December 8, 2007

Boy dies after being run over by cousin driving Christmas float

A 9-year-old boy died in Plant City, Fla., after being run over by a church float driven by his cousin in a Christmas parade, according to MSNBC.

Jordan Hayes was handing out beads and candy alongside the float Friday night, when his foot was caught by a wheel and he fell under the float, said Police Chief Bill McDaniel.

Parade watchers shouted at the driver "to back up," however, the pickup truck pulling the float ran over Jordan a second time. The driver, Jerry Bridges, is a cousin of Jordan, authorities said.

"This is a tragedy that defies words," McDaniel said. "This was supposed to be a time of celebration and joy, but it has turned into a terrible tragedy."

November 21, 2007

Sleep deprivation linked to child obesity?

The Star Tribune reported on Wednesday, Oct 14 that "Elementary school children who don't get enough sleep in third grade are more likely than their peers to be overweight in sixth grade," according to a study examining the relationship between excess fat and sleep in children.

Studies have also found a correlation between adults' weight and their sleeping patterns, the Star Tribune said.

Children ages 9 to 12 who regularly got less than nine hours of sleep per night were at increased risk of being overweight, reported researchers led by University of Michigan pediatrician, Julie C. Lumeng. Sex, race, social status and home environment did not affect the results of the study.

Researchers found that for every additional hour of sleep beyond nine hours, a sixth-grade child was 20 percent less likely to be overweight.

The authors write that the study's findings suggest the link between obesity and sleep duration is caused by fluctuations of the body's metabolism and hormone levels that control weight.

"The National Sleep Foundation recommends that elementary school students sleep between 10 and 12 hours per night."

November 18, 2007

Tips for women battling a bulging stomach

According to the Star Tribune, surveys reveal that the stomach is the body part women most often say they would like to change.

The flat stomach that these women desire can be attained by: reducing intake of artificial sweeteners; eating fewer high-fat meals, avoiding lactose-containing foods; avoiding antibiotics if possible; decreasing or releasing stress, the Star Tribune said.

"Our bodies have a limited ability to rapidly absorb certain sugars, which can lead to gas and bloating," the Star Tribune said. The article then continued by saying that one should settle on using aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet'N Low) or sucralose (Splenda)--all artificial sweeteners--because they are "absorbed more easily by the body."

"Fat in the small intestine inhibits the stomach from emptying," according the Star Trib, so one should "limit their daily intake to one-third of their daily calories."

The article mentions that many surprising foods contain dairy, therefore it is important to read labels and make note of when you feel bloated or sick.

Antibiotics, the Star Tribune said, get rid of beneficial bacteria in the small intestine, thus resulting in bloating and gas.

"Chronic tension" may cause one's body to store more fat around the middle, so finding roughly 15 minutes to relax every day is beneficial if you want to bump that hump.

November 7, 2007

When a woman's (walking) wiggle is most attractive

A new study proves that the way a woman walks changes throughout her monthly cycle, London's The Times reported Wednesday (according to CST).

The most seductive walk (or wiggle as it is referred to in the article) occurs when a woman is least fertile. "If she flaunts herself too openly at fertile times she could be made pregnant by an unsuitable man, so women may have an evolutionary interest in sending out mixed messages," Meghan Provost and her team, from Queen's University in Ontario, said.

Waist to hip ratio is an important factor when judging female attractiveness, as European men prefer those with a waist measurement that is 70 percent of their hip circumference. Preferences do, however, vary from culture to culture experts said.

New Scientist magazine reported that ovulating women walked with smaller hip movements and their knees closer together; a group of 40 men in the study rated women in the less fertile part of their cycle to have the sexiest walks.

The article also points out that Provost's results contradict other research that says men respond more to women who are ovulating and most fertile.

November 3, 2007

Elephant on acid deemed one of the 10 wackiest experiments ever

In a Wednesday article from London's The Times, an experiment in which an elephant was given 3,000 times the typical human dose of LSD topped the 10-item list of the wackiest experiments of all time.

In the 1962, scientist Warren Thomas injected an elephant with 297 milligrams of LSD to see what would happen; the purpose of the experiment was to determine whether the hallucinogen could induce "the state of temporary madness in which male elephants becomes aggressive," known as musth.

A description which seems to have been indirectly attributed to Thomas was included in the story: "Within a few moments of being injected, Tusko [the elephant] began trumpeting furiously, before kneeling over as if he had been shot. An hour later, he was dead."

The list of the 10 wackiest experiments of all time was compiled for New Scientist magazine.

October 28, 2007

Organic produce proven to be more nutritious

According to London's The Times, organic food, particularly fruits and vegetables, are more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help lengthen people's lives. The evidence is based on "the biggest study into organic food."

The study found that organic fruit and vegetables contain as much as 40 percent more antioxidants and higher levels of beneficial minerals, according to the article.

Originally, the (British) Food Standards Agency said there is no difference between organic and ordinary produce, but they are "reviewing" the evidence before deciding whether to change its advice.

October 21, 2007

Soggy cereal problem finally solved

Daniel Finkelstein posted a blog on Thursday in London's The Times regarding a solution to "one of the most vexing breakfast time issues": preventing your cereal from getting soggy if you are, for some reason or another, slow to eat it.

has created a new cereal bowl with a shelf that keeps cereal fresh while you eat it.

The bowl consists of a bottom area where the milk goes, and the "shelf," where the cereal goes. There is an opening on the side where a controlled amount of cereal soaks up some of the milk.

October 13, 2007

Antisocial violinists could have instruments seized

Two of Britain's classical violinists have been told that their instruments could be taken away from them by antisocial behavior officers if they continue to play Mozart or practice scales at home, reported London's The Times Saturday.

Oliver Morris and Hazel Ross, both 25, are graduates of the Royal Northern College of Music striving for a successful career as freelance violinists for major British orchestras.

Contrary to complaints reported by a neighbor to the Manchester City Council, the couple claim that they rarely practice at home for more than two hours and that they do not practice every day nor in the evenings, The Times reported.

The couple has received a formal warning, signifying that their behavior must stop or else they are subject to forcible entry to their flat so their violins can be seized.

The musicians are worried that this may jeopardize the future of their careers.

Shortly after they moved in to the suburban development, Woodlawn Court, Morris said he visited each neighbor "to tell them that they might hear the sound of violins and that if they wished for peace and quiet to let them know."

The couple is considering moving as Ross said, “We like it here and are very happy here apart from this, but as musicians, we need somewhere we feel comfortable to practice. We are quiet people really, who like to keep ourselves to ourselves.�

Manchester council's director said the situation could have been settled in a more rational manner. She also said that she "will investigate this case to bring about an early resolution in a more satisfactory way and regrets that a letter was issued indicating legal action at this early stage," according to The Times.

October 7, 2007

Twin Cities Marathon

The Twin Cities Marathon race started Sunday at 8 a.m. by the Metrodome and ended by the state capitol in St. Paul, reported WCCO news.

The humidity index of 60 percent made for less-than-ideal running conditions; nevertheless the first man, Mykola Antonenko, finished the race in about 2 hours, 14 minutes and the first woman racer, Svetlana Ponomarenko, finished in about 2 hours and 34 minutes. Both winners received a $25,000 prize.

A total of 16,000 participants registered in both the marathon and 10-mile race combined.

On Saturday, one day prior to the day of the race, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that in addition to spectators and countless runners, there will be an "eclectic lineup of entertainment along the race route, including a bluegrass band, a clarinet ensemble, a choral group, Japanese drums, Irish pipes and a state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page on his tuba."

September 28, 2007

Chlamydia-stricken koala subjected to the wrath of blindness

A rare white koala named Mick was found north of Sydney and taken to a local hospital to receive medical attention, reported Monday.

Mick underwent surgery and was given antibiotics to restore his sight and health, which was affected by chlamydial conjunctivitis.

Mick is not an albino koala due to the fact that he has a black nose and yellow eyes; he is a rare species nonetheless, Cheyne Flanagan, Koala Hospital supervisor, said.

Chlamydia affects a wide range of animals and is considered to be the main pathogen of koalas, said the news source.

"Infections occur in the urogenital tract and respiratory tract and can cause infertility, blindness and ultimately death. The visible symptoms are conjunctivitis and urinary tract infections causing incontinence, leading to a condition known as 'dirty tail' or 'wet bottom.'"

September 23, 2007

Perfect breast shape: revealed

London's The Independent reported on Sunday that an "attractive breast has a balanced proportion between the upper and lower halves, with the nipple sitting about 45 percent down from the top, pointing slightly upward," according to plastic surgeon Patrick Mallucci.

A presentation will be made at London's Royal College of Surgeons conference this week on the secret of the "perfect breast augmentation surgery."

Mallucci has allegedly come up with a "formula for perfection" based on research on topless models who have not received breast augmentation. "He has come up with a list of attributes and a specific ratio to use as a template," said the Independent.

September 16, 2007

Madeleine McCann's body dumped in sea?

Portuguese cops fear that no trace of Madeleine McCann's will ever be found, as it is a possibility that the body was put in a weighted sack and dumped at sea, reported London's The Sun on Saturday.

Without a body, it will be hard to charge the parents with murder due to a lack of supporting evidence.

The article says that the sea theory is "one of the few police have left after four months of exhaustive land searches turned up nothing. Ocean specialists gauged where a body dumped off a beach would have been washed back ashore by tides." However, "a body weighed down with stones and dumped in deep water from a boat several miles out would simply disappear."

Madeleine's parents said they think the police in Portugal have forgotten about their daughter and that the investigation has become political. They are frustrated and feel as though the police are "playing a game with them."

In the article titled "Police 'cannot prove Madeleine's death'" in London's The Times, there was no mention of Madeleine's body being dumped into the sea.

"The forensic evidence which led to Kate and Gerry McCann being made official suspects in the disappearance of their daughter does not prove that Madeleine is dead, it was claimed [Friday]."

"Detectives have been struggling to create an accurate timeline of events after 6 p.m. on May 3, when Madeleine was taken by her parents to their holiday apartment to prepare her for bed." Kate McCann says she discovered Madeleine was missing after she made a check on the apartment at 10 p.m.

Traces of hair and bodily fluids were discovered in a Renault Scenic rented by the couple 25 days after Madeleine’s disappearance and prove that her corpse had been in the trunk, reported the Times.

However, homicide could not be proven even if the DNA tests were a 100 precent match of Maddie's, said one officer. "The elements could only prove that the girl had been transported in the car."

Portuguese police are waiting for the test results of samples taken from the McCanns' apartment on their resort and rental car. "The results on the final samples will be added to 4,000 pages of evidence, including Kate McCann’s diaries, which are being studied by a Portuguese judge."