When you pick up a cut of beef at the store, would you like to know that animal's life history? The technology to do this does exist — at least in Michigan, where the state requires all cattle to carry electronic ear tags. It's the only state that requires such tags.
Michigan's cattle-tracking system was forced on farmers because of a crisis. Fifteen years ago, cattle in part of the state started catching tuberculosis from wild deer.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a backhoe stacks freshly cut trees to be made into pulp and paper. Asia Pulp and Paper, or APP, is Indonesia's largest papermaker, and the company and its suppliers operate vast plantations of acacia trees here that have transformed the local landscape.
When I recommend books to kids or grown-ups, I can almost always get them interested if I add "Oh, and after you read this book, you could go on a field trip to the museum/zoo/baseball stadium/library ... or just take a little road trip!" Spring 2013 has been a very good year for children's books that spark the imagination and make kids (and grownups) want to do a little more exploring.
Books like these can be the start of amazing adventures. Enjoy!
Mara Alpert is a librarian in the Children's Literature Department at the Los Angeles Public Library.
The State Department says Iran has stepped up its efforts on behalf of global terrorism to a level not seen for 20 years, but that the core elements of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan are heading for defeat even as the network's affiliates remain a threat.
"Iran's state sponsorship of terrorism and [Hezbollah's] terrorist activity have reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s, with attacks plotted in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa," says the Country Reports on Terrorism 2012.
The Transportation Security Administration has told Congress that it's finished retrofitting airport scanners to blunt a widely criticized technology that shows graphic detail of a passenger's body as he or she goes through security checkpoints.
There are risks aplenty for a U.S. lawmaker who makes a surprise visit to a war zone, as Sen. John McCain recently did when he crossed the border from Turkey into Syria.
The perils to life and limb go without saying. But there are also other risks: trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys; or being victimized by disinformation from unfriendly Middle Eastern interests.
While McCain got out unscathed from Syria, where he visited rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, he may have had less success navigating the other risks.
It might come as a surprise that for centuries the French have been sans a term for "French kiss."
But, voila! The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has rectified that with a new verb — "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues." It's a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue.