Tuesday, September 28, 2010

News Summary

NPR says that the best way to survive in a falling elevator is not to jump at the last second, as is popularly believed, (as you could not possibly jump fast enough), but you should instead lie on the floor, and try to wedge yourself between the two walls at the last second. You'd take a beating, but you'd live. After all, it's not the fall that kills you, so much as the sudden stop at the end. Hopefully my readers will never need to know this information, but better to have and not need, then to need and not have.
Discovery News reports what female friends of mine have said to me all along: If you're female, your own body hates you with the ferocity of a thousand suns. Estogen clusters in ovulating women make it hard for them to think straight, brain scanning studies of American women showed that they want to be thinner, sometimes thinner than is biologically possible for them. Confrontation with the idea that they might be fat, even if demonstrably false, sent part of their brains into existential crisis.
There was also reported to be a crisis in groundwater, in that at the rate it is being used faster than it can be replaced (by rain, underground water flow, etc). Complete depletion would result in a massive and disastrous desertification of the area. (I do not believe their claim that this is connected to sea level rise. Groundwater has always gone towards the sea since there was a sea to begin with. Groundwater didn't come about by magic, but by rain from evaporated seawater.)
They also report that before airplanes, there were still intercontinental exchanges of disease causing viruses and bacteria, carried by duststorm. Bacteria and viruses would travel with the dust, blown by the wind, until deposited on a new land, with new hosts to infect. The disease would arrive in a weakened state, having to survive both a dry wind storm and a large amount of UV radiation, which was only partially blocked by the supply of dust.
Fark leads me to a story by ABC news, which says that a mall in St. Louis, Missouri, banned groups of unaccompanied teenagers, to the immense annoyance of said teenagers. The mall also discovered that said teenagers were not their primary patrons: the policy made all store's profits go up, even the ones catering to teenagers. The large groups hanging out tended not to spend money, preferring instead to horse around and irritate others around them.
Tomorrow I return to the mad science.

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