Watching the World

“In January 2009, eight states possessed a total of more than 23 300 nuclear weapons.”​—STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SWEDEN.

In Africa, tens of thousands of boreholes, wells, and pumps​—many recently built with foreign aid—​have fallen into disrepair “for a simple and avoidable reason: lack of maintenance.”​—INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT, BRITAIN.

Scientists Scan Baby Mammoth

Russian scientists have obtained detailed images of a mammoth’s internal organs. The animal​—three to four months old when it died—​was found intact in the ice of the Yamalo-Nenets region of Arctic Russia. “This is the best preserved specimen not only of the mammoth but of any prehistoric animal,” said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Zoological Institute. Computer tomography, similar to that used to scan human patients, showed no injuries. That the mammoth’s airways and digestive system were “clogged” with what appears to be silt leads scientists to the conclusion that the animal “must have drowned.”

Express Divorce

It has recently become much easier to divorce in Mexico City, reports the newspaper El Universal. In 2008 the 21 reasons for obtaining a divorce​—infidelity, violence, and so on—​were eliminated from the statute books. Now all a person has to do is deposit about $400 (U.S.) with a law office’s bank and send the court a signed application, obtained through the Internet, stating that he or she no longer loves the other person. Nothing has to be proved before a judge. It takes only from two to four months to obtain a divorce, as opposed to years under the previous system. Child custody, alimony, division of property, and other matters are settled later.

Hummingbirds​—‘Faster Than Fighter Jets’

In terms of body lengths per second, a diving hummingbird flies faster than a fighter jet, says a researcher from the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. Christopher Clark filmed the courtship rituals of male Anna’s hummingbirds and calculated that when swooping to impress females, “the feathered acrobats reached speeds of almost 400 body lengths per second.” Such a speed is comparatively “greater than [that] of a fighter jet” at full throttle, says Clark. When pulling up at the end of its dive, the bird is subject to a force ten times the pull of gravity​—more than fighter pilots can stand without losing consciousness.