On The Lighter Side

The Eco-friendly Family

An eco-friendly family have reduced their household waste so much they have only filled one bin – in six months. The Strauss throw away an average of just 100g of litter every week – enough to fit in the palm of a hand. They do not buy anything with packaging, recycle everything they can, compost all their leftover food, and buy vegetables direct from local farmers. The family even take their own containers to their butcher to collect meat so they do not use any packaging or plastic.

Even over Christmas – when the average family threw out an extra five bags of rubbish – the Strauss family threw away just 78g of litter. They saved their wrapping paper from previous years, took their Christmas cards to recycling plants and made ‘zero-waste’ crackers out of loo roll tubes, according to news story published on Mail Online in January 2009.

Rachelle and husband Richard, who have a seven-year-old daughter Verona, started recycling last March by cutting back on their use of plastic. Rachelle has now set herself the target of throwing out just ONE binful of rubbish in the whole of 2009. Richard added: “When we started this I pledged not to take another plastic bag from a supermarket and I haven’t. We just try to buy food packaged with recyclable or reusable materials. We’re planning to go a full year creating the minimum amount of waste and hopefully this will amount to no more than one bin.”

Hybrid Buses Only Please

Going green was a cause she could really sink her teeth into. The New York Daily News, in its Crime section, reports the story of a woman, Shelia Bolar, 49, who apparently bit the driver of the bus she was riding on because she was upset. Why was she so mad? Because the bus wasn’t a hybrid!

“She came on the bus, and she said she waited more than an hour for a hybrid,” said MTA driver Peter Williams, 42. “I said, ‘I’m not in control of what bus is assigned to me.'”

From this we can conclude that she only rides in hybrid buses, and when none showed up she got frustrated. Once inside the bus, she started hollering at the driver and when she was done ranting she bit him through “a jacket, a sweater and a thick shirt, causing a bruise and swelling but not breaking skin.”

Bolar now faces assault charges and will undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The moral of this story? Crazy in the name of any cause, even green, is still crazy. If you want to ride only in hybrid buses, that’s fine (though kind of pointless since all the buses keep driving around whether you are inside them or not), but please don’t bite anyone!

First Cloned Dog Raises Issues of Ethics, Science

An American couple were so distraught at the prospect of losing their pet Labrador that they decided to pay £100,000 to clone him. Edgar and Nina Otto decided to have DNA samples of their pooch Sir Lancelot frozen six years ago, after he was diagnosed with cancer.

The £100,000 pooch, Lancelot Encore was created from cryogenically frozen DNA of the Otto’s dog Sir Lancelot. After he died last January in 2008, the wealthy pair then paid a biotech firm £108,000 to create Lancelot Encore.

BioArts CEO Lou Hawthorne teamed with Dr Hwang Woo-suk, a scientist with South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, to produce the dog.

To create Lancelot Encore, Woo-suk took an egg from what Hawthorne called ‘an indigenous Korean dog’ resembling a bloodhound, replaced the egg’s innards with the late Lancelot’s DNA, then implanted the egg in a second Korean dog.

Two months later, Lancelot Encore was born in South Korea, weighing 1lb 3oz. The Ottos say he’s the first single-birth, commercially cloned puppy in the United States.

A researcher holds two cloned beagle puppies named as ‘Magic’ and ‘Stem’ at the South Korean biotech firm, RNL Bio. They said a new method could slash the cost of cloning pets. RNL Bio said it has developed a new method to clone dogs using stem cells derived from fat tissue that greatly increases the likelihood of success.

According to chief executive Ra Jeongchan, two cloned beagle puppies were born in the past week using this method, which could reduce the cost of cloning a pet dog to about £35,000 within three years.

While some see canine cloning as assisting efforts to understand human stem cells, others denounce it. “Dogs are man’s best friend and have a special place in most cultures,” says Executive Director of the Genetics Policy Institute, Bernard Siege.

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Author Information

Rutaba Ahmed is Managing Editor of tbl. She holds a Bachelors in Business Management from University of Georgia, USA and a Masters in Communications Studies from University of Leeds, UK.

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