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(WILFREDO LEE/AP)
(WILFREDO LEE/AP)

SOCIAL STUDIES

Crocodile and alligator sensitivities may surprise you Add to ...

Sensitive reptiles

“Crocodile and alligator jaws are more sensitive than human fingertips, and their sense of touch is among the most acute among animals, U.S. researchers say,” reports United Press International. “Scientists, writing in the Journal of Experimental Biology, say the animals’ jaw, covered with small, pigmented bumps that dot their skin, particularly around the face, are extremely sensitive to pressure and vibration.”

Young people, going far

“A Swedish town has hit on a novel way to cut its unemployment figures: It is paying young people to move to Norway,” reports The Sunday Times of London. “More than 100 have already found work after moving from Soderhamn, [250 kilometres] north of Stockholm. Mohamed Chabchoub, head of Soderhamn’s employment office, said: ‘We’re not sending them away. We’re helping them to take a step forward and to have a richer experience.’”

‘Humane’ fishing net

“A young British designer has won a prestigious international award for creating a ‘humane’ net to make fishing more sustainable by preventing small fish from being trapped,” says The Guardian. “Dan Watson devised a system based on a series of escape rings for fish – which can be fitted to a fisherman’s trawler net – in response to the problem of overfishing and the controversial and wasteful practice of throwing away healthy and edible fish or other creatures as so-called bycatch. … The SafetyNet rings have been designed to exploit the escape behaviour and physiology of different fish. Small and medium fish swim up when stressed, whereas larger fish swim down. By exploiting this, the net only catches mature, non-endangered species and provides an illuminated ‘emergency exit’ for the rest.”

Social network distraction

“In today’s networked world, ‘The dog ate my homework’ is being replaced by ‘I was distracted by my friend’s status update,’” says Pacific Standard magazine. “A research team led by Jomon Aliyas Paul of Georgia’s Kennesaw State University conducted a survey of 340 business students and reported two related results: Time spent on online social networks lowers academic performance; and the more time a student spends on such networks, the shorter the student’s attention span.”

Salty human blood

“Certain animal predators may become serial killers of people, suggest animal experts and reports of multiple deaths inflicted by particular animals,” Jennifer Viegas writes for the Discovery Channel. “Most recently, a ravenous leopard in Nepal is believed to have killed and consumed at least 15 people over the past 15 months. … [A] taste for salt might explain the horrific deaths, which last [month] likely included a four-year-old boy whose head was found in a forest near his home. Maheshwor Dhakal of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation in Kathmandu believes that as soon as leopards and other big cats begin to prey upon humans, it is difficult to get them to stop. ‘Since human blood has more salt than animal blood, once wild animals get the taste of salty blood, they do not like other animals like deer,’ Dhakal told CNN.”

Thought du jour

“Avarice is the only passion that never ages.”

– Saying

 

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