yourself if forced to tackle another jigsaw puzzle.

In such a predicament, why not turn your mind to turning rhinos upside down for ten minutes? That’s what a team of researchers did. This week the Daily Mirror reported on the publication of strange science news stories in the science humour magazine, Annals of Improbable Research. Their so-called Ig Nobel Prizes are awards given for science stories that ‘first make you laugh before making you think.’

Boffins have never been short of crazy topics for research. The latest off-beat offering involves transporting rhinos suspended upside down beneath helicopters. You might find little to smile about in turning a two and a half tonne armoured beast upside down and hoisting it into the sky, mainly if the beast doesn’t find it funny either, especially if you are the one that has to release it when it comes down to Earth. But we all have different senses of humour. I mean, some people need to be attended by paramedics having laughed themselves inside out watching a Charlie Chaplin silent movie, which leaves many others glassy-eyed in boredom.


Nature, red in tooth and claw!

Nor is the rhinoceros the only large animal likely to do you harm unless treated with respect. As reported by the people who compile the Darwin awards, a Malaysian man named Zaim spotted a reticulated python enjoying an afternoon snooze on a grass verge and reckoned it might be worth a bob or two. He nipped home and returned shortly with gloves and a sickle, overcame the beast and cycled back, holding the creature’s head high for all to see.

Unfortunately for Zaim, the snake, only temporarily stunned, took the huff at such shabby treatment by a mere human and decided to coil itself around Zaim’s windpipe and upper torso, cutting off the oxygen supply to his brain. Early indications that the snake was winning included Zaim’s face turning as purple as a Victoria plum. This particular hue was accompanied by the reduction in Zaim’s lung capacity to that of an asthmatic budgerigar.


Greatest wishes from the smallest room,