It's been a while since I did a Weird News post but this cried out to be shared...then again, maybe it was the eels that were crying out.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Not even a blackout could put a damper on festivities at one Japanese aquarium where an electric eel is being used to light up its Christmas tree. Two aluminum panels inside the eel's tank work as electrodes to catch its power. Cables attached to the panels supply the lights on the nearby tree with electricity. (I'm thinking the outage was staged just so they could show off their eel powered tree.)
Inventor Kazuhiko Minawa said it took him more than a month to devise a system that would effectively harness eel power. "If we could gather all electric eels from all around the world, we would be able to light up an unimaginably giant Christmas tree," Minawa told Reuters Television. (Or at least light of the front of the Griswold's house in "Christmas Vacation." Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, there aren't enough eels in the world to power that house that coordinates its lights to music by the TransSiberian Orchestra.)
Eels are widely eaten in Japan, especially in the summer, when their vitamin-rich flesh is seen as a way to regain stamina sapped by the heat. The tree, which will stay illuminated until December 25, is proving a popular attraction, drawing tourists from all over the country. (On December 26 the tree will be taken down and the eels will feature in a special Boxing Day dinner. Now come on, how many of YOU can decorate your tree all month and then dine on the power source when the holiday is over? Maybe we could string the boughs with a nice calamari garland too! Stringing popcorn and cranberries is soooo passe and doesn't complement the eel at all.)
"I would love to have an eel like this at home. This is very nature-friendly," said visitor Harumi Yayoi. (Reporting by Reuters Television; editing by Miral Fahmy) (Somehow I am thinking the PETA folks may disagree. Perhaps we could use them to power next year's tree?)