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Sun, 25 Aug 2019
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Red Flag

Company in U.S. Recalls 129,000 Pounds of Beef

A meat company is recalling 129,000 pounds of beef products in 15 states because of possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Attention

U.N. again delays destruction of smallpox virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday delayed for at least four years any decision on when to destroy the world's last known stockpiles of smallpox, a deadly virus eradicated nearly 30 years ago.

There is no treatment for the virus that was killing millions of people a year as recently as the 1960s and left many more blind and scarred. In 1979, it became the first disease officially stamped out after a worldwide vaccination campaign.

But the United States and Russia, which hold the only known stockpiles of the virus in high-security laboratories, have long resisted calls to destroy them in case smallpox is found to exist elsewhere.

The 60th annual World Health Assembly, the top decision-taking body of the United Nations agency, reaffirmed a previous commitment to getting rid of the remaining stockpiles but agreed to postpone any decision on when this should happen until its 2011 meeting.

Health

Massage, Acupuncture, and Yoga May All Be Part of Your Health Plan

Sure, our health care system is messed up. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be taking full advantage of your own plan's benefits. Here are five goodies you should know about.

Comment: The author puts a positive spin on the situation of health in America and takes it for granted that her readers are employed and have a health insurance. Something a lot of Americans are lacking.


Attention

Mercury in energy-saving bulbs worries scientists

There's an old joke about the number of people it takes to change a light bulb. But because the newer energy-efficient kinds contain tiny amounts of mercury, the hard part is getting rid of them when they burn out.

Mercury is poisonous, but it's also a necessary part of most compact fluorescent bulbs, the kind that environmentalists and some governments are pushing as a way to cut energy use.

With an estimated 150 million CFLs sold in the United States in 2006 and with Wal-Mart alone hoping to sell 100 million this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most are ending up in garbage dumps.

Attention

"Experts" say: Fluorescent Lights' Mercury Poses Dim Threat. Go Back To Sleep.

They're breakable, contain toxic material, and are becoming increasingly commonplace. But fears of mercury poisoning from new energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs are overplayed, experts say.

Long billed as a "green" product for environmentally conscious consumers, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are quickly becoming the norm in household lighting - and may soon replace traditional incandescent bulbs altogether.

But CFLs' cool-burning illumination is made possible by a pinch of poison - about five milligrams of mercury sealed inside every glass tube - and the need for the element is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and long-lived environmental contaminant, and even the small amount present in CFLs poses a problem. When the bulbs break, either in the house or at a waste disposal site, their mercury content is released.

Bomb

Peace processes are failing women in a men dominated world

As societies emerge from conflict, men's dominance at all levels of decision-making ensures women never feel truly secure according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

In a unique study of women's security and participation in three post conflict societies - Northern Ireland, South Africa and Lebanon - researchers found that women see security differently from men. And because men dominate the institutions of peace-making and peace-building, they often fail to consider the specific security needs of women.

The investigation, which was part of the ESRC's New Security Challenges Programme, was carried out through a research partnership between the University of Ulster, Queen's University Belfast and Democratic Dialogue and with research associates in South Africa (Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation) and Lebanon (Lebanese American University in Beirut).

In all three case studies, women saw security as much more than physical safety. It was about feeling represented in societal institutions, having a job, an education for their children, a good health service and a feeling that society recognised the specific interests of women.

"For me, the word security in Arabic is not to be afraid. First, not to be afraid to be hungry, to move, to think, and to be misjudged," explained a Lebanese woman to the researchers.

Magic Wand

FDA Set to OK Period Suppression Pill

TRENTON, N.J. - Women looking for a simple way to avoid their menstrual period could soon have access the first birth control pill designed to let women suppress monthly bleeding indefinitely.

Comment: Everything natural is a disease that pharmaceutical companies must cure.


Vader

Lower Brain Serotonin Responsiveness In Childhood Predicts Antisocial Personality Disorder

Lower serotonin responsiveness in the brain during childhood predicts the development of antisocial personality disorder in early adulthood, according to a new study.

Low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, have been associated with several disorders, including increased aggression and depression.

It is known that impulsive aggression in adulthood is associated with disturbances in serotonergic function, but until now research examining this association in childhood has produced inconsistent results.

This prospective study, published in the May issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, examined the relationship between serotonergic function measured in childhood and the later emergence of personality disorder.

Magic Wand

Revealing the origins of morality -- good and evil, liberal and conservative

How much money would it take to get you to stick a pin into your palm? How much to stick a pin into the palm of a child you don't know? How much to slap a friend in the face (with his or her permission) as part of a comedy skit? Well, what about slapping you father (with his permission) as part of a skit? How you answer questions such as these may reveal something about your morality, and even your politics - conservatives, for example, tend to care more about issues of hierarchy and respect, while liberals concentrate on caring and fairness. (You can take a short test of your moral intuitions by visiting www.yourmorals.org).

Comment: Its' not a matter of Political leaning. It's a matter of people with conscience and people without conscience.

In a review to be published in the May 18 issue of the journal Science, Jonathan Haidt, associate professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, discusses a new consensus scientists are reaching on the origins and mechanisms of morality. Haidt shows how evolutionary, neurological and social-psychological insights are being synthesized in support of three principles: 1) Intuitive primacy, which says that human emotions and gut feelings generally drive our moral judgments; 2) Moral thinking if for social doing, which says that we engage in moral reasoning not to figure out the truth, but to persuade other people of our virtue or to influence them to support us; and 3) Morality binds and builds, which says that morality and gossip were crucial for the evolution of human ultrasociality, which allows humans - but no other primates - to live in large and highly cooperative groups.

Comment: Networking and sharing knowledge is a key element for healthy society.

Bulb

Good decision-makers may be made, not born, says Carnegie Mellon study

People who do well on a series of decision-making tasks involving hypothetical situations tend to have more positive decision outcomes in their lives, according to a study by decision scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Corp. The results suggest that it may be possible to improve the quality of people's lives by teaching them better decision-making skills. The study is being published in the May issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and will be presented May 25 at the Association for Psychological Science's annual convention in Washington, D.C.

The paper marks an important step forward for decision science, because it shows that tasks developed to study decision-making errors in psychological labs can be used to gauge decision-making ability in real life. The study also shows that, although decision-making competence is correlated with verbal and nonverbal intelligence, it is still a separate skill.

"Intelligence doesn't explain everything. Our results suggest that people with good decision-making skills obtain better real-life outcomes, even after controlling for cognitive ability, socio-economic status and other factors," said Wändi Bruine de Bruin, a researcher in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon and the lead author of the study. "That is good news, because decision-making skills may be taught."

The study recruited 360 people with diverse backgrounds. Each completed seven tasks measuring "Adult Decision-Making Competence," or their ability to avoid common decision-making errors. For example, a good decision-maker should be able to make choices independent of how information is presented, or framed. Imagine that you are learning about a type of medication that is 99 percent effective, for instance. You should be equally likely to use it if it is described as 1 percent ineffective.