Is that a watermelon in your pants, etc., etc.?

Science Blog reports that watermelon may have, um, Viagra-like qualities[*1] .  Do tell!

“The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

“We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”

That’s apparently not the only thing that can grow longer.  Hur hur hur.

Cheeta the Chimp — on the Walk of Fame

Ah, the sweet innocence of siman-blogging (a recurring feature of   This from Yahoo News:
Ape applicant vies for star on Walk of Fame[*1]

The petition notes that Cheeta’s canine colleagues Lassie, and 1920s stars Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart are immortalized on the boulevard, along with fictional animals Kermit the Frog, Godzilla and Donald Duck.

“He’s up against really big celebrities,” Ana Martinez-Holler, a spokeswoman for the Chamber of Commerce said.

But, at least Cheeta would be able to put an honest-to-goodness handprint on the walk.  No paws here.

My favorite author

Terry Pratchett talks about his early-onset Altzheimer’s Disease, Harry Potter, the British National Health Sevice, and the existence of God, in this interview from the London Sunday Times[*1] online:

“The day after I had been diagnosed I was working in the garden and I suddenly realised I was whistling, and I thought regretta-bly there is this sort of inner well of humour or good nature, there is some kind of insuppressible source of good humour that I can’t actually manage to get rid of.”

He was genuinely angered, however, to find that he and others of his age are too young to get the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept on the NHS.

“If I ate myself into obesity I could get pills for that for nothing. If I wanted Viagra I could get that for nothing. But I can’t get a drug that gives me that little bit of extra edge. I can afford £90 a month, of course, but there may be someone who can’t in his fifties with early-onset Alzheimer’s with dependants – anything that gives an extra edge must be worth it.”

Last week’s Sunday Times story that patients who paid for their own cancer drugs would be denied NHS treatment enraged him. “In the early days of the NHS, if someone had a bit of spare cash they would hand it over to their doctor and he’d say thank you very much. I cannot see how paying for their own drugs undermines the NHS.”

A typically wide-ranging interview covering lots of ground–just like his novels.  If you like reading, you’ll probably like Pratchett (if you can get past the trolls and dwarfs and the like–hey, they’re just people, too!)

Shuttle Atlantis set to launch

Yahoo News:  Good weather predicted for space shuttle[*1]

Forecasters are predicting an 80 percent chance of good weather at space shuttle launch time tonight, and the fueling of the huge external tank began on time shortly before 10 a.m. EDT. The blastoff of Atlantis is scheduled for 7:38 p.m. EDT Friday on a mission to continue construction of the international space station.[*1]