The Resignation of Science from the State of Italy

After a series of small tremors, scientists in Italy’s Civil Protection Department and involved with the Serious Risks Commission had no evidence that a 6.3 Richter-scale Earthquake was on its way to kill 309 people in March 2009.  While the science of predicting natural disasters is being developed at a feverish rate while governments become more and more antsy to avoid disasters like this one, it is not a perfect or exact science.

After that series of small tremors scientists said that they did not feel any other imposing threat on its way. After being proven wrong they were jailed for being misleadingly reassuring. On Monday, those seven scientists who were jailed were found guilty of Manslaughter.

Luciano Maiani, former director of CERN and head of the Serious Risks Commission, is quoted as saying, “This is the end of scientists giving consultation to the state.”

The shock outside of Italy was complete.  While the tragedy of an Earthquake is recognized, that scientists can be jailed for being wrong, having never claimed they knew for sure, well…that was harder for the rest of the world to accept.

From Dead Sea to Ghost Sea

While we say that Oceans are rising, and record rates that they are going up four to eight inches a century, the Dead Sea has dropped 4.9 feet in just the past year.  The waters of the famous sea show no signs of slowing their evacuation, either.

From its fame as a religious location to the plain uniqueness of having salt content ten times higher than regular salt water bodies, everyone from citizens to governments are concerned about the waters disappearance from the border of Israel and Jordan.

Scientists, however, are pointing to some fairly obvious reasons for the shrinkage.  Israel Chemicals Ltd. and Arab Potash Co. are two companies finding great use for the sea’s waters on the production lines and happily drawing the water away.  Also, farmers have created diverts for water from the Jordan River, which feeds the Dead Sea.

This puts the people of the region between a rock and a hard place. They need the industry and agriculture currently wearing away at the sea, but the water generates a lot of income through tourism that would be a shame to lose.  Not to mention that where the water line retreats it leaves earth prone to sink holes that are not easy to fix.

An 8 Year Drift from Canada to Ireland

Nearly a decade ago, 12-year-old friends Charlaine Dalpe and Claudia Garneau launched a two litre 7-Up bottle into the Atlantic Ocean with a note rolled up inside.  They requested the finder of said bottle reply to a Hotmail account to satisfy their curiosity about where their note would end up and who would find it.

It took 8 years but eventually the bottle came to the hands of a 9-year-old boy Oisin Millea on the banks of Ireland.  Him and his younger sister were exploring the beach after some flooding while his mom, a photographer, took some photos.

Since finding the bottle he has become a “media darling” and a request was sent out through media for the girls who wrote the note to be found.  They responded and will be visiting Ireland for a week in the summer of 2013 courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

Naked for Change

With an election looming in Ukraine the feminist group Femen has taken to the street, sans shirts.  Oleksandra Shevchenko describes the groups ideology, “We’re fighting against patriarchy, in its three manifestations: sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion”

The group was inspired into creation partially by the apparent belittled status of women in the country.  Too many women, they believe, are trafficked into prostitution abroad or touted as internet brides.

Femen was not always a topless group of protesters, but they do believe that removing some clothes has allowed notice from a wider audience, and say it has not undermined their message.

In spite of their courage and boldness they are not taken seriously in Ukraine.  They have seen much more support from the west than at home.

Femen will not be supporting any candidates in the upcoming Ukraine election for lack of faith.  They see much corruption in the politics of the nation and while they have yet to gain sway in the way that they hope to, they are not giving up.

Cool Party, Can I join?

When a man working in the same field as Gilberto Araujo was shot, his brother misidentified the body and suddenly a funeral was being arranged for the wrong man.  A friend was surprised to see the supposed-dead man strolling down the street blissfully unaware of his own demise.  Once informed that his family was mourning him, he went to his mother’s house where he crashed his own funeral.  Some friends and family fainted, others were frightened enough to run away.  His mother was over-joyed.

A Great Idea with some Development left to go

Scientists have developed a bra which, using temperature and pressure sensors, has the ability to predict breast cancer (and other abnormalities).  There are still some kinks to be worked out in order for accuracy to prevail, but the initial idea and product are quite a leap.

Elk in Love

A 500-Kilogram elk became a great distraction to small town British Columbia when it took a herd of cattle for its own, having fallen in love with some of them.  A part from some rough treatment of young male cattle that seemed like a threat to the enamored elk, it wasn’t doing any real harm.

In fact, it was the talk of the town, peeking everyone’s interest. That is until it became such a great distraction that cars were doing U-turns to take pictures or slowing down to the point where traffic along that stretch of road was getting dangerous.  Animal control was called and the elk was safely relocated.

Impossible!

Fifty-year-old Izhar Gafni was bothered when, inspired by a canoe made out of cardboard, engineers told him his idea to make a bicycle out of cardboard was impossible.  His wife saw how distracted the idea made him and suggested he should go ahead and try.  At first there were many difficulties to be overcome and as not many people have practiced constructing transportation devices from cardboard, his knowledge base was quite small.  Still, he says the latest prototype is a cheaper, greener, lighter, stronger and socially beneficial bicycle to its metal counterpart.  He even says mass production lines can be fired up in a couple of months.