Mar 27, 2008

Message in bottle drifts 1,735 miles since 1986

A plastic bottle was found by a beachcomber along the Bearing Sea in western Alaska.

There was a note inside from an elementary school student in a suburb of Seattle.

The note was placed in the bottle and set afloat in 1986 and had traveled 1,735 miles before it was found

The bottle was part of a fourth-grade school project. The notes were typed and the students only added their names and signed them. A friend carried the bottles on his boat and dropped them in the ocean in 1986.


Mar 25, 2008

You’ve got mail

In an attempt to block “junk mail” in Vermont, a state legislator created a firestorm he didn’t expect.

Chris Pearson, a state legislator in Vermont, had a sense that the people were with him when he proposed a bill last November to allow residents to block junk mail.

He got media attention, radio interview requests and e-mails from constituents eager to stop the credit card offers, furniture catalogues and store fliers that increasingly clog their mailboxes.

Then came the pushback from the postmasters, who told Pearson and other lawmakers that "standard" mail, the post office's name for junk mail, has become the lifeblood of the U.S. Postal Service and that jobs depend on it.

Sure junk mail is a nuisance but if banned, many people would be out of work including a lot of postal service workers.

If the postal service didn’t have the revenue generated by junk mail, our first class postage rates would go through the roof.

Banning junk mail would end many advertising agency jobs. It would also put many printers out of work.

The next time we are tempted to grumble about the junk mail in our mail boxes, we should think of all the jobs that would be lost by banning junk mail as the nearsighted Vermont congressman proposed.


Satellite data: Beijing pollution capital of world

The pictures here were taken in Beijing China which has become the unofficial pollution capitol of the world.

As it gears up to host the 2008 Olympic Games Beijing has been awarded an unwelcome new accolade: the air pollution capital of the world.

Satellite data has revealed that the city is one of the worst environmental victims of China's spectacular economic growth, which has brought with it air pollution levels that are blamed for more than 400,000 premature deaths a year.

According to the European Space Agency, Beijing and its neighboring northeast Chinese provinces have the planet's worst levels of nitrogen dioxide, which can cause fatal damage to the lungs.

China is the world's second-largest producer of greenhouse gases, and the World Bank has warned it is home to 16 of the planet's 20 most air-polluted cities.


Mar 24, 2008

Female teachers arrested for fistfight in front of students

Richland County (South Carolina) deputies arrested two middle school teachers (pictured) who got into a fist-fight in front of students over a personal matter.

Investigators say the original incident happened in the hallway of St. Andrews Middle School between two female eighth-grade teachers on Thursday, March 14.

Sheriff Leon Lott said 30-year-old Tawana Horton of Columbia and 28-year-old Cambrella Pickney of Columbia got into a physical altercation in the hallway, after the teachers "bumped into each other."

The resource officer says "an ongoing personal dispute" can be blamed for the reason the teachers were fighting, but he didn't elaborate on what the dispute regarded.