Wednesday, September 9, 2009

News Round Up: Culture Edition

Flu in the News
H1N1 is making news around the globe. The CDC is having a contest to decide the best public service announcement about swine flu prevention. Public awareness about H1N1 is important to help avoid the spread of the disease and encourage those who have come in contact with it to be treated.

In France, the government has taken a slightly different approach. Kissing, or "bises" of both cheeks is a common greeting that puts everyone in close contact. So, the government is officially discouraging kissing. There's a fairly humorous BBC story about it, but to keep it in perspective: in the U.S. bans like those in some French schools and businesses would be the equivalent of forbidding handshakes.

Science Around the World
Interested in science and science communication abroad? Check out what’s happening at the British Science Festival, one of Europe’s largest science festivals. Festival activities include lectures, chances to interact with the UK’s top scientists, and hands-on events for themes ranging from “medicine and health” to “the environment” and “what makes us human?” And because it offers events targeted for youth, adults, adults with some knowledge of the topic, and even families, this really is a prime example of how science can be fun and accessible.

For more about the fair and the scientists involved, check out the official website. Or, for the inside scoop, try BBC reporter Sue Nelson’s log. She includes anecdotes about scientists and even this equation (below) for a good science communicator, which we found pretty humorous.

What's so special about 09/09/09?
Finally, a random but interesting piece of news. As you might have noticed, today is 09/09/09. That may or may not mean much to you, but the Chinese think it is an especially lucky day because “nine, nine” in Chinese sounds like the word for “long-lasting.” As a result, tens of thousands of couples throughout China registered to get married today. Read more here.

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