Drinking helps you slur in foreign languages

You plan a big trip to somewhere that your native language isn’t widely spoken, so you learn some important phrases. Then when you get there decide to just go with hand gestures. If only you’d had a couple drinks first.

Researchers in Europe have found that if you have a couple snorts in you, you’re more fluent in a foreign language. This seems counterintuitive, because alcohol makes us worse at talking in our native tongues. But a study found that native German speakers who have learned a working knowledge Dutch and had a buzz going were more fluent than their sober counterparts. The thinking is that alcohol gives you a little courage to speak a different language.

The down side is that you’re probably more likely to ramble in a different language, too.

Rumors of cannibals’ Octoberfest greatly exaggerated

For the time being, police at the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva do not believe German yachtsman Stefan Ramin was dismembered, cooked and eaten by cannibals last month. The dying printed press, however, would like to remind you that it’s still in the realm of newspaper-selling reality.

Remember: A story is treated as a tragedy unless — holy crap! Cannibals!

One box of nightmares, please

Have you made it all the way through the week without a case of the heebie-jeebies? Well, happy Friday, because the Germans are at it again.

By “it,” we mean mailing live tarantulas to the United States by the hundreds.

One box to Los Angeles contained 300 live tarantulas, another contained 250 and a third contained only 22, but they were endangered and ginger.

Seriously, Germany, what’s up?

We won’t go into 1938-1945. But, we were good and tired of David Hasselhoff when you sent him back to us with somehow higher self-esteem. And now you’re mailbombing us with spiders?

That’s it. You’re off our Christmas card list.

NYC’s digital gloryholes

German artist, Aram Bartholl has installed five USB ports on the sides of buildings in New York City.

His hope is that users will use them as “spy drops,” posting pictures, videos or other media to share important ideas with others who visit it.

Would someone like to show Herr Boo Radley ChatRoulette now?

(With special thanks to Alexis.)

Germans don’t care about black bears

So, the Germans’ (Germen’s?) obsession with polar bears has finally led to tragedy — well, funny tragedy because nobody died.

A woman jumped into the Berlin Zoo’s polar bear exhibit for unknown reasons during the bear’s Friday afternoon feeding. (Was she part of the feeding? Zoo officials say no … but only because there were witnesses.)

She was biten several times by an adult polar bear, briefly pulled out of the water by zookeepers and fell back in to be grabbed by possibly another bear. For those of you who might give a crap about her, she was pulled back out again with more lasting results.

If the topic of polar bears at the Berlin Zoo seems familiar, that’s because it’s the home of Knut, the bear everyone loved until he, like other child stars, grew up to be angry and violent. For all we know, this bear could have been Knut.

Biggest party foul ever

Folks, drop down to your knees and thank your chosen deity that you live in these United States of America (at least we assume you do). You live in a country where freedom is more than just a battle cry, it’s a political jingoistic cliché. Here, we don’t have silly laws against filling up stadiums with beer.

That’s just not the case in Germany. There, a teen is on trial for causing €100,000 (roughly $8.5 billion) worth of damage to an area in Dusseldorf when he and his friend allegedly flooded the place with beer, which is a violation of the Oktoberfest Law.

Three taps were opened in the VIP area in 2006, causing a lot of German gold to spill out into the stadium and a conference room. The beer eventually found its way to the parking lot, where it sat in post-game traffic for over an hour.

(via Deadspin)

Aid and comfort to the enemy

What is it with German zoos lately? It seems every single cute baby animal story is coming to us from Germany these days, which surprises this blog. If one could pick one culture that seems to be more into torture than cuteness (aside from the U.S.) one would think German culture.

Last week, a tiger cub bit off more than it could chew and started choking on it. A zoo attendant panicked after dislodging the meat but the cub still wasn’t moving. That’s when a medical student gave the tiger cub mouth-to-mouth and ended up saving its life. TRAITOR! You had this one gift wrapped for you. You didn’t even have to kill the cub, just stand there. But no, instead you save the cub’s life so it can grow up and eat you one day.