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February 6, 2007, 10:07 PM CT

Selectivity Is Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Selectivity Is Ultimate Aphrodisiac
Speed daters who romantically desired most of their potential partners were rejected quickly and overwhelmingly, as per a new Northwestern University study.

Conventional wisdom has long taught that one of the best ways to get someone to like you is to make it clear that you like them. Now scientists have discovered that this law of reciprocity is in dire need of an asterisk in the domain of romantic attraction.

The more you tend to experience romantic desire for all the potential romantic partners you meet, the study shows, the less likely it is that they will desire you in return. (Think too desperate, too indiscriminate.)

In contrast, when you desire a potential partner above and beyond your other options, only then is your desire likely to be reciprocated. (Think hallelujah, finally, someone really gets me.)

In the past, social psychology experts have had a difficult time observing initial romantic attraction in action, but the speed-dating methodology used in this study allowed the researchers to take a serious look at the chemistry that has been at the center of so much literature, art and imagination throughout the ages.

"Potential partners who seem undiscriminating are a definite turnoff, and those who evoke the magic of feeling special are a big draw," said Paul W. Eastwick, the lead author of the study and a Northwestern graduate student in psychology. "The wild part is that our speed-daters were negotiating all of these subtleties with only four minutes for each date".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

February 6, 2007, 10:01 PM CT

Immigration Slows Rate Of Intermarriages

Immigration Slows Rate Of Ntermarriages
Immigration has played a key role in unprecedented declines in interracial and inter-ethnic marriage in the United States during the 1990s, as per a new study.

The findings suggest that the growing number of Hispanic and Asian immigrants to the United States led to more marriages within these groups, and fewer marriages between members of these groups and whites.

"These declines in intermarriages are a significant departure from past trends," said Zhenchao Qian, co-author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

"The decline reflects the growth in the immigrant population during the 90s - more native-born Asian Americans and Hispanics are marrying their foreign-born counterparts."

The study also observed that interracial marriages involving African Americans increased significantly during the 1990s, but still continued to lag far behind other minorities.

Qian conducted the study with Daniel Lichter, professor at Cornell University. Their results appear in the February 2007 issue of the American Sociological Review.

The scientists studied U.S. census data from 1990 and 2000. They examined married couples between the ages of 20 to 34 who identified themselves as whites, African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics or some combination.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

February 5, 2007, 6:35 PM CT

Public Responses To The Recent Spinach Recall

Public Responses To The Recent Spinach Recall
Every year, the Food and Drug Administration issues dozens of food-related recalls, withdrawals and advisories. But few receive the attention that the advisory regarding E.coli-contaminated spinach received in September 2006. The broad scale of the resulting recall and related media attention provided a unique opportunity for scientists at the Rutgers Food Policy Institute (FPI) to study the U.S. food recall system. The results of this study were published recently on FPI's web site,.

To investigate the public's reactions to this incident, a nationally representative sample of 1,200 Americans were interviewed by telephone from November 8 to 29, 2006. The results of the nationwide telephone survey describe the level of consumer awareness and knowledge of the recall and foodborne illness. The results also provide insight into consumer behavior during the recall and likely future behavior in response to the recall.

"We examined both the successes and of the failures of this particular recall," said William Hallman, Director of the Food Policy Institute. "Our survey not only provides data to improve communications about future food recalls, but also enables us to explore how our systems might work in the case of intentional food contamination".

The results of the survey show that the FDA's main message to consumers warning that bagged fresh spinach had been contaminated and should not be eaten was heard by 87% of Americans. More than eight in ten (84%) of those who had heard about the recall said that they had also talked about it with others. In addition, the data clearly indicate that the majority of consumers did stop eating spinach because of the recall.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 30, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

So Many Presidential Candidates So Soon?

So Many Presidential Candidates So Soon?
With this weekend's announcements that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Sam Brownbeck and former Gov. Bill Richardson have taken major steps toward becoming presidential candidates for 2008, the upcoming election is already approaching one of the largest fields of contenders ever.

John Aldrich, a Duke University political science professor and co-author of the soon-to-be-released book "Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 Elections," says one reason why so many hats are being tossed into the ring so early is this is a rare occasion when no incumbent president or vice president is running.

"If the president is up for re-nomination, his party will either have an entirely uncontested nomination (George W. Bush in 2004; Bill Clinton in 1996) or a very restricted field (Gerald Ford challenged by Ronald Reagan in 1976; Jimmy Carter challenged by Edward Kennedy and Jerry Brown in 1980)," Aldrich says. "When the incumbent vice president runs, he is the dominant figure, usually winning the nomination, often early in the contest (Al Gore in 2000; Bush the elder in 1988).

"As a result, fewer challenge such a strong contender. In all other cases, there will certainly be candidates seen as relatively strong, as Sens. Clinton and (John) McCain are seen for 2008, but they will not be seen as strong as an incumbent president or even vice president".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 26, 2007, 4:44 AM CT

Changing Commuting Trends

Changing Commuting Trends
Commuting trends are changing as baby boomers near retirement age at the same time that a large immigrant population has joined the U.S. labor force, as per Commuting in America III, the latest decadal review of the nation's commuting patterns authored by transportation consultant Alan Pisarski and published by the Transportation Research Board. While the personal vehicle is still the most common way to go to work, transit and carpooling are increasing in a number of areas, and more commuters are traveling from suburb to suburb rather than from suburbs to central cities, the report says.

"One of the most significant changes will probably come from newly arrived immigrants," said Pisarski. "Unlike most native-born Americans or immigrants who have been in the U.S. for more than five years, a number of new immigrants either carpool, bike, walk, or use public transportation for their daily commute."

During the coming decades, a number of baby boomers -- who will start turning 65 in 2010 -- will leave the workplace and stop commuting. At the same time, the latest projections from the Census Bureau show that the number of younger people entering the work force will increase; but these new workers will not outnumber those who will retire. Almost 20 million people ages 18 to 65 are expected to enter the work force during the years 2000 to 2010, followed by only about 12 million over the two following decades. But such projections may underestimate the actual number of Americans who will start working, because it is difficult to project how a number of immigrants will arrive and enter the work force and how a number of baby boomers will keep working after age 65, the report says.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 17, 2007, 8:08 PM CT

Fast-Food Business Lessons

Fast-Food Business Lessons Jerry Newman's latest book, "My Secret Life on the McJob," took him behind the counter at seven fast-food restaurants to research management style.
What really happens after you place an order for a Big Mac or a Whopper with Cheese?.

Jerry M. Newman, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the University at Buffalo School of Management, knows because he worked undercover in seven fast food restaurants across the country, observing operations from the top down -- from the biggest management whoppers to the smallest fries at the fry station.

Newman has chronicled his experiences in a new book, "My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons from Behind the Counter Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style" (January 2007, McGraw-Hill).

Unlike the cultural overview of Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation," or the dietary condemnation of Morgan Spurlock's "SuperSize Me," Newman's book reveals what molds employees working for the country's fast food producers. In spite of the high turnover and repetitive tasks, the workers consistently produce, aren't afraid of hard work and thrive under pressure. And the super-sized mega-burger companies boast steady profits in return. How do fast-food managers tease success out of employees to boost the bottom line?

"My Secret Life on the McJob" takes readers behind the scenes at Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, Krystal and McDonald's -- and serves up, with keen insights into management techniques, wise lessons that can be applied to companies with 6,000 locations, or just six employees.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 15, 2007, 5:15 AM CT

Lost Dogs Found More Often Than Lost Cats

Lost Dogs Found More Often Than Lost Cats
A lost dog is more likely to be reunited with its owner than a lost cat, according to two new studies.

In one city in southwestern Ohio , researchers found that 71 percent of lost dogs were found, compared to just 53 percent of lost cats.

More than a third of the recovered dogs were found by a call or visit to an animal shelter. More than one in four dogs were found because the animal wore a dog license or identification tag at the time of its disappearance.

"The animal control system is a key component in the recovery of lost dogs, but owners have to be vigilant about calling and visiting these agencies," said Linda Lord, the lead author of both studies and an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine. "Some form of visual identification is also critical to the recovery of a pet, and can result in a faster recovery".

Although Ohio law requires that dogs be licensed, just 41 percent of the lost dogs in the study wore a license at the time of their disappearance. Less than half (48 percent) of dogs had an identification tag or microchip when they went missing. Microchips, which are implanted under the skin, provide permanent identification about where a pet belongs. Cat owners aren't required to identify their pet, and 19 percent of lost cats had a tag or microchip at the time they were lost.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 11, 2007, 9:06 PM CT

Intervention Can Cut Job Stress

Intervention Can Cut Job Stress
A simple workplace intervention can reduce the impact of stress on the heart, scientists reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Office workers who faced layoffs - a significant stress-inducer - were able to achieve small, but significant changes in heart rate variability and a small decrease in arterial blood pressure by participating in a stress management program at work.

After participating in the year-long stress management program, workers' scores on a test that measures perceived stress were significantly lower than baseline scores. Moreover, workers said they felt less tired than they did before the stress management training.

"And we were able to achieve these results in a working environment, without impinging on productivity, and with zero cost to the company," said Massimo Pagani, M.D., senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Milan in Italy.

Job-related stress is one of several factors that may increase the risk of heart attack. So by addressing stress "at work, where stress occurs, rather than in a clinic, we may be able to prevent these workers from becoming patients," Pagani said.

Scientists recruited 91 office workers at a DuPont subsidiary in Italy which was downsizing its workforce by 10 percent. The average age of the volunteers was 40 years of age, 59 were men, who were, on average, normal weight with a body mass index (BMI) of 24 kg/m2. All of the volunteers said they were experiencing work-related stress.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 9, 2007, 8:45 PM CT

Universe's Oldest Objects

Universe's Oldest Objects
The deepest reaches of space are permeated by a cloak of infrared radiation, an uneven energy swath generated by long-dead objects from the early universe.

Now, scientists have teased apart overlapping signals from that cosmic infrared background, building upon an earlier study to show that uneven patches of energy may actually be clusters of the first objects to emerge from the Big Bang.

The astronomers believe the objects are either extremely bright stars more than 1,000 times more massive than our sun, or quasars, large black holes that consume enormous amounts of gas and debris and re-emit the materials in almost unparalleled bursts of energy. If the patches are star clusters, they may be the first galaxies, smaller than most known galaxies yet containing a mass on the scale of 1 million suns.

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, scientists studied archival data from the calibration of the NASA Spitzer telescope and conducted several stages of cleaning to remove signals from more recent galaxies and other objects to get to the underlying signals.

"Observing the cosmic infrared background is like watching distant fireworks from within a brightly lit city," said lead author Alexander Kashlinsky of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "It's as if we have turned off the city lights one by one to see the bursts more clearly. While we can't resolve each spark in the fireworks, we can see the large scale structures and their glow".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

January 7, 2007, 9:57 PM CT

Age, Gender Major Factors In Severity Of Auto-accident Injuries

Age, Gender Major Factors In Severity Of Auto-accident Injuries
Understanding the differences among drivers in different gender and age categories is crucial to preventing serious injuries, said scientists in a new study showing stark statistical differences in traffic-accident injuries depending on the gender and age of drivers.

The new findings are particularly important because the number of drivers 65 and older is expected to double by 2030 in the United States to 70 million, said Fred Mannering, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University and the study's co-author. National statistics show that fatalities rose by 7 percent for drivers 75 and older from 1981 to 2000, remained steady for drivers from 65-74, but dropped for younger drivers.

"It is reasonably well known that age and gender have an effect on the likelihood of an accident, but the influence that age and gender have on driver injuries once an accident has occurred is not well understood," Mannering said.

The Purdue scientists found statistically significant differences in the severity of injuries suffered in accidents involving men and women drivers and drivers within three age groups: young drivers, 16-24; middle-aged drivers, 25-64; and older drivers, 65 and above.

"Because the factors that affect how severely you are going to be injured vary depending on your age and gender, a better understanding of age and gender differences can lead to improvements in vehicle and highway design to minimize driver injury severity," Mannering said. "What is clear is that safety research and policy must begin to seriously address gender- and age-related matters because there are compelling differences and considerable potential to improve safety if these differences are properly addressed".........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

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