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Tom and Gail Wise cruise the streets of Park Ridge, Ill., in her 1964 Ford Mustang convertible, the first Mustang ever purchased in the United States. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)
Tom and Gail Wise cruise the streets of Park Ridge, Ill., in her 1964 Ford Mustang convertible, the first Mustang ever purchased in the United States. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)

Talking points: Films fading to black, ravenous meat-eaters and stroke deaths drop Add to ...

FADE TO BLACK

The silent-movie classics of yesteryear will soon be but a faint memory. The Hollywood Reporter recaps a new study that shows a mere 14 per cent of U.S. feature films made between 1912 and 1929 still exist in their original 35-millimetre format. That works out to 1,575 out of the 11,000-plus films produced during that time period. The U.S. Library of Congress study reveals that the “lost film” list includes Cleopatra (1917), London After Midnight (1927) and The Great Gatsby (1926), released one year after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was published. Says film librarian James Billington: “We have lost most of the creative record from the era that brought American movies to the pinnacle of world achievement in the 20th century.”

MOVIN’ ON UP

We are indeed a ravenous species. Time magazine reports on a new study revealing that an increase in fat and meat consumption has pushed the human race further up the food chain and closer to such predators as polar bears. The study measured the human trophic level (position on the food chain) for 176 countries between 1961 and 2009. Researchers concluded that the global median human trophic level has increased 3 per cent in the past half-century, courtesy of an increase in meat consumption due to growing economies in China and India. The bad news: Producing meat has a larger negative impact on the environment than producing vegetables. “If we all increase our trophic level, we’ll start to have a bigger impact on ecosystems,” warns study leader Sylvain Bonhommeau.

LIVING LONGER

Stroke deaths south of the border have been on a steady decline in the past decade. As reported by WebMD, new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that strokes have dropped by 30 per cent over the past 11 years and have slipped from third to fourth place as the leading cause of death for Americans. Medical experts are crediting public awareness and lifestyle changes – including fewer smokers and lower cholesterol levels – but warn the battle is far from over. “More efforts are needed to reduce stroke death rates and prevent first-ever stroke incidence,” said neurologist Andrei Alexandrov.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Knowledge is fostered by curiosity; wisdom is fostered by awe.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, rabbi and theologian (1907-1972)

 

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