Hawking's voice beamed into space
LONDON • The voice of Professor Stephen Hawking was beamed into space in a message of peace and hope yesterday, his daughter said, as the British physicist was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey.
The wheelchair-bound scientist, who died in March aged 76 after a lifetime spent probing the origins of the universe and the mysteries of black holes, suffered from motor neurone disease which forced him to use an electronic voice synthesiser.
His voice was broadcast by the European Space Agency and beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00.
McDonald's to ditch plastic straws
LONDON • The world's largest restaurant chain will begin to phase out plastic straws in some European markets as concerns about consumer waste mount.
McDonald's will start rolling out paper straws in Britain and Ireland, with plans to phase out the plastic variety in all 1,361 locations there next year.
It will begin trials in select restaurants in the United States, France, Sweden and Norway later this year.
Dutch workers may soon get paid to cycle
THE HAGUE • Dutch employees using pedal power to get to work may soon be reimbursed for their efforts, as the Netherlands looks at ways to fight growing congestion on its busy roads and highways.
One innovative idea is to compensate employees for cycling to work, with reimbursement paid per kilometre cycled from home and back.
Other ways of promoting bicycle use include fiscal rewards, such as subsidies to buy bicycles in partnership with major national employers and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The bicycle-mad Netherlands already counts more than 22 million bicycles in a country of 17 million.