World's Oldest Boomerang, Nuclear Legislation Hotline and Pesticide Pamphlet

This short series of reports includes news on the world's oldest boomerang, highway landscapers pine trees, a nuclear legislation hotline, getting cash for clean trash and a free pesticide pamphlet.

| May/June 1988

  • 111-122-03
    The boomerang was found in a cave in southern Poland amid a layer of sediment containing stone and bone tools belonging to a prehistoric European culture.
    ILLUSTRATION: JANICE FRIED

  • 111-122-03

News briefs on finding the world's oldest boomerang, a new nuclear legislation hotline and a free pesticide pamphlet for homesteaders.  

World's Oldest Boomerang, Nuclear Legislation Hotline and Pesticide Pamphlet

Have You Heard About … 

Most organic gardeners are familiar with Bacillus thuringiensis (BT), a bacterium—sold commercially under several brand names— that is used as a natural control against such larval-stage insect pests as cabbage loopers. Previously, scientists believed that BT was an insect disease, and that to grow the bacterium it was necessary to start with infected caterpillars. Geneticist Phyllis Martin and entomologist Russell Travers have discovered, however, that BT is in fact a widely distributed soil-horne bacterium. Thus far, they've found 72 new varieties of BT in soil samples from around the world—from a car bumper in Iceland, from a cave in West Virginia, from the slopes of the Himalayas. Travers believes that some of the new varieties are at least 10 times as effective against insect pests as current commercial types. (The pair discovered one of the new strains, which in lab tests was effective against mosquitoes, in dirt scraped from the paw of a colleague's cat, Fluffy. They promptly named the new BT Bacillus thuringiensis var. fluffiensis.  

Burning Rubber  



The 15-megawatt Modesto Power Plant in Westley, California, is the first facility in the world to generate electricity full-time by burning whole tires. The plant not only produces electricity from its supply of 42 million tires, but also extracts marketable steel, gypsum and zinc from them. The tires are burned at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Said to be relatively pollution-free (half the facility's equipment is devoted to pollution control), the plant is expected to provide electricity to 15,000 homes for at least 15 years.

World's Oldest Boomerang  






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