Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

(MARCOS BRINDICCI/REUTERS)
(MARCOS BRINDICCI/REUTERS)

Melting glaciers enough to cover U.S. in water Add to ...

Our melting world

“The melt-off from the world’s ice sheets, ice caps and glaciers over eight years of the past decade would have been enough to cover the United States in about 18 inches (46 centimetres) of water, according to new research based on the most comprehensive analysis of satellite data yet,” reports LiveScience. “Data collected for the years 2003 through 2010 indicate that melting ice raised sea levels worldwide by an average of 1.48 millimetres (0.06 inches) each year.”

Vending machines with Wi-Fi

“New high-tech vending machines offering free Wi-Fi hot spots in addition to selling soft drinks are to be installed across Japan,” The Telegraph reports. “Asahi Soft Drinks is setting up 1,000 new vending machines in five regions around Japan this month, with a goal of expanding the number to 10,000 within five years. The vending machines are fitted with technology enabling smartphone users who are standing within a 50-metre radius to enjoy free access to the Internet. Users will not need passwords or payment to access the Wi-Fi and will be able to enjoy uninterrupted Internet access for 30-minute sessions at a time.”

Walkers in the Big Apple

“Because so many New Yorkers use their feet to get them from place to place,” says The New York Times, “they weigh on average six or seven pounds less than those who live in suburban America, said Dr. Richard J. Jackson, professor of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.”

Cyclists and red lights

“In most cases, traffic rules are designed to [keep]vehicles and their occupants from succumbing to the pitfalls of Newton’s laws of motion – but until now, bicycles have been subject to the same rules and regulations as the multi-ton vehicles with which they share the road,” says Treehugger.com. “Following a nationwide pro-cycling campaign, French lawmakers recently issued a decree allowing cyclists in some cities to disregard red lights at certain intersections, not merely because such regulations work against cycling physics, but because it actually makes roads safer for everyone. The newly relaxed rules of the road for cyclists [are]now being tested across 15 intersections in Paris, though with it bike commuters aren’t given full liberty to blow through crossing points unreasonably. Laws will continue to require that cyclists yield to pedestrians and opposing traffic, though that’s quite likely consistent with the standards of etiquette and personal safety most cyclists abide [by]anyways.”

Bugs in the rain

“Georgia Institute of Technology mechanical engineer David Hu was sitting on the porch with his infant son when a large mosquito bite appeared on the baby’s forehead,” says Discover magazine. “It was pouring out, and Mr. Hu began wondering how the insect survived the impact of the drops. ‘A mosquito weighs only a couple of milligrams, and the drops are up to 50 times heavier,’ he says. ‘It’s like a person being hit by a bus.’ Back at the lab, Mr. Hu put the insects in cages and, using a syringe, doused them with rain-sized drops. High-speed video revealed how mosquitoes manage. Rather than dodging raindrops, they fly right into them. A mosquito’s mass is so minute that little of a drop’s momentum is transferred to its body. Instead of getting flattened, the mosquito merely spins. … Other insects of similar size probably withstand rain the same way. But larger ones, like wasps and bees, seek shelter during downpours.”

Whose followers are they?

“If you’ve ever wondered what a social-media presence is worth in an increasingly digitized business world, just ask Noah Kravitz’s former employers,” says CNN.com. “According to them, his Twitter followers are worth about $42,500 [U.S.]a month – and they’ve gone to court to make him pay up. Mr. Kravitz has been sued for flipping followers from his work account to a personal one when he changed jobs. … Last week, a federal judge decided to allow the case against Mr. Kravitz by PhoneDog, a website that reviews mobile gadgets, to move forward.” Mr. Kravitz worked at PhoneDog from 2006-2010, piling up 17,000 Twitter followers. But when he left, he switched the name of the account – a move the micro-blogging site allows. “He began sharing things he wrote for other tech sites, a move PhoneDog said wasn’t fair because the company had helped establish his online identity on Twitter and elsewhere. As the legal case moved forward, PhoneDog asked for damages equal to $2.50 per month for every Twitter follower Mr. Kravitz took with him.”

Thought du jour

“Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows.”

Paul Valéry (1871-1945), French poet and philosopher

Follow us on Twitter: @globeandmail

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories