An allergy is an abnormally high sensitivity to an otherwise harmless foreign substance, or allergen, that leads to an exaggerated response of the natural immune defense mechanism. Allergens can be airborne substances, infectious agents, foods, contactants, or physical agents; and reactions can range from the relatively benign runny nose to severe inflammation, anaphylactic shock, and even death. What environmental factors may be increasing the incidence of allergies in the Western world?
Back in the day
Alcatraz, a rocky island in western California's San Francisco Bay, served as a federal prison housing the country's most dangerous criminals from 1933 to 1963. It became a National Recreation Area in 1972, and by the mid 1990s, it was attracting almost a million visitors a year. Nicknamed "The Rock," Alcatraz was a symbol of the impregnable maximum security fortress prison. During its 29 years of operation, 34 prisoners attempted escapes, but only 3 may have succeeded. Who were they?
Born on a day like today
Oldman is a London-born actor known for playing eccentric characters and for his ability to master various accents. He first appeared on screen in the 1982 film Remembrance and has since played a variety of characters including Dracula, Beethoven, and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. In 1997, he wrote, directed, and produced Nil By Mouth, an award-winning film based on his life, and he has received recent acclaim for his portrayal of which character in the Harry Potter film series?