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Watching the World

Watching the World

Watching the World

Of the 95.2 million tons of marine animals caught every year, about 38.5 million are unwanted. “As long as 40 percent of what we take out of the sea is treated as refuse, fish stocks cannot recover,” says World Wildlife Fund fisheries expert Karoline Schacht.​—BERLINER MORGENPOST, GERMANY.

“Cows, sheep and goats may seem like innocent victims of humanity’s appetite for meat, but . . . worldwide, livestock burps are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions [mainly methane]​—more than produced from all forms of transport combined.”​—NEW SCIENTIST, BRITAIN.

Prehistoric Superglue

Scientists working in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, have discovered a superglue dating back thousands of years. “The glue . . . is just as good as the stuff found in hardware stores today,” says The Star, a Johannesburg newspaper. It is believed that ancient hunters used the glue to attach arrowheads or spear points to their shafts. Scientists’ attempts to replicate the ancient formula​—with red ocher, animal fat, acacia gum, and sand—​and to get the temperature control just right to dry the adhesive next to a fire, gave the scientists “new respect” for the people who used it.

Less Sleep, More Colds

“People who sleep fewer than seven hours a night are nearly three times as likely to get a cold than people who average eight or more hours of sleep,” says a report from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. And those who stay awake “as little as 8 percent of the time they [are lying] in bed [are] five-and-a-half times more likely” to catch a cold than those who sleep more soundly. “Although sleep’s relationship with the immune system is well-documented, this is the first evidence that even relatively minor sleep disturbances can influence the body’s reaction to cold viruses,” said Sheldon Cohen, the study’s lead author. “It provides yet another reason why people should make time in their schedules to get a complete night of rest.”

Plenty of New Agricultural Land

“There is enough space in the world to produce the extra food needed to feed a growing population,” says New Scientist magazine. “And contrary to expectation, most of it can be grown in Africa.” The magazine cites an agricultural outlook report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. According to the report, the amount of land currently devoted to agriculture worldwide could be more than doubled. “Over half of the additionally available land,” says the report, “is found in Africa and Latin America.”