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“Walking more than 2,200 miles across the U.S. sounds like enough of a challenge. But not for Erik Bendl, who has spent much of the last four years trekking through 23 states with the extra burden of a six-foot-high, 80lb inflatable canvas globe. Mr Bendl, 48, who calls himself ‘World Guy”, is now on his fifth epic trek in four years. The walks have taken him as far east as Acadia National Park in Maine and as far west as Pike’s Peak in Colorado – all to raise awareness of diabetes.” w/ photos
“For most of America, Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday. To some more extreme fans, it’s a religious holiday – brought to you in part by the Church of Budweiser. On this day, there’s massive food consumption, hooting and hollering, face and belly painting, and no shortage of televisions thrown angrily through windows. Some statistics suggest that the Monday following the Super Bowl is the most popular “sick day” taken by American workers… The Super Bowl, as celebration and spectacle, is 110% American. And in that spirit, don’t you think you should be well educated in one of this country’s most important holidays?” w/ photos
“It may be a simple form of pond life, but in terms of genetic complexity the humble water flea beats humans hands down. Scientists have learned that the 1mm-long creature has more genes than another other animal known. In total, around 31,000 genes are packed into its DNA. In comparison, humans have only around 23,000. The common water flea – Daphnia pulex – is the first crustacean to have a blueprint made showing the sequence of chemicals that make up genetic code, or genome. At first glance Daphnia seems ordinary enough, having a transparent body, jointed limbs, compound eyes and a simple nervous and circulatory system. But its genome is not only unusually large but full of surprises.” w/ photos
“She may be 4,000 years old, but that hasn’t stopped her from causing trouble between the US and China. A museum in Philadelphia has been told it cannot display the ‘Beauty of Xiaohe’, a nearly-perfect preserved mummy from far western China with hair and eye lashes still intact, along with a host of other historical artefacts. The museum announced on Wednesday that it was stripping the ‘Secrets of the Silk Road’ display of all objects that was due to open today at the request of Chinese officials. No reason has been given for why the exhibition has suddenly been halted after four months travelling around the US but there was speculation that it may be linked to the mummy’s Western appearance and Chinese sensitivities about what that implied for the region’s history. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology declined to say which officials they were and the Chinese consulate was unavailable for comment because of the Chinese New Year holiday. The Beauty of Xiaohe was the centre-piece of the exhibition along with a well-preserved mummy of a baby, along with vibrantly coloured burial trappings of a third mummy. The artefacts come from the Tarim Basin in the autonomous Xinjiang Uyghur region of China and are of particular interest because of their Caucasian features. This proves that people migrated east from Europe, taking their customs and skills with them.” w/ photos