by Tom Bosschaert

July 4, 2013

Tom Bosschaert

Twitter could land you in jail, AIDS-related mortality declines, and plants that do maths. Read all about it in this Wormfood.

Unexpected and Intriguing: Be aware of what you tweet...


  • Freedom of speech is not sacred in Grenada and Bahrain: 

    • Grenada passed a law that makes it a criminal offense to insult someone online. As the Associated Press reports, if you besmirch someone's character or name, you can be fined up to $37,000 or sent to jail for three years.

    • In Bahrain a High school pupil is sent to prison for one year for insulting the Gulf island's ruler via Twitter. Ali was accused of posting insulting comments about Sheikh Hamad Al-Khalifa using the account @alkawarahnews. Next to Ali five other twitter users were sentenced to a year in jail for insulting the king on twitter.

  • The Indian low cost carrier GoAir has decided to recruit only airhostesses from now on instead of the 'heavier' male flight pursers. The idea is to lighten the aircraft to reduce fuel costs
  • A group of Berliners are determined to save the rainforests with a for-pay eco-porn site. They claim to have already raised over €400,000 ($530,000)

Global news: Fewer people are dying from AIDS


  • AIDS-related mortality rates are declining rapidly. The scaling up of antiretroviral therapy averted an estimated 4.2 million deaths in low- and middle-income countries in 2002–2012 (Source: UN AIDS programme’s global update on HIV treatment 2013). 

  • The Chinese government loosened restrictions that kept Tibetan monks in two provinces, Qinghai and Sichuan, from openly revering the Dalai Lama. Authorities in the Sichuan province announced that people are allowed to display pictures of the Dalai Lama, and ordered officials not to criticize the spiritual leader. 

Energy & Environment: Climate change heats up Australia

  • A new study links the 2012 heat waves in Australia to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The study shows, with 90 percent confidence, that extreme summers in Australia are five times more likely to occur due to an increase in greenhouse gases.

  • Renewable energy will soon beat natural gas as the second-largest source of electricity worldwide, according to projections from the International Energy Agency. Despite a difficult economic context, renewable power is expected to increase by 40% in the next five years (Source: IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report). 

Business & Economy: Federal money disappeared

  • FBI agents are investigating a report that about $1.2 million bound for the federal reserve disappeared. This happened before or during a flight from Switzerland to New York City. 

  • Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's biggest gold producer, has delayed the opening of a giant mine for at least 18 months. The main reason is the recent drop in the price of gold.

Science, Technology & Design: Ikea to the refugee rescue! 

  • Ikea designed a refugee shelter together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). The shelters are twice as large as an old-school refugee tent, take about four hours to assemble, and should last for at least five years. 

  • The Obama administration and members of Congress are pressing India to curb the production of generic medication. The move comes at the behest of U.S. pharmaceutical companies, in spite of warnings from public health experts that inexpensive drugs from India are essential to providing life-saving treatments around the world.
  • Plants have a built-in capacity to do maths. Research shows that maths is used by plants to regulate food reserves at night. "This is the first concrete example in biology of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation," said mathematical modeller Prof Martin Howard.

Urban Environment: Old trees return to England

  • A £2.000.000 plan to clone and grow again all of Britain's biggest, oldest, tallest and most ecologically important trees has been devised by the US tree conservationist David Milarch. Only a small number of tree species have the genetic capacity to grow to a great size. Scientists are learning that these "super-trees" are vital for the health of entire forests.

  • Feast your eyes on these abandoned places taken over by nature
  • Do it yourself: build an indoor hydroponic garden using storage boxes. Good luck! 



This bi-weekly digest is assembled from items sent to us by Except members. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail Read past Wormfood global news reports here.


July 4, 2013