animals: bears

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The polar bear is the newest of the eight bear species, and scientists believe that the polar bear evolved about 200,000 years ago from brown bear ancestors. Both polar bears and brown bears are big and are the largest land carnivores. But most experts agree that polar bears are the longest bears, as males may measure over 10 feet (3 meters) when standing on their hind legs.

Seven unusual laws of etiquette

1. In English cathedral cities, guests are allowed to shoot the host’s birthday cake with an arrow without recieving any form of social opprobrium. This stems from the historical need to defend the city from fire at all times, no matter the form that it may take.

2. Failing to RSVP is punishable by lifelong snubbing in four US states. However, these days the sentence is usually commuted to a pointed eyeroll.

3. Are you concerned about using the wrong fork at formal dinners? Then you might want to invoke the International Maritime Organisation’s 1978 treaty which declared all forks to be equally correct when dining in international waters. You may need to declare the dining location to be on the high seas; this can be done, for example, by staging a mutiny.

4. You may be used to removing your hat when entering a room. But do you know what the correct etiquette is on entering a large hat? Although enterable hats are a novelty item these days, this has not always been the case. Indeed, many itinerant salespeople lived in large hats in the olden days. The correct action depends on the location of the larger hat, but generally in this situation you should keep your hat on, so as to reassure the hat-dweller that they need not step outside in response.

5. Following a historical dispute in the elbow trade, personal space is twenty percent larger when crossing the border between France and Germany than elsewhere. This applies only to entities with elbows; you should not be wary of keeping a larger distance than usual from elephants at the border, for example.

6. Although it is rude to leave your chopsticks sticking upwards in a bowl of rice if you are alive, it is permissable if you are undead. This rule is not more widely known because the majority of the undead do not eat rice and/or are not interested in etiquette.

7. It is never permissible to leave a handbag containing a live bear at a coat check. This applies even if you did not know about the bear. It is everyone’s responsibility to check their baggage for stray bears. This is how bears spread, and one simply cannot hold a polite soiree if every surface is covered in bears.