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Watching the World

Watching the World

United States

The city of Los Angeles, California, has synchronized all of its nearly 4,500 traffic signals, which are spread out across some 469 square miles (1,215 sq km). According to The New York Times, Los Angeles is “the first major metropolis in the world to do so.”


A global health assessment found an 82 percent jump in obesity between 1990 and 2010. Excess body weight causes more than three times as many deaths as malnutrition—although not getting enough food is still a problem in many lands. In a real sense, though, “we’ve gone from a world 20 years ago where people weren’t getting enough to eat to a world now where too much food and unhealthy food—even in developing countries—is making us sick,” said Majid Ezzati, one of the lead researchers.

Midway Island

A Laysan albatross, reported to be the “world’s oldest-known wild bird,” has hatched another of her many chicks. The mother bird’s age? She was first banded in 1956 when she was at least five years old, making her well over 60 years of age now. In her lifetime this albatross has likely flown between two and three million miles (3 to 4 million km)—the equivalent of four to six trips from the earth to the moon and back.

South Africa

One study suggests that a third of South African women use skin-bleaching soaps and creams to lighten the color of their skin. Such skin-lighteners are dangerous, and several countries have banned them. Among the dangers are different types of cancer, kidney damage, depression, anxiety, rashes, and scarring.