Saturday, January 29, 2011

When it comes to paychecks, body size matters

By Amelia Rayno
Washington Post

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's an endless cultural lesson that's been drilled into our heads since we were tots, watching cartoons such as "The Flintstones" and playing with Barbie and Ken dolls: If you are a woman, you should be extremely thin; if you are a man, you should be big and strong.

Adults With College Degrees in the United States, by County

How Meditation May Change the Brain

New York Times

Over the December holidays, my husband went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Not my idea of fun, but he came back rejuvenated and energetic.

Black Widow attempted New Year Moscow attack but blew herself up by mistake

A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.
By Andrew Osborn, Moscow 10:15PM GMT 26 Jan 2011
The Telegraph (U.K.)

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Friday, January 28, 2011

'Bath salts' latest drug to raise alarms

The synthetic stimulants are legal in most of the U.S. for now. As more users show up in emergency rooms, states are taking action.
By Abby Sewell
Los Angeles Times

The website that hawks the "concentrated bath salts" warns in red letters: "Not for human consumption."

Can adjustable glasses help kids in poor countries?

By Amy Norton

(Reuters Health) - For many children in poor nations, a simple pair of glasses can be out of reach. But a new study suggests relatively cheap specs that people can adjust themselves hold some promise.

Protests in Egypt: Hugs and kisses

Friday's chaotic and violent protests in Egypt were interspersed with handshakes, hugs, and kisses between demonstrators and the Army and police. If 'the people' win over the security forces, it's all over for Hosni Mubarak.
By Francine Kiefer
Christian Science Monitor

Amid the reports of violence, tear gas, and buildings aflame in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt on Friday, came accounts of protesters and security forces shaking hands and hugging each other. At one point, protesters hoisted police on their shoulders. One photo by the Associated Press showed an activist planting a big smooch on the helmet of a policeman in riot gear. The policeman grinned.

Boston Crowded With ‘Snow Farms’

New York Times

BOSTON — Clearing the streets, it turns out, is the easy part.

As storm after storm dumps more snow on New England this winter, finding somewhere to put it is proving a bigger challenge for many of the region’s densely packed cities.

Data Privacy Day is January 28, 2011!

Teaching Children to Help Neighbors, With or Without Reward

New York Times

BACK in the early 1970s, my parents’ neighbors offered to pay my sister, who was 8 years old at the time, to take care of their cats for a weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ins and Outs of Calling via the Net

New York Times

This week’s e-mail bag brought a note that echoes the sentiments of many others:

States’ Lawmakers Turn Attention to the Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians

New York Times

Many joggers don earbuds and listen to music to distract themselves from the rigors of running. But might the Black Eyed Peas orRihanna distract them so much that they jog into traffic?

Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen

New York Times

The emotional health of college freshmen — who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school — has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.

Why you should quit Facebook now

The very essence of Facebook is the sale of personal information. Throw in rogue apps and a lack of vetting, and you've got a security nightmare waiting to happen.
By Matt Liebowitz
Christian Science Monitor

In November 2009, I quit Facebook. I had had an account for about a year, but with my 30thbirthday and a cross-country move both looming, I felt it would be a symbolic way to shed my youth, a gesture that signified “I’m grown up now.

Re-engineered plants may root out terrorism threats

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

A government-backed Colorado State University scientist has re-engineered plants so that they can detect explosives, air pollution and toxic chemicals. Plants fixed with custom-made proteins in biologist June Medford's lab signal the presence of potentially deadly vapors by turning from green to white.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For Your Files, Lots of Room In the Cloud

New York Times

In the old days of computing, you could carry only as many files as you had floppy disks. Then came hard drives and thumb drives, allowing those so inclined to carry entire digital encyclopedias in their pockets. Finally, thanks to new services that store data in the cloud, yet another stage of storage evolution (maybe the final one) has been reached: the celestial hard drive, a storage medium that exists solely in the electronic ether.

The Long Pull of Noodle Making

New York Times

IN an open kitchen in NoLIta, two solemn young men work together in virtual silence up to 16 hours a day, their destinies yoked by noodles.

The disappearing spoon: The once-ubiquitous utensil is being driven from tabletops Read more: The disappearing spoon: The once-ubiquitous utensil is being driven from tabletops

By Tucker Shaw
Denver Post

Consider the shape of a spoon. The gentle, unthreatening curve, calming and benign, so unlike the treacherous tines of a fork. Babies are never given forksthey'd surely lose an eye — but they are given spoons to suck on, to throw peas with, to slap on the table in glee.

The United States of Shame (CHART)

by Jeff Wysaski
pleated jeans

Whether it’s a fat population, high rate of STDs or excessive tax rate, it turns out that every state ranks dead last in at least one unsavory category. Check out the map (click image to enlarge) to see what your state is the worst at, then review additional stats and references after the jump:

As 3,500 meteorologists meet, one man's forecast: Chance of pirates

Of the 3,500 scientists attending the American Meteorological Society meeting in Seattle this week, only one had a good reason to say: "Arrrrgh." While his colleagues swapped probabilistic equations, James Hansen came to talk about pirates.
By Sandi Doughton
Seattle Times

Of the 3,500 scientists attending the American Meteorological Society meeting in Seattle this week, only one had a good reason to say: "Arrrrgh."

While his colleagues swapped probabilistic equations, James Hansen came to talk about pirates.

Work Wear Hits Pay Dirt

Doctors' Scrubs Repel Blood, Football Gear Stretches Farther, a Wash 'n Wear Tux
Wall Street Journal

Surgical scrubs that resist microbes and repel blood. Tuxedos that can be tossed into the washing machine. Basketball undershorts that help players jump higher. Work clothing today not only has to look good, it is expected to make wearers perform better, be it a hospital, a hotel restaurant or a sports arena.

To this end, researchers at a handful of lab facilities across the country are prodding, pulling and pounding high-tech uniforms, looking for advancements—and a competitive edge. [Slide Show]

State bird, state flower, state gun? Utah could be first to have one.

The Utah House passed a measure to make the Browning M1911 semiautomatic the state gun in honor of Utahn John Browning. Critics question the wisdom of having a state gun.
By Patrik Jonsson
Christian Science Monitor

As most of Utah's school kids hopefully know, the state's cooking pot is the Dutch oven, its state fish is the Bonneville Cutthroat trout and the state song is called, "Utah, This is the Place." Now, they may soon have to add a semiautomatic hand gun, the Browning M1911, to their homework on state symbols.

Huge, 'Godzilla-like' monitor lizard spotted in California

Animal control officers captured a large monitor lizard that was wandering through a condo complex in Riverside, Calif. Despite its name, the monitor lizard is not affiliated with this publication.
By Eoin O'Carroll
Christian Science Monitor

A gigantic radioactive lizard rampaged through Riverside, Calif, Tuesday, stomping buildings, pulling spitting high-tension wires down, and battling a giant lepidopteran.

Or at least that's what animal control officer Jenny Selter expected when she arrived at the condo complex, responding to reports of a monstrous reptile.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Domestic use of aerial drones by law enforcement likely to prompt privacy debate

By Peter Finn
Washington Post

AUSTIN - The suspect's house, just west of this city, sat on a hilltop at the end of a steep, exposed driveway. Agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety believed the man inside had a large stash of drugs and a cache of weapons, including high-caliber rifles.

The State Against Blacks

The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do. . . . And that is to destroy the black family.'
Wall Street Journal

'Sometimes I sarcastically, perhaps cynically, say that I'm glad that I received virtually all of my education before it became fashionable for white people to like black people," writes Walter Williams in his new autobiography, "Up from the Projects." "By that I mean that I encountered back then a more honest assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Professors didn't hesitate to criticize me—sometimes to the point of saying, 'That's nonsense.'"

When a Friend Grieves, How to Get Sympathy Right

Wall Street Journal

How can you comfort someone grieving the death of a loved one? What can you say that might adequately offer solace? "I'm sorry" doesn't seem to cut it.

How to Plan For and Handle the Cost of Braces

New York Times

BRACES. Few words strike more fear into a parent’s heart.

Managing Online Accounts After Death

New York Times

In a recent New York Times magazine article, “Cyberspace When You’re Dead,” the writer Rob Walker mentioned three Web sites that help ensure consumers still have a say in what happens to their online presences after they die.

Does College Make You Smarter?