Some interesting news

Beware of white coats!

White coats could pose a health hazard to the world at large, according to a group of Dutch researchers. These symbols of the efficient, well-managed laboratory provide the perfect escape route for large numbers of possibly dangerous, genetically engineered bacteria. They survive on wet coats that dry at the laboratory before being sent to the laundry. The first step of a commercial wash is to soak the coats in water at 35 degrees — just the right condition to release the E.coli bacterium widely used in genetic engineering. The water, with added E.coli, is flushed straight into the sewerage system.

Source: New Scientist no 1813

Cuba engaged

Each year 60 million attempts are made to telephone Cuba from the US; only 500,000 get through. Just 79 lines are available because, since 1962, the US has prohibited all commercial dealings with Fidel Castro’s government. Since 1966 the Cubans have not received their share of the price of the calls, estimated to be worth at least $60 million. Now American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) wants to open up communications with Cuba, and with Vietnam and North Korea too. If accepted, the AT&T offer would make possible 750,000 calls to Cuba using an outdated cable salvaged from beneath the Atlantic, where it once carried calls between the US and the UK.

Source: The Economist vol 322 no 7751

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