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The end of OJ?

Orange juice, the beloved breakfast beverage of many Americans, is under attack. The villain is a teeny insect that threatens to wipe out citrus groves from Florida to California.

The March issue of Scientific American reports the Asian citrus psyllid has been spreading huanglongbing, Chinese for "yellow dragon disease," which leaves oranges, grapefruit, pomelos and other citrus fruits misshapen, unripe and inedible.

According to the magazine, the damaging bacteria, transmitted via the psyllids' saliva, disrupt a plant's circulatory system, blocking the flow of nutrients.

To slow the spread of this invasive species from Southeast Asia, scientists have imported Asian wasps to prey on the psyllids. The magazine says genetic modification to make the plants resistant to the disease may be the only long-term solution.

-- Scientific American

The future is now

In 1988, Los Angeles Times Magazine predicted what life would be like for North Americans in 2013.

Its hits included:

-- Automatic water heaters and coffee makers;

-- Cars with a "central computer" that includes "electronic navigation or map systems";

-- Teleconferencing from home on your computer;

-- Fibre-optic cable networks;

-- Using computers in classrooms in place of notebooks and projector screens.

There were also some notable misses.

-- A "personalized home newspaper" that is automatically printed off your personal computer;

-- Mandatory exercise required by employers (though libertarians are warning us about this one);

-- To listen to music or watch a movie, you need a laser disc, or you need to call your cable company to request the media over cable lines. This whole story sort of misses the fact that Internet access has trumped the need to use of cable and phone lines.

-- Slate

Sex in the morning

You may have greeted the morning with a bowl of cereal. But were you nourishing your libido in addition to your body? Were you eating mere cereal, or... Sexcereal?

If you don't mind shelling out $12 for a bag, perhaps you were enhancing your sex drive and stamina with a product dreamed up in 2008 by Toronto businessman Peter Ehrlich. The specially formulated Sexcereal (motto: "Big Life Living -- Fuel Your Fire!") comes in two varieties, His and Hers, making it "the world's first gender-based breakfast cereal." Blazoned across the male packet is a hunky dude holding a suggestively large spoon; the female version features a busty Marilyn Monroe look-alike in red satin.

The company website lists, for "him," such hot ingredients as rolled oats, wheat germ, chia seeds, blueberries, goji berries, bee pollen and coconut sugar. The lady option contains, among other things, rolled oats, oat bran, soy protein, cranberries, almonds and ginger. It actually sounds a lot like standard-issue granola, give or take some bee pollen.

Oh, look. Both varieties sprinkle in a rare Peruvian spice called maca powder, which Ehrlich says has aphrodisiac properties.

This is wonderful news for everyone who rolls out of bed at 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning and immediately wants to have sex.

-- Slate

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2013 J5

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