The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Son of Ephemera

Chesham's new town crier is believed to be the first person with a learning disability to be elected to the position.

William Ellis, 32, who has Down's syndrome, was officially proclaimed to the public on 27 April 2011. His first official duty will be at the town's royal wedding celebrations later today.

He was introduced to the public by Anthony Church, Town Crier of Banbury, who made a formal proclamation of William's appointment on the steps of the United Reformed Church in The Broadway.
Mr Church is a fellow member of the Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers and will be acting as William's mentor as he settles into this traditional role.

and Finally... "But Honey, I Can Explain!"

A farmer was left stunned when her flock of 37 white sheep gave birth to 60 lambs - that are all black. Sally Du Toit, 39, and husband Jacob, 29, helped deliver the first black lamb on April 2 this year at their smallholding near Royston, Herts. Since then their flock of 37 white ewes has given birth to a total of 60 black lambs, all sired by a one-year-old ram called Rowley. Incredibly, the South African Dorper ram also has a white fleece, leaving mother-of-one Mrs Du Toit baffled by the freak births.

In sheep, a white fleece is the result of a dominant gene that actively switches colour production off - that is why most sheep are white. This means a black fleece in most sheep is recessive, so if a white ram and a white ewe are each heterozygous (have the black and white forms of the gene for fleece colour), in about 25 per cent of cases they will produce a black lamb.

    Swiss researchers have evidence suggesting leprosy, or Hansen's Disease as it is now called, can be contracted by eating the flesh of infected armadillos. It has been known for some time that the armadillo is one of the few animals other than humans, who are susceptible to the disease, but no one was aware that it could be transmitted from one species to the other. 

The team of researchers, including a team from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, looked at 50 leprosy patients in the United States and 33 wild armadillos with the disease.
The findings are the first to confirm a long-suspected link between the disease in armadillos and humans, but are not a sign that a new epidemic is underway, researchers said.
Rather, the report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the disease, most often found in India, can originate in the United States and infect humans who hunt armadillo and butcher the meat.

In the latest findings, the researchers were able to identify a never-before-seen armadillo genotype of the bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae – a new strain named – in 28 animals and 22 people who had not gone abroad and could not have contracted the disease elsewhere.
"It became clear that leprosy patients who never traveled outside the US but lived in areas where infected armadillos are prevalent were infected with the same strain as the armadillos," said the study.
The armadillo genotype of leprosy was found in human patients in the five Gulf Coast states – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.

Be seeing you

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