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Just the Facts

airline passengerUnited Airlines Bumps Obese Passengers
United Airlines announced it will bump obese passengers from sold-out flights. Severely overweight passengers will have to purchase two tickets for the next flight or upgrade to first or business class. The airline received more than 700 complaints last year from passengers who had uncomfortable flights because of obese seatmates.

Monkeys Teach Their Children to Floss
Moms—including monkey moms—know how important clean teeth are. Researchers in Japan have observed long-tailed macaques teaching their young how to floss their teeth with strands of human hair. Researchers once thought that teaching others to use tools was an exclusively human behavior.

Mmm Mmm Good
Bonobos use barks, grunts, peeps, yelps, and peep-yelps to “rate” different types of food, according to researchers at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. These vocalizations are similar to other primates’ sounds, including the human versions of “Yum!” and “Ewww,” suggesting there may be a universal primate language for food. Bonobos use barks for their favorite foods (figs and raisins) and grunts for their least favorite (peppers).

Ghent Goes Veg
Thursdays are now meatless in the city of Ghent, Belgium, thanks to Deputy Mayor Tom Balthazar. The goal of this voluntary veggie day is to create awareness about the health and environmental effects of eating meat. Balthazar asked Ghent’s government offices and schools to choose meatless meals every Thursday.

swine fluPork Flu?
The World Health Organization cautioned that meat from pigs infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus should not be used for human consumption. Despite some suggestions to the contrary, it is possible for flu viruses to survive the freezing process and be present in thawed meat, as well as in blood, according to the WHO.

crowBird’s-Eye View
Jackdaw crows use their eyes to communicate much like humans do, according to a new study. Researchers found that the birds use visual clues to communicate and can tell what humans are looking at by observing their eyes. Zoologists believe jackdaws are sensitive to humans’ eyes because they are similar in appearance to their own species’ eyes.

USDA Faults Primate Lab
U.S. Department of Agriculture investigators have confirmed reports of animal mistreatment at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana, America’s largest primate research facility. Investigators observed several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including sedating animals without adequate monitoring, improperly transporting chimpanzees, and failing to properly heat outdoor enclosures, which caused some monkeys to lose their tails to frostbite.

Blinded by Beef
Diets heavy in beef, lamb, and pork may raise the risk of vision loss in later life, according to a new study from the University of Melbourne in Australia. Researchers found that people who eat red meat at least 10 times a week are 50 percent more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can lead to blindness.

veggie carVeggie Power!
The ecoF3 is the first race car made from eco-friendly materials, including potato fibers and resins, soybeans, and carrots. Created by scientists with the World First Racing team, the car has a biodiesel engine that runs on chocolate extracts and vegetable oil. 

PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall

man reading facts in newspaper

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