News items on color research on the effects of pink, a municipality that converted a hay baler into a leaf baler, and chemically contaminated vegetables from Mexico were among those covered in this regular feature.
The color pink may rapidly diminish anger, aggression, and physical strength, but it has no apparent affect on flexibility.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/PAVEL LOSEVSKY
PINKO PLOT? There may be more to the custom of dressing little girls in pink than meets the eye. Color research from the Institute of Bio-social Research in Tacoma, Washington's shows that the color pink rapidly saps anger, aggression, and physical strength!
LEAF BALER: City workers in Batavia, New York—using an adapted tractor and a converted hay-baling machine—bundle up tons of autumn leaves into convenient 35-pound bales, which are then "stolen" from curbsides overnight by residents who use them as mulch and animal bedding. These attractive (and practical) packages have cut the city's leaf-clearing bill from about $26,000 to $13,000 per year.
CONTAMINATED VEGETABLES: Seventeen percent of the winter vegetables that were shipped into this country last year from Mexico were said to contain residues of more than 200 chemicals—including some banned from use in the United States—that exceeded acceptable tolerances. The produce was put on the market anyway.
ABOUT ONE-QUARTER OF 123 MALE STUDENTS examined by Florida State University researchers were found to have the flame-retardant chemical Fyrol FR-2 (used in some polyurethane foam mattresses) in their seminal fluid. Furthermore, although the tests can't yet be considered conclusive, a correlation was found between high levels of Fyrol and low sperm counts.
"USING AIR-RAID SHELTERS IN PEACETIME," say the Chinese, "is a means of keeping the structures in good condition, so that if war comes, they can be quickly reconverted to their original purpose." Thus, the vast networks of tunnels under most Chinese cities are now utilized as warehouses, workshops, and storage places for meat, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
A MODERN "DEATH VALLEY": The 80,000 people in Cubatao, Brazil—where Du Pont, Union Carbide, and other multinational companies maintain chemical plants—are showered with a constant barrage of some 1,200 different particulates. Currently, 40 out of every 1,000 Cubatao babies are stillborn, another 40 die within a week, and "untold dozens" come into the world deformed.
IF THE FIGURES ARE CORRECT, there are now more people (81 million, including government workers) living on tax money than there are paying taxes (71 million). In the private work force, only 12% make more than $25,000 a year, while 36% of government employees top that figure ... which means there's more money to be made in spending our money than there is in earning it.
EWESPLINT, a little strip of stainless steel that's bent around a sheep's front teeth and cemented on with strong glue, helps to prevent "Broken Mouth," a common problem in ewes that often results in either loose or broken teeth. Developed by a Scottish dentist, the devices sell for $12 to $24 apiece, depending on the number purchased.
PILLS THAT DON'T WORK, a book published by Ralph Nader's Public Citizen Health Research Group, lists 610 common prescription drugs whose benefits are "zero or close to zero, so their side effects never outweigh the risks."
"SIR VIVAL," a line of high-protein, dehydrated dog victuals that can be stored safely for five years or longer, is marketed by Country Roads, Inc. The products' labels picture a mutt wearing a hungry expression and a medieval helmet.
PURITY OR DEATH! Three elderly polar bears at the Baltimore Zoo may eventually have to be put to death because the U.S. Agriculture Department says their water is unfit for them to play in. Unless their pond is purified—which would require a new $125,000 filtration system—the exhibit must be closed in two years ... no other zoos want the 25-year-old polar bears.
AS OLD AS CREOSOTE! According to Frank Vasek, a University of California botanist, the creosote bush of the American Southwest can live for more than 10,000 years. The most ancient one so far discovered, he believes, is 11,700 years old.
THE COST OF SEWAGE COLLECTION AND TREATMENT will soon be second only to that of schools among the expenses of local governments, says California's former state architect, Sym van der Ryn .... If a woman eats the "typical American diet," she'll consume FIVE TO EIGHT POUNDS OF 4,000 DIFFERENT CHEMICALS during her pregnancy .... For a complete (and free) LIST OF ALL KNOWN HUMAN AND ANIMAL CARCINOGENS, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the Carcinogen Information Program .... Upon discovering that airlines don't serve corn on the cob because it might roll off plates, Dr. W.C. Galinat of the University of Massachusetts developed CORN WITH SQUARE EARS.... Five new studies have found a link between CHLORINATED DRINKING WATER and cancers of the rectum, colon, and bladder .... "DISINSECTION", meaning "spraying to control insects," is one of the latest bureaucratic word coinages.
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