Watching the World
▪ “The amount of [Arctic] ice loss this year  absolutely stunned us because it didn’t just beat all previous records, it completely shattered them.”
▪ The New Economics Foundation think tank estimated that “if everyone in the world had the same consumption rates as in the United States it would take 5.3 planet earths to support them . . . The figure was 3.1 for France and Britain, 3.0 for Spain, 2.5 for Germany and 2.4 for Japan.”
“More Harm Than Good”?
“Blood transfusions with banked human blood may do more harm than good for a majority of patients,” says a report from Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A. Studies have found that transfused patients have “higher incidences of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and even death” than those who were not transfused. Why? “Nitric oxide in red blood cells begins breaking down almost immediately after red blood cells leave the body.” Nitric oxide is crucial to keeping blood vessels open and thus allowing red cells to ferry oxygen to the body’s tissues. “Millions of patients are apparently receiving transfusions with blood that is impaired in its ability to deliver oxygen,” says the report.
TV Addiction in Bhutan
For decades the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan resisted the lure of modern media. But after many inhabitants complained that they could not watch the 1998 World Cup soccer tournament, the government introduced television in 1999. Now people can view 40 channels and are already addicted to Hollywood movies and Indian soap operas, says a report from Bhutan. Instead of sitting together singing and talking as they used to, families gather to watch TV. One woman laments having little time for anything else anymore
The Distracted Worker
“Office life can sometimes seem like a constant stream of calls, alerts and interruptions,” says New Scientist magazine. Researchers found that a sample group of information workers averaged only three minutes of activity before being diverted. Since interruptions can eat up two hours of each working day, some busy office workers use computer analysis to distinguish the urgent from the nonurgent. Suggestions that can be used by all include: “Be honest with people, . . . tell them you really don’t have a minute if you don’t,” and have the courage “to turn off your email, phone and instant messenger until the job is done.”