TROPICAL ICE CAPS MELTING
Like canaries that once signaled the existence of life-threatening gases in coal mines before miners could perceive them, tropical glaciers are a warning for civilization, according to the Web site AllAfrica.com.
Lonnie G. Thompson, a researcher at Ohio State University who has been studying ice caps for two decades, says some 82 percent of the massive ice field on Tanzania's fabled Mount Kilimanjaro has disappeared since it was first mapped in 1912.
The study by Thompson is published in the journal Science.
Thompson says the retreat of these large bodies of ice is part of the evidence that has convinced him global warming has begun to make an irreversible mark on the planet.
MICRO BUSINESS GROWTH
Technology, particularly the Internet, and the trend toward outsourcing have been responsible for the huge annual growth in the number of home-based businesses in Australia in recent years, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
According to Barbara Gabogrecan, managing director of the Micro Business Network, which represents businesses with five or fewer employees, 67 percent of small businesses -- about 770,000 -- are run from home, involving 1 million people.
Gabogrecan says three things usually prompt a business owner to look for outside premises: hiring staff, insufficient space and problems with neighbors.
BETTER ONLINE TRAVEL BARGAINS
More than 61 million households in the United States will book travel online this year, according to Forrester Research, a technology consultant.
They will spend roughly $20 billion on those bookings, or 10 percent of the travel industry total, The New York Times reports. Analysts say online buyers have been "trained" by airlines, hotels and rental car agencies to be on the lookout for 11th-hour bargains.
Henry Harteveldt, a Forrester analyst explains, "Consumers are buying much closer to their trips, which means more excess inventory for the suppliers, and more fire sales."
WHEN ENTERTAINMENT WAS OUTLAWED
What a difference a couple of centuries makes. Today, most of us would take a dim view of the government shutting down just about every form of entertainment because of outside threats to the country.
But that's exactly what the Continental Congress in 1774 did. War was looming with Britain and officials banned horse racing, gambling, shows, plays and -- just to be sure they left nothing out -- tossed in "all other expensive diversions and entertainments."
Now, the average American spends more than $2,000 dollars a year on entertainment, including movies, plays, horse races and spectator sports, according to the U.S. Census.