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Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs

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The study, published today in the journal Royal Society: Open Science, is part a series of tests given to the sheep to monitor their cognitive abilities. Because of the relatively large size of their brains and their longevity, sheep are a good animal model for studying neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease.

The ability to recognise faces is one of the most important human social skills. We recognise familiar faces easily, and can identify unfamiliar faces from repeatedly presented images. As with some other animals such as dogs and monkeys, sheep are social animals that can recognise other sheep as well as familiar humans. Little is known, however, about their overall ability to process faces.

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Recycling Mysteries: Tires (“pros & cons of recycling tires; room for improvement”)

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Let’s be honest: Tires make the world go round. Unless you’re a professional speed walker, your method of transportation probably involves tires of some sort. 

But these tires don’t last forever. Whether it’s an irreparable flat or loss of tread, eventually tires need to be replaced. Some tires can be retreaded for a second life, but what happens to those that are due for disposal? Let’s break down the ins and outs of recycling and properly disposing of your worn out wheels.

The EPA estimates that 45 percent of all scrap tires are burned for energy, also known as tire-derived fuel (TDF). Since the average tire contains five gallons of oil, they can generate comparable energy to crude oil or coal. 

More than 40 percent of TDF goes to cement kilns, but other uses include paper factories and electric companies. This means that keeping tires out of landfills affects the ground you walk on, the paper you write on and the lights in your home and office. 

The trick with TDF is that tires must be shredded first, since whole tires would be too large for a furnace. Shredding recovers much of the metal in a tire, such as the rim and lead weights used for balance. The metal can be extracted and recycled, leaving crumb rubber to use as fuel.

There are ways that tires can be recycled into new products, and most of these uses take place after shredding, since there is more demand for crumb rubber than whole tires. 

Crumb rubber can be used as the surface for playgrounds, because its soft padding helps prevent injuries. However, there has been recent debate over this use because of the potential toxins that tires may release, including lead and mercury.

The most important question still remains: How do you actually recycle tires? For starters, many retailers that sell tires will accept a limited number when you make a purchase. If you’re in the market for new tires, be sure to ask if recycling your old ones is an option.

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U.S. approves plans to release weaponized mosquitoes — for your own good (“nature-tampering”)

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The Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on a plan to release lab-grown mosquitoes to hunt down other disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Announced this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially signed off on an unorthodox plan to use lab-grown mosquitoes, developed by the Kentucky-based biotech company MosquitoMate, as insect assassins to hunt down disease-carrying wild mosquitoes. It’s part of a project called “Adam,” in which male mosquitoes (the ones that don’t bite, since male mosquitoes feed only on flower nectar) are used as vehicles to deliver a potent mosquito insecticide, thereby reducing mosquito populations.

“MosquitoMate has developed a novel mosquito control tool for the Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which we call ZAP,” Corey Brelsfoard, team leader for the Adam project, told Digital Trends. “ZAP mosquitoes are a non-biting, male Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that carry a bacterium named Wolbachia. Wolbachia is common throughout insects worldwide, with scientists estimating that over half of all insects naturally carry the infection. When ZAP males are released and mate with naturally occurring Asian Tiger mosquito females, the resulting eggs do not hatch, decreasing the number of the biting mosquito population and potentially impacting disease transmission.”

MosquitoMate’s early laboratory experimental work started as early as 2004 at the University of Kentucky. The company was then spun off in 2010 and has taken an additional seven years to gain its current EPA approved status. The lab-grown mosquitoes will first be deployed close to home in Lexington, Kentucky, although the EPA has given the greenlight for a total of 20 states — provided that the company registers with each individual state prior to releasing its buzzing cargo.

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Nike Stays Ahead Of The Regulators – ICIJ

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ike shifted billions in trademark profits between subsidiaries to avoid high taxes in Europe.
Profits on trademarks including the iconic Swoosh helped increase offshore profits to $12 billion plus – untaxed in United States.
Dutch tax deals and loopholes were seized on by Nike, Uber and other U.S.multinationals.

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‘There’s No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute’

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Despite California’s efforts to switch to a victim-centered approach for its sexually trafficked youngsters, change has not come easily or quickly.

In the last two years, two important and well-intentioned new laws affecting youth who have been sexually exploited have been passed, but the culture surrounding the issue of trafficked young people is still hard to change, according to Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of California, and chair of the California CSEC Action Team Committee.

She points for example to California’s State Bill SB 855, passed in 2014, which allocating $14 million in funding to provide state-mandated local training for foster care workers plus implementation of support programs for victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

It marked the beginning of getting people to look at the entire problem differently, but  it still did not clearly identify CSEC kids as victims of abuse, Heimov said.

“Even within the child welfare community these victims weren’t victims — they were criminals — young people who were making conscious choices to sell themselves for sex.”

The initial goals for those who work with trafficked youngsters are in many ways heartbreakingly basic, said Diane Iglesias, senior deputy director of the state Department of Children and Family Services.

After identifying the affected young people and getting them into a support network, she said, workers hope to persuade their traumatized charges not to run away from their safe housing and back to their pimps who, while abusive, are at least familiar.

Only once the cycle of running away is broken, she said, can the trafficked young people embrace treatment.

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