The secret of why dogs have wet noses has been uncovered by scientists, who say it is essential to their keen sense of smell.
Traditionally a moist dog nose is viewed as a sign of good health but now experts say the layer of mucus in a dog's nose helps them pick up scents.
So while they may make a mess of windows and clothes, they are also vital to the extraordinary ability of canines to sniff out anything from cocaine to cancer.
Before odour molecules can reach smell receptors, they must get through a layer of mucus – and some molecules are absorbed quicker than others.
A team led by Brent Craven of Pennsylvania State University used MRI images of a dog's nasal airways to develop computer models of how air travels.
They found different molecules are picked up at different points along the passages. The odour molecules are then latched on to by nerve cells, which are much more abundant in dogs than in humans.
Research until now has focused on how receptors pick up different chemicals, but Mr Craven told the magazine: "We've shown that the sorting out of the different odorants before they even get to the receptors is also important."
A Chinese artist is making her own versions of some of the world's greatest paintings - out of vegetables.
Ju Duoqi, 35, is currently showing an exhibition of her "Vegetable Museum" paintings in Beijing.
They include a version of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa composed of tofu and sea kelp, da Vinci's The Last Supper, Picasso’s The Dream, and Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe.
Ju said her aim was to encourage people to see everyday objects in a different way. "I want to give new life to these unnoticeable vegetables, and let them not be bound by what they are anymore," she said.
"Ordinary things can be classic and outstanding. People often overlook them because of their cheapness, unimportance, and temporary nature."
Making art out of veg seems to be all the rage at the moment, more of it in here.
Carl Warner is a London-based photographer who makes foodscapes: landscapes made of food.
The results show that dolphins can exert as much as 400lb of force with their tails.
Gray had supposed they could produce less than a tenth of this amount, and imagined that something about the dolphins' skin allowed them to overcome the force of drag in the water and reach high speeds.
"For the first time, I think we can safely say the puzzle is solved," said Tim Wei, the Rensselaer scientist who led the study.
"The short answer is that dolphins are simply much stronger than Gray or many other people ever imagined."
To determine this, Professor Wei used a new method of measuring the movement of water that he originally developed to track Olympic swimmers.
The technique employs digital particle image velocimetry, which measures the speed of water movements around a swimming dolphin or human.
Retired US Navy dolphins Primo and Puka were filmed swimming through a tank filled with millions of tiny bubbles. Software tracked the movement of individual bubbles, determining their speed and direction, and assigning them a colour.
Professor Wei then used force measurement concepts from aerospace research to translate those velocities into a force that the dolphins' tails were producing - nearly 200lb on average.
When "walking" - keeping upright mostly above water with powerful flips of their tails - the dolphins produced as much as 400lb of force.
Professor Wei will go on to study the motion and force generation of other sea animals.
I popped up Rotherhithe to the Finnish Church's Xmas bazaar today to get a few goodies in preparation for the holidays.
I bought some luumuhillo (plum jam) so KB can bake her delicious joulutorttu (Christmas tarts),Karjalan piirakoita (Karelian pasties) a pastie made from a thin rye crust with rice filling and lanttulaatikko (swede cassarole), a very traditional Xmas dish.
It's easy enough to make it yourself but I was feeling lazy and bought a frozen one.
"The city called for proposals to decorate some boxes in a recently renovated town square," he explains. "They were looking for painters, but when I heard about it I inspected the boxes and had the idea of using photographs".
Joshua was inspired by photorealistic trompe l'oeil paintings. He says: "As far as I know no-one has walked into one of the boxes.The images are all unique, based on the context. They are printed on special adhesive vinyl and should last for about 10 years. It will be interesting to see the surroundings change around the boxes as time passes."
I'm not sure if this is genius ... or a bit creepy!
Barbie's clothes may provide fashion inspiration for millions of young girls but how about wearing her bodyparts jewellery?
Designer Margaux Lange (above) has turned bits of the plastic princess into a collection of accessories, from breasts to hands.
The New York-based designer was inspired by a childhood love of the doll. "I am fascinated with who she is as a cultural icon, her distinguished celebrity status and the enormous impact she has had on our society," she said.
"I take pleasure in the contrast and contradiction of something mass- produced being transformed into a unique piece of art," the designer explained.
The world's first bacon-flavoured chocolate bar is proving an unlikely success with British consumers.
Selfridges, the only UK stockists of the US invention, sold its entire stock in 48 hours and is urgently seeking more.
Mo's Bacon Bar, from Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat, contains chunks of applewood smoked bacon combined with smoked salt and milk chocolate. It sells at a pricey £5.99 per 3oz (85 grams) bar.
Ewan Venters, food and restaurant director at Selfridges, said: "Bacon and chocolate sounds like a strange combination, but the execution is fantastic. It's a real explosion of flavours and people love it."
But journalist Claudia Connell, a self- confessed chocolate addict and bacon fan, described it as "the most unpleasant thing ever to have passed my lips".
"The chocolate is intensely salty and the smokey bacon pieces are horribly out of place in something so sweet. The whole sensation is like eating chocolate that has been dunked in an overflowing ashtray," she wrote in the Daily Mail.
So I finally met my favourite artist in the world, Toyah, last night. It's been a long time coming, just the odd 25 years!
I went to see Vampires Rock in Chatham, Kent with my friend Heidi.
The show was excellent, the music super, rest of cast and the band very talented and Toyah's own song "Lesser God" from her latest album fits the theme really well.
They look like they really enjoy what they do and the humour is great.
I met her in the foyer after the show and got her to sign one my priced possessions: a very rare red vinyl edition of one the early albums, "Sheep Farming In Barnet". It's going straight back up on the Toyah wall in the hallway.
Thank you Toyah for being an inspiration and making great music and just being you!
PS: Davie had added the pic of me and The Minxy on his ever brilliant site Dreamscape as well. Thanks Davie!
EDIT 1.6 09: The Vampires Rock DVD is now available. Priced at £20 you can order it HERE
A soup kitchen exclusively for dogs has opened its doors in Berlin providing pets of the homeless and unemployed a free meal.
Despite the looming financial crisis, director Claudia Hollm dismissed criticism that it may be more sensible to collect money for humans than for dogs.
"Nowadays people underestimate dogs. They are incredibly important for those who lack social contact with other humans," Hollm said.
"Making sure dogs don't go hungry is just as important as making sure that people don't starve," she added.
Hollm, and her company "Animal Board," gets sponsorship from companies, including animal food manufacturers.
One woman who uses the free service said she had two dogs, four cats, a rabbit and some guinea pigs. "Without this animal bread line, I'd probably starve to death," the 20-year old told German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's has said it will challenge a ban on selling "ugly" fruit and vegetables which fail to meet EU rules on size and shape.
The move could reduce prices by up to 40% and cut down on the one-fifth of produce wasted, the retailer said.
The store has written to EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel over what it calls "bonkers" regulations.
I watched a documentry last year about the veg on sale in England: the program makers took samples of some basics (tomatoes, peppers) to a Spanish market and asked if they would sell them and all of the stall holders said "no way."
English veg is the right colour and the right shape but it doen't taste the best. The Spanish market is full of odd shaped green tomatoes, ugly potatoes and huge red peppers which are still green as well...and they taste really good!
I can vouch for this personally. Yet another stupid EU rule: why does veg has to look good?
Cat and dog owners are to be told to provide "entertainment" and "mental stimulation" for their pets under new government advice in a 26 page document.
Owners will not be fined for breaking the rules but failure to comply may be used in animal cruelty prosecutions.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it wanted to remind pet owners of their responsibilities under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.
The document, which will be published as a leaflet and on Defra's website after an eight week consultation period, says owners must provide their pets with a "suitable place to live" including "somewhere suitable to go to the toilet".
All well and good but like one person commenting on the story on the BBC website says: "Unfortunately, the people in need of this advice (and there are many) are probably too stupid to read."
A Dutch artist is thought to be behind the mysterious appearance of a giant Lego man on Brighton beach last Thursday.
The 6ft-tall (1.8m) red, green and yellow figure has the slogan "No Real Than You Are" painted on the front.
A spokeswoman for Lego said the artist responsible, Ego Leonard, would be exhibiting artwork in London in the coming weeks.
A Lego man with the same slogan appeared on a Dutch beach last year.
In August 2007 a giant Lego toy, bearing a close resemblance to the Brighton figure, mysteriously appeared on Zandvoort beach in the Netherlands. The blue and yellow figure was pulled out of the sea and bore the same slogan "No Real Than You Are".
A Lego spokeswoman said: "This giant Lego figure in Brighton came as quite a surprise to us when we heard about it". A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said the figure had been taken away.