Society's ChildS

Eye 1

Conspiracy theory poll results

Poll Results
© Reuters/Atlantic Wire
About 90 million Americans believe aliens exist. Some 66 million of us think aliens landed at Roswell in 1948. These are the things you learn when there's a lull in political news and pollsters get to ask whatever questions they want.

Public Policy Polling has raised weird polls to an art form. During last year's presidential campaign, the firm earned a bit of a reputation for its unorthodox questions; for example, "If God exists, do you approve of its handling of natural disasters?"

Today PPP released the results of a national survey looking at common conspiracy theories. Broken down by topic and cross-referenced by political preference, the results will not inspire a lot of patriotism. If you need to defend your fellow countrymen, be sure to note that the margin of error is 2.8 percent.

We took the findings and arranged them from most- to least-believed. And, just to inspire additional shame, figured out how many actual Americans that meant must believe in things like the danger of fluoride in water. (28 million, if you're wondering.)


China plots more sea burials; Faces grave space limitation

© Getty Images/ChinaFotoPressPeople gather to pay their respects at the gravestones of deceased friends and relatives two days before Tomb-Sweeping Day at Sanshan cemetery on April 3, 2011 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China.
On April 4 Chinese everywhere will honor their deceased loved ones by packing up bags of gifts, flowers and fare to take to their graves as part of Qingming festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, a national holiday of adulation for Chinese ancestors. But the more than 2,500-year-old ancient tradition underscores a crippling theme in much of the now-urbanized China: there's no room.

As Quartz reports, city officials are ramping up efforts to change the perceived importance of grave burials by also offering mass burials at sea for the recently departed on Tomb Sweeping Day. Cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Jiaxing in Zhejiang province are covering costs for transportation, the sea burial and even offering subsidies ranging from $60 to an upwards of $800. This year Shanghai increased its sea burial subsidy five times more, subsequently leading government officials to add another ship to its sea burial fleet to meet a growing demand.

Gold Coins

Bitcoin versus government: Is Bitcoin the new gun rights battle?

Google trends shows an explosive growth in the Bitcoin meme. Like a tsunami, it started as a ripple and didn't look like much, traveling for miles on the digital sea, and then Cyprus hit and the ripple became a roar.

Nearly all financial news outlets and blogs have weighed in with their opinion on Bitcoin; the majority indicating they either like or love the idea with a few dissenters. The dissenters keep coming back to the argument that Bitcoin's success is capped by how far the government will allow it to succeed before stepping in and calling time.

Comment: For more background information on Bitcoin, read:
What Bitcoin Is, and Why It Matters
Bitcoin: A New Kind of Money That's Beyond the Reach of Bankers, Wall St. and Regulators?

Stock Down

California's net worth at negative $127.2 billion

© Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee file. 2009A new medical facility under construction at San Quentin State Prison in California.
Were California's state government a business, it would be a candidate for insolvency with a negative net worth of $127.2 billion, according to an annual financial report issued by State Auditor Elaine Howle and the Bureau of State Audits.

The report, which covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, says that the state's negative status -- all of its assets minus all of its liabilities -- increased that year, largely because it spent more than it received in revenue.

During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the state's general fund spent $1.7 billion more than it received in revenues and wound up with an accumulated deficit of just under $23 billion from several years of red ink. Gov. Jerry Brown has referred to that and other budget gaps, mostly money owed to schools, as a "wall of debt" totaling more than $30 billion.

Last November, voters passed an increase in sales and income taxes that Brown says will balance the state's operating budget and allow the debt wall to be gradually dismantled.


Laura Ashburn destroys sexist New York Times obituary of female rocket scientist

Daily Download editor-in-chief Laura Ashburn on Monday slammed the New York Times' obituary of female rocket scientist Yvonne Brill.

Brill was instrumental in the development of propulsion systems for satellites, but the opening line of her obituary emphasized her cooking skills rather than her stunning scientific achievements.

"I have never seen a more sexist obituary in my life than the one that was in the New York Times on Sunday," she remarked. "This women, who was 88-years-old, died - world-class rocket scientist and the opening was, 'she made a mean beef stroganoff'... I mean, no male obituary would start like that."


Georgia town approves mandatory gun ownership law for heads of household

© Shutterstock
The town of Nelson, Georgia, followed through on its proposal to require residents to own a gun Monday night following a unanimous vote by the city council.

WGCL-TV reported that the law will apply to heads of household, with exceptions built in for the disabled, mentally ill and those objecting to gun ownership for religious reasons. Convicted felons will not be allowed to own a firearm.

"If anything should happen that they would need to use a firearm, [now] they are backed up by their government, their city government," council member Edith Portillo told the station.

However, according to the Associated Press, another council member, Duane Cronic, said the new "Family Protection Ordinance" will not be enforced, making it more of a symbolic gesture.

"I likened it to a security sign that people put up in their front yards," Cronic said. "Some people have security systems, some people don't, but they put those signs up. I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city."

Arrow Up

Shocking unemployment rate in the Eurozone

The unemployment rate across the Eurozone has alarmingly hit 12%. A shocking figure revealed by Eurostat, which claims it is the first time the rate reaches such a high value since the currency was launched in the late 1999. A total of 19.07 million people were officially jobless in the euro area in February 2013, nearly two million more compared to the last year in the same period.

Among the Member States, the highest unemployment rates were recorded in Greece (26.4% in December 2012), in Spain (26.3% ) and in Portugal (17.5%). These figures refer, however, to the period preceding the recent Cyprus collapse that, according to previsions, could worsen the crisis all over Europe.

Cow Skull

Food insecurity hits almost 15 percent of US households

Food security means everyone having access to enough food to maintain a healthy life at all times. In the United States today, nearly 15 percent of households have reported food insecurity at some point during the last year. That is to say that they are either hungry, or uncertain about their food supply.

The issue is particularly concerning for households with kids and minority families. In a country that wastes about 40% of the food that is produced each year, people are developing diseases that are specifically related to not having enough food. This paradox illustrates the importance of creating a fair system for food distribution throughout the US, and beyond.

People 2

Chaplain opens food bank to help 'starving' people in Aberdeen, Scotland

Food bank
© UnknownPastor Barry Douglas of Kings Community Church in the city, is "horrified" by the poverty in the oil capital of Europe.
A city pastor has urged the oil industry and local businesses to provide more training or handouts after being forced to open a food bank to help "starving" people.

Barry Douglas, chaplain of Aberdeen FC and pastor at Kings Community Church in the city, is "horrified" by the poverty in the oil capital of Europe, particularly in the community of Seaton on the fringes of more affluent Old Aberdeen.

The food bank was officially opened by Labour leader Johann Lamont who is campaigning against benefit changes which Mr Douglas says have hit the local community hard.

"Scottish neighbourhood statistics show that 29 per cent of people in Seaton are below the poverty line," he said.

"As a minister I see many needs in the community and one of the biggest needs is, believe it or not, food.


Berezovsky was found with noose around his neck, police say

Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch who died last week at his U.K. home, was found with a noose around his neck.

A similar piece of material was tied to the shower rail above the 67-year-old in the bathroom where he was discovered, Detective Inspector Mark Bissell of Thames Valley Police said on the first day of a coroner's inquest in Windsor, England, today.

Berezovsky died March 23 from hanging with no evidence of a violent struggle, U.K. police said earlier this week following an initial autopsy. The results of additional tests, including toxicology and histology examinations, won't be known for several weeks.