Watching the World
▪ “100 million deaths were caused by tobacco in the 20th century.”—WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, SWITZERLAND.
▪ “For almost 9000 patients who had heart surgery in the [United Kingdom] between 1996 and 2003, receiving a red cell transfusion was associated with three times the risk of dying in the following year and an almost sixfold risk of dying within 30 days of surgery compared with not receiving one.”—NEW SCIENTIST, BRITAIN.
A Time of Peace?
“Christmas is one of our greatest festivals,” but it is also “a time of conflicts,” states Vi Föräldrar, a Swedish magazine for parents. In fact, at Christmastime, families “quarrel and wrangle more than at any other time of the year.” The magazine asked over 1,100 parents of small children about their experiences during the holiday season. Some 88 percent answered that the family quarrels over “how and where to celebrate Christmas.” Many are irritated because grandparents spoil their grandchildren with candy and unneeded gifts.
More Happiness in Giving
“Money makes you happy—if you give it away,” reads a headline in The Globe and Mail of Canada. Although most people surveyed predicted that spending on themselves would make them happier, those who used their money to help others—regardless of the amount spent—actually reported greater happiness. “Wealth is not a predictor of happiness, study after study has shown,” says the newspaper. “Once people have enough money to meet their basic needs, getting more of it doesn’t give them much of a boost.”
You Can Get It on the Web!
U.S. government officials decided to check whether it would be possible for their potential enemies to “obtain sensitive items of military equipment” through the Internet, says New Scientist magazine. “They were astonished to discover how easy it was.” Using well-known online trading sites, they had no difficulty purchasing “pieces of US military body armour,” a “used nuclear-biological-chemical protective suit,” parts for jet fighter planes, and “several other sensitive items.” It is unknown how the sellers obtained such equipment, but several “now face criminal investigations,” says the magazine.
In antiquity, decorative silver laurel leaves were attached to a Roman official’s parade helmet with an adhesive that has superglue properties. Frank Willer, chief restorer at the Rhineland Museum in Bonn, Germany, made the discovery accidentally. Using a fine saw, he was removing a small metal sample from a first-century-B.C.E. iron helmet that had lain on the bed of the Rhine River for at least 1,500 years. “The heat from the tool caused the silver laurel leaves on the helmet to peel off, leaving thread-like traces of the glue behind,” he explains. Analysis revealed that the tenacious adhesive was made of bitumen, bark pitch, and beef fat.