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Cars could gauge whether you're too drunk to drive Add to ...

Drunk? The car will decide

"An alcohol-detection prototype that uses automatic sensors to instantly gauge a driver's fitness to be on the road has the potential to save thousands of lives, but could be as long as a decade away from everyday use in cars, federal officials and researchers said Friday," Associated Press reports. "… The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, as the new approach is called, would use sensors that would measure blood alcohol content in one of two possible ways: either by analyzing a driver's breath or through the skin, using sophisticated touch-based sensors placed strategically on steering wheels and door locks, for example. Both methods eliminate the need for drivers to take any extra steps, and those who are sober would not be delayed in getting on the road, researchers said."

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Pride and brand names

"Pay attention, marketers," The Boston Globe says. "If any study validates what you do, this one does. Researchers found that using a generic (v. brand-name) product undermines self-esteem. In one experiment, university students were asked to type out a résumé, ostensibly for a recruiting event. Students used an Apple iMac to type their résumés and were told that the keyboard and mouse were new. Some students, though, were told that the keyboard and mouse were generic parts - to save money. The students who used the generic keyboard reported expecting a lower salary." The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

The divorce didn't last

"An elderly [British]couple said "I do" again 57 years after divorcing - and 70 years since they were first wed," The Daily Mirror reports. "Elsie Dunn, 90, and Leslie Harper, 93, had both remarried and barely spoken for decades until he got back in touch in 2004. His second wife had died and Elsie was a widow when Les decided he wanted to contact his first love - the woman he had married in 1941 but divorced in 1954. Elsie said: 'He rang our daughter Pauline to ask if she thought I would want to see him. She was all for it but said he better ring up first. He came down one day seven years ago and that was it, we've been together since.' Pauline said: 'They were both happy to see each other again after all that time. They rekindled their friendship first and it went from there.' "

Parents can flunk?

"If an elementary-school teacher graded you on your involvement in your child's education, what kind of a grade would you get?" CNN.com asks. "Should your kid's first-grade teacher be grading you in the first place? If Florida state representative Kelli Stargel's bill becomes law, public-school teachers will be required to grade the parents of students in kindergarten through the third grade. The parents' grades of 'satisfactory,' 'unsatisfactory' or 'needs improvement' would be added to their children's report card."

Pupils and students

"The word 'pupil' is now hardly ever used of children in school; every child is a 'student' from the moment he enters kindergarten," Theodore Dalrymple writes in Spoilt Rotten! The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality. "It used to be that the transition from pupil to student was an important one, almost a metamorphosis in fact, or at least a rite of passage. A pupil was highly dependent upon a teacher for what he learnt … by contrast, a student … was more self-directed in his learning."

Thought du jour

"The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer."

Alice Wellington Rollins (1847-97), U.S. author

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