Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, September 28, 2009


Palau is the place where sharks can relax

Palau's shark sanctuary is largely symbolic at the moment; there's only one boat patrolling 240,000 square miles of newly protected territorial waters.

But it's laudable that the tiny Western Pacific nation is the first in the world to designate such a protective zone for more than 130 species of sharks fighting extinction. Palau has raised the bar for shark conservation, and reminds the world that rising demand for shark fin soup in China makes sharks prey, not predators.



Asking for car keys lowers crash risk

Teenagers who have to borrow their parents' cars may grumble, but researchers at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that it's safer for young drivers to share a vehicle than to have unfettered access to one of their own.

The lower crash rate doesn't reflect less driving time, but is likely due to having to ask for the car keys, which helps parents monitor their kids' driving habits, the researchers said.



The big day approaches for fans of Father Damien

The excitement is mounting among residents of Kalaupapa, Molokai, and those in the Catholic community as Oct. 11 quickly approaches.

That's the day that Father Damien—the Blessed Damien de Veuster—will be declared a saint in Vatican City for his work with Hansen's disease patients on Molokai in the 1800s.

Among the many local folks making the trip to Rome and attending an audience with Pope Benedict XVI will be nine Boy Scouts, the “;St. Damien Troop.”; The youths, chosen for their exemplary character, will also be visiting Blessed Damien's birthplace in Belgium.

And in the spirit of the 21st century, the group will be blogging and posting their experiences on the likes of Facebook and YouTube.