Headlines from around the world: 10-25-10

Apple’s iPad is finding new and unforeseen uses as an aid to people with speech disorders. The device enables the user, through specialized software or “apps,” to select words or phrases on the screen to communicate needs and desires. The pad allows more people access to a device that gives them the ability to communicate, as the only other option is highly specialized and expensive equipment.

Cotton prices are rising in response to fears of a global shortage. Due to flooding in India and heavy rains in China, the global supply of cotton has dropped 5.34%, causing the trading price to increase by as much as 56%. Trading prices rose to $1.189 a pound, the highest price per pound in 140 years.

The 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground have all been safely rescued as of Wednesday, October 13th. The miners, who had endured the longest entrapment underground in history, were hoisted out of their rocky prison through a 28-inch wide, 2000 foot-long shaft.

The Swiss reclaimed the record for Worlds’ Longest Tunnel Friday. The Gotthard Base tunnel, which was just completed deep inside the Swiss Alps, stretches a total of 35.4 miles. The goal of this project is to halve the number of trucks crossing the Alps every year by rerouting them through the tunnel under the Alps.

Some Chinese drywall is causing metal pipes and wires to corrode. Knuaf Plasterboard Tianjin is being forced to pay for the renovation of 300 homes in four states due to a manufacturing process that causes sulfur fumes to exhaust from the drywall. The sulfur fumes corrode pipes, wires, appliances, and anything else that is made of metal. The cost is expected to approach $150,000 per home.

The Obama administration strongly opposes legalizing marijuana in California, according to Attorney General Eric Holder. Known as Proposition 19, the measure that would legalize marijuana in California is coming up for a vote in next month’s election. The measure would only affect state and local law, marijuana would still be considered a controlled substance under federal law.

Climbing trees for a vacation is now an option near Eugene, Oregon. Those who have a desire to climb to the tops of the very tallest trees can now do so with a company that specializes in outfitting tree climbers. The firm, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute, will outfit customers with the necessary gear, guide them on a hike to the tree, and help them climb the tree where they can spend the night in a hammock high above the forest floor.

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