Our Times: November 2007

 
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cat got your tongue?

Humans enjoy five— or six—kinds of taste buds: sour, bitter, salty, umami (or meatiness) and sweet—as well as, possibly, fat. Unlike every other mammal examined to date, cats lack the ability to taste sweetness.

global free wi-fi

A company called Meraki wants to cover the earth with ad hoc wireless computer networks.

When each “Mini” network hub connects to at least one other Mini, the network self-configures— sharing the internet with all in reception range. The $US50 Mini is the size of a small radio. It contains less than $US5 worth of components, including a few chips and a radio-frequency transmitter. Founder Sanjit Biswas says his goal, and that of Meraki, is to “connect the next billion people.”

heavy drinking

A large study in China suggests heavy alcohol consumption may significantly increase the risk of stroke in men. The risk of stroke was 22 per cent higher while the risk of mortality was 30 per cent higher among men who drank the most— at least 35 drinks a week— compared with non-drinkers