A teenager barely survived flesh-eating bacteria after getting her breasts pierced. An infection in one breast led to "necrotizing fasciitis," aka gas gangrene. Doctors saved her by removing her breast all the way up to the collar bone. Hypothesis: The piercing provided an entry point for the bacteria. Girl's takeaway: Don't get your breasts pierced. Takeaway with fine print: If you get your breasts pierced and happen to be diabetic like this girl, which increases the risk of infection, you might become the fourth person in recorded history to get flesh-eating bacteria in the breast area. (For Human Nature's previous update on the risks of tongue piercing, click here. For tattoos, click here. For HN's take on self-mutilation, click here.)
Britons are vandalizing the country's growing army of speed surveillance cameras. The government has set up thousands of cameras to catch speeders; one vigilante group alone claims to have damaged more than 1,000. Favored techniques: "digging them up; shooting, hammering and firebombing them." Government's spin: 1) The cameras have reduced average speeds, injuries, and deaths. 2) Polls show most Brits support them. 3) Did we mention the $200 million in handy revenue from fines? Opponents' spin: 1) "It's just a road tax." 2) The cameras distract drivers and cause sudden braking, both of which are dangerous. 3) GPS and other technologies will help us outwit Big Brother. Government's rejoinder: We have our own new technologies, such as fireproof camera housing and better resolution to identify drivers. (For Human Nature's previous update on new U.S. border surveillance cameras, click here. For private use of cell phone cameras to catch flashers, click here.)
New Zealand researchers proposed to ban smoking in cars when children are inside. Rationale: Even with the windows down, you get as much secondhand smoke in a car as in a smoky bar—and the country already bans smoking in bars. Six months ago, Arkansas banned smoking in cars when a child is strapped into a car seat. Next: The legislator who spearheaded the Arkansas ban wants to ban smoking by pregnant women, since the womb is another place where a child can't escape a parent's smoke. (For a previous update on the Arkansas ban, click here. For Human Nature's take on the global movement to ban smoking and regulate unhealthy food, click here.)
Latest Human Nature columns: 1) Rush Limbaugh's reality problem. 2) Pills, booze, and Mark Foley's abuser. 3) The perils of policing cybersex. 4) Pro-lifers against contraception. 5) The first penis transplant. 6) Is eugenics better than sex? 7) Buried alive in your own skull. 8) The global explosion of fat. 9) Stop killing meat and start growing it. 10) The war on tanning.