Saturday, October 2, 2010

For Some Germans, Unity Is Still Work in Progress

New York Times

ERFURT, Germany — The air here used to stink from the low-gradecoal people burned for heat. That is easy to forget 20 years after East and West reunited and well more than a trillion dollars has been spent to prop up and rebuild the dilapidated region that was the German Democratic Republic.

The BP-Spill Baby-Turtle Brigade

New York Times

Loggerhead nesting season started this year, as usual, in May. Across the northeastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, female sea turtles began plodding out of the water and up the beach, each burying a clutch of a hundred or more leathery eggs beneath the sand. The eggs incubate for about 60 days. Then a throng of tiny black loggerhead hatchlings, each only about two inches long, frantically boils out of the ground, all paddling clumsily with their outsize, winglike flippers. They scuttle down the beach en masse, capitalizing on a one-time frenzy of energy to rush into the water and push past the breakers into offshore currents. Once they make it there — if they make it there — they typically find their way onto mats of seaweed called sargassum. The hatchlings will drift passively around the ocean on this sargassum for the first several years of their lives, like children inner-tubing in a swimming pool. It’s a life raft from which, conveniently, they can also pluck snacks. Many turtles wind up gliding around the Florida peninsula and floating as far out as the Azores during a developmental stage biologists call “the lost years.”

When History Speaks

New York Times

CHAIM KAHANOVICH, an 18-year-old Polish Jew, caught his first brown glimpse of the Holy Land from the deck of a steamer in November 1924. He would never leave. Dark-haired, short and solid, Chaim brought with him a teenager’s blazing passion and an ideologue’s stubborn commitment to a cause. The long, slow journey had taken him from Warsaw by train to the Black Sea port of Constanta, then by ship through the Bosporus Straits and across the Mediterranean to Palestine. There at last, rising like the back of an ox from the blue water of Haifa Bay, was the sere ridge of Mount Carmel — the Promised Land. [Slide Show: Tracing History in Israel]

What’s Dumb, Really?

New York Times

Big-city liberals and their blogging buddies love to paint Tea Partiers as yokels with incoherent candidates and language-mauling signs. (Some have even dubbed their misspellings and grammatical gaffes “Teabonics.”) On some level, this may be true. But there is also a certain hypocrisy to these taunts. [Graphic: Democratic Knowledge Gap]

Friday, October 1, 2010

True or False: How Smart are You About Cosmetics?

Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Most cosmetics are safe if you use them correctly. But there are some things to be careful about. Check out our special Cosmetics True or False quiz and find out how much you really know! After you finish, find out how to get your special Smart Consumer certificate!

Flood Cleanup and the Air in Your Home

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

A Simple Swipe on a Phone, and You’re Paid

New York Times

It’s always thrilling when somebody looks at the Way Things Have Always Been Done, and then asks: Why?

Would the City Shut Down Your Kitchen?

New York Times

THE night before a health inspector came to my apartment, I had a brief nightmare about a grim-faced woman in a lab coat who crawled across my kitchen floor with a pair of tweezers. So when it came time to greet the actual inspector, Beth Torin, one of the first things I uttered to her had a slightly unaccommodating air about it: “Your presence in my home terrifies me.”

Playing the Holiday Fare Game

New York Times

TWO days after Labor Day, my sister asked if I had booked airline tickets for Christmas, which felt like rounding the corner on a back-to-school supplies display and running smack into Santa Claus.

Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause ...

New York Times

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — By the time they get to kindergarten, children in this well-to-do suburb already know their numbers, so their teachers worried that a new math program was too easy when it covered just 1 and 2 — for a whole week. [Graphic]

Thursday, September 30, 2010

As Pencil Makers Push the Envelope, Age-Old Rivalry Stays Sharp

Battle of German Brands Lasts Centuries; Going to Court Over Bragging Rights
Wall Street Journal

NUREMBERG, Germany—Forget everything you know about corporate rivalries. Apple vs. Microsoft, Ford and General Motors, Coke and Pepsi: They're Johnny-come-latelies.

Two pencil makers here were battling before any of those brands—or the U.S.—even existed.

Their latest duel is over birthdays. Staedtler Mars GmbH this year celebrates its 175th anniversary. Next year, rival Faber-Castell AG fetes its 250th.

New Vow: I Don't Take Thee

Young Single Adults Surpass Married Peers Amid High Divorce, Cohabitation Rates
Wall Street Journal

For the first time since the U.S. began tallying marriages, more Americans of prime marrying age have stayed single rather than tied the knot, the culmination of a tectonic shift in the role of marriage and relationships that began in the 1960s.

Waiting For Superman - Trailer [HD]

Also See: 'Waiting for "Superman" ': A simplistic view of education reform?

Flu symptoms self-assessment: Do you have the flu?

By Mayo Clinic staff

Health Tip: Taming a Toddler's Tantrum

Help prevent frustration
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

(HealthDay News) -- Tantrums are a common part of toddlerhood, but parents can take steps to head them off.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Your Flu Vaccine: Stay Healthy This Flu Season!

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Getting a flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against the flu. Flu vaccines are available now and you can get your vaccine at many places including your local health department, vaccination clinics, doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, and some schools and workplaces.

An AT&T customer service horror story

by Elinor Mills

What came first: the bad customer service or the hard-to-find deal?

I ask this for a reason: After more than three years of paying for AT&T phone service solely for the purpose of getting DSL, I have come to learn that the phone service is completely unnecessary. My aggravating (and embarrassing) path to that knowledge should serve as a lesson for companies in how not to do customer service if you want to retain your customers. It's also a valuable lesson for consumers, who have to stay vigilant in order to get the deal that's right for them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Different Kind of Eyeglasses

Wall Street Journal

For many people past the age of 40, focusing on close objects—restaurant menus, for instance—just gets harder and harder.

Why So Many People Can't Make Decisions

Wall Street Journal

Some people meet, fall in love and get married right away. Others can spend hours in the sock aisle at the department store, weighing the pros and cons of buying a pair of wool argyles instead of cotton striped. [Quiz]

Elderly Zombies Win the Undying Loyalty of Their Fans

Cast of 'Night of the Living Dead' Recall the Gory Days
Wall Street Journal

PITTSBURGH—Josephine Streiner, 92, is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is also the oldest living ghoul from the 1968 horror classic "Night of the Living Dead."

To Fix Bad Breath, a Gadget Seen on YouTube

New York Times

WHEN Robert Wagstaff came up with the idea for a tongue brush to cure bad breath, he was sure he had a best seller. But a decade later, after dozens of pitches to dentists and retailers and a $50,000 TV infomercial, he had a dud.

Access other videos from Orabrush at this link.

Health Tip: Sit Properly at the Computer

Suggestions for setting up your chair
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

(HealthDay News) -- It's important to maintain proper posture when sitting at the computer.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these suggestions:

'OMG!': Why Cell Conversations Are So Annoying

One side of a talk is much harder to tune out than a two-way dialogue, researcher finds.
U. S. Department of Health and Human Resources (HHS)

MONDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Overhearing someone talk on a cell phone can be very annoying because it makes it hard, if not impossible, to concentrate on what you're doing, according to a new study.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Five myths about Facebook

By David Kirkpatrick
Washington Post

Movies often have Web sites, but it's not so often that Web sites have movies. Facebook, of course, is not just any Web site; in the 6 1/2 years since founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg started the social networking service in his Harvard dorm room, it has acquired 500 million active users worldwide. It may be the fastest-growing company in history. And now, yes, it is the inspiration for a movie, "The Social Network," opening Oct. 1. Even before Hollywood got involved, however, Facebook was the subject of quite a bit of lore -- not all of it true.


By TRIP A national transportation research group

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 22, 2010 – Twenty-four percent of the nation’s major metropolitan roads – interstates, freeways and other critical local routes – have pavements in poor condition, resulting in rough rides and costing the average urban motorist $402 annually in additional vehicle operating costs, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a national transportation research group.

Can We Build in a Brighter Shade of Green?

New York Times

WHEN Barbara Landau, an environmental and land-use lawyer in suburban Boston, was shopping for insurance on the energy-efficient home she and her husband were building in the woods just outside of town here, she was routinely asked what sort of furnace the home would have.

“None,” she replied.

Several insurers declined coverage.

“They just didn’t understand what we were trying to do,” Mrs. Landau recalls. “They said the pipes would freeze.”

See additional information and resources on passive house construction.

Gateway to Knowledge: The Library's Rolling Exhibition

Library of Congress

A specially-designed 18-wheel truck will bring treasures and information from the Library of Congress into cities and towns across America beginning in September 2010.

"Gateway to Knowledge" will visit sites in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana in September and October. Ultimately, the rolling exhibition is expected to visit up to 60 sites in states across the Midwest and South over the next year.

The truck, which will be staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections, will be parked at various universities, libraries, community centers and other public venues.