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January 17, 2008

Children find clowns frightening and unknowable

Don't send in the clowns - Yahoo! News

LONDON (Reuters) - Bad news for Coco and Blinko -- children don't like clowns and even older kids are scared of them.

The news that will no doubt have clowns shedding tears was revealed in a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.

The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.

"As adults we make assumptions about what works for children," said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.

"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."

A Kafka-esque Nightmare in Elder Abuse

Time Goes By - What it's really like to get older

Before you read further, I ask you stop and imagine this for a moment: you are confined to a 10-by-12 foot room. Attendants bring you medications, but you don't know what they are or what they are for. You would like to take a walk outside, but an alarm goes off when you try to go out the door - and you can't go out anyway, because there are no clothes in the closet.

Not long ago, you lived in an apartment, had been there for many years, owned all the appropriate accoutrements of life, paid your bills and after what was expected to be a short period in a rehab hospital to help repair a broken ankle, you were never allowed to leave again.

It sounds like a gothic novel, but it is not. It is real.

This story is particular to the state of Massachusetts, but is likely a problem in some if not many of the other 49 states and perhaps elsewhere in the world.

January 16, 2008

Israeli women forced to sit in the back of the bus

Yahoo! India News - Israel 'back of the bus' rule sparks religious row

Every time Israeli student Iris Yoffe takes the bus to Jerusalem, she has to be ready for abuse from ultra-Orthodox Jews who say she should be kept off because she's wearing trousers.

Assuming she makes it onto the bus at all -- on several occasions groups of Orthodox men have tried to block the door -- Yoffe, 24, heads for the "women's section" at the back of the bus, keeps her head down and tries to ignore the insults.

"I end up feeling helpless and humiliated, like an outsider," said Yoffe, whose public bus from her home in northern Israel to Jerusalem has separate male and female seating because it runs through an ultra-Orthodox community.

A row over Israel's buses underscores the schism between its ultra-Orthodox minority -- who believe women should don long skirts and stay away from men in public -- and those who want to keep the country, and its public transport system, secular.

Tom Cruise on Being a Scientologist

Exclusive: The Cruise Indoctrination Video Scientology Tried To Suppress "When...

Lightening the Load: Four Jokes from Friend Terri

Bummed out about Microsoft biometric spyware and The Good Word...

January 15, 2008

Expect Airfare To Include Airport Congestion Fees

Travel: Expect Airfare To Include Airport Congestion Fees

In a move meant to promote reducing congestion, the DOT yesterday announced that airports can now charge airlines landing fees based on time and overall airplane volume, rather than simply their weight. Critics charge the previous policy allowed airlines to schedule flights on smaller and more regional jets during busy times, when what were needed were fewer and larger jets.The move would allow airports to schedule their flights throughout the day. Most likely the fees will be passed on to consumers, as they should. A good way to increase in a system is to make those who want to use its resources when they're in short supply pay a premium. Airlines are expected to lobby fiercely against the measure.

Drug-resistant staph infections hitting San Francisco's gay community

S.F. gay community an epicenter for new strain of virulent staph

(01-14) 14:11 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A new variety of staph bacteria, highly resistant to antibiotics and possibly transmitted by sexual contact, is spreading among gay men in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles, researchers reported Monday.

The study released online by the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found the highest concentrations of infection by the drug-resistant bug in and around San Francisco's Castro district and among patients who visit health clinics that treat HIV infections in gay men in San Francisco and Boston.

The culprit is a form of MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bug that was once confined to hospitalized patients but, since the late 1990s, has been circulating outside medical settings, afflicting anyone from injection-drug users to elementary school students. A strain called USA300 has been a leading cause of MRSA infection in this decade, and an exceptionally drug-resistant variant of it is now on the loose, researchers say.

January 14, 2008

Dick Cavett Blog on NYT

I was a huge Dick Cavett fan as a kid....