The truth is out there: 06/03/2010

A weekly look at the world
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*Backyard bunnies could be the solution to the climate crisis suggests the Good blog this week, with a report on why rabbit is the most sustainable meat for the urban farmer. Part of the reason is that rabbits forage and therefore don't compete with humans for calories. And as Meatpaper editor and co-founder Sasha Wizansky points out, they can be easily raised and butchered, eat kitchen scraps and fertilise the garden.

*Possibly the world's first "bin man Olympics" was staged in Gumi, South Korea, this week as 500 desperate people competed for 14 jobs as road sweepers. The contestants had to sprint with a 20kg bag of rice and race against the clock to sweep 100m of road. Friends and family cheered them on as they proved their dog poo disposal skills.

*Neuromarketing – the study of brain scans by marketing experts – could be the next big thing according to new analysis by researchers from Duke and Emory Universities. The sinister-sounding technique takes the tools of modern brain science, like the functional MRI, and applies them to the field of consumer decision-making. It may soon prove an affordable way for marketers to gather information that was previously unobtainable, or that consumers themselves were not even fully aware of, said Eurekalert.

*An entire model home has been reported stolen by a housing company in the Mojave desert. The company was using the building as an office after the couple it was built for died. The $45,000 home "was set on piers and whoever stole it, took the piers and all", a Stateswide Homes spokeswoman told NBC Los Angeles. They are offering a $1,000 reward.

*The Russian military has expressed interest in a new noiseless electric rifle designed by a teenager. Maxim Kotelnikov, 15, based the weapon on US and Korean designs he saw on TV. The rifle weighs 6kg, fires magnetised cartridges and has shown superior performance to sniper rifles, said Pravda. "This weapon is unique for it fires noiselessly. There is no shock of discharge and a shot does not produce a flare. No other sniper rifle can do it. I designed my own system, which I called the Nucleus System," Kotelnikov said.

*A mind-reading computer system that can spell out words on a laptop was unveiled by Austrian firm Gtec at the CeBIT computer exhibition in Hanover. Described as the first patient-ready computer-brain interface, it is designed for people unable to speak or write. A skull cap covered with electrodes transmits brain signals which tell the computer which letter to select, reported ITpro.

*It may not go far in balancing the budget but Canada is now $9,635 better off after topping the medals table at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Cybermetrics calculated the haul after this year's gold medals – the first containing metal salvaged from electronic waste – were valued at $537 and silver at about $300. Gold and silver medals are actually 92.5 per cent silver while the bronze are mostly copper and worth only $3.40.