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TECHNOLOGY

Keeping the peace - online

San Francisco - With more complaints and disputes involving e-business, the newest Web trend could be mediation. Since 1 in 5 consumers have experienced a problem with a transaction in the previous 12 months, online mediation is in demand. The Federal Trade Commission logged 18,622 Internet-related complaints in 1999, up from 7,955 in 1998. Many transactions involve small sums, which work in favor of mediation. Companies are plunging in. Square Trade, a company based in San Francisco, is currently refereeing auctions at eBay, the online auction site.

SCIENCE

Really smart hitchhiking

A beetle in California's Mojave Desert has figured out a clever way to survive the inhospitable environment, say biologists at San Francisco State University. The tiny parasitic blister-beetle larvae bunch up in groups of several thousand to form the shape and color of a female bee. When the male bee lands on the cluster in an attempt to mate, they cling to hairs on its thorax and are carried off. When the male bee finds a female, the beetles move to her back and ride to the nest where they live on pollen.

Cloning Down-under

Sydney, Australia - Suzi, a four-week-old Holstein calf, was the first Australian calf cloned from a developed cell. She was produced from fetus cells that were removed and cloned, similar to the procedure that created Dolly the sheep in Scotland three years ago. "Technology is now starting to reach levels of efficiency where we're within five years of commercial reality," says Dr. Ian Lewis, Suzi's creator. But experts are wary about consumers' reluctance to buy food products from cloned cattle. The technology could extend to beef cattle, where copies of the best breeding bulls could be cloned and let loose among the herds that roam Australia's outback.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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