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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More news you can use

Charlestown doesn’t make Rhode Island silly law list…Narragansett town manager in trouble for “inappropriate” donation…MIT solves ketchup problem…Government study on studies
By Will Collette

Silly laws. Even though Charlestown law forbids spitting, throwing a snowball at a tree, letting a guest sleep in a tent in your backyard or standing on Creek Bridge, we did not make WPRI’s Top 12 Most Outrageous Laws in RI.

I think ours are pretty good, but the station picked such laws as Providence’s prohibition against keeping a pig in your house, the state law that forbids you from picking up seaweed and taking it home (except in Barrington where it’s OK), and another state law, still on the books, that requires you to make a loud noise, like beeping, when passing another vehicle on the left.

Maybe if Charlestown’s Town Council passes proposed Ordinance #349 on June 11, we’ll make next year’s list.

Busted! It’s small comfort to see other towns can be as crazy as Charlestown. Right around the time the CCA started its “Kill Bill” campaign which ended up ousting Town Administrator Bill DiLibero, similar-minded civic leaders in Narragansett found a cause to try to push Narragansett Town Manager GradyMiller out the door

Miller’s offense? He paid out $3000 from Narragansett’s Wastewater Enterprise Fund to the Narrow River Preservation Association to clean up the Narrow River. The approved town budget already included authorization for the donation to the group, but according to the town’s legal counsel, Miller took the money from the wrong line item.

The sharply divided Town Council (sound familiar?) was criticized by citizens for putting such a trivial matter on the public agenda, but the Council majority, on a 3-2 vote, put the legal counsel’s critical report into the record. Unlike Charlestown, the Council majority has not yet moved to terminate Miller, but stay tuned.

Problem solved! With all the technological problems the world faces – climate change, hunger, the threat of pandemic, cellulite, etc. – it’s good to see a team of MIT scientists resolve one of the world’s greatest annoyances – slow-running ketchup. According to the Heinz ketchup people, ketchup pours from its bottle at only 0.028 miles per hour, slower than a Gal├ípagos tortoise. 

The MIT scientists have invented a substance they call LiquiGlide which is a solid that acts like a liquid lubricant. When it coats the inside of a container, it allows viscous substances like ketchup (and honey or mayonnaise) to slide out easily without leaving a residue.

MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith led the team and “patented the hell out of it” on the assumption that there will be a big market for Liquiglide. There probably will be, right up until the day other scientists figure out that it causes cancer, mutations or some other awful ailment. But in the meantime, all those impatient ketchup lovers will appreciate this great Nobel Prize worthy achievement.

This is like one of those nested Russian dolls.
In 2010, the Pentagon decided it was suffering from TMI (“too much information”) from too many studies. So, naturally, they hired a contractor to conduct a study to see how much it cost to conduct all those studies. Then Defense Secretary Robert Gates was frustrated over the blizzard of reports.
Two years later, the Pentagon study on studies is still going on. So Congress commissioned the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the Pentagon’s study on studies.
The GAO concluded the Pentagon’s study on studies was terrible and was a waste of money. The Pentagon reacted to the GAO study on their study on studies by saying they “partially concurred” and would of course, study the GAO’s study.