International News Briefs

It’s all downhill after age 27

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia: A recent study on mental ability concluded the brain’s mental power peaks at age 22 and begins to fade thereafter, making 27 the start of old age.

Researchers at the University of Virginia, headed by professor Timothy Salthouse, tested 2,000 subjects and found reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualization declined in the late 20s.

The subjects, aged 18 to 60, underwent the same tests doctors use to identify dementia and Alzheimer’s.

According to the BBC, the age for top mental performance was 22.

The seven-year study also concluded memory was sound until the average age of 37; abilities involving accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and general knowledge increased until age 60.

Keeping memories at your fingertips

HELSINKI, Finland: A computer programmer who lost his finger in a motorcycle accident has developed a prosthetic fingertip containing a USB drive.

Jerry Jalava can now hold two gigabytes of memory in his fingertip, accessible simply by peeling back his nail.

The tip is removable, so Jalava can leave his finger plugged into a computer when necessary.

BBC News reported Jalava is planning to upgrade his finger with more storage and wireless technology.

Jerry lost his finger last year after crashing his motorcycle into a deer. He developed the idea for the fingertip after his doctors joked he should have a “finger drive” when discussing what Jalava did for a living.

A change of image

ABUJA, Nigeria: Africa’s most populous country is trying to improve its international reputation by announcing a new patriotic slogan and marketing campaign.

Despite its abundance of oil, Nigeria is known for its corruption and poverty, drug-transit routes and numerous e-mail and online scams. It is hoping a new slogan, “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation” will improve people’s impressions of the West African nation.
President Umaru Yar’Adua publicly said he hopes the phrase will improve the country’s international image and strengthen citizens’ spirits, reported Reuters.

The slogan will be printed on t-shirts and baseball caps for sale in the country.

Conversely, Reuters reported Nigerians view their resilience in the face of chaos with pride, saying if they can survive Nigeria, they can survive anywhere.

Iranian blogger dies in prison

TEHRAN, Iran: A blogger arrested for insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei died in prison.

Omid Mir Sayafi, reported to be in his late 20s, was first arrested in April 2008, released 41 days later and then re-arrested and sentenced to two-and-a-half years for comments he made about the Ayatollah on his blog.

A fellow inmate, Hessam Firouzi, called Sayafi’s lawyer saying Sayafi was not receiving proper care from the prison doctor.

Firouzi alleged that Sayafi, who suffered from depression, had overdosed on anti-depression medication without medical attention, the International Campaign for Human Rights (ICHR) in Iran reported on its website.

CNN reported the ICHR is accusing the government of failing to improve prison conditions and hold prison officials accountable for Sayafi’s death.

Sayafi’s lawyer has inquired about his client’s death with the prison, but has received no response.

Published in Volume 63, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 26, 2009)

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