Baby gorilla found alive after mother was killed

mountain gorillas

A baby gorilla, the daughter of one of Congo’s rare mountain gorillas, was found alive after her mother and three other adult gorillas were shot and killed by unknown assailants. The baby’s older brother rescued her from their mother’s body but could not feed her. The was dehydrated but otherwise unhurt. The brother let rescuers take the baby, which will be cared for by the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.

Virtual Toronto


I just found this: the Virtual City of Toronto combines maps and camera views. It should be good for urban planning or just getting a feel for the city.

Their “About Us” page says:

VirtualCity seeks to connect our users to their surroundings through the latest in innovative new mapping technologies. Visitors to our site are able to view major metropolitan areas through seamless digital landscapes encompassing GIS-accurate street-level photography, as well as search business names and view their actual storefront.

VirtualCity’s photographs are collected via mobile communication centers equipped with high-definition video cameras and the latest in global positioning technology. GIS-grade GPS, accelerometers to sense increases and decreases in acceleration, and gyro meters to sense directional changes, all tie into the vehicles’ computer bus to sense each full rotation of the wheels, while custom software compares these readings 10 times per second to create extremely accurate location data regardless of degraded GPS or “urban canyons.”

Millions of photographs are taken of each metropolitan area, giving our users the unique ability to stroll through selected streets, viewing points of interest before they ever leave their computer. In addition, we allow our users to traverse maps traditionally and find detailed directions complete with time and mileage summaries.

There is also a Virtual Montreal.

Astronauts flew while drunk

Later today, NASA is releasing a report that says astronauts flew while drunk in spite of a rule that prohibits them from drinking for twelve hours before a flight. It might have been “only for test flights.”

Hot shots!

They think well of themselves. It might be part of a risk-taking culture of test pilots.

Why does Germany hate Scientology?

Slate magazine has an article with this interesting topic.

Some German officials believe Scientology’s ideology is rooted in a kind of political extremism—a bit of a sensitive area for Germany since World War II. They also argue that Scientology is not a religion but a business, since local churches operate like franchises of the main organization.

The article adds this interesting bit of news:

While Germany is Scientology’s most outspoken critic, other European nations have also been suspicious of the U.S.-based movement. France considered banning the church in 2000, saying in a government report that “when such organisations disrupt public order and violate human dignity, measures should be taken to dissolve them.” A few weeks ago, a Russian court shut down a Scientology center in St. Petersburg, saying that the group didn’t have a license for its “auditing” and “purification” activities.

What meat inspectors look for

If you eat meat, you should know about meat inspection. That is a health service in which federal inspectors (all two of them) inspect all slaughterhouses to ensure that only healthy animals are sold as food. This interesting link shows some of the things that meat inspectors are looking for: meat inspection for general pathological conditions.

I found a picture of a liver affected by Fusobacterium necrophorum bacteria (see Lemierre’s Syndrome in previous post).


And here is the accompanying text:

Judgement : The judgement of animals and carcasses affected with abscesses depends on findings of primary or secondary abscesses in the animal. The portal of entry of pyogenic organisms into the system is also of importance. The primary abscess is usually situated in tissue which has contact with the digestive tract, respiratory tract, subcutaneous tissue, liver etc. The secondary abscess is found in tissue where contact with these body systems and organs is via the blood stream. The brain, bone marrow, spinal cord, renal cortex, ovary and spleen (Fig. 31) may be affected with secondary abscesses. In judgement of the carcass, the inflammation of the renal medulla and contact infection in the spleen and ovaries must be ruled out. A single huge abscess found in one of the sites of secondary abscesses may cause the condemnation of a carcass if toxaemia is present. In pigs an abscess is frequently observed in the jaw and in the spine. Spinal abscesses in pigs are commonly caused by tail biting (Fig. 32). The bacterial agent from the tail penetrating the spinal canal could be arrested in the lumbo-sacral and cervical spinal enlargements, initiating an abscess formation.

Inspectors should differentiate the abscesses in the active and growing state from the older calcified or healed abscesses. In domestic animals, the primary sites of purulent infections are post-partum uterus, umbilicus or reticulum in “hardware disease”. Secondary abscesses are frequently observed in distant organs. Small multiple abscesses may develop in the liver of calves as a result of infection of the umbilicus (“sawdust liver”, Fig. 33). Carcasses with such condition should be condemned.

The animals affected with abscesses spread through the blood stream (pyemia) are condemned on antemortem if the findings of abscesses are over most areas of the body and systemic involvement is evident as shown in elevated temperature and cachexia.

On postmortem examination, the carcasses are condemned for abscesses, if the abscesses resulted from entry of pyogenic organisms into the blood stream and into the abdominal organs, spine or musculature. An abscess in the lungs may require condemnation of the lungs and an passing the carcass if no other lesions are noted. Liver abscesses associated with umbilical infection require condemnation of the carcass. If no other infection is present the abscess is trimmed off and the liver may be utilized for human or animal food depending on the regulations of the respective country. Multiple abscesses in the liver require condemnation of the organ.

The audience for this guideline is meat inspectors in developing countries. English might not be their first language. I wonder if the Food and Agriculture Organization would be interested in a plain language rewrite, considering that all Web pages are now supposed to be accessible to the general public–and that means using very readable language.

Lemierre’s Syndrome

I am watching a TV program on The Learning Channel about a disease that puzzles many doctors: Lemierre’s Disease or Lemierre’s Syndrome. It starts with a sore throat, fever, great lethargy, and bodily weakness; but that is followed by high fever, stiffness, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and blood infection.

It’s called a “forgotten disease,” because it is now very rare: less than one case per million people. So it’s often not recognized.

Before antibiotics, Lemierre’s disease was fatal in about 90% of cases.

The cause is a bacterium, usually one of the genus Fusobacterium. The bacterium infects the throat but it causes an inflammation of the jugular vein. That causes a blood clot in the jugular. Pieces of the clot break off and take the bacterium to other places in the body, causing a variety of serious and mysterious symptoms.

The first patient developed a brain abscess in the left temporal lobe; she had to have brain surgery. Her head was held still by a frame while the surgeon did CAT scans to find the extent of the abscess and minimize the damage. At that point I remembered that I knew some technical writers who wrote the manuals for the probes and imaging software that are used in brain surgery. It’s nice to be helping out behind the scenes.

Friends can make you fat

thin vs. fatClose friends gain weight together–even if they live apart. A new study shows that if a friend gains weight, you’re 57% more likely to gain weight. Family members have a similar, but lesser effect. Neighbours have none. And this isn’t a small study. It’s an analysis of more than 12,000 people over more than 30 years. Researchers knew who were spouses, who were siblings, who were neighbours, who were friends, and what they weighed.

The same seems to occur for weight loss, but fewer people lost weight.

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