Watching the World

“Global military expenditure in 2008 is estimated to have totalled $1464 billion. This represents an increase . . . of 45 per cent since 1999.”​—STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SWEDEN.

“According to Google, several billion web pages are added [to the Internet] each day.”​—NEW SCIENTIST, BRITAIN.

“World hunger [was] projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1 020 million people going hungry every day.”​—FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, ITALY.

First Cloned Camel

Since 1996, when researchers first cloned a sheep, a number of other mammals​—including cows, goats, and horses—​have been produced using the same technique. Now scientists at a veterinarian research establishment in Dubai have for the first time cloned a camel. The female calf was named Injaz, Arabic for “achievement.” “The cloning of animals . . . has already moved beyond the merely experimental,” says the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National. “In future, the programme will examine the possibilities of using cloning to perpetuate the genes of valued racing and milk-producing camels.”

Satellite “Smashup”

“The orbital highways above Earth have been getting more crowded for years, but it wasn’t until February [2009] that two satellites had their first major smashup,” reports Science News. About 500 miles [800 km] above Siberia, a functioning American communications satellite collided with a defunct Russian military device. The accident created a swarm of some 700 large fragments of debris. The more debris there is in orbit, the higher the chances of another accident. Tracking stations currently monitor the orbits of some 18,000 pieces of space garbage larger than four inches [10 cm] across. Yet, a collision with an object any larger than a pea, moving at orbital speed, could be catastrophic for satellites or even manned flights.

Car Disablers

“Few people neglect to pay their cellphone bills, because they know the phone will stop working if they do,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Now the same principle is being applied to cars. “Used-car dealers are installing remote disabling devices that keep the cars from starting if the buyer gets too far behind on payments,” says the newspaper. The devices​—wired into car ignition systems—​come as part of the conditions of financing for customers with subprime credit and can be removed when loans are paid off. Disablers rarely have to immobilize vehicles, however, says the Journal. Rather, their flashing lights and warning beepers effectively “prod customers to make timely payments.”