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SOCIAL STUDIES

What happens when lions eat insecticide? Add to ...

Warding off lions

Lions in Kenya have become a particular problem for farm owners and Maasai tribes, often preying on valuable livestock, says CNN.com. This has led some people to take matters into their own hands and destroy lions, often with insecticides – a tablespoon of which can kill an animal. Kenyan lions are down to 2,000 from about 15,000 15 years ago. However, “lions are very, very intelligent animals,” says Paula Kahumbu, executive director of Kenya Land Conservation Trust. “There are ways that you can punish lions – and one of them is that you put rock salt into a shotgun and shoot at them. It’s not going to injure them or kill them but it hurts like hell.”

Small talk for Swedes

“A Swedish housing company has announced a $135,000 campaign aimed at encouraging neighbours to greet one another,” says United Press International. “The ‘Say Hi’ campaign, announced by the MKB municipal housing company in Malmo, includes a brochure distributed to tenants with instructions on how to make small talk with neighbours, Swedish news agency TT reported. The pamphlet advises neighbours to prepare open-ended greetings and avoid yes-or-no questions. However, MKB spokesperson Margaretha Soderstrom said long conversations are not always required. ‘It’s sometimes enough to smile. … Basically, it’s about noticing one another and not averting your glance when meeting others.’”

Who trusts driverless cars?

“Google co-founder Sergey Brin believes that ‘self-driving cars will be far safer than human-driven cars,’” writes Alex Hudson of BBC News, “but who trusts them enough to drive in them or even alongside them? … Even some psychologists are worried about the absolute security of having a computer in control.” Dr. Graham Hole of the University of Sussex, who has published work on the psychology of driving, says: “‘The reality of the situation is that driving environ-

ments are very complex and they involve all kinds of decisions to be made … Human beings have their faults but are extremely good information processors, much better than any machine at hazard protection.’ Now the term ‘computer crash’ is being coined to describe what could happen. ‘I’m not interested in [being] a crash dummy because Google thinks it’s a cool idea,’ writes technology journalist Bill Snyder.”

Is second-hand TV bad?

“Young children in the United States watch about 80 minutes of television per day, on average,” writes Amanda Gardner of Health.com. “…that 80 minutes may be only part of the story. According to a nationwide study, a much bigger proportion of kids’ TV exposure comes indirectly, from television that’s on in the background while they’re doing other activities. The average child between the ages of eight months and eight years absorbs nearly four hours of this so-called background or ‘second-hand’ TV each day, the study found.”

Trendy bird feeders

“Although we still see a lot of the copper and earth tones, black is now the newest ‘hot’ colour” for bird feeders, writes Julia Elliott in Bird Watcher’s Digest. The author, a 15-year veteran of the wild-bird-feeding industry, also notes:

“Companies whose primary product lines were once strictly wooden are now shifting to recycled plastics, and this allows them to experiment with more colour options.”

“The demand for certain feeder styles has changed over the years. … Now tube feeders rule!”

Thought du jour

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