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Crew members on the International Space Station open a hatch to begin unloading cargo during their continuing space mission. (Reuters)
Crew members on the International Space Station open a hatch to begin unloading cargo during their continuing space mission. (Reuters)

Talking points: The high price of cybercrime, caribou cafeteria closed and a petrifying lake Add to ...

PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD

Have you been scammed yet? CTV News reports that cybercrime has cost Canadians close to $3-billion in the past 12 months, more than double the total of $1.4-billion the year before. According to new statistics released by the U.S. software security company Symantec Corp., an estimated seven million people in Canada were victimized by cybercrime activity in the past year. The broad title of cybercrime covers such illegal activities as unauthorized computer use and identity theft and the increase is being attributed to the growing use of mobile devices and open WiFi networks. “The move to mobile is really one of the core findings we’ve seen and as people have tablets and smartphones, that’s where the cybercriminals are going,” said Lynn Hargrove of Symantec Canada. On a global scale, cybercrime has risen to $113-billion (U.S.), which averages out to roughly $300 for each victim.

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CAFETERIA CLOSED FOR THE CARIBOU

Climate change appears to be slowly wiping out the caribou of Greenland. As reported by the CBC, a new study from Penn State biologists Eric Post and Jeffrey Kerby makes the connection between sea ice melting and the decline of caribou breeding on the world’s largest island. Analyzing data from the past two decades, the pair discovered that as the Arctic climate has warmed, plants are emerging earlier, which means they are less nutritious by the time caribou appear at breeding grounds in search of sustenance for giving birth. “The animals show up expecting a food bonanza, but they find the cafeteria already closed,” Kerby said. The research showed the caribou gave birth at the same time every year, regardless of when the plants emerged.

A PETRIFYING LAKE

It’s unlikely any of us will ever holiday at Lake Natron. Newscientist.com likens the body of water in northern Tanzania to the hellish River Styx in Dante’s Inferno because of its harsh conditions. Temperatures in the salt lake can reach 60 C and the alkalinity is unusually high. As a result, any animal with the misfortune to be immersed in the lake is calcified, which has drawn photographer Nick Brandt. Best known for his African wildlife portraits, the British lensman is garnering notice for his photographs showing eerily preserved birds and bats on the Lake Natron shoreline. “I could not help but photograph them,” Brandt said. “It appears the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Crafty men condemn studies; simple men admire them; and wise men use them.

Francis Bacon, philosopher (1561-1626)

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