Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Mr. Smarty Pants

By R.U. Steinberg

MAY 26, 1998: 

1998 marks the 100-year anniversary of the word "slacker," which originally meant someone evading military service during wartime.

Scientists in Scotland think they have isolated the gene that explains why some lifelong smokers never come down with cancer. The gene's job is to make an enzyme, glutathione S-transferase, which appears to protect people against damage from cancer-causing chemicals.

Barney the Dinosaur speaks French.

Researcher Jack Bailey of Western Illinois University claims that some species of dinosaur may have had a resemblance to today's camels or bison. He says they may have had humps down their backs to store fat reserves and protect them from the heat of the sun.

While recovering from polio as a kid, Alan Alda lived across the street from Carol Burnett.

The above is information which Mr. Smarty Pants read in a book, a magazine, or the newspaper; heard on the radio; saw on television; or overheard at a party. Got any facts? Email Mr. Smarty Pants at mrpants@auschron.com for possible inclusion in the column.

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