Watching the World

Worldwide, 5.7 million attempts to defraud Internet users are made every day.​—MAGAZINE, SPAIN.

“Suicides in Japan topped 30,000 for the eighth straight year in 2005.” Japan has one of the highest rates in the world.​—MAINICHI DAILY NEWS, JAPAN.

“In the last 500 years, human activity has forced 844 species to extinction (or extinction in the wild).”​—IUCN, WORLD CONSERVATION UNION, SWITZERLAND.

According to government figures, 6 percent of Britons​—male and female—​are homosexual. Legislation passed in 2005 “allows same-sex partners to ‘marry,’” and it gives them rights similar to those of heterosexual married couples.​—THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, ENGLAND.

Glaciers Flowing Faster

“The flow of several large glaciers draining the Greenland Ice Sheet is accelerating,” reports Science magazine. Satellite monitoring indicates that over the last five years, the velocity of several Greenlandic glaciers has approximately doubled, reaching more than seven miles [12 km] per year. Over the last ten years, net ice-mass loss increased from more than 20 cubic miles [90 cubic km] per year to 50 cubic miles [220 cubic km] per year. Scientists thus suggest that “existing estimates of future sea-level rise are too low.”

Churches Fete Darwin

Nearly 450 “Christian” churches in the United States celebrated Charles Darwin’s 197th birthday in February 2006. The event included “programs and sermons intended to emphasize that his theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science.” According to the Chicago Tribune, Michael Zimmerman, a biologist and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who organized the celebrations, said: “You don’t have to make that choice. You can have both.”

Workplace Rudeness

“Rudeness in the workplace can cost an organization time, effort and talent,” says The Wall Street Journal. A survey of nearly 3,000 people found that more than 90 percent “experienced incivility at work.” Half of these said they “lost work time worrying about the incident,” “25 per cent cut back their efforts on the job,” and 1 in 8 quit. According to Christine Porath, a management professor at the University of Southern California, “holding back on work efforts, absenteeism, and even stealing can all be signs of an organization that is struggling with rudeness,” says the Journal.

Giant Patch of Oceanic Debris

Early in 2006, a massive field of oceanic debris “drifted south into Hawaiian waters, driving loads of derelict fishing gear and plastic trash onto Island beaches,” reports The Honolulu Advertiser. Currents push much of the floating debris in the North Pacific into a quiet part of the ocean, but under certain atmospheric conditions, the debris is swept toward Hawaii. In 2005 “more than 2,000 pieces of debris were found,” as well as more than 100 fishing nets. The garbage is a hazard to marine life. Says Charles Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation: “There is no such thing as organic fish in the ocean anymore. They’re all eating bits of plastic.”