National Geographic : 2011 Sep
NOW PHOTOS: GU XIANGZHONG, XINHUA/XINHUA PRESS/CORBIS ABOVE ; B. METE UZ, ALAMY GRAPHIC: KISS ME I'M POLISH. SOURCES: INCA; UNESCO. NGM MAPS A Perfect Mummy In the Chinese city of Taizhou, workers digging a new roadbed recently uncovered a remarkable burial from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The deceased was a five-foot-three-inch-tall woman whose skin, hair, eyebrows, and more than 20 items of cotton clothing were all fully preserved. Three thick layers of plaster sealed her wooden coffin, keeping out oxygen and bacteria. When she was found, she lay in a mysterious fluid, which may have served to further stave off decay. Once the mummy is stabilized and studied, the city's museum plans to make her one of the star attractions of a new exhibit. ---A. R. Williams 0mi 600 0km600 Beijing Taizhou CHINA TAIWAN Dressed to prevent contamination, sta from the Taizhou Museum prepare to ease ropes under a quilt-wrapped mummy to li her from her co n. THAT STINKS They are resilient through winter, latch skillfully on to vehicles, and have few natural checks on their U.S. population. These factors have enabled an Asian native, the brown marmorated stinkbug (left), to thrive in the eastern U.S. First noted in 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania---and since spotted in 33 other states---the tenacious insect feasts on crops and creeps into homes, particularly in Maryland and Virginia. Squashing it unleashes a pungent odor. Now researchers hope a tiny wasp can help by attacking stinkbug eggs, but safety tests will take a few years. Smells like trouble in the meantime. ---Catherine Zuckerman 180 200 220 days U.S. 175 Japan Brazil South Korea The average school year among 17 nations lasts 193 days.