Friday, December 21, 2012

Signs of the times

• Sorry Santa, but no smoke breaks for you on this year's toy delivery trip. Expunged from a new version of the classic 'Twas the night before Christmas are the lines
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath
There is concern that the big guy's nicotine habit sends the wrong signal to his young fans.

• A brain pacemaker is currently in trials as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. The device provides deep brain stimulation, and has been used with positive effect in thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease.

• Bangladesh is the world's second leading apparel exporter after China.

• The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that, thanks to the growth in shale oil production, the U.S. could become the number one producer of oil by 2017, surpassing current leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia

• Skydiving clubs apparently don't bother to check whether their members have landed safely. This week, it was discovered that the body of a Dutch skydiver, whose parachute didn't open, lay undetected in a field for more than a week.

• A poll conducted for the Association of Canadian Studies, finds that the more time francophones spend with their anglophone neighbours, the less they worry about losing their first language.

• Fashion designer Pierre Cardin turned 90 this summer.

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