The 200th annual Oktoberfest has kicked off in Munich this Saturday, with Mayor Christian Ude tapping the first keg and declaring, “O’zapft is” (It’s tapped), the only German phrase I’ll ever need. The festival will run 17 days, and this is also the first year that smoking is banned from the beer tents. This has led to a pretty big problem. Previously, cigarette smoke would cover up the smell of stale beer accumulating on the wooden floors of beer tents during those 17 days. With the ban, Oktoberfest organizers are turning to a creative means of odor control: bacteria.
Elbomex, an odor killing bacteria made by a Bavarian company, will be poured on floorboards of the Hofbräu tent and some other tents in an attempt to cover stale beer smell. The bacteria has previously been used to rejuvenate soil and mask odors in cesspits and compost heaps. We’re sure anybody who falls face first onto the bacteria-covered tent floors are going to be very happy they weren’t exposed to any secondhand smoke instead.
Also “very happy” was probably everyone involved in a manslaughter case in Florida, where a juror’s use of an iPhone led to a mistrial. During the trial, the defense used the word “prudent” during the proceedings. During a break in jury deliberations, the jury foreman used his iPhone to look up the meaning of the word prudence on the Encarta website, then explained it to the rest of the jurors later. The Court of Appeals decided this was, well, imprudent, and ordered for a new trial. I don’t know what’s more disturbing, that someone who shot their neighbor over a petty argument might have gotten freed instead of retried, or that in a room full of 12 adults allowed to vote and decide a defendant’s fate, not a single one knew what prudent means.
- 200th Oktoberfest begins. Let the photography of Oktoberfest girls commence. (AP)
- Oktoberfest officials now using a microbe instead of cigarette smoke to mask the scent of stale beer. (Arbroath)
- Juror causes a mistrial in a manslaughter case by using an iPhone (Gizmodo)
- Well, that’s adorable. Bob the Meerkat and Zinzi the Lioness are friends. Hakuna Matata. (TheDailyWhat)
- For some reason, McDonald’s doesn’t like the pro-vegetarian ad showing a corpse gripping a half-eaten hamburger, with golden arches above his feet and the tagline, “I was lovin’ it.” Man, a cheeseburger sounds good right now. (WashingtonPost, with video)
- Looking to save some money? The New York Times reports the old rule about getting oil changes every 3,000 years is no longer true with cars built in the past eight years or so. The new guideline is every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, depending on the model, and they recommend checking your car’s owner’s manual. Wait, oil is supposed to be changed? I thought that genie lamp shaped light on my dash was warning me I was in evil Jinn country.
- A UK-based think tank rated Americans fifth in the world in a composite index of charitable activity, including giving money, volunteering, and helping a stranger. Only Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand ranked higher. (SiliconAlleyInsider)
- And here’s an interactive chart on who donates aid and who receives it. (Guardian)
- Twitter is now kicking out 90 million tweets a day, with 25% of them containing links. At least one of those tweets probably said “Bailiff won’t let me liveblog this manslaughter trial. FML.” (TechCrunch)