Bits ‘n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Piranhas. In England. Two dead piranhas, normally native to the Amazon, were found at a lake in Great Britain. They appeared to have been released after living in captivity. The discovery, reported by The Week, explained why the locals were seeing the disappearance of both fish and waterfowl.

Of people 18 and older, 45% are single with more than half saying that getting married is not “an important part of becoming an adult,” according to a Census Bureau report. Furthermore, New York magazine reports that research shows unmarried people tend to exercise more, be more involved with their communities, are healthier and have more friends than their married counterparts.

If a diet is heavy on processed foods, a person will typically consume 500 extra calories a day, according to research from the National Institutes of Health. 

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has vowed not to fly due to the large carbon footprint, will instead sail to the U.S. to attend the U.N. Climate Summit. She has accepted an offer to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the UK to New York City on a sailboat equipped with solar panels. She is now on board with her father, a filmmaker and two professional sailors. The trip is expected to be a two-week journey.

The bug repellent DEET was developed in the 1940s for the military, then for commercial use in the 1950s. While it is typically well-tolerated, side effects can include skin rashes, nausea and eye irritation, especially at higher concentrations. Alternatives to DEET, according to Sierra magazine, include products with oil of lemon eucalyptus, citronella, Neem, catnip oil or grapefruit seed extract.

Bugs for breakfast: Pet food with insect content is being introduced to the European market. It looks the same but can have crickets, mealworms and black soldier flies. While it’s promoted as better for the environment as opposed to raising livestock used for pet food, online veterinary columnist Dr. Karen S. Becker says it is not known how the diet affects pets’ health long-term.

Fifty percent of the world will be nearsighted by 2050, up from 25% in 2000, according to the Brien Holden Vision Institute. Meanwhile, an Australian National University study found that children who spent 40 minutes or more outdoors per day were less likely to become nearsighted.

Wolves’ summer diet: research in Minnesota found that the wild canines “eat whatever’s around,” including beaver, fish, deer fawns, raccoon, snowshoe hare, bear guts left by hunters, berries and the contents of bear bait piles — nuts, seeds and candy.

With 99% of all plastics being made from fossil fuels, by 2050 they will generate greenhouse gas pollution equal to 615 coal-fired power plants, The Guardian reports. But there’s an alternative: biodegradable plastics can be made from biofuels.

Cambodian officials announced the country will return 1,600 tons of used plastics from the U.S. and Canada, according to The Guardian. The country does not have the infrastructure for dealing with the waste and will investigate why it arrived in their country. Malaysia and Indonesia have taken a similar stance.

Fifteen cents of every dollar spent on food goes to the farmer who produced it, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

The governor of New Mexico recently signed a bill committing the state to getting 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045. The state’s goal is 20% by 2020, 50% by 2030, 80% by 2040 and 100% by 2045.

CNN on presidential electability: In 2007 54% of poll respondents said Hillary Clinton was more electable than Barack Obama at 22%. It appears that was due to name recognition, and once voters knew more about Obama, he won the primary.

Blast from the past: “Just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else,” Toni Morrison, African-American writer, 1931-2019. She was a professor emeritus at Princeton University and her work received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes.

Another blast: Sesame Street turns 50 this year. The show was originally intended to bring education into the homes of the disadvantaged. But when Dr. Chester Pierce, an African-American psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School professor, joined the crew of the show, he encouraged adding another element: a multi-ethnic cast of characters with role models being people of color.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.