Living Today: Issues of modern living

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  May 16, 2003 at 4:45 AM
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The number of "living" languages spoken in the world is dwindling, according to a study by the University of East Anglia in England, published in the journal Nature.

A comparison of the factors affecting the loss of languages and the demise of wild animals has found the world's 6,000-plus tongues are facing the biggest risk of extinction, the British Broadcasting Corp. reports.

"The threats to birds and mammals are well known but it turns out that languages are far more threatened," says Professor Bill Sutherland, a population biologist.

Linguists estimate there are 6,809 "living" languages in the world today, but 90 percent are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people.


The sluggish economy is keeping companies from investing as much on new technologies that could eventually save them millions.

One victim is RFID, or radio frequency identification, which can be read automatically by sensors, allowing automated inventory tracking in warehouses and stores, USA Today reports.

According to an IBM survey, 68 percent of 60 big companies say they've made little or no investment in RFID in the past two years, even though it could save them money.

Goodyear has postponed plans to use the technology to track its own tire inventories. It's very expensive to get the system up and running, according to Goodyear Vice President Bill Hopkins.


The latest footwear trend is custom-made hiking boots.

Esatto Custom Footwear makes a unique boot that leverages technology and modular manufacturing together with skilled shoemakers to deliver a comfortable, custom shoe with the quality of old world craftsmanship.

"For many people the idea of hiking 2 miles, let alone the 2,160 miles of the Appalachian Trail, is out of the question, due to difficult-to-fit feet," David Smith, founder and president of Esatto Inc., says in a statement.

Many consumers believe if a boot weighs less, it's easier to walk farther, but with a poor fit a person won't go far, according to Smith.


With more single people now than in the past 30 years, a lot of human affection, and cash, is being spent on pets, TIME magazine reports.

"For people who don't have children, animals are as dear," says Steve Cohen, the owner of Miami Beach's Dog Bar, which offers organic food for dogs, such as $30-per-pound beef patties.

Less than a decade ago, Americans spent $17 billion a year on pet products and services. This year pet purchases are expected to rise to $31 billion.

There are doggie trench coats from Burberry, doggie spas with milk baths, arranged play dates in luxury surroundings and pet jewelry.

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