Odds and Ends: Town decides mayor by picking name from trash can

By The Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia – For Ed Warren, becoming mayor of the Australian Outback town of Winton was the luck of the draw from a trash can.

The cattle farming town famous as the birthplace of Australia’s unofficial anthem “Waltzing Matilda” chose its new mayor late Wednesday by drawing a name from a trash can after local elections ended in a draw.

Warren said Thursday he was surprised by the unconventional approach used to break the 423-vote tie with rival candidate Butch Lenton.

“If I was prepared, I was going to say we’ll toss for it,” Warren told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

Queensland state electoral laws allow for such ties to be decided by either the drawing of a name or tossing of a coin.

Nose knows: smell sharpens when something bad occurs

WASHINGTON – Know how a whiff of certain odors can take you back in time?

It turns out emotion plays an even bigger role with the nose, and your sense of smell actually can sharpen when something bad happens.

Northwestern University researchers proved the connection by giving volunteers electric shocks while they sniffed odors.

Volunteers repeatedly smelled sets of laboratory chemicals.

Two of the bottles contained the same substance and the third had a mirror image of it, meaning its odor normally would be indistinguishable.

Then Li gave the volunteers mild electric shocks while they smelled just the odd chemical. In later smell tests, they could correctly pick out the odd odor 70 percent of the time.

In other words, the brain seems to have a mechanism to sniff out threats.