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Dispatches Quick Takes

Quick Takes

They'll drink to that

The Canadian Medical Association thinks it may have solved much of the problem with the drunken homeless: Booze them up more. Authors of a study published in the association's journal gave drunk vagrants a massive supply of free wine and sherry. According to the published findings, the authors said using free alcohol as a way to get homeless folk into places where they can receive regular medical care actually made them healthier as a whole. Never mind that three of the 17 program participants died from alcohol-related illnesses. "The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust, and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases," the study said. "It's about improving the quality of life."

Might as well jump

Life imitated art for Trevor Corneliusien. While camping at an abandoned mine shaft in the desert on Jan. 3, the 26-year-old California artist decided to draw a picture of ankles wrapped and locked in a long, thick chain-using himself as a model. But after drawing the picture, Mr. Corneliusien realized that he had lost the key to the chain, and that he would have to hop his way back to a gas station. "It took him over 12 hours because he had to hop through boulders and sand," said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Ford. "He did put on his shoes before hopping."

Fire starter

One New Mexico mouse went out in a blaze of glory. After a Fort Sumner homeowner pitched the pesky rodent into a pile of burning leaves to try to get rid of it, the creature made a break for the safety of the house, even as its fur burned. Once inside, the mouse got the ultimate revenge: It caught the house on fire. Unfortunately for 81-year-old Luciano Mares, flames consumed the home and everything in it. It's unclear whether the mouse survived.

Start to finish

British oarsman Colin Yeates wanted to become the first person to row around Antarctica. Instead, he became rowing's version of Eddie the Eagle. Just 20 miles into his 10-month, 13,440-mile trek, Mr. Yeates ran aground in the Falkland Islands, wrecking his boat and crushing his dream. The wreck did fulfill his prediction for the trip-to begin and end in the Falklands.

Out on a limb

Enterprising fishermen may want to look for the tinsel. For years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been collecting used Christmas trees to deposit in lakes without natural underwater vegetation. Now, some anglers are catching on. Little fish naturally congregate near the Christmas trees, making the area prime hunting ground for larger predatory fish like bass. Some fishermen are even getting permits to drop used Christmas trees at their favorite fishing spots: The conifers are better than hardwoods because the branches tend to break more easily when caught up on a line or lure.

Scenic vacation

Space tourism from the United States just got one step closer. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, potential space passengers would only have to meet certain safety requirements but not pass a set of medical tests to fly legally into space from the United States. Although Russia has already rocketed civilian passengers into space, several companies plan on getting in on the game. Prominently, Virgin founder and British entrepreneur Richard Branson has designs on building a private spaceport in New Mexico.