The thieves arrive under cover of darkness, to steal crops. Farmers try to ward off the raiders with drums, firecrackers, electrified fences, even poison. The conflict kills hundreds of people annually. And hundreds of the thieves [elephant sound] also die. But hungry elephants keep returning to pilfer cropland at night in India.[More]
Being born without skin pigmentation in the U. S., a condition called albinism, does not usually shorten an individual’s lifespan. But in Tanzania, it can be a death sentence. While reporting in Tanzania this past fall as a fellow with the International Reporting Project , I spoke with several people with albinism and medical professionals who serve them. Those interviews detailed the daily precautions individuals with albinism must take, from never traveling alone to finding safe places to live and work . When I met 28-year-old Janet Anatoli in Dar es Salaam, sitting in the shade outside the building that houses the headquarters of the Tanzania Albino Society, she spoke to a small group of reporters about the harsh treatment she received as a child but also of a family and life that blossomed in her adulthood. Richard Costar, who works as a porter in a hotel elsewhere in the country, did not have as bright an outlook when I met with him one evening. He said that fears for his safety continue to hamper his daily actions ( see my coverage here ).
Under the hot sub-Saharan sun people with albinism are particularly vulnerable to sun damage and skin cancer, but other maladies associated with albinism, including impaired vision and hearing, can also plunge albinos into a cycle of poverty and stigmatization. Although Tanzania has enacted legislation to protect albinos from discrimination it does not appear to enforce these laws. On top of these issues, believers in witchcraft seek out the limbs, bones and hair of albinos for use in amulets said to bring wealth and power to their owners. The United Nations said in a recent report that more than 200 cases of attacks motivated by witchcraft were reported in 15 countries in the past 13 years, although many additional cases go unreported. The attacks in Tanzania have been particularly worrisome – four new attacks occurred this year over a 16-day span, prompting special mention from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.[More]
By Meeyoung Cho and Jane Chung
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea should reduce its reliance on nuclear power as advised by a working group last month but should clarify how many new reactors will be added in absolute terms, participants at a public congressional hearing said on Thursday.
A working group in October recommended that South Korea reduce nuclear power's share of overall generating capacity, but participants at the hearing said that might still mean a rise in the number of reactors as power demand grows.
The study group said nuclear power should be reduced to between 22 percent and 29 percent of overall capacity by 2035, compared with a government plan for 41 percent by 2030, due to safety concerns triggered by its own corruption scandal and Japan's Fukushima crisis.
"This suggested proportion looks like reduction but if nuclear capacity is calculated based upon electricity demand growth, this could mean completing on-going and planned reactors and adding 12-18 units," Yun Sun-jin, a professor at Seoul National University, told the hearing.
That will considerably hike the risk from nuclear power generation, she said.
Asia's fourth-largest economy faces severe power shortages this winter and next summer due to nuclear plants that have been shut amid the safety scandal that started late last year.
Authorities have indicted 100 people, including a former top state utility official, for corruption after the discovery of the fake safety certificates.
A shift away from nuclear, which generates a third of South Korea's electricity, could cost tens of billions of dollars a year by boosting imports of liquefied natural gas, oil or coal.
The congressional energy committee's first public hearing ahead of a possible revision of Seoul's energy policy next month was attended by scores of representatives from the government, industry, civic group and academic sectors.
Lee Heon-seok, representative of civic group Energy Justice Actions, said the working group's suggestion should have also considered that the life-spans of 14 nuclear reactors, more than half of the country's 23 reactors, will expire by 2035.
Kim Jun-dong, deputy minister of energy & resources policy, confirmed that a target number of nuclear reactors has yet to be considered.
South Korea also has to decide at "a high level" if in the ranges recommended for nuclear power it is possible to reduce carbon emissions and ensure stable power supply, Kim said.
Of the country's total 23 reactors, six are offline. [More]
British designer Paul Cocksedge has designed our dream staircase — a spiral stair planted with edible herbs and teas — but we had a hard time focusing on it because we have the maturity of 13-year-olds and his name is “Paul Cocksedge.”
“The Living Staircase is actually a combination of staircase and room, of movement and stillness, vertical and horizontal,” said Cocksedge.
Dezeen clearly edited out the part where Cocksedge scowled, “STOP GIGGLING about my last name.” Clearing his throat, he resumed a professional air:
“At every turn there is an opportunity to stop and look, smell, read, write, talk, meet, think, and rest. If a staircase is essentially about going from A to B, there is now a whole world living and breathing in the space between the two,” he added.
The edible staircase takes you to the edge of cocks innovation by including plants and herbs employees can snack on or make into tea. There’s also meeting space so workers can converse among the greenery. Leave it to Cocksedge to erect something so stimulating!
On Maine’s rugged coast, just north of the tourist town of Boothbay, an underground seismometer is listening for earthquakes. Engineers activated it on 26 September, completing the $90-million Transportable Array, an ambitious effort to blanket the contiguous United States with a moveable grid of seismic monitors (see ‘On the march’ ).[More]
Used to be, if you happened on a great tune on the radio, you might miss hearing what it was. Of course, now you can just Shazam it--let your smartphone listen, and a few seconds later, the song and performer pop up. Now scientists have developed a similar tool--for identifying dolphins.[More]
If a big asteroid with Earth’s name on it were to reach us unimpeded, well, we could go the way of the dinosaurs. So a group of astronauts is advising the U.N. on a plan to protect the planet.[More]