Staff at Chester Zoo are celebrating the arrival of three tiny additions which are set to continue their work to save a species from extinction.
Three Egyptian tortoises, each smaller than a raspberry, were hatched at the zoo in the last few days.
Kevin Buley, head of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, said the survival of the species depended on breeding programmes at zoos across the world.
The Egyptian Tortoise is critically endangered in the wild.
“Our tortoises might well be tiny at the moment but what they currently lack in size, they make up for in importance,” said Mr Buley.
“It is only through the continued successful breeding of this species in zoos in the coming years, that there can be any hope of one day seeing these animals returned to the wild.”
The Egyptian Tortoise is found in the wild in Mediterranean coastal deserts of Egypt, Eastern Libya and western Negev in Israel.
Its numbers have rapidly declined since the 1960s because of the exotic pet trade and destruction of its habitat through development.
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens’ privacy and was not a civil liberties issue.
And just by saying that, he acknowledges that it is indeed a civil liberties issue.
Perhaps a better solution would be to simply tattoo a serial number on everybody’s arm — it’d be functionally equivalent, but much cheaper to implement.
Nathan Bales represents a troubling trend for cellular phone carriers. The Kansas City-area countertop installer recently traded in a number of feature-laden phones for a stripped-down model. He said he didn’t like using them to surf the Internet, rarely took pictures with them and couldn’t stand scrolling through seemingly endless menus to get the functions to work.
“I want a phone that is tough and easy to use,” said Bales, 30. “I don’t want to listen to music with it. I’m not a cyber-savvy guy.”
On one recent day, a trio of researchers watched through one-way glass and overhead cameras as a volunteer navigated her way through a prototype program that lets parents set limits on their children’s phone use.
The observers monitored how many steps it took for the woman to make the program work, how easily she made mistakes and how quickly she could get herself out of trouble. The results could be used to further tweak the program, said Robert Moritz, director of device development.
“If you bring somebody in and they have problems, it’s not because they’re dumb, but we were dumb with the design,” Moritz said, adding that the lab typically tests devices and programs with up to 50 users over three to nine months. The company also uses focus groups to determine what people want from their phones and what they say needs fixing.
The results of those studies can sometimes push back the release of a product. For example, Michael Coffey, vice president of Sprint’s user-experience design, said the company delayed releasing its walkie-talkie Ready Link service for about a year after testers said they didn’t like the short delay between when the user pushes the button and the recipient answers.
Coffey said the testing is worth it because ease-of-use can be a competitive edge.
“IPod was not the first MP3 player on the market, but once they figured it out (the user interface), they became the predominant one overnight,” he said. “Whether you make it a marketing message or not, the public will discover that usability and choose your product over a competitor’s.”
Amazing that companies keep rediscovering the obvious…