On the record

“Please post my seeds in a plain, unmarked envelope with no indication of contents to ensure smooth arrival.”

Horticulturalist Susan Davies gives instructions for delivering illegal rhododendron seeds to her New Zealand home. She was fined US$3,200 for violating the nation's biosecurity act.

“Actually, King Tut has been flattered by the embalmers' work.”

Mummy expert Eduard Egarter Vigl reports on the state of the king's mummified penis, which was recently found in the sand around his body.

Sources: Manawatu Standard, The Times



The Pentagon launches a competition to build an autonomous vehicle that can navigate city streets.


German scientists show that jellyfish perform one of the fastest cellular processes in nature: they eject their stinging cells in just 700 nanoseconds.


The Vatican is reconsidering its rules on condom use — but any lifting of the ban would apply only to married couples with HIV.


Coma drama

Hollywood scriptwriters love putting characters into comas, but irate neurologists say they are fudging the facts. The most common error in 30 movies studied was the suggestion that coma patients keep their toned bodies and perfect tans over a period of years. The cinema also glosses over details of comatose life such as incontinence, feeding tubes and respirators. Most significantly, the authors point out, there is no evidence that patients waking from a coma immediately seek revenge.

Source: Wijdicks, E. F. M. & Wijdicks, C. A. Neurology 66 , 1300–1303 (2006).