Watching the World
A poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation among 13,000 people in 26 countries suggested that “corruption is the world’s most talked about problem.” However, poverty was considered the world’s most important problem.—BBC NEWS, BRITAIN.
“Churches throughout the U.S. are attaching GPS tracking devices to their nativity statues of the baby Jesus. In recent years, there’s been a nationwide spate of thefts of nativity statues.”—THE WEEK, U.S.A.
“An advisory committee to the [U.S.] Food and Drug Administration is recommending that people with chronic fatigue syndrome be barred from donating blood, amid concerns a retrovirus may be linked to the disease.”—THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, U.S.A.
Light Kills Superbugs
A novel technology, which uses high-intensity light to eliminate stubborn bacteria from hospitals, has been developed at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. The new decontamination technique is significantly more efficient in reducing pathogens than cleaning and disinfecting alone. It “works by using a narrow spectrum of visible-light wavelengths to excite molecules contained within bacteria,” explains microbiologist Professor John Anderson.
Forest Clearing and Malaria
The clearing of tropical forests is linked to an almost 50 percent increase in cases of malaria. So say researchers who have studied data from 54 of Brazil’s health districts along with satellite images that document logging operations. The main carrier of malaria in the region studied is a mosquito known as Anopheles darlingi. “The deforested landscape, with more open spaces and partially sunlit pools of water, appears to provide ideal habitat for this mosquito,” says Sarah Olson, lead author of the report. Malaria hot spots were found to correspond to areas in which there is the greatest destruction of the forest.
Photographic evidence has recently confirmed that some species of squid fly using jet propulsion. Marine biologists observed that “squid as small as 20 centimeters [8 inches] could launch themselves as high as two meters [6.6 feet] above the water and propel themselves, actively flapping their fins and spiraling their tentacles, for a distance as great as 10 meters [33 feet],” says Scientific American. By taking in water and then forcing it out in a jet, the mollusks generate enough thrust to leap right out of the sea. Photos seem to indicate that in flight they use their fins as wings.