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Ripples #52

Compiled and Written by Lenny Giteck

Lady Gaga and Armenian Bigwig 
Close Hotel Pools for Romance 
British tabloid Web site thesun.co.uk reports that while Lady Gaga was in Stockholm recently to perform in the Swedish capital, her boyfriend Taylor Kinney showed up unexpectedly 
as a surprise. She was so taken by the gesture, she commandeered her hotel’s swimming pool for a romantic tryst with her fella. The Web site reports: 
“[Lady Gaga] ordered a three-course meal from room service and three bottles of champagne. She got the hotel staff to set up a candle-lit table by the pool and had her bodyguards standing outside the door.” It would’ve taken a brave swimmer to interrupt that meal — the singer swore at a concert goer in Finland this week after they chucked a Britney Spears phone on the stage during her gig [earlier, in Finland]. 
But the outrageous American pop star was not the only one to take over a hotel swimming pool of late. According to the English-language Armenian Web site news.am/eng, the daily newspaper Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun (boy, say that 10 times fast!) cites a Facebook user (are you with me?) as the source for the following story:  
A friend of mine told something bizarre which perhaps could happen solely in Armenia. They went to Dilijan [city’s] Hotel Resort with the family for three days. They paid the fee beforehand: around 100 euros per day. This included three meals, the swimming pool, sauna, games, etc. 
And our friend went to the swimming pool, on the very first day, [but] he was not allowed in; they said it was closed. To the question as why it is closed, since the swimming pool must be open at that time, the Hotel representative responded [by saying that] “you know, a senior official came to the swimming pool with his mistress and ordered to have the swimming pool and the sauna closed.” 
Clearly, in light of the Lady Gaga episode, the notion that this is somehow unique to Armenia is incorrect. Could it happen at a U.S. hotel? What say you, dear Ripples reader? 
Scottish Mother Swims to Afghanistan — 
Sort Of — As Solider Son Set to Deploy 
Alison Harold — a 47-year-old accountant and “mum” of U.K. soldier Gregor, 18 — from the Scottish town of Selkirk, has initiated a program to swim 228,800 lengths of her local pool, roughly the distance to Afghanistan. 
Of course, the Web site bordertelegraph.com reports, she has not undertaken the challenge alone: Her family members and friends, the family and friends of other soldiers, area swim teams and even complete strangers are taking part. Still, Harold and her relatives reportedly have completed 17,600 of the total pool lengths; the overall effort now is only 4,000 lengths away from the goal. 
Why swim to Afghanistan, even symbolically? The Web site quotes the determined mother as saying: "We were expecting Gregor to be deploying to Afghanistan now, so [we] wanted something to distract us and keep us too tired to worry, as well as show our support and raise money for a number of good causes.” 
She adds, "I am incredibly proud of him and it's been a fantastic community event, and the support we have received from all the swimmers has been incredible — I can't thank them enough."
So far the campaign has raised approximately £9,000 (almost $14,500) for a number of U.K. military charities. In an ironic turn of events, now that the campaign is almost complete, Gregor may not be going to Afghanistan after all. 
Photo: To see Alison Harold in her local pool, click here
‘Rabid Beaver Attacks Elderly 
Woman While Swimming in Lake’
How’s that for a headline you don’t see every day?! It comes from the Web site washington.cbslocal.com and brings to mind those campy B-movie sci-fi thrillers of the 1950s …perhaps…oh…“Rabid Beavers from Outer Space”…or…“Giant Killer Beavers from Mars.”  
Ripples is sure the incident was not at all amusing to the poor 83-year-old lady who was attacked after she had gone for a swim in Lake Barcroft in northern Virginia. The report states: “A nearby witness managed to subdue the animal using a stick until authorities arrived. The woman managed to get to shore and was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.” The beaver managed to test positive for rabies after being euthanized, according to the article. 
Ripples wishes the woman, who is not identified by name in the report, a speedy and complete recovery. 
To learn more than you ever wanted to know about beavers (genus Castor), click here
Developing Underwater Robots that 
Repair Reefs Damaged by Fishing
According to technology Web site Gizmag.com, scientists at Hariot Watt University in Scotland are developing small underwater robots capable of repairing damaged coral reefs. 
Such reefs around Scotland are in need of repair, the Web site explains, because of a commercial fishing technique called bottom trawling, which employs weighted nets that are dropped down to the sea floor. The weights on the nets are prone to breaking off branches of coral. Gizmag.com notes: 
The so-called “coralbots” would function like swarming insects, such as bees or wasps, that work together in large groups to build structures. In the case of the coralbots, they would operate according to simple preprogrammed rules. These would allow them to cooperate with one another in first differentiating broken-off coral fragments from other seabed debris such as rocks or litter, and then retrieving those fragments and cementing them back onto the reef.
The underwater robots could take over difficult work currently being performed by human scuba divers, who cannot operate at really deep depths or for extended periods of time. And the robots’ usefulness would not be limited to the waters around Scotland or cases where bottom trawling has been a problem.
Dr. Lea-Anne Henry, who is heading up the research effort at the Scottish university, is quoted as saying, “Swarms of robots could be instantaneously deployed after a hurricane or in a deep area known to be impacted by trawling, and rebuild the reef in days to weeks, instead of years to centuries.” 
Dog Day of Summer: D.C. 
Pooches Paddle and Shake
It’s good to know that not everyone in Washington, D.C., is totally obsessed with the upcoming presidential election. Take, for example, the city’s pooches — Republican, Democrat and Independent alike — that participated in the fourth annual Doggy Day Swim in the city’s community pools. The event took place after the facilities were closed to the public for the season and before they were emptied and thoroughly cleaned. The canines were willing to enjoy a refreshing dip and shake off any partisan differences; if only our political leaders were so wise! 
Photos: To view images of the Rovers, Kings and Maggies that took part, watched over by their beaming owners, click here
And with that, Ripples is pleased to bark out the following… 
Until next time, happy watershaping to you! 

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