Spring has sprung and for many people that signals the annual ritual known as spring cleaning. When I was growing up, my grandmother was the spring cleaning queen. She once passed up a European vacation so she could wax the tile floor in her basement. 


I am not that compulsive, but I do enjoy removing the hubris of winter. So, when I looked at the dusty accumulation of items in the crate beneath my desk I knew it was time to do some selective sorting. What follows is a dirty dozen of interesting tidbits. There is no obvious organizational pattern for these, so I make no attempt at untangling their willy-nilly order. 


1.A guy has invented a new pasta shape called a cascatelli. That's Italian for little waterfalls. “Cascatelli is short, with a flat strip and ruffles that stick out at a 90-degree angle. The ruffles give the shape texture. There are very few pasta shapes that have right angles. It provides resistance to the bite at all angles.” See it at:


2. A new eating trend has also been discovered for cows. “Feeding seaweed to cows is a viable long-term method to reduce the emission of planet-heating gases from their burps and flatulence. Researchers who put a small amount of seaweed into the feed of cattle over the course of five months found that the new diet caused the bovines to belch out eighty-two percent less methane.” (


3. Scientists have uncovered a fossil of a “new” creature – the Eagle Shark. “It swam slowly through the seas with a tail fin resembling those of modern sharks and side fins that stretched outward like the wings of modern birds. The pectoral fins on this specimen gave it a "wingspan" of about 6.2 feet.” Eagle sharks lived about 93 million years ago near what is now Mexico. See what they would have looked like at:


4. Eagle sharks of the past are scary, but so is what's happening in present day Australia. Millions of spiders are on the move. The worst flooding in decades is going on in eastern Australia. Swarms of millions of spiders trying to escape rising waters are heading for higher ground. Residents say the arachnids are climbing fences and walls and entering homes and outbuildings. One woman said: 'My husband was standing still and he had spiders climbing up his legs.'” See a video (if you dare) at:


5. A little less disturbing animal related news is a new product for dog owners – the BarkingMat. “Place the BarkingMat by the door. As soon as your dog steps on it, you’ll receive a notification on your phone. It’s like your dog is texting you (to be let out).” See it at:


6. As the pandemic eases, you might be going out more, so being appealing to potential significant others is important. That's where a new eau de toilette might come in handy. It's called Garage. “It brings to mind images of grease, oil and rubber.” Garage fragrance notes include: laurel aldehyde, traces of kerosene, leather notes, plastic floral notes, vetiver acetate, and Chinese cedarwood. Buy Garage for just $95 at:


7. Tattoos are pretty common these days, but there's a new development on that front. “A woman in the Netherlands has received a tattoo remotely by an artist more than three hundred miles away. It was made possible with 5G cellular technology and the latest in robotics.” Read more about this fascinating experiment at:


8. Okay, so if Garage and robotic tattoos are not odd enough for you, how about coffee served in baby bottles? “ Cafes across several Gulf Arab states started selling coffee in baby bottles kicking off a new trend. The unprecedented fervor over the feeding bottles came as a bit of a shock. All the stress and anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic appears to have spurred some to find an outlet in the strange new craze.” (


9.If you do go out and around, it might be a good time to check out yard sales. You never know when you buy something that turns out to be 29,000 times more valuable that what you paid for it. “A New York auction house said a 15th century Chinese bowl bought for $35 at a yard sale was auctioned for $721,800. The porcelain bowl was identified as a 'lotus bowl' from the court of the Yongle Emperor, who ruled from 1403 until 1424. Only six other lotus bowls from the same period are known to still exist.” (


10. Hey, if you're sitting on your porch enjoying some sunshine, it might be a good time to set a record. A kid in India did just that. “An 8-year-old Rubik's cube enthusiast in India broke a Guinness World Record by solving three puzzles at once -- one in each hand and one with his feet -- in 1 minute and 29.97 seconds.” Watch him do it at:


11.By the way, if you're sitting on your front porch and see a school bus go by take notice of the three black rails on the side of the bus. “Nearly every yellow school bus has a series of black stripes along the length ― but they’re not just there for the look. Turns out they have a purpose. Those markings can help first responders in an emergency. One line marks the floor of the bus. Another marks the bottom of the seats. And the top line shows the top of the seats. In the event of an accident they give firefighters an idea of where to cut.” (


12. Finally, if you are outside this spring be sure to keep an eye on the sky. See, last week they had a garbage day on the International Space Station. “It rid itself of a 2.9-ton pallet of used nickel-hydrogen batteries. It's the biggest mass of space junk the ISS has unleashed.” NASA says the junk is "safely moving away from the station and will orbit Earth between two to four years before burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere.” (


That could be true, but being a bald guy I can tell you this. If there is a one in megazillion chance of a tiny shard of this junk falling to earth, it will land squarely on my noggin. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and