Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hawaii’s Governor Takes On ‘Birthers’

New York Times

HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, who befriendedPresident Obama’s parents when they were university students here, has been in office for less than three weeks. But he is so incensed over “birthers” — the conspiracy theorists who assert that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and was thus not eligible to become president — that he is seeking ways to change state policy to allow him to release additional proof that the president was born in Honolulu in 1961.

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales in 2010

It was a bumper year for rare bookselling on AbeBooks. Our top 10 list of the most expensive sales of 2010 includes nothing priced under $14,000. The top sale was a very rare Islamic manuscript, around 800 years old, for a whopping $45,000. The sale of the archives of Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, for almost $29,000, raised a lot of eyebrows in Italy. Fallici died in 2006 but is still remembered for her revealing interviews of major international figures.

Facebook vs Twitter: A Breakdown of 2010 Social Demographics


Dialysis Facility Tracker

By Robin Fields, Al Shaw, and Jennifer LaFleur

This site is for dialysis patients and others who want to learn about the quality of care at individual dialysis clinics. Among other things, you can learn how often patients treated at a facility have been hospitalized, report certain types of infections or are placed on the transplant list. The information is submitted by facilities and collected by contractors of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the federal agency that oversees most dialysis care.

Twas a Night in December

Friday, December 24, 2010

Elusive Saharan Cheetah Captured in Photos

By Jeanna Bryner

An elusive Saharan cheetah recently came into the spotlight in Niger, Africa, where a hidden camera snapped photos of the ghostly cat, whose pale coat and emaciated appearance distinguish it from other cheetahs.

Sweaters: Frightful Or Festive?

Wall Street Journal

O Christmas sweater, O Christmas sweater! Amid a surge in fashion nostalgia, the much-maligned Christmas knit is enjoying a moment of irony-infused popularity. [Slideshow: Sporting Christmas Cheer]

Happiness 101: Less tweeting, more meeting

Studies show that happiness is directly linked to conversations that are substantial, not superficial. Yet our communications are dominated by quick electronic exchanges. In a high-stress era like ours, we need to tap into our most valuable resource – each other. That's why I talk to strangers.
By Michael Serota
Christian Science Monitor

On my Metro ride to and from work each day, I watch as hundreds of faces filled with contemplation, frustration, and annoyance look past one another. Although it is mildly entertaining to see the lengths to which some will go to avoid making eye contact – or worse yet, engage in actual conversation – it is also sadly ironic. The human contact that these commuters take such pains to avoid might also reduce the emotional baggage they carry.

Christmas lights: Outdoor displays go higher and higher tech (video)

By Samantha Murphy
Christian Science Monitor

When Carson Williams of Mason, Ohio, posted a YouTube video of his lively computer-synchronized Christmas display on his front lawn a few years ago, the video went viral. Millions of online viewers watched Williams' multi-colored lights in the form of peace symbols, glowing stars and dancing trees, move in sequence to the song "Wizards in Winter" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Quirky Christmas traditions around the world

By Ariel Zirulnick
Christian Science Monitor

Christmas cheer is widespread in the days leading up to Dec. 24 and 25, but it manifests itself in many different ways, from predicting the future to trying not to choke on a hidden coin. Below are just a few of the many unusual Christmas traditions around the world.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Health Tip: Do You Have a Phobia?

Here's how to tell
By Diana Kohnle

(HealthDay News) -- While fear is a normal reaction to a perceived danger, a phobia may be diagnosed when a fear is exaggerated or irrational.

Going Platinum: What to Look for When Buying Platinum Jewelry

FTC Consumer Alert
Federal Trade Commission

Platinum ... the very word conjures up quality and luxury. When it comes to jewelry, platinum usually is mixed with similar metals or non-precious base metals. The value of a platinum piece of jewelry often depends on the percentage of platinum it contains: the higher the percentage of pure platinum, the higher the value. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, says that knowing how marketers describe platinum and what questions to ask can help you make an informed choice when you're shopping.

Can We Feel Good About Our Necks?

New York Times

NECKS don’t lie. Sagging there betrays age like the rings on a tree, and now-common Botox and fillers in the face make neck imperfections stand out in stark relief. In her 2006 best-seller, “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” Nora Ephron, by then 65 and a resolved turtleneck wearer, raged against the injustice of having no remedy for her slackening throat skin, short of surgery.

A Holiday Card From Google


Wall Street Journal

For Micheal Lopez, creating this year's holiday card came down to the wire. The design took five artists about 250 hours. It will be opened by hundreds of millions of people. You're on the list.

Christmas movie trivia: Take the quiz

Christmas movie trivia: Take the quiz
Christian Science Monitor

For some, the holiday season isn't complete until the family has viewed "White Christmas" and sung along with the Irving Berlin classics. Or how about a little Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life?" How well do you know Scrooge, Charlie Brown, and the Grinch? Take our trivia quiz.

Google logo today: Decoding Google's holiday doodle

Google launched an interactive holiday doodle logo today with 17 portraits of scenes around the world. Can you decipher it?
By Alicia Pflaumer
Christian Science Monitor

Google rolled out their holiday greeting doodle Thursday morning. Seventeen individual interactive images replace the letters of the original Google logo.

In-store social workers help inner-city Target workers

The Target store in Compton, Calif., has something most Targets don't: Saundra Edwards. She's the store's social worker.
By Andrea Chang
(Los Angeles Times)
Seattle Times

LOS ANGELES — The Target store in Compton, Calif., has all the familiar features: aisles of discount merchandise, a full-service pharmacy and a small army of sales clerks and cashiers in bright red shirts.

It also has something most Targets don't: Saundra Edwards. She's the store's social worker.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Creative idea? Kickstarter connects artists with online funding. points online patrons toward worthy projects they didn't know existed
By James Turner
Christian Science Monitor

Like many people, Aaron Dunn has a dream. Mr. Dunn wants to see all of the world's great classical music available free of charge, unencumbered by copyrights, for anyone to do with as they wish.

New Online-Date Detectives Can Unmask Mr. or Ms. Wrong

New York Times

Never mind whether your date is smart or good-looking. How do you know you aren’t flirting with a felon?

The Doctor's Dog Will See You Now

Therapists Use 'Canine Assistants' to Comfort, Cheer Patients; Duke Senses an Anxiety Disorder
Wall Street Journal

Walk into psychiatrist Drew Ramsey's office in Manhattan and you'll likely be greeted by Gus, a four-year-old shih tzu. After escorting you through the waiting room, he may hop onto the ottoman and go to sleep or sit beside you on the couch.

The Newest Way to Watch TV Isn’t on Your TV

Watching Online TV Watch TV Shows & Movies online at Clicker

Gay Rights Political Donations Plummet Amid Contentious Congressional Session

By Lauren Heple

Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Discrimination in the workplace and schools. Unequal benefits for same-sex partners. Marriage equality.

The years leading up to the 2010 midterm election have been an important stretch for gay rights advocates, but you wouldn't necessarily know it by gauging the amount of money invested this cycle by gay and lesbian rights groups and their donors.

2010 Census Data

Bureau of the Census

[Includes Maps and Interactive Graphics]


General Accounting Office

The U.K’s 10 Most-liked TV Ads of 2010

December 21, 2010

Aleksandr Orlov, the meerkat star of the Compare The Market ads, has held off stiff competition from Lewis Hamilton, Mr. T, Dannii Minogue and Lionel Messi to make the ad featuring his great-grandfather’s victory over a mongoose army the U.K.’s most-liked TV ad of the year. [Links to videos]