Researchers are preparing a study seeking to confirm that dog slobber, by itself (and not just the psychological advantages of playing with and petting a dog), might provide human health benefits such as relief from asthma, allergies and inflammation. Specialists from the University of Arizona and University of California San Diego point to existing evidence of the comparative healthiness of dog-owning families and suspect that canine saliva, like yogurt, may have unusual probiotic value.

Elf justice

Public policymaking in the United States is often gridlocked by recalcitrant ideologues, but at least administrators are not constrained by elves, as in Iceland. After seven years of controversy, the country's Road Administration recently approved a new pathway near Reykjavik that had been delayed by a troublesome 70-ton boulder in the right-of-way — which could not be dislodged because it is believed to be a "church" for the country's legendary "hidden people." The elves' leading spokeswoman, Ragnhildur Jonsdottir, finally declared, to officials' relief, that the elves had accepted the boulder's relocation (to the side of the road), having "been preparing for this for a long time, moving their energy to the new location."

Don't feed the sheep

Japan may have its cat restaurants (where loaner felines lounge during meals) and even its penguin bar in Ikebukuro, and London (as reported here a month ago) an experimental owl cafe (with specially domesticated birds perched on diners' shoulders), but not to be outdone, an entrepreneur in Seoul, South Korea, guesses that his Thanks to Nature Cafe will be a big hit — with sheep wandering through the dining room. (After all, according to the lunar calendar, 2015 is the Chinese zodiac Year of the Sheep.) Owner Lee Kwang-ho said his novel business model has attracted visitors from Macedonia, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, among other countries.

Home unimprovement

Recent cases to add to the "Don't DIY Files": Fred Horne of Columbus, Ohio, burned down his house in February trying to smoke the bedbugs out of his couch. Only that one piece of furniture caught fire, but carrying it out of the house, Horne got stuck in a doorway, and the blaze spread.

Also in February near Darwin, Australia, an unnamed woman living in an RV came face-to-face with a snake and decided to encourage the serpent to leave — by lighting a fire beneath the RV's floor. The vehicle was destroyed but, said the police superintendent, "We don't know what happened to the snake."

Smash-mouth competition

Dentist Leopold Weinstein, 63, was arrested in February in Camarillo, Calif., and charged with suspicion of setting fire to three competing dental offices (one for the fourth time). One victim said the arsonist even drilled holes in the roof and poured in gasoline to accelerate the blaze. Also in February, in Hua Hin, Thailand, a 36-year-old woman was arrested for scattering screws on a busy street in order to increase business for her husband's tire shop.

Artists at work

Padge-Victoria Windslowe, a "Gothic hip-hop" performer known as "Black Madam" who carried out buttocks-enhancement procedures on the side ("thousands," she bragged) using industrial-grade silicone and Krazy Glue to seal the injection site, was convicted in Philadelphia in March of the third-degree murder of one "patient" whose silicone leaked to her lungs. During the trial, Windslowe told the jury she had been called the "Michelangelo of buttocks injections" — though the reigning overachiever still appears to be Ron Oneal Morris, some of whose patients achieved higher booty-circumference numbers. Morris is awaiting trial in Miami on manslaughter charges.

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