PARASITES! HOW THOUGHTFUL
A woman proudly wearing a valuable pearl necklace is actually
displaying an entombed parasitic worm, not a coated grain of
sand. The free, spherical pearl is produced when the larvae from
a parasitic flatworm, which comes from seabirds, burrows inside
the oyster to begin the process.
SOURCE: Pearl Expert Prof. Peter Fankboner, Simon Frasier
MOTHER OF ALL PEARLS
A Canadian marine biologist claims to have cultured the world's
biggest abalone pearl. Measuring 27 millimetres (just over one
inch) across its base, the pearl is approximately five
millimetres bigger than its next-largest known counterpart which
was cultured in Japan.
SOURCE:Simon Fraser University
The composite global temperature in the lower atmosphere was
below average for the second consecutive month, while a record
low temperature in the stratosphere was recorded in January,
1996. This could be caused by the greenhouse effect and/or ozone
SOURCE:Dr. John Christy, associate professor of atmospheric
science in the Earth System Science Lab at the University of
ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. The
original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, had
17,000 tubes.By comparison, a desktop computer today can store a
million times more information than an ENIAC, and 50,000 times
SOURCE: ENIAC ONLINE BIRTHDAY PARTY 2.96
The going rate for breath consultants in New York City is
$125/hour. This gets you a breath-analysis using a gas sensor and
a computerized gum thermometer. The sensor detects sulphur
compounds, a by-product of bacteria in the mouth. You then get a
SOURCE: Reuters News Wires, 2/96
RECOMBINANT COW JUICE
A telephone poll of nearly 2,000 households in the US revealed
that 53.8% of consumers are skeptical about drinking milk from
cows fed recombinant bovine growth hormone. 94 percent thought
milk should be labeled to distinguish milk from rBGH-treated
SOURCE: UW- Madison Survey
DNA TRAIL MIX
Research biologists from the National Biological Service are using DNA samples from mountain lion feces to evaluate the cats' dietary patterns.
SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite
Lacking a collar-bone, the deer mouse can flatten it's body so much it can sqeeze into an opening one quarter of an inch high.
SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite
The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility began on
February14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine.
SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY
On the Roman holiday Lupercal (February 14) goats were sacrificed
and the blood was smeared on two specially chosen youths. The
youths would then run all around Rome with strips of goat hide in
their hands. Women would strive to be beaten with these strips,
known as februa (purifiers). Hence, February gets its name as the
month of purification.
SOURCE: Oxford Classical Dictionary
FAX ME, SWEETHEART
The time honored 'dig me' message has been deleted from those little candy valentines, only to be replaced with 'fax me'.
SOURCE: SF Chronicle
SNACK FOR THOUGHT
The average American ate 22 pounds of salty snacks in 1994, up
from 17.5 pounds in 1988, when the industry started tallying.
SOURCE: The Snack Foods Association, Alexandria, Va.
The FDA has so far approved 30 drugs for AIDS and AIDS-related
conditions. Another 110 anti-HIV drugs are in various stages of
development and clinical testing. But it might be a while, since
it takes an average of 15 years and some $400 million to bring
a drug from the laboratory to the pharmacy.
SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America, Pharmaceutical Research
and Manufacturers of America
A plot of land in Amazonia the size of a suburban lawn supports
300 species of trees.
Since 1977, American's consumption of Mexican foods has
increased four-fold, and consumption of snack foods such as
crackers, popcorn, pretzels and corn chips has tripled.
BOND, HELIUM BOND
University of Minnesota chemists have become the first to use a
mechanical tool to measure the length of a chemical bond,
between helium dimers. A tiny sieve containing nanoscale holes
revealed the bond length as 62 angstroms.
SOURCE: Journal of Chemical Physics, 1/15/96
The average surface temperature of the earth climbed to a record
high in 1995, 58.7 F. Moreover, the years 1991 through 1995 were
warmer than any similar five-year period, including the two
half-decades of the 1980s, the warmest decade yet recorded.
SOURCE: Reports by the British Meteorological Office and the
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Entomologist Terry Erwin studies insect diversity in the rain
forest canopy of the neo-tropics. Terry discovers between
1,500-2,000 species of insects in each tree he examines. Eighty
percent of what he finds in a single tree is new to science.
The E. Coli bacterium propels itself with a 'motor' only
one-millionth of an inch in diameter, a thousand times smaller
than the tiniest motors built to date by man. The rotation of
the bacterial motor comes from a current of protons. The
efficiency of the motor approaches 100 per cent.
SOURCE: Dr. David F. Blair, Utah University
There are more than 1,000 chemicals in a cup of coffee. Of
these, only 26 have been tested, and half caused cancer in rats.
SOURCE: Dr. Bruce Ames, UC Berkeley, in Smithsonian Magazine
The waste produced by one chicken in its lifetime can supply
enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours.
SOURCE: Ireland's Minister of State for Energy, Mr. Emmet
Stagg, announcing plans to promote the production of electricity
from biomass and waste.