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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... things that shorten life expectancy.


CURWOOD: Nineteen-ninety-seven marks the centennial of the discovery of a number of organisms, mechanisms, and products that threaten humans. One hundred years ago, Dutch scientist Emile van Ermengem discovered the bacillus of Botulism. That same year, Masanori Ogata found that rat fleas were responsible for the spread of the Black Plague. Eighteen-ninety-seven was also the year that scientists first understood the role of the mosquito in transmitting malaria, and discovered the dysentery bacillus. On a slightly less organic scale, the Dum Dum Bullet Company of India unveiled a slug which expanded on impact, greatly increasing the amount of damage it does. The year also saw the introduction of the first turbine-powered warship and the precision torpedo. We should also pause for a moment to note the bicentennial of the invention of the cigarette in Cuba, and the quintcentennial of the year tobacco itself was first described to the western world. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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