Watching the World
◼ “Whether because of global warming or some other cause, the number of climate-related catastrophes tripled between the 1970s and the 1990s.”—THE ECONOMIST, BRITAIN.
◼ A 10-month-old boy has a legal gun permit for the state of Illinois, U.S.A. The permit, requested by his father, gives the baby’s height, two feet three inches, and weight, 20 pounds. There are no restrictions there on the age of applicants.—CABLE NEWS NETWORK, U.S.A.
◼ Scientists have turned water that is under extreme compression into ice “hotter than the boiling point of water.” In addition to “ordinary” ice, there are “at least 11 other known forms of ice occurring at a variety of temperatures and pressures.”—SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES, U.S.A.
Freedom of Religion Reaffirmed in Georgia
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the government of the country of Georgia for its toleration of religious violence toward Jehovah’s Witnesses. The court reaffirmed the right of the Witnesses, as a known Christian religion, to meet for worship and Bible study and ordered that the victims be compensated for legal costs and suffering. Between October 1999 and November 2002, 138 violent attacks were made on Jehovah’s Witnesses and 784 complaints were lodged with the Georgian authorities. However, no serious investigation of the complaints was made. The police even refused to intervene promptly and protect the victims. The violence has largely abated since November 2003.
Ancient Solar Observatory in Peru
Archaeologists have now suggested that an enigmatic, 2,300-year-old ruin in Peru was, in part, a solar observatory. The site, called Chankillo, includes a line of 13 towers atop a ridge, forming a smoothly curved, “toothed” horizon. Viewing points were “positioned so that on the winter and summer solstices the sun rises and sets over the towers on the opposite [ends] of the line, establishing the beginning and midpoint of the solar year,” explains Science magazine. The intermediate towers mark the positions of sunrise and sunset at certain other points. In this arid environment, knowing when to plant crops was vital, so “people [needed] to know the date with some precision.”
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Pictures That Make Women Feel Bad
“The rail-thin blonde bombshell on the cover of a magazine makes all women feel badly about their own bodies despite the size, shape, height or age of the viewers.” So says a report from the University of Missouri-Columbia, United States. According to Laurie Mintz, associate professor of education, school, and counseling psychology, “it had been thought that women who are heavier feel worse than a thinner woman after viewing pictures of the thin ideal in the mass media.” However, “we found that weight was not a factor. Viewing these pictures was just bad for everyone,” says Mintz.