In Brief

Angling Actors

Tinseltown's A-list has happily been doing commercials overseas for years, pitching everything from cars to coffee and getting millions for a few days' work. But most of these big names never expected their ads to be seen by people on this side of the pond. Thanks to the Internet, the once-secret spots are popping up everywhere, including one of Michael J. Fox hooked on fishing gear in Japan. We want to know what he's so embarrassed about. He does fish, doesn't he?

Hog Heaven

****Frustrated with inaccurate weather forecasters? A Canadian farmer suggests using this quaint Swedish tradition-fingering pig spleens. Apparently, the depressions and fat deposits tell him what weather to expect within a 200-mile radius. So far he claims his forecasts have been about 80 percent accurate. He also offers this tip: After feeling the spleen, cook it with salt, onion, bacon, and butter and eat it for its aphrodisiac effects.

Jaws Drop

A new study from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, suggests a severe decline in shark populations, especially the great white and hammerhead, which have decreased 79 and 89 percent, respectively, since 1986. According to The New York Times, overseas recreational and commercial fishing is the cause. Federal regulations restrict shark fishing by American boats. Though the impact is uncertain, scientists say that this decline could affect food resources.

Power Players

We all know that powerboaters can do everything sailboters can do (only better!), and Pacific Asian Enterprises wants to prove it with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally, the first-ever transoceanic voyage for powerboats. Scheduled to leave from Rhode Island waters on May 20, 2004, participants will be accompanied by support boats, arriving in the Mediterranean by mid-July. Though Nord-havn is sponsoring the event (www.nordhavn.com), all powerboaters are encouraged to participate.

Lionhearted Duo

Two California sea lions, Alex and Zachary, are guarding U.S. Navy ships moored off the Bahrain coast. They have been trained to attach a locking clamp to the arm or leg of a suspicious-looking swimmer. The clamp is connected to a flotation device that marks the suspect for security personnel. Sea lions can dive to 1,000 feet, swim at 25 mph, and see and hear underwater better than humans or the military's mechanical devices. They can also chase a suspect on land. But look at Zachary-don't you just want to hug him?