~ Posted by Robert Butler, April 16th 2012 read more »
It may sound like something out of a National Enquirer article, but these rats really do save lives. In this Economist audio slideshow Bart Weetjens, founder of Apopo Detection Rats Technology, discusses training chihuahua-sized rodents to detect landmines and tuberculosis. He developed the idea after reading about explosive-sniffing gerbils and now runs a training and resource center in Tanzania, and his rats have been accredited by International Mine Action Standards. read more »
It may have escaped the attention of even More Intelligent Life's most eagle-eyed readers that Economist.com, our sister site, daily publishes a short briefing produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit--yet another sister. For example: "The tiger tamed: Ireland's economy faces three years of declining output". These briefings are often interesting, always true and rarely artsy.
When the duty to announce each day's publication of a new EIU briefing falls on one Josie Delap, Economist.com's editor of Country Briefings, she makes the most of this apparently dry work. (A lover of the desert, Josie is an accomplished Arabist and traveller across arid lands.) Patient, curious and some say brilliant, she is also a budding poet who specialises in making do with what she finds, often marking the arrival of the latest EIUism with a rhyming couplet or, on a good day, a sonnet. It was an exceptional day in this office when, posed with a challenge, Josie undertook to bring us the news in the form of a sestina. Behold:
I sit shivering at my desk todayWondering what The EconomistWants me to publish, What searing piece of intelligence,What distilled unitOf insight will be next to tantalise.
Will South Africa’s troubles tantaliseThe editors todayAs they ponder over which unitOf Economist content, all comparableIn their appeal to the intelligenceOf our readers, to publish?
read more »