NEW YORK (CBS) — Arts and crafts enthusiasts have known for years that glitter tends to attach itself everywhere and never seems to come off.
Scientists now say the sticky decorations are an ecological hazard that needs to be banned across the globe.
Environmental scientists are arguing that the risk of pollution, specifically to the oceans, is too great to ignore and the tiny plastic particles need to be outlawed.
“I think all glitter should be banned, because it’s microplastic,” Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand’s Massey University said.
Microplastics are defined as plastics that are less than five millimeters in length.
The small size of the craft supply reportedly makes glitter appealing for many animals, who eat the dangerous objects.
A study by Professor Richard Thompson claimed that plastics were found in a third of all fish caught in Great Britain.
“I was quite concerned when somebody bought my daughters some shower gel that had glitter particles in it,” Thompson said. “That stuff is going to escape down the plughole and potentially enter the environment.”
Some British nurseries have already banned the products from their facilities as the country is expected to officially ban items that contain microbeads in 2018.
“There are 22,000 nurseries in the country, so if we’re all getting through kilos and kilos of glitter, we’re doing terrible damage,” director of Tops Day Nurseries Cheryl Hadland told the BBC.
In America, only seven states have passed legislation to restrict the use and sale of microbeads in products such as facial scrubs and body washes. California became the first to place a ban on the products in 2015.
By Cyrus Farivar
“The Court has admiration for Dr. Konopka’s devotion to her patients,” Merrimack County Superior Court Judge John Kissinger wrote in his Monday order to dismiss the case, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.
“Under these circumstances of this case, however, Dr. Konopka has failed to demonstrate that the extraordinary remedy of an injunction allowing her to continue to practice medicine is appropriate. To hold otherwise would be to ignore the process established by the legislature to regulate the practice of medicine in this state.”
In two lengthy phone interviews with Ars earlier this month, Konopka said if she is somehow reinstated by the state’s medical board—at this point, a big “if”—she would be willing to learn how to use the Internet to follow New Hampshire law.
Judge Kissinger agreed with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine‘s motion to dismiss. The Board argued, essentially, that because Konopka voluntarily agreed to relinquish her medical license after a series of investigations, there’s no going back now.
In the agreement with the board, which Konopka signed on September 12, she voluntarily surrendered her license to settle pending allegations regarding her “record keeping, prescribing practices, and medical decision making.”
Those allegations stem from five separate complaints against her. Under the terms of the agreement, she could reapply to regain her license, but the burden would be on her to prove that she did no wrong.
Konopka has denied any misconduct and asserted that she was under duress when she voluntarily surrendered her license. She underscored that she wants to continue practicing medicine but simply is not concerned with what she calls “electronic medicine,” her term for the vast bureaucracy often associated with modern medical practices.
According to NHPR, Konopka has filed a motion for reconsideration.
By Aris Folley
A nurse at an Indiana hospital was let go after an offensive tweet suggesting that the sons of white women “be sacrificed to the wolves” was traced back to her Twitter account.
According to officials at the Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Taiyesha Baker lost her job over the weekend after being linked to troubling posts online, the Indianapolis Star reported.
One tweet, which accused white baby boys of being future racists, terrorists, and killers, was posted from an account named Night Nurse, under which Baker was reportedly tweeting from.
“Every white woman raises a detriment to society when they raise a son,” the now-deleted post read. “Someone with the HIGHEST propensity to be a terrorist, rapist, racist, and domestic violence all-star. Historically every son you had should be sacrificed to the wolves B-tch.”
The hospital said in a statement last week that it was looking into the incident and would take “appropriate action,” according to the Washington Post.
“IU Health is aware of several troubling posts on social media which appear to be from a recently hired IU Health employee,” the hospital said Saturday. “Our HR department continues to investigate the situation and the authenticity of the posts. During the investigation, that employee (who does not work at Riley Hospital for Children) will have no access to patient care.”
On Sunday, the hospital said: “A recently hired IU Health employee tied to troubling posts on social media this weekend is no longer an employee of IU Health.”
Baker was reportedly licensed as a registered nurse in late October and claimed to have worked in pediatrics, according to deleted social media posts cited by WXIN.
By Brett Molina
Here’s one way to put down that smartphone: grab yourself a substitute.
An Austrian designer created a “substitute phone,” which looks like a smartphone, but features stone beads on a track to resemble gestures like swiping or tapping.
The designer, Klemens Schillinger, created the “substitute phone” based on his observations of people constantly scrolling and reading on their smartphones.
“The shape of the Substitute Phone replicates an average smartphone, however, its functions are reduced to the movements we make hundreds of times on a daily basis,” reads a description on his website.
The “phone” offers no digital features. Instead, uses just swipe the stone beads back and forth to simulate gestures you would make on a regular smartphone.
“This calming limitation offers help for smartphone addicts to cope with withdrawal symptoms,” according to the website.
In an email to USA TODAY, Schillinger said he plans to make them available for purchase in the near future.
While the smartphone has become the most important gadget in our lives, there have been concerns whether we spend too much time scrolling on our devices.
Last year, American consumers spent an average of five hours a day on their smartphones, nearly double the amount of time from 2013, says Flurry Analytics, a research firm specializing in analyzing mobile usage.
By Timothy B. Lee
Ten out of 12 water utilities in the United Kingdom admitted that their technicians use divining rods to find underground leaks or water pipes, according to an investigation by science blogger Sally Le Page.
Dowsing is a centuries-old technique for locating underground water. Someone searching for water holds two parallel sticks—or sometimes a single Y-shaped stick—called divining rods while walking in an area where there might be water under the surface. The branches supposedly twitch when they’re over a water source.
Needless to say, there’s zero scientific evidence that this technique actually works better than random chance. But Le Page got a bunch of UK water companies to admit that their technicians still employ the superstitious practice.
Le Page heard from her parents, who live in Stratford-upon-Avon, that a technician from their water company, Severn Trent Water, had been using a divining rod to decide whether to do work in the area. Curious, Le Page tweeted at Severn Trent’s Twitter account to see if the utility really had technicians using the age-old technique.
“We do have some techs that still have them in the van and use them if they need to,” the company tweeted. “However, we prefer to use listening sticks and other methods.”
Curious, Le Page sent inquiries to 11 other major water companies in the UK. Amazingly, 10 of them confirmed that their technicians sometimes use divining rods to detect leaks, while just two—Northern Ireland Water and Wessex Water—said they never use the technique.
This didn’t sit well with Le Page.
“You could just laugh this off. Isn’t it a bit silly that big companies are still using magic to do their jobs,” she wrote. “Except if they get it wrong, that could mean the difference between an entire town having safe drinking water or not.”
By William Saletan
Last week, the Museum of the Bible opened in Washington, D.C. When the museum was first conceived, it was intended to “inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible,” according to documents filed in 2010. But then, scholarship and dialogue intervened. The original vision of Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby and an outspoken conservative evangelical, gave ground to the reality that “the” Bible—a single, clear, definitive text—is a myth.
“There is no such thing as the Bible,” David Trobisch, the museum’s director of collections, said matter-of-factly last week as he sat next to Green at a press lunch organized by the Faith Angle Forum. With Trobisch and other scholars guiding the process, the Museum of the Bible became a real museum, exploring the messy history and shifting contents of the Judeo-Christian canon.
Green’s reputation as a conservative crusader has aroused skepticism of the museum. Critics portray the 430,000-square-foot building, just a few blocks from the Capitol, as a propaganda showcase. But what I found was a surprising degree of frankness, even agnosticism. If you want the cartoon Bible, eternal and infallible, you can find it in quotes from Scripture on purple banners along the walls. “Every word of God is pure,” says one. “The law of the Lord is perfect,” says another. “The Word of our God stands forever,” says a third. But start poking around in the exhibits, and things get interesting. Many Bible stories, you soon learn, aren’t original. The flood, for instance, echoes Babylonian tales. “In each version, a growing population upsets a god,” a plaque explains dryly. “A single hero listens to the supreme being, builds a boat before a catastrophic flood, and then sends out birds.”
Next you discover that the holy book is full of spin. One placard describes how texts of the ancient Assyrians celebrated their conquests of Judean cities. Jewish and Christian bibles, describing the same events, “emphasize how God miraculously preserved Jerusalem.” Cyrus, the Persian king, saw himself as an instrument of Babylon’s deity. But writers of the Hebrew Bible, concerned with a different question—Is it good for the Jews?—”portray Cyrus as an agent of Israel’s God.” After every battle, Arameans and Moabites told the same story the Israelites did: Either their god led them to victory, or he punished them with defeat.
When Trobisch says there’s no such thing as “the” Bible, he’s alluding in part to the seven versions displayed along a wall on the museum’s fourth floor: Hebrew, Samaritan, Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian. Each has its own selection of texts, a sign on the wall observes, “yet each one is a Bible.” In display cases, you can read about the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and other texts that haven’t made the cut. But don’t count them out. Such “Apocrypha,” another note explains, have been appended to various Bibles, on and off, for centuries.
The more closely you look at the history of Scripture, the more you see how fluid it is. In the New Testament, the gradual canonization of text is obvious. “In time, writings widely associated with the apostles’ teaching came to be regarded as scripture,” says one display. But you also learn how Jews layered texts over the Torah, adding narrative speculations and “expanding the Scriptures” through the Middle Ages.
Interpretation is just one avenue of expansion. Archaeology is another. The Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed only decades ago, and “new discoveries are still being made,” says one exhibit. Green should know: Hobby Lobby recently paid millions of dollars to settle a government complaint that it had smuggled Iraqi artifacts that may have been looted. Perhaps for that reason, or perhaps out of scholarly humility, the museum’s display of putative Dead Sea Scrolls fragments bears a cautionary note. “Are these fragments real?” it asks. “Research continues.”
The museum’s second-floor collection traces more recent history. It details and laments the persecution of believers. One display bears the title, “Martyrs and the Bible: Dying for the Faith.” But “the faith,” like “the Bible,” turns out to be a myth. Christians have been persecuted largely by other Christians. In Catholic–Protestant clashes, a plaque recalls, “Different versions of the Bible were condemned as unauthorized or heretical” and were destroyed, often with their followers. Dissenters fled to America, but “each group brought its own version of the Bible.” So the conflicts continued.
Today, politicians glorify the Bible as the foundation of democracy, freedom, and civil rights. But the Bible was also invoked against such ideas, and the museum doesn’t hide this. “Throughout history, the Bible has been used as a source of authority for heads of state,” says one display. There’s a case stocked with old religious tracts that defended “the divine right of absolute monarchy.” Another exhibit notes that early feminists used Scripture to justify equal rights for women, but “opposition was scathing, especially among clergymen, who often quoted the Bible to justify women’s subservient status.”
The most striking concession is the museum’s account of the debate over slavery. Scripture was crucial to the movements for abolition and civil rights. But the collection also shows how verses such as Ephesians 6:5 (“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters … as unto Christ”) and Genesis 9:25 (“a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren”) were deployed to rationalize human bondage. One case displays an 1808 book titled Parts of the Holy Bible, Selected for the Use of the Negro Slaves. A note explains that the volume features passages about obedience but “omits all entries that express themes of freedom,” including the story of the Exodus.
The museum can’t entirely avoid contemporary politics, and it struggles with unresolved debates. Galileo, having won his dispute with religious authorities centuries ago, gets a statue and a vindicating plaque. But Darwin doesn’t: The exhibit says only that he sparked a “debate between traditional and more progressive interpretations of the Bible.” On criminal justice, the museum shows no such reticence. It pushes back against the use of passages about an “eye for an eye” and putting people to death. “The Bible tempers retribution with forgiveness and mercy,” says one plaque. Another touts the restorative justice movement and its view that “God’s compassion takes priority over his wrath.”
The museum wasn’t meant to sow doubt. In our meeting last week, Green and the museum’s president, Cary Summers, made clear that they want to inspire visitors to explore God’s word. Green believes that if he can get people to pick up the holy book, it will sell itself. Maybe so. But by yielding to a more scholarly vision of what the museum should be, he’s also betting that a candid presentation of the text’s backstory, uncertainty, and malleability won’t dissolve the idea of “the Bible.” I admire his faith.