“A month after the authorities began taxing Romania’s witches and fortunetellers on their trade, Parliament is considering a new bill that would subject them to fines or even prison if their predictions do not come true. Superstition is taken seriously in Romania, and officials passed the tax bill in an effort to increase revenues. The new bill would also require witches to have permits and provide their customers with receipts, and it would bar them from practicing near schools and churches. Witches argue they should not be blamed for the failure of their tools.” (via NYTimes with thanks to rich)
“…[M]embers of the animal kingdom dig the 9.7-inch tablet too — particularly a clan of six orangutans at the Miami Zoo.
At the Miami Zoo’s Jungle Island, handlers are interacting with orangutans using the iPad. The apes use the tablet to identify items they’re familiar with, and express their wants and needs. This is done primarily through an app designed for autistic children that displays an array of object images onscreen.
“We’ll ask them to identify ‘Where’s the coconut?’, and they’ll point it out,” Linda Jacobs, who oversees the Jungle Island program, told Wired. “We want to build from that and give them a choice in what they have for dinner — show them pictures of every vegetable we have available that day, and let them pick, giving them the opportunity to have choices.”
Orangutans are very intelligent, but lack voice boxes and vocal cords, which can make communication difficult. Up until now, zoo keepers have been using sign language to communicate with them. Using the iPad gives the orangutans another form of communication with humans, provides them with mental stimulation, and also gives those who don’t know sign language a chance to interact with humans.” (via Wired.com).