Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Health Insurance Insider Offers Words of Advice

New York Times

WENDELL POTTER is a 20-year health insurance veteran who served in top public relations jobs at such firms as Cigna and Humana. Now a senior analyst at the Center for Public Integrity, Mr. Potter has written “Deadly Spin,” a tell-all about practices of the health insurance industry. The book chronicles insurers’ attempts to influence legislators, policy makers and the public, as well as his own change of heart about his work.

A Simple Map to the Land of Wholesome

New York Times

For the first time since it began issuing dietary guidelines, the government offered new recommendations last month that clearly favor the health and well-being of consumers over hard-lobbying farm interests.

The Six-Legged Meat of the Future

Wall Street Journal

At the London restaurant Archipelago, diners can order the $11 Baby Bee Brulee: a creamy custard topped with a crunchy little bee. In New York, the Mexican restaurant Toloache offers $11 chapulines tacos: two tacos stuffed with Oaxacan-style dried grasshoppers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Where Have The Good Men Gone?

Kay S. Hymowitz argues that too many men in their 20s are living in a new kind of extended adolescence.
Wall Street Journal

Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This "pre-adulthood" has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it's time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn't bring out the best in men.

Let it Snow. Then, Attack

New York Times

MAYBE it’s a New York thing.

People in other parts of the country still sound rational when discussing snow and ice. They gauge the environmental impact of salt, and weigh the karmic smarts of tossing snow over the property line.

Annandale civic association elects dog as president

By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post

For more than 20 years, candidates running for office in theHillbrook/Tall Oaks Civic Association in Annandale have stood up, waved and received polite applause at the annual meeting in June. Everyone votes, eats ice cream, chats with neighbors and goes home.

Rare photo shows 8 cougars on game trail

Using a camera triggered by a motion-sensor device, a hunter captured a rare sight: eight cougars huddled together on an Eastern Washington trail as if attending some big-cat block party.
By Craig Welch

They don't exactly hunt in packs, don't travel in herds and aren't typically thought of as communal beings.

Brushing and Flossing: An Animated Demo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trendy threads from waste

Pratibha Syntex could lead in the next textile wave: low-waste, recycled cotton.
By Michael Benanav
Christian Science Monitor

If you want to be "green," you may have to change your clothes. And your sheets.

Unemployed need not apply, some firms say

By Tony Pugh
McClatchy Newspapers
Seattle Times

As if finding work weren't hard enough, a federal agency warns that some employers are excluding jobless workers from consideration for openings.

In an Amish village, the SEC alleges a Madoff-like fraud

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post

The personal assets of Monroe L. Beachy, a 77-year-old Amish man, included a horse, buggy and harness. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, his skills included financial fraud.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Five Signs You're a Bad Boss

Wall Street Journal

When the number of employees Matt Kaplan managed at a lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson mushroomed from six to 30, the school called in a management coach to make sure he was prepared. What he learned surprised him–his employees thought he was distant and didn't trust their work.

Want better students? Teach their parents.

Children of less educated parents often enter school unprepared for instruction – programmed for academic failure. But early coaching for parents with pre-school age children can change that trajectory. Why not include more of these cost-effective ideas in education reform?
By Jerome Kagan
Christian Science Monitor

Education in the United States has been the recent recipient of generous acts of philanthropy. Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has donated $100 million to improve education in Newark, N.J., with the goal of reversing the acute high school dropout problem in that city. And the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged nearly $3 billion to support education at the elementary through college levels.

Ecuadorean Villagers May Hold Secret to Longevity

New York Times

People living in remote villages in Ecuador have a mutation that some biologists say may throw light on human longevity and ways to increase it.

Single motherhood still rejected by most Americans, poll finds

By Carol Morello
Washington Post

Even as they've grown more comfortable with same-sex or unmarried couples raising children, most Americans still view single mothers as detrimental to society, according to a new poll of attitudes toward the country's soaring number of non-traditional families.

Cinderella Dreams, Shoestring Budget? No Problem

Wall Street Journal

If consumers can rent a movie by mail, or wheels on a whim, why not a couture gown should the occasion strike? That's the concept behind Rent the Runway, a website launched in November 2009 that promises to give "every woman the opportunity to be Cinderella for the night," says co-founder Jennifer Hyman. Customers can choose from an array of designer duds for one-time wear at a fraction of the frocks' retail price tag. (A little black dress worth $1,250, for instance, rents for $150, plus shipping and $5 insurance.) Returns are as simple as dropping the Dolce & Gabbana or Diane von Furstenberg into a pre-paid mailing envelope. To date, Rent the Runway appears to be leading a charmed life of its own, signing up 800,000 members, growing February sales at 10 times last year's rate, securing $17 million in venture capital and becoming cash-flow positive in under a year. Ms. Hyman, 30 years old, and her co-founder, Jennifer Fleiss, 27, who met at Harvard Business School, are attending this week's Fashion Week as buyers, on the look-out for styles that customers will love, wear – and return.

True Artistry Born of Craftsmanship

Wall Street Journal

Guitar maker John Monteleone stands under an enormous photograph of himself that covers a whole wall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art as shoals of visitors stream by without recognizing him. Most are busy fiddling with the iPod app specially created for the exhibition "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York," perhaps listening to guitarist Mark Knopfler praise him as a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bakin' Whoopie: A Pie Fight Starts Over a Cream-Filled Cake

Two States Claim the Snack Originated There; Named by Amish Kids—Or After a Sexy Song?

Wall Street Journal

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.—At the weekly Root's Country Market here in Pennsylvania Dutch country, everyone seems sweet on whoopie pies. [Slide Show]

The Dismal Science Meets Modern Matrimony

Wall Street Journal

In their new book, "Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes" (Random House, 2011), authors Paula Szuchman of The Wall Street Journal and Jenny Anderson of the New York Times argue that economic principles can serve as a guide to a happy marriage. [Interactive Graphic]

Get Out of My Way, You Jerk!

Researchers Study 'Sidewalk Rage,' Seeking Insights on Anger's Origins and Coping Techniques

Wall Street Journal

You don't need a car to get road rage.

For many people, few things are more infuriating than slow walkers—those seemingly inconsiderate people who clog up sidewalks, grocery aisles and airport hallways while others fume behind them.

Hell on Wheels: Is there no end to the stream of traffic insults?

Even though traffic levels are generally down because of the recession, our streets feel meaner. Faster-paced lifestyles, angst about the economy, more distractions, less civility, a glut of downtown paving projects — it all adds up to more bile for many of us.
By Bob Young

EVERYONE'S GIVING me the finger.

Driving or walking, doesn't seem to matter. Men and women, they're both putting the "ass" back in passive-aggressive.

Health benefits of falling and staying in love

By Rachel Saslow
Washington Post

Love may make the world go 'round, but is it powerful enough to lower one's blood pressure, reduce depression and speed the healing of an injury? With Valentine's Day just around the corner, we set out to find the answer and discovered that science says yes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On the World’s Largest Cruise Ship, the Sea Is an Afterthought

New York Times

I WAS standing in Central Park in the middle of the Caribbean Sea near an Indian mangosteen tree, a Malaysian olive tree, a number of elephant ears and a total of 96 other species of plant. Birds were tweeting and mothers, as diversely global as the plants, pushed strollers along the paths. A little girl twirled in a pink dress. [Slide Show] [Interactive Graphic]

Have You Charged Your Eyeglasses Today?

New York Times

A NEW device may be joining smartphones, iPads and music players that you have to charge overnight: electronic eyeglasses. These glasses have tiny batteries, microchips and assorted electronics to turn reading power on when you need it and off when you don’t.

Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo welcomes baby ocelot

Woodland Park Zoo welcomed its newest furry friend to the world Jan. 15, when a mother ocelot gave birth to a single kitten.
By Seattle Times staff

Woodland Park Zoo welcomed its newest furry friend to the world Jan. 15, when a mother ocelot gave birth to a single kitten.

'Maria, Maria, I've Just Met A Goose Named Maria...'

In L.A., a Bird Bonds With Mr. Ehrler, but Renovation May Force Her Out

Wall Street Journal

LOS ANGELES—City engineers planning to clean up a 143-year-old lake here are ruffling the feathers of a celebrity couple. [Slide Show]

As Weather Worsens, So Do Manners

Wall Street Journal

Complaints about bad snow etiquette are flying like snowballs this winter, as one blizzard comes on the heels of another.

Sometimes, Justice Can Play Politics

New York Times

WHAT is it about those robes? They are only flimsy bits of wools, enlivened in a few cases by some very European lace at the collar. Yet the moment our Supreme Court justices put them on, a segment of the concerned public imagines that they have become priests consecrated to the sacred order of the Constitution.

Clues May Reveal When a Person Is Faking Remorse

Study finds telltale signs include emotional swings and hesitation when speaking.
Health Day
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

FRIDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- When someone is trying to fake remorse, they display a greater range of emotional expressions, switching from one emotion to another very quickly, and speak with more hesitation, researchers have found.