The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) wants the world to eat more bugs. In their new paper "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security," FAO outlines the importance of using insects as a way to increase sustainable food production in the midst of population growth, climate change, overfished oceans, and water shortages. Insects have high growth and conversion rates and a low environmental footprint, which means they are one of the least resource-intensive ways of converting solar power into fuel for humans. Insect eating tends to occur in countries where there is intense poverty and meat like chicken and beef is too expensive. Even though having a human diet including bugs is not rare, there is still a stigma in first-world countries about eating them. As countries become more prosperous, they eat more domesticated animals and less insects.
A millionaire British businessman has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for selling fake bomb detectors to countries at war, resulting in the maiming and killing of hundreds of people by explosive devices. James McCormick, a former policeman, reportedly made $75 million from the Iraqi government alone. Authorities believe that McCormick managed to get his contracts by the use of massive bribes. The devices, which were based on novelty golf ball finders, cost around $20 to produce, and McCormick sold them for nearly $40,000 each to the Iraqi government. McCormick—who can be freed after five years of his sentence—also faces an additional 10 years if he fails to disclose his profits from the faulty detectors. Sequestration orders have also been made on McCormick's properties in Britain, including a £3.5 million home in Bath, a £2.5 million farmhouse in Somerset, and a £600,000 yacht.
Source: The Independent
New legislation signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer prohibits cities and counties from destroying guns that come into their possession—instead, the firearms have to be sold to federally licensed dealers. Firearm groups, including the National Rifle Association's legislative action arm, pushed and urged members to support the bill. The NRA believes weapons that maintain their value and are sold back to the public will help recover funds when budgets are strained. However, Councilwoman Regina Romano called HB 2455 "ridiculous" in light of the string of mass shootings in the US over the last few years—such as the Tucson shooting, which left six people dead and 13 wounded, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The Phoenix police department intends to hold as many buybacks as possible during the three months before the law takes effect. The city is offering $100 gift cards for turned in handguns, shotguns, and rifles, and $200 for assault rifles. All the weapons will be destroyed.
Source: LA Times
Since 2002, participants of the civil disobedience movement Yomango have been practicing ideological shoplifting. Slang for "I steal" in Spanish, Yomango is also a pun on a the local clothing company, MANGO. Those who participate in Yomango steal from multinational franchises and exchange loot with one another. Those who partake in the countercultural movement also share the secrets of turning junk into DIY thieving tools, such as an alarm detector resistant handbag made from a cookie box, or a jacket with pockets that makes swiped goods virtually disappear. Framed as a political act, the goals and purposes of the thievery is set by the individual—not the larger movement. Yomango has spread to Germany, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile.
A transgender woman in Hong Kong won her court appeal allowing her to marry her boyfriend and forcing the government to rewrite the city's marriage law—which was previously only allowed between couples who were the opposite sex at birth. The woman, known as "W" under anonymity rules, underwent a government-subsidized sex reassignment surgery over five years ago. She argued that post-operative gender is recognized by the law and that the previous rulings were a violation of her constitutional rights. Hong Kong's Registrar of Marriages said W could not marry her boyfriend because her birth certificate—which cannot be altered under the city's law—said she was male. The court decided that focusing on biological features at the time of birth was contrary to principle, considering the extensive changes Hong Kong has made to the social institution of marriage. Human rights activists are heralding the ruling as a step forward in recognizing the right of sexual minorities. The decision will be suspended for 12 months to allow the city to amend the city's marriage laws.
Successful lobbying by South Korea, Ireland, Poland, and other countries won them special provisions in the 867-page immigration bill now before Congress. For example, Ireland and South Korea secured a fixed number of special visas for guest workers seeking to come to the United States; Poland was added to the list of nations whose citizens can travel to the US as tourists without visas; and Canada successfully increased the number of days their nonworking citizens ages 55 and older can stay in the United States from 182 to 240 days each year. Critics of the law believe some of the provisions could create an influx of foreigners large enough to undermine American workers, whereas supporters believe loosening the tourist visa requirements could result in billions of dollars annually from additional visitors. Created by a bipartisan group of eight senators, the immigration package calls for tougher, broader security, an increased number of visas for high-skilled works, and making the process of securing a permanent resident visa, or green card, easier for those already living in the US. The push to revise these rules has support from the White House and tourism-promoting groups in the US. Some believe the change would create a loophole that would leave the US vulnerable to increased illegal immigration unless the US sets up a long-delayed system to monitor the arrival and the exit of visitors.
Source: New York Times
A recent study found that marijuana users have smaller waists, higher levels of HDL (good cholesterol), and reduced insulin levels. Despite acute increases in caloric intake—sometimes up to 600 extra calories per day—there is a reduced prevalence of obesity among marijuana smokers. Researchers at the University of Nebraska, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center studied 4,600 adults, of which 12 percent identified as current marijuana users and 42 percent said they had smoked in the past. The participants were tested for blood sugar control, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels, waist circumference, and both fasting insulin and glucose levels. The study found that current marijuana users had significantly smaller waist circumferences than those who had never smoked, even when adjusting for factors like age, sex, tobacco, alcohol use, and physical activity levels. Current marijuana smokers insulin levels were reduced by 16 percent and a 17 percent reduction in their insulin resistance—a condition that makes it difficult for the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. People who hadn't smoked in the past 30 days had similar results, but to a lesser degree. The reported amount of marijuana smoked did not impact the outcome.
Source: The Atlantic