Bee Breeding, Car Cost of Ownership, and Other News Items

A USDA bee breeding program and car cost of ownership figures are among the news items covered in this ongoing feature.


| March/April 1979



056 news items - bee breeding - Fotolia.jpg

A USDA bee breeding program aims to create bees and are more productive, long lived, disease-resistant, and less likely to sting.


ILLUSTRATION: す~ロン/FOTOLIA

The following news items were drawn from multiple sources.


Bee Breeding

Super bees may be the result of work done by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Breeding Center. By crossbreeding selected stock, the researchers hope to develop new types of bees that will live longer, be more resistant to disease, more productive, and less ready to sting. Since the honey business is growing by 20% a year, these insects may help to fill the increased demand for American "ambrosia" in the Middle East and at home. Bees' venom is also being investigated as a possible source of new drugs.

Car Cost of Ownership

It costs $86.15 a week to operate your car (or $4,480 a year) if you drive a full-size luxury vehicle such as a Cadillac Deville or Lincoln Mark V. That figure includes financing, depreciation, insurance, license, taxes, maintenance, gasoline, oil, and tires, and is based on a four-year trade-in cycle with 56,000 miles of operation. A subcompact, four-cylinder auto will run you $46.36 a week (or $2,410 a year).

Robot Educator

2X-L, a patient robot with a "charming personality", is being sold by the Mego Corporation. The talking toy—invented by psychologists to help children learn—can be programmed to give true-and-false tests, teach the metric system, tell jokes, recount legends, praise a correct answer, and follow up an incorrect answer with an easy question. " He never gets angry," said one child, "even when I'm stupid."

Caterpillar Tire

A 100.000-mile tire has been designed by the Caterpillar Tractor Company, which that firm claims can "achieve better fuel economy through lower rolling resistance". Constructed of a continuously wound loop of wire encased in rubber, the new road-grabber can be built completely by machine. So far, however, all major companies have declined Caterpillar's licensing offers ... presumably because these manufacturers are not satisfied with the tire's handling ability.

Cow Beeper

Beep the cows home: A Wisconsin farmer, who got tired of the dally hike to the back forty to round up his milk herd, hung a beeper on the neck of his lead bovine and trained her to respond. Now, he just picks up the phone, dials a certain number, hangs up, and heads for the barn in time to greet Bossy and her crew.





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