Space: a place where mundane, everyday tasks stoke curiosity primarily reserved for circus sideshows. In orbit, small chores provoke titanic mysteries that the world’s brightest minds are forced to crack. It is a place so peculiar and so exotic that non-events such as sleep, nail clipping, and the wringing of dishcloths become conversation starters instead of killers.
At first glance, Chris Hadfield looks like a guy your dad plays squash with; a guy who desperately needs a trip to anywhere, let alone space, to muster a dash of conversation. But, as we’ve all learned over the past six months, space is not what makes Chris Hadfield interesting - quite the opposite. Chris Hadfield’s charm, accessibility, and creative approach to spreading the gospel of the scientific heavens have captured the interest of millions and made space interesting all over again.
Photo credit: Global Post
For the inhabitants of Shanghai, March 2013 will forever be remembered as the gruesome month when 20,000 pigs washed up along the shores of Huangpu River. A catastrophe rooted in poor government planning, farmers across the country have been without proper disposal options for their pig carcasses for years. Recent studies show that proper disposal is an extremely expensive and work-intensive undertaking, costing farmers roughly 160 yuan ($26), double the amount the government is willing to subsidize. And, as discussed in part 1, this is just the first of China’s complex network of headaches, as 30 - 40% of China’s pig farmers fail to qualify for the 80 yuan ($13) subsidy.
Consequently, it came as no surprise to members of the farming sector, (many of whom had not received a penny for proper disposal practices) when a river of death showed up on Shanghai’s doorstep.Yet March’s events are not without their questions. The most peculiar element of the catastrophe, is the fact that under-subsidization was hardly a new problem for Chinese pig farmers; so the pressing question has become: Why did 20,000 carccasses clog the main artery of Shanghai so suddenly?
Picture credit: china.org.cn
A stroll down the Bund in Shanghai is a trip through the world’s wildest collection of revivalist architecture. Refined structures of Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Neo-Classical stand harmonious along one picturesque strip, complementing each other in a mosaic of early 20th century globalization. To the east, along the banks of the Bund, flows the Huangpu, Shanghai’s largest river, perpetually performing double duty as both tourist attraction and a major source of the city’s drinking water. Hordes of visitors and residents commonly flock to Shanghai’s riverbanks; but recent events, recalling apocalyptic passages from the Old Testament, have caused mass reflection in one of the globe’s most populous cities.
On March 10, 2013, a tide of nearly 2,000 dead pigs washed up along the shores of the Huangpu, a number that gradually swelled to 20,000 as the month came to a close. As the weeks passed and carcasses continued to pile, tens of thousands of swans and ducks were also found drifting lifeless in waterways throughout the country. While such tales of mass extinction may come as a shock to many, this problem has been a gruesome bubble waiting to pop for quite some time.
Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation. Not only have neonicotinoid pesticides been linked repeatedly to mass bee deaths, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but the continued use of such pesticides threatens other aspects of nature (and humans) as well.
What’s even more amazing is that the decision not only comes after the EU publicly discussed the major dangers surrounding the use of the pesticides, but after the USDA released a report surrounding the continued honeybee deaths and the related effects — a report in which they detailed pesticides to be a contributing factor. Just the impact on the honeybees alone, and we now know that these pesticides are killing aquatic life and subsequently the birds that feed upon them, amounts to a potential $200 billion in global damages per year. We’re talking about the devastation of over 100 crops, from apples to avocados and plums. And there’s countless scientists and a large number of environmental science groups speaking out on this.
When many think of their retirement, they think of the free time they will have to relax, spend time with their spouse, and travel. However, many Americans are now taking this retirement plan one step further and are choosing to retire abroad.
There are many reasons why people choose to move abroad including more affordable rent and living expenses, more temperate climates, and the sense of starting something new. Many also choose to work during retirement either to reinforce financial security, or for the desire alone to continue working. However, it is not always easy or immediate that one can find a job abroad. Many jobs require full citizenship rather than just a VISA, and in order to attain them, the retiree must prove that no one else in the country can do the same job. For example, in Panama, to work as a nurse you must have a Panamanian citizenship.
Starting a business abroad is one route that many take. The businesses that tend to be created abroad tend to range from actual businesses to galleries to restaurants and to bed and breakfasts. Currently, Panama is the top country in which to start a new business, followed by Belize, Ecuador, Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.
For almost 30 years, any man who has had sex with another man has not been able to donate blood in Canada. That is set to change this summer, as Canadian Blood Services and Hema Quebec have announced that the absolute ban will be replaced by a limited ban of five years from the time of engaging in male/male sex.
The arrival of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s saw hundreds of people receive contaminated blood from transfusions, leading in turn to their own infection. Due to higher-than-average carriers of HIV within its population, men who had sex with men (msm) were deemed too high risk to allow into the blood pool, and the current practice of disallowing those men from donating was born.In a press release on the Canadian Blood Services webpage, the organization acknowledges that the five year wait period might seem high when compared to the UK or Australia, where the deferral period is just one year, but maintains the move is a positive step toward what it sees as a fairer, more inclusive policy.