Saturday, February 14, 2009
Erica, 11, has tried for years to help her mom kick a powerful drug habit.
Isolated pockets in Central Appalachia have three times the national poverty rate, an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the shortest life span in the nation, toothlessness, cancer and chronic depression."
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thousands of unconscious eye movements stop us from going blind: "The imperceptible jumps and jiggles known as 'microsaccades' mean that a really steady stare is impossible.
Even when trying to fix a gaze on a stationary target, the eyes are always moving.
Experts have long dismissed these movements as the accidental result of spurious nerve signals. But new research shows they are actively controlled by the same brain region used to scan newspaper columns or track a moving object.
Scientists now think these 'microsaccades' provide a vital function by 'refreshing' images on the retina which would otherwise fade away."
And then Barnes and Kuthy decided to Snuggie one better.
'We thought, imagine the vision of 1,000 people walking down Clark Street wearing Snuggies -- this is what we wanted to make happen,' said Kuthy, a 23-year-old Lincoln Park resident and co-organizer of the Snuggie Pub Crawl planned for downtown Chicago on March 21.
Less than a week after the launch of www.snuggiepubcrawl.com, Barnes and Kuthy have e-mail addresses from more than 450 people interested in wearing the $19.99 Snuggies -- buy one, get one free, along with a free reading light -- for a blanket-covered, bar-hopping adventure."
Abandoned Real Estate - Ghost Towns from the Mortgage Meltdown : "It may have seemed inevitable given the mortgage meltdown, but it is still shocking when you drive through a neighborhood that seems to be entirely filled with ‘For Sale’ signs. The cities here aren’t entirely deserted, of course, but they are examples of the cities that have been hit hard enough to lead residents to abandon their homes."
Ice shelf collapse could shift axis of Earth, study says: "A new study from Toronto researchers suggests that the collapse of a large portion of the Antarctic ice sheet would shift the very axis of the Earth.
Geophysicists at the University of Toronto explored the effects on North America and the globe, if sea levels were to rise due to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
One of the most jarring predictions contained in the report, to be published in the Feb. 6 issue of the journal Science, is that the sea-change could shift the Earth's rotation.
'The melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will actually cause the Earth�s rotation axis to shift rather dramatically -- approximately 500 metres from its present position if the entire ice sheet melts,' states a release from U of T's physics department."
But if you're someone like me, building a deck in the back yard or, heck, painting vaulted ceilings, just isn't something you're proficient at. But luckily for us, there are a slew of sites across the Web that provide articles and videos that can help us complete any project."
The findings are part of a study, conducted every decade since 1939, which asks participants to rank a list of 18 characteristics they would want in a partner on a scale ranging from 'irrelevant' to 'essential.' Included are such items as 'sociability' and 'good cook, housekeeper,' as well as 'mutual attraction and love,' which came in first place for both men and women in 2008. (In 1939, it wasn't in the top three for either sex.)"
Mysterious number 6174: "The number 6174 is a really mysterious number. At first glance, it might not seem so obvious. But as we are about to see, anyone who can subtract can uncover the mystery that makes 6174 so special."
In 1949 the mathematician D. R. Kaprekar from Devlali, India, devised a process now known as Kaprekar's operation. First choose a four digit number where the digits are not all the same (that is not 1111, 2222,...). Then rearrange the digits to get the largest and smallest numbers these digits can make. Finally, subtract the smallest number from the largest to get a new number, and carry on repeating the operation for each new number.
When toddlers point a lot, more words will follow: "Don't just talk to your toddler — gesture, too. Pointing, waving bye-bye and other natural gestures seem to boost a budding vocabulary. Scientists found those tots who could convey more meaning with gestures at age 14 months went on to have a richer vocabulary as they prepared to start kindergarten. And intriguingly, whether a family is poor or middle class plays a role, the researchers report Friday.
Anyone who's ever watched a tot perform the arms-raised 'pick me up now' demand knows that youngsters figure out how to communicate well before they can talk. Gesturing also seems to be an important precursor to forming sentences, as children start combining one word plus a gesture for a second word."
Dad at 13 | Boy Alfie Patten, 13, becomes father of baby girl: "Baby-faced Alfie, who is 13 but looks more like eight, became a father four days ago when his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman gave birth to 7lb 3oz Maisie Roxanne.
He told how he and Chantelle, 15, decided against an abortion after discovering she was pregnant."
Hamilton and his 37-year-old son Chris appeared live on TODAY Friday, relating their amazing tale of how the pair found each other against long odds. Also on hand was their boss, Petersburg, Va., Police Chief John Dixon, who played a major role in uniting the father and son."
50 KILLED AS PLANE CRASHES INTO HOME IN CLARENCE CENTER : Home: The Buffalo News: "Fifty people died when a Continental Connection airplane crashed into a house in Clarence Center shortly after 10:15 p.m. Thursday, setting off a huge fire that could be seen miles away.
The dead included 44 passengers, five crew members and a person on the ground. Earlier reports listed only four crew members.
A nurse at Erie County Medical Center said the hospital's second shift had been told to stay late to treat survivors but was sent home before midnight."
A statistical analysis of 28,000 passwords recently stolen from a popular US website and posted on the Internet reveals that people often do the easy thing.
It found that 16 percent took a first name as a password, often their own or one of their children, according to the study published by Information Week.
Another 14 percent relied on the easiest keyboard combinations to remember such as '1234' or '12345678.' For those using English keyboards, 'QWERTY', was popular. Likewise, 'AZERTY' scored with people with European keyboards.
Five percent of the stolen passwords were names of television shows or stars popular with young people like 'hannah,' inspired by singer Hannah Montana. 'Pokemon,' 'Matrix,' and 'Ironman' were others.
The word 'password,' or easy to guess variations like 'password1,' accounted for four percent.
Three percent of the passwords expressed attitudes like 'I don't care,' 'Whatever,' 'Yes' or 'No.'
There were sentimental choices -- 'Iloveyou' -- and their opposite -- 'Ihateyou.'"
read more | digg story
Joaquin Phoenix made a bizarre appearance on Wednesday night's Letterman to promote his film "Two Lovers," in what may be one of his last as an actor, as he has insisted he is retiring from film to focus on his hip-hop career. Phoenix was unresponsive for part of the interview, while giving one word answers for other questions.
read more | digg story
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Why you're likely to marry your parent: "When Lynn Houston was 27, she met an affectionate young man during a business trip to Virginia. Although she lived in Arizona, the two began dating; they married six months later. But after she joined him in Virginia, he became distant and had angry flare-ups, Houston says.
Dad Mike Chorley and husband Mike Wobschall agree on everything, according to Alison Wobschall.
He barely resembled the man she'd married, but he did remind her of another man she knew well: her father.
'They were both very emotionally unavailable and prone to outbursts of rage,' says Houston, now 44 and a business consultant in Phoenix.
After six years of attempting to rescue the union through therapy, Houston filed for divorce."
Alison Wobschall also married a man like her father, but with much better results. "I have a great relationship with my dad, so I suppose I looked for a partner who shares some of his good qualities," says Wobschall, 22, head of marketing and public relations for a Minneapolis nonprofit.
Both men are "really interested in politics and the stock market, and they agree on everything," she says. "Also, when I'm upset about something, they'll always help me put it in perspective."
Both share the name Mike, and they even look alike. And Alison bears a striking resemblance to her mother-in-law, in appearance as well as personality. "We always laugh at the same things, even if nobody else is laughing," she says.
Although Houston's and Wobschall's marriages couldn't have been more different, both women chose partners who resembled a parent. And, say experts, their experiences aren't that unusual.
Why do boys and girls prefer different toys?: "Throughout the world, boys and girls prefer to play with different types of toys. Boys typically like to play with cars and trucks, while girls typically choose to play with dolls. Why is this? A traditional sociological explanation is that boys and girls are socialized and encouraged to play with different types of toys by their parents, peers, and the “society.” Growing scientific evidence suggests, however, that boys’ and girls’ toy preferences may have a biological origin."
PEPSI'S REDRAWN LOGO GOES DEEP, FIZZES OUT : "To most people, Pepsi's new logo looks a lot like the old one.
To the ad firm that conceived it, however, the revamped logo draws on thousands of years of design principles, the Earth's gravitational pull and the greatest works of art to persuade people to buy soda."
Mother's makeover on This Morning reduces baby son to tears : "When Lindsay Ephgrave was invited for a makeover on live TV, she was thrilled.
The 28-year-old mother of one had been picked from hundreds of viewers of This Morning who had written in hoping to be transformed.
Celebrity hairdresser Charles Worthington spent two hours transforming her drab blonde locks into a cropped, dark Katie Holmes-style do.
And the results were so drastic that even her own baby failed to recognise her.
As she took 10-month-old son Charlie into her arms, he immediately burst into tears and started crying for his mother."
The 15 Most Iconic Movie Masks of All Time: "They hide identity, disfigurement, or they’re just meant to be badass. No matter what the reasons for wearing them, these fifteen iconic movie masks have been permanently etched in our minds Enjoy."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Psychologists Michael Kraus and Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley, videotaped pairs of undergraduate students who were strangers to one another, during one-on-one interviews. In total, 100 undergraduate students participated."
The father told police that he had taken Xanax, used to treat anxiety and panic attacks, and was 'feeling woozy and didn't want to drive.' He said he that he thought letting his son drive would be a 'bonding moment.'
The boy told police his father took 'liquid medicine in order to feel better,' pointing to an empty whiskey bottle in the vehicle.
The man faces charges of child abuse and permitting an unlicensed driver to drive. He remained in jail Wednesday on a $10,120 bond.
Videogames seen good for children: "Videogames can be good for children, encouraging creativity and cooperation, a European Union report concluded Wednesday which ran counter to the violent reputation of some titles.
In conclusions that may either surprise or reassure parents of game addicts, the study by the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection found a number of benefits and no definitive link to violent behavior.
'Videogames are in most cases not dangerous and can even contribute to the development of important skills,' said Toine Manders, the Dutch liberal lawmaker who drafted the report."
Adaptation or 'disaster'? - Las Vegas Sun: "Size certainly isn’t everything when it comes to buildings, of course. But the impact of many iconic structures is in their sheer stature. That is why it’s so startling — disappointing, even — that the Harmon hotel, CityCenter’s gateway to the Las Vegas Strip, has suddenly been cut down to about half its intended size.
Topping out at 28 stories instead of the proposed 49, the incredible shrinking Harmon seems unfortunately fated to look like a stubby, squashed stepchild next to its soaring CityCenter siblings, the 61-story Aria Resort & Casino and the 57-story Vdara condo-hotel."
The great Atlantic Ocean swimming hoax: "Over the weekend, in between depressing news about the economy and the continued sagas of Michael Phelps and Alex Rodriguez, an inspirational story appeared on the Associated Press news wire. It detailed American Jennifer Figge's accomplishment in becoming the first woman to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Many media outlets (including Yahoo!) jumped on the story that seemed almost too good to be true. That's because it was."
Mad Men: The real Mad women: "We didn't look like that. We didn't dress like that. We didn't talk like that. Mad Men has nothing to do with the real advertising world of the Sixties. It's just a narrative about people, you could have set it in a hedge fund.” Such is the verdict of Mary Wells Lawrence, who knows a thing or two about advertising in the Sixties. After all, she ended the decade as the highest paid advertising executive in America."
Gallery: Giant Midwest Mecca of Nerditude in Oklahoma: "If you're a regular Wired.com reader, there's a good chance that collecting action figures topped the list of your future careers when you were a kid … and an adolescent. Let's face it, you'd still do it if you could. Well, Kevin Stark from Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, has done it.
Stark is a figurine collector and comic book artist who has become the Action Figure Museum curator. The museum has one of the largest action figure displays in the world, along with a Batman shrine, a superhero changing room and enough Transformers, G.I. Joes and He-Man figures to fill a grown man's bedroom in his mom's basement.
In 2000, Stark convinced the Pauls Valley City Council that the town needed a tourist attraction and the museum should be it. In 2005, it finally opened its doors. The museum seems a little out of place among Pauls Valley's other businesses: a gun store, a couple of gas stations, an insurance company or two. But if you love action figures, you'll find plenty to covet here."
What Alabamians and Iranians Have in Common: "Are Americans among the most religious people in the world? The answer depends on which 'world' you're talking about. If you're referring to the entire planet, the answer is plainly 'no.' In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Gallup asked representative samples in 143 countries and territories whether religion was an important part of their daily lives. The accompanying map shows religiosity by country, ranging from the least religious to the most religious on a relative basis. Across all populations, the median proportion of residents who said religion is important in their daily lives is 82%. Americans fall well below this midpoint, at 65%."
The Good Wife's Guide from 1955: "Much like our Women in the Workplace article a few months back, this 1955 article from Housekeeping Monthly reveals just how much has changed in the household over the past few decades. Some of my personal favorites:
* 'Be a little gay'
* 'Show your sincerity in your desire to please him'
* 'A good wife always knows her place'"
Snopes take on it
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Be prepared for a little nostalgia, and I hope I didn't leave out your favorite -- not all of the characters have interesting background stories (sorry, Big Bird)."
Icicles of Brick: "This abandoned Russian fortress is probably one of the creepiest places I have seen.
The reason for it to have such a strange look is because it was used later by Russian army to test the influence of Russian alternative to napalm inside of the brick houses.
Due to very high temperature of napalm the bricks started melting just like ice melts in the spring forming the icicles, but those icicles are of red brick."
Zumbox Wants to End Snail Mail (So Do We): "Looking to stop the clutter that comes with the unwanted side effect of receiving snail mail? Hoping to reduce the amount of paper you use? Aren’t we all?
In one of the more ambitious attempts to end snail mail, Zumbox is opening up their site to the public so that any person or business with a street address in the United States can send and receive traditional mail through digital means.
To get started, you’ll need to enter your name and address and then wait a few days for a piece of snail mail from the United States Post Service with a pin number. Once you receive your pin number you can start viewing and sending mail via Zumbox in the same manner that you would via the post office."
Counterintuitive, perhaps, but research shows it to be true.
To test the notion, Dr. J. Owen Hendley and other pediatric infectious disease researchers at the University of Virginia conducted CT scans and other measurements as subjects coughed, sneezed and blew their noses. In some cases, the subjects had an opaque dye dripped into their rear nasal cavities."
Study: Do Women Like Men With A Stubble?: "Stubble is the way to win a woman's heart, a study has shown. Researchers found that women are more attracted to men with stubbly chins than those with clean-shaven faces or full beards.
Women participating in the research rated men with stubble as tough, mature, aggressive, dominant and masculine - and as the best romantic partners, either for a fling or a long-term relationships.
The findings of the experiment, carried out on British women aged 18 to 44, could explain the appeal of actors such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt who cultivate their unshaven look."
It's safe to go to work on an egg again: "t is OK to go to work regularly on an egg, health experts said today as they attempted to dispel 'the ingrained misconception' among consumers and some health professionals that people should eat no more than three a week because of the 'myth' surrounding the food's link to cholesterol in the blood."
How to Make Cheese at Home | Serious Eats: "Using biology professor David B. Fankhauser's tutorial, learn how to turn five gallons of milk into six pounds of cheese. Aside from five gallons of milk, you'll need yogurt, rennet tablets, a thermometer, a stainless steel pot, a strainer, and a cheese press. In just a few weeks you'll be able to dig into your newborn baby cheese wheel. [via kottke.org]"
I suspect that particular blunder led to this strange situation."
Psychologist Jon Maner of Florida State University and his colleagues flashed pictures of faces on a computer screen for half a second, following it immediately with a square or circle, which participants had to identify by pushing the correct button. Earlier research using this method has found that it takes longer for viewers to shift their attention away from attractive faces of the opposite sex."
Monday, February 9, 2009
New Football League Launches : "ufl-football.com
It's the most improbable story in the sports business industry so far this year.
While sports leagues try to figure out exactly how they're going to deal with this economic downturn, a new sports league is being announced today.
It's called the United Football League and its season, dubbed 'UFL Premiere,' is scheduled to kick off in October with four teams that will play a six-game season in at least seven cities.
Led by former NFL executive and agent Michael Huyghue as commissioner and prominent sports marketer Frank Vuono as chief operating officer, the season has been financed through $30 million of capital provided by a group of investors including investment banker Bill Hambrecht, Google [GOOG 378.10 6.82 ( 1.84%) ] senior vice president Tim Armstrong and Paul Pelosi, the husband of the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
The cities where the teams will play are: Las Vegas/Los Angeles, New York/Hartford, Orlando and San Francisco/Sacramento. Players are expected to be signed, at what the league says will be salaries higher than NFL minimums, starting this summer. They will be trained and housed in Casa Grande, Arizona, where the league says a $20 million training complex is being constructed."
Surfer rides monster wave caused by British storm front - Telegraph: "Benjamin Sanchis looks like an ant on the face of the 60ft wave at Belharra in the Bay of Biscay.
Frozen in time, the picture shows the lip of the wave lurching forward threatening to crush the Frenchman with hundreds of tons of water.
But the 29-year-old professional surfer managed to avoid wiping-out and could earn a place in the history books for the ride."
Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device: "Say Hello to The New Kindle
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images
Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging
More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books
Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns
Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you
Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available
Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise"
How to Use Twitter for Smart Shopping: "Twitter is the hugest phenomenon of today’s Internet. Connecting to people real-time (even if they are offline), getting instant updates from friends, being up-to-date with most recent news - these are just few advantages of the tool. Another possibility to make the most of Twitter is to use it for shopping.
Ask your friends their opinion on the product you plan to buy and you will get lots of Tweets immediately from people you trust. But Twitter shopping benefits are not limited to only that! Check out the following tips on using Twitter for shopping:"
Sunday, February 8, 2009
USA National Gas Temperature Map: "Now you can see what gas prices are around the country at a glance. Areas are color coded according to their price for the average price for regular unleaded gasoline."
Slumdog Millionaire's Child Actors Still Live in 'Grinding Poverty': "Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, two of the child actors in 'Slumdog Millionaire,' are still living in the slums of Mumbai, despite the film's $14 million budget and worldwide success. Ali earned 500 British pounds ($710) for one year's work and Ismail earned 1700 pounds ($2,414), 'less than many Indian domestic servants':
Both children were found places in a local school and receive $20 a month for books and food. However, they continue to live in grinding poverty and their families say they have received no details of the trust funds set up in their names. Their parents said that they had hoped the film would be their ticket out of the slums, and that its success had made them realise how little their children had been paid."