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social studies

Can extra weight keep pedestrians safer from cars? Add to ...

Heavy pedestrians safer

“Pedestrians struck by cars are most often hit while in the crosswalk, with the signal on their side,” says The New York Times. “Taxicabs pose a disproportionate threat to cyclists, who often compete for the same sliver of curbside roadway. … These are among the findings of a medical study of injured pedestrians and cyclists in [New York], conducted by a team of trauma surgeons, emergency physicians and researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center.” Perhaps the most surprising finding was that excessive weight may prove a boon for pedestrians in a collision. Victims with an above-normal body mass index were found to have less severe injuries than their counterparts.

Gamer lives in café

“A computer games addict claims to have spent an astonishing six years at the same screen in an Internet café,” reports Orange.Co.UK. “Li Meng, 30, eats, sleeps and plays at the same seat in the café in Jilin, northern China, 24 hours a day, leaving his monitor only to use the loo or take a shower. Café manager Sun Wang explained: ‘He’s no trouble. In fact we barely hear anything from him at all. He pays his bills and doesn’t upset anyone. The staff almost never talk to him unless there’s a technical problem or he wants some food. He usually plays at night and sleeps through most of the day in front of the screen. But while he pays for the table, it’s his.’”

Would-be twins to meet

A student in London and a Los Angeles actress are raising funds online to help them discover if they are long-lost twin sisters. Anais Borider, 25, a French fashion student living in London, said she saw Samantha Futerman, also 25, in a YouTube sketch and thought it was like “looking back at myself,” ABC News reported. Bordier said she decided to investigate further after seeing Futerman in the film 21 & Over and she found out Futerman had also been born in South Korea and adopted at an early age. She said she decided to find the other woman on Facebook when she found out they had the same birthday: Nov. 19, 1987. Futerman said she and her likely sister found they shared “a twisted sense of humour, a love of cheese and an apparent Napoleon complex.”

When tweets are blue

“People spill their guts on social media, revealing things that they wouldn’t necessarily share face to face,” says the New Scientist. “So Munmun De Choudhury and colleagues at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash., mined Twitter to see whether it can be used to gauge levels of depression in society. The team analyzed the language of 69,000 tweets by 489 people who had previously been diagnosed with depression. They also tracked how many Twitter followers each user had and how many they followed, and the timing of users’ tweets over a three-month period. Users with fewer retweets and replies and those who tweeted more at night were slightly more likely to be depressed, the team found. The same was true of those whose tweets featured the word “I” more often than average.”

Who needs video games?

“What does it take to elevate the common ant from a picnic pest to household pet? To thousands of children and many adults,” says Associated Press, “the answer is a bit of soil and a see-through enclosure.… Ant farms, the narrow glass or plastic containers filled with soil that mimic ant colonies, have been popular among generations of children, and marketers say they remain in-demand even in the age of computers and video games.”

Thought du jour

Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.

Jacques Delille, French poet (1738-1813)

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