When a Rat is a Fish

Monty Python or the Catholic Church?

While most people might take one look at a capybara and consider this classification laughable, the Roman Catholic Church thought otherwise. The Roman Catholic Church has historically demanded that its adherents forgo the consumption of any form of meat besides fish during Lent. Europeans exploring Central and South America discovered that the capybara was similar to many of the richer meats they were familiar with such as chicken and pork. This discovery in hand, they realized they might have found a loophole and submitted a strange petition to the Church. Since the semi-aquatic capybara spends much of its day in the water, they argued that one could consider it a fish. Despite the fact that capybaras are no relation to fish, the Roman Catholic Church agreed to call it a fish and ever since then hundreds of people have eaten capybara during Lent. Because of this peculiarity, ranchers find it profitable to harvest and sell capybara in addition to their normal harvest of cattle and caiman during Lent. Almost 80 tons of capybara meat are collected annually, most of it during or immediately preceding Lent

(Thanks to Gruggach for this one)

Sci-fi guru Clarke to have secular funeral

From CNN:

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Even in death Arthur C. Clarke would not compromise his vision.

The famed science fiction writer, who once denigrated religion as “a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species,” left written instructions that his funeral be completely secular, according to his aides.

“Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral,” he wrote.