Thursday, March 19, 2009

News! News! News!

Alrighty everyone, it's time for your new updates! I'm obsessed with information (namely news) and so thought I'd share some of this past week's interesting news.

Wow. Here's something that not enough people know. According to a ruling by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the UN's World Health Organisation, there is a high chance that night shifts increase the risk of developing cancer. In Denmark 40 women have won compensation after developing cancer from decades of night shifts.

The IARC studies and ranks cancer risks.
Category One risks are known carcinogens such as asbestos. Night working now sits just one rung below that: a probable cause of cancer.

One of the reports, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed a 36% greater risk of breast cancer for women who had worked night shifts for more than 30 years, compared with women who had never worked nights. This evidence supports the hypothesis that melatonin production may be impared by changing sleep patterns. Melatonin, in turn, has some beneficial effects in preventing some of the steps leading to cancer.

And if yet another risk of cancer doesn't get you quaking in your boots, night shifts have been blamed for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, gastro-intestional problems, low birth-weight babies, and, for women, prolonged pregnancies.

All in all, this article interested me because I'd NEVER heard of such connections. If women are being compensated by a GOVERNMENT for their breast cancer due to working nights, I feel like there must be something to the risk.

Islands Disappear in India
Still think global warming is a "joke", "prank", or "unscientific"? Well, try telling the inhabitants of this island in India. Wait, make that ex-inhabitants. Some islands have completely submerged, while others are well on their way. People have become "environmental refugees" as houses and property are swallowed up by the sea and they are forced to move onto someone else's land. Space is limited and these people, as poor island dwellers, have nowhere else to go. The rate of erosion in India is 3.14 mm/year, where as the normal rate is 1.82 mm/year. So far there are no solutions offered (beyond crowding closer on the island and either starving or drowning).

Hippo Sweat Offers Key to Natural Sunscreen
OK, this is REALLY cool. Hippo sweat is red, and is structured at a microscopic level to scatter light. This means that those lovable giants can stand in the sun all day and not burn. Not only that, but scientists have discovered that hippo sweat is also antiseptic and insect repelling! So this summer make sure to visit the local zoo, wrestle with a hippo, and you can stay outside, bug free, all day! (Or you can wait for them to come out with a hippo sweat inspired product that won't smell, well, like hippo).

Sexy Marketing Aims to Boost Toilet Use
OK lets be honest, toilets ARE NOT sexy (well, for most of us anyway). In a lot of cultures talking about, or performing, bodily functions related to toilet use are either tabboo, or considered "dirty". This can be a problem when, according to National Geographic, "2.5 billion people worldwide don't have access to a clean, safe place to do their business." Add that to the reports that "80% of the developing world's illnesses are caused by unsafe water and inadequate sanitation" and you have a whopper of a problem. The solution? Make toilets sexy.
Yes, I agree. How on EARTH can a toilet be sexy? Well, some organizations have found a few ways.

In Kenya there are "toilet malls" where you can use a toilet, shower, get your shoes repaired, shop for food, and make a phone call. Celebrities all over Kenya have been called upon by an organization called Ecotact, to "sell" toilet malls. Famous Kenyan faces, like Miss Kenya and the vice president, have begun frequenting them in an attempt to make them more acceptable. Toilet malls have gained popularity by making a connection with status and privilege.

And then there is Cambodia, where the
Resource Development International Cambodia have made romantic karaoke videos about proper sanitation and hygiene, hand washing, bird flu, and sex slavery. They advertise that hand washing is beautiful and make the connection between hygiene and health. These are shown on national television!

Thanks to programs like these, the toilet has become a status symbol. "It's cool to have a toilet. Be the first person on your block to have one!" Although I balk at social programming like this, and resent the ideal behind the marketing scheme, it seems to have worked. Who is really surprised? It's been working on the "West" for decades!

This just goes to prove that anything is marketable, and that using social pressure can make anything sexy, even a toilet.

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