baby steps

At times with only flashlights to illuminate the way, NYU Langone Medical Center began evacuating about 260 patients, carrying some of them down 15 flights of stairs to awaiting ambulances ready to take them to the safety of other hospitals.

Four newborns were on respirators that were breathing for them, and when the power went out, each baby was carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the baby's lungs.

The hospital usually has about 800 patients, but it discharged hundreds over the weekend in anticipation of the storm, he said.

But no one anticipated the high flood levels, or that the generators, which are on top of the hospital, would get waterlogged.

Behold, the power of napping!

 a 2008 paper by the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health that studied more than 23,000 Greek adults. The researchers followed subjects for an average of six years, measuring their diets, physical activity and how much they napped. They found that occasional napping was associated with a 12 percent reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease, but that regular napping — at least three days weekly — was associated with a 37 percent reduction

Modernization theory fail?

all the various aspects of economic development – industrialization, urbanization, wealth, and education – are … closely interrelated”

Well, it looks like the linkage between urbanization and wealth isn’t as close as we once thought it was [source]


Study says flirting works for women, friendly doesn’t. Boy that’s a catch-22 in the workplace.

In one scenario, flirtatious women were able to get around 20 per cent more off the price of a car.

But in another experiment, women who put too much friendliness and not enough flirting into negotiations paid more for products.

Dr Laura Kray, who led the study, said “They are seen as pushovers; as caring solely about satisfying other people’s interest.

“We found that flirtation, on the other hand, conveys assertiveness and power, from someone who is also concerned about satisfying their own interests.”

“Feminine charm is a strategic behaviour aimed at making the person you are negotiating with feel good in order to get them to agree to your goals,” she added.

Maybe they should hand out giant gelt as Nobel Prize medals

When he plugged in numbers from 23 countries, they made a neat linear plot on the page: Not only was the correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel prize winners very significant, but the probability that the distribution was due to chance — what researchers call the "p-value" — was tiny.

Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates

Dietary flavonoids, abundant in plant-based foods, have been shown to improve cognitive function. Specifically, a reduction in the risk of dementia, enhanced performance on some cognitive tests, and improved cognitive function in elderly patients with mild impairment have been associated with a regular intake of flavonoids. A subclass of flavonoids called flavanols, which are widely present in cocoa, green tea, red wine, and some fruits, seems to be effective in slowing down or even reversing the reductions in cognitive performance that occur with aging. Dietary flavanols have also been shown to improve endothelial function and to lower blood pressure by causing vasodilation in the peripheral vasculature and in the brain. Improved cognitive performance with the administration of a cocoa polyphenolic extract has even been reported in aged Wistar–Unilever rats.
Since chocolate consumption could hypothetically improve cognitive function not only in individuals but also in whole populations, I wondered whether there would be a correlation between a country's level of chocolate consumption and its population's cognitive function. To my knowledge, no data on overall national cognitive function are publicly available. Conceivably, however, the total number of Nobel laureates per capita could serve as a surrogate end point reflecting the proportion with superior cognitive function and thereby give us some measure of the overall cognitive function of a given country.

Geography is destiny: plankton -> cotton -> slavery -> Obama votes

These are the counties that went for Obama in the last election. A blue crescent in a sea of red.

2008 presidential election results by county. Blue denotes majority Democratic votes, and red Republican.
EnlargeMatt Stiles/NPR

These same counties went mostly blue in 2004 and 2000. Why? Well, the best answer, says marine biologist Craig McClain, may be an old one, going back before the Civil War, before 1776, before Columbus, back more than 100 million years to the days when the Deep South was under water. Those counties, as he writeshere, went for Obama because trillions and trillions and trillions of teeny sun-loving creatures died there. He's talking about plankton. That's why the Republicans can't carry those counties. Blame plankton.