MACAU Venetian Macao, world's biggest casino, opens
WILLIAMSPORT, PA. U.S. team beats Japan in Little League World Series
OLYMPIA, GREECE Deadly wildfires burn nearly 500,000 acres
UNIONTOWN, PA. The Big Mac turns 40
EASTERN EGG ROCK, MAINE Decoys help lure puffins back to island KABUL Afghanistan's opium harvest is up 34%
Obesity in America
Americans keep packing on the pounds, according to the fourth annual obesity report from the Trust for America's Health. In the past year, obesity rates have gone up in 31 states, and no states had shrinking rates. The report found that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, 60% of the population in 32 states is overweight or obese and more than 30% of Mississippians are obese--the highest number for any state ever. Outdoorsy Colorado is still the least overweight state. [This article contains a complex diagram. Please see hardcopy of magazine.]
DEFINITION kwik-ship n. The name for a $20,000 bonus offered to U.S. Army recruits who agree to report for basic training within 30 days of signing up.
CONTEXT The Army instituted the two-month program on July 25, hoping to meet its goal of 80,000 recruits in basic training by Sept. 30; 92% of new recruits who signed up in the first three weeks of the program agreed to the hefty Q.S. bonus, some of them leaving home within days of enlisting.
USAGE Quick-shippers can be in combat situations in as little as four months. The extra cash, which amounts to more than an entire year's average starting salary for a new recruit, will be paid in installments over the course of a three-year enlistment. The program may be successful thus far, but critics say it shows that the Army is running out of enticements to meet its quotas and that it will have an even harder time making its numbers the next go-around.
Flour or Anthrax?
THE MIX-UP An ophthalmologist and his sister sprinkled flour in a Connecticut Ikea parking lot. An ensuing bioterrorism scare forced hundreds to evacuate. The two now face felony charges.
THE DISH The dusting marked a trail for the local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a global group that says it's a "drinking club with a running problem." Lead runners mark a trail, the rest follow.
THE FALLOUT The Harriers stopped using flour for a while after 9/11. Paint may be a safer bet from now on.
Out-of-Body Experiences 101
When anyone cries "supernatural," neuroscientists have long rushed to find a natural cause. Now comes a study in Science that re-creates the sensation of being outside your body. Scientists in the U.K. and Switzerland had subjects wear virtual-reality goggles in which their own images appeared, then rubbed their backs with a stick while rubbing the virtual selves with a virtual stick. Sure enough, the subjects thought the fake image was the real them.
JUST ONE PROBLEM In real out-of-body experiences, there are no goggles and no sticks. So it's not entirely clear what the neuroscientists have proved this time around.
Energy doesn't grow on trees. That is why scientists are hard at work trying to find alternative sources of fuel. On Aug. 23, Sony announced its green-battery prototype, which is made out of a vegetable-based plastic and is powered by converting sugar into electricity. "We need to always be thinking green," says Derek Lovley, a UMass-Amherst microbiologist who does his part by researching mud-microbe batteries. Other sources tapped into:
RECHARGEABLE Nearly 150 years ago, a French physicist designed a reusable battery using lead dipped in acid. Today, outlet-ready rechargeables are ubiquitous--and a lot safer.
BACTERIAL Scientists have used sugar-eating microbes from the ocean to convert food into electricity. In theory, a cup of sugar could power a 60-watt bulb for 17 hours.
NANOTECHNOLOGY The size of a stamp, this "paper battery" gets juice from tiny atoms known as carbon nanotubes that are dunked in liquid electrolytes to help conduct power.
ALCOHOL Researchers are working on a battery that uses the reaction between alcohol and enzymes as electricity. Ethanol is ideal, but vodka or beer could do in a bind.