Tuesday, November 19, 2013

« Notre tête est ronde pour permettre à la pensée de changer de direction. »

“Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What is the total number of deaths for Americans killed in all our wars since 1775 and those killed by firearms in the U.S. since 1968?
The answers are 1.17 million and 1.38 million.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

American Car Culture: dead or alive?

The number of miles driven in the U.S. has dropped 9% since its peak in 2005. Indeed, drivers under 34 years old are driving 23% less miles. On the other hand, U.S. monthly car sales reached a 5-year high in June. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Recent mice and human test tube studies show that salt causes increased formation of the immune-system cells that are implicated in disorders in which the immune system attacks, rather than defends, the body. This research provides yet another reason to reduce salt in one’s diet. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Can we get on the same page?

Three pieces in the most recent New England Journal of Medicine deal with an impending problem in health care. A shortage of primary care clinicians is predicted as the population ages and millions gain insurance in 2014. Since the United States will have insufficient numbers of primary care doctors, relying on nurse practitioners to provide services appears to be a solution. However, many of our current physicians and nurse practitioners, even though working side by side, perceive they inhabit different universes. There is a pressing need for dialogue and collaboration between physicians, nurse practitioners, and the public. Otherwise, all will end up unhappy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Freedom of speech reexamined....

After a teenager falsely yelled “bingo” in a Kentucky bingo hall, he was charged with disorderly conduct.  Likening the prank to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, the judge ordered the teen not to say the word “bingo” for six months.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scratch and lose....

A survey of 2000 high school students revealed those who had received instant scratch lottery tickets as children and adolescents have more permissive attitudes about gambling than those who had not received such gifts. Kids who get such gifts gamble earlier in life and may be more prone to develop severe gambling disorders later on. The findings support other research showing that early gambling experience is associated with future problems in stopping despite experiencing major difficulties related to it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bah, humbug!

Charities try to encourage donations by offering thank-you gifts in return, but this may be backfiring. Recent experiments involving more than 1,300 adults showed that if a gift was attached as a premium for their donation, they actually gave less.  It also didn’t matter whether the gift was perceived as valuable or desirable. The researchers suggest that gifts may lessen the “altruistic satisfaction” donors get from giving.

I usually decline such gifts, thinking that means more money for the charity. What about you?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Goodbye, Babar....

The Nairobi Star reports that 2000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year in Kenya alone. The Chinese desire for “ivory status symbols” stimulates the poaching that threatens to wipe out Africa’s elephants “in the next two decades.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $16,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Remove 8 zeros and pretend it's your household budget: 

Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card this year: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $162,710
Total budget cuts so far: $385

I don’t know whom to credit for this, but it sure brings things into perspective…