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Social Studies

Death rate grows for forest giants Add to ...

The oldest trees are dying

“Colorado’s old lodgepoles aren’t the only forest giants that are dying,” says ThinkProgress.com. “Around the world, the biggest, oldest trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and other wildlife are meeting the same fate. Three of the world’s leading ecologists say they’ve documented an alarming increase in the death rate of trees between 100 and 300 years old in many of the world’s forests, woodlands, savannahs, farming areas and even in cities. … ‘It is a very, very disturbing trend. We are talking about the loss of the biggest living organisms on the planet, of the largest flowering plants on the planet, of organisms that play a key role in regulating and enriching our world,’ said Prof. Bill Laurance of James Cook University.”

E-mail will catch your eye?

“New technology that will allow information, such as text messages from a mobile phone, to be projected onto a contact lens worn in the human eye has been developed by Belgian researchers,” says The Daily Telegraph. “Ghent University’s centre of microsystems technology has developed a spherical curved LCD display which can be embedded in contact lenses and handle projected images using wireless technology.”

Shocking handcuff design

“Police could soon be armed with handcuffs that deliver an +. “A U.S. firm has applied for a patent for a new kind of restraint that can literally shock detainees into submission if they refuse to co-operate. The design is not limited to handcuffs, but also could be applied equally to ankle cuffs, straitjackets, restraining belts, neck collars and even facial restraints. And the company behind it envisions not only delivering shocks, but also providing for systems that could administer sedative drugs to those held captive.”

Why they put frogs in milk

“An old Russian way of keeping milk from going sour by putting a frog in the bucket of milk has led to the finding of new antibiotic substances, scientists say,” reports United Press International. “Organic chemist A.T. Lebedev of Moscow State University and colleagues have identified a number of potential new antibiotic compounds in the skin of the Russian Brown frog. … In lab tests, they said, some of the substances performed as well against salmonella and staphylococcus bacteria as some prescription antibiotic medicines.”

Want more brain cells?

Scientists have made brain cells from human urine, says NBCNews.com. “When a person urinates, skin shells are routinely shed from the lining in the kidney, and it’s these cells that the researchers reprogrammed into stem cells, which can turn into any type of cell in the body. In this case, they transferred the cells into neurons, or brain cells. The new research, published Sunday in the journal Nature Methods, could one day provide a quicker way to make brain cells that are unique to an individual, Nature News reported.”

Clothes make the teacher

“Some schools have dress codes for students, but starting next year public schools in Janesville, Wis., will start enforcing dress codes for teachers,” reports Associated Press. “The new rules approved Tuesday say teachers won’t be able to wear jeans, shorts, flip-flops or jogging suits. Nor can they wear clothes that are provocative, ragged or that allow undergarments to be visible. … The policy calls for business or business-casual dress, which could include collared shirts, sweaters and casual slacks. Women may wear skirts, dresses, blouses and dress sandals. Exceptions are allowed on school spirit days, casual Fridays and extremely hot days.”

Thought du jour

“It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.”

Henry David Thoreau, American author and philosopher (1817-62)

 

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