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5 things you absolutely must know today

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There’s gold in that there poop

There is gold and other precious materials in human poop, apparently. And the finding has excited a bunch of U.S. researchers, who are scrambling to find ways to extract the gold they found in the crap of a sewage treatment plant. This juicy news brief was divulged during a recent American Chemical Society meeting in Denver. “The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit,” said Dr Kathleen Smith co-author of the study. “We’re interested in collecting valuable metals that could be sold, including some of the more technologically important metals, such as vanadium and copper, that are in cell phones, computers and alloys.” A previous study on human poop said that the excrement of one million Americans could contain as much as $13M worth of metals. Great stuff. The BBC article this brief cites did not mention how there comes to be gold in poop. This writer would like to know that. [Source: BBC]

Janice Filmon becomes Manitoba’s next Lieutenant-Governor

Janice Filmon, yes, the spouse of former premier Gary Filmon, has been appointed as Manitoba’s Lieutenant-Governor. Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave her the nod late last week, though the news only broke recently. Filmon will replace Philip Lee, who sat in the vice-regal post as the Queen’s Manitoba representative in Manitoba since 2009. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2012, and Harper lauded her for her strong commitment to health care and education. [Source: Global News]

Airliner carrying 148 crashes in French Alps

A Germanwings airliner with 148 people on board has crashed between Barcelonnette and Digne, in the French Alps. The Airbus A320 issued a distress call at 9:47 GMT Tuesday while on route to Barcelona, according to AFP news. Early reports say debris has been spotted at an altitude of 2,000 metres, and that search and rescue crews are on their way. “The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors,” said French President Francois Hollande. Germanwings is a subsidiary of Lufthansa. The cause of the accident is not yet known. [Source: BBC]

Californian farmers are selling water back to state at exorbitant rates

California has one year of water left in its reserves, according to a recent L.A. Times article. The state’s drought is so severe, farmers are selling their water back to the government instead of using the scarce and now expensive commodity to grow crops, because doing so makes them more money. California’s lawmakers have cracked down on water usage, tightening restrictions on things like watering lawns. But that won’t be enough, many fear. Depending on winter precipitation next year, the state may have to enter the home and start rationing household water usage, shower times, and excessive flushing (we added this one). [Source: Modern Farmer]

Utah brings back death by firing squad

Utah has decided to bring back firing squads as a way to carry out death penalties when lethal injections drugs are not available, according to a measure Governor Gary Herbert signed into law Monday. This move back in time makes Utah the only such state to use firing squads. Other states are entertaining other execution methods, as lethal injection drugs have become increasingly scarce since European suppliers opposed to capital punishment ceased shipments. [Source: BBC]


Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.

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