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How a warmer world could make painted turtles ‘100 per cent female’ Add to ...

Endangered male turtles

“Males don’t stand a chance in a warmer world, if they happen to be painted turtles,” says the New Scientist. “A temperature rise of around 1 C is all it would take for the species to become 100 per cent female and earmarked for extinction. Painted turtles, found in lakes and streams across North America, are one of many reptile species whose sex is determined by temperature. Eggs in warm nests are likely to hatch as females, while males hatch in cooler nests, although no one is sure why.”

Veterans coexist with geese

“Veterans in Kologriv, Russia, made a self-effacing request on behalf of migrating geese: Skip the Victory Day fireworks so as not to frighten the waterfowl,” reports United Press International. Second World War veterans – in the town of about 3,400 people, known as “the goose capital of Russia” because of the hundreds of thousands of greylag geese that descend there during their spring migration – asked local officials not to honour the victory over Nazi Germany with fireworks so as not to scare the birds. Russians celebrate the Nazi surrender on May 9 each year. In Kologriv, residents mark Goose Day on May 11.

Today’s action nannies

“They were once only required to push a pram and read a bedtime story to the children in their charge,” says The Daily Telegraph, “but now, a new breed of nannies is being taught stunt driving and how to deal with paparazzi to prepare them for child care in the 21st century.” Norland College in Somerset, England, has been training professional nannies for the rich and famous since 1892. “Norland nannies are considered the most prestigious and are the favourites of royals, celebrities and the super-rich. But their Mary Poppins-style brown uniforms, felt hats and white gloves makes them instantly recognizable and vulnerable to robbers and kidnappers. Parents worried about their children being held for ransom or being chased by photographers are requiring their nannies to know how to deal with potential attackers as well as master the traditional skills of first aid, sewing and cooking.”

For kids’ eyes only

“A poster that can only be fully seen when looked at from a child’s point of view has been used in an anti-child-abuse campaign,” says BBC News. “Spanish organization the Anar Foundation used lenticular printing – a technique which means those looking at different angles see a different image. On the poster, a ‘secret’ message showing a child helpline would show up when seen from a child’s height. The foundation said it helped children gain confidence to call the number. The campaign was designed to get the information about where to get help to children who may be accompanied by their abuser.”

Time travel disrespectful?

With China becoming the world’s second-largest box-office market last year, and only 34 foreign films being approved for Chinese screens annually, Hollywood tweaks its movies to gain admittance to the country, says The Washington Post. “It has been tough, however, to predict exactly what will tick off Chinese party censors, who often flag scenes not only for violence and nudity but also political sensitivity. They have at times fixated on small details, such as shots of unsightly laundry hanging from Shanghai residences in Mission Impossible 3, and a passing reference to the Cold War in one line of a James Bond film. Time-travel dramas were inexplicably but effectively banned in 2011 by Chinese authorities, who called [them] ‘disrespectful of history.’”

Thought du jour

“Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized.”

A. Eustace Haydon

Canadian historian of religion (1880-1975)

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