Who is dishonest?
“Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat,” writes Dan Ariely, a professor of behaviour economics and author of the forthcoming book The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves, “using a variety of experiments … What we have found in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everyone cheats – just by a little. … We want to install locks to stop the next Bernie Madoff, the next Enron, the next steroid-enhanced all-star … But locking our doors against the dishonest monsters will not keep them out; they will always cheat their way in. It is the woman down the hallway – the sweet one who could not even carry away your flat-screen TV if she wanted to – who needs to be reminded constantly that, even if the door is open, she cannot just walk in and ‘borrow’ a cup of sugar without asking.”
A graduation day to remember
“Students have been criticized in China – for celebrating their graduation day as a huge blaze broke out at their college,” Orange Co. UK reports. “The students – from Dalian, Liaoning province, northern China – had to flee when the fire broke out in a storage warehouse beside their dormitory during the event. Graduation snaps taken on the day show the smiling students grinning as what looks like their college goes up in smoke behind them.”
Remaining in Afghanistan
“America is supposed to wind down its war in Afghanistan by 2014,” says Wired magazine. “But U.S. forces may continue to track Afghans for years after the conflict is officially done. Palm-sized sensors, developed for the American military, will remain littered across the Afghan countryside – detecting anyone who moves nearby and reporting their locations back to a remote headquarters. Some of these surveillance tools [‘unattended ground sensors’ or UGS]could be buried in the ground, all-but-unnoticeable for passersby. Others might be disguised as rocks, with wafer-sized, solar-rechargeable batteries that could enable the sensors’ operation for perhaps as long as two decades, if their makers are to be believed.”
Snakebots roaming inside you?
“Imagine a tiny snake robot crawling through your body, helping a surgeon identify diseases and perform operations,” says Associated Press. “It’s not science fiction. Scientists and doctors are using the creeping metallic tools to perform surgery on hearts, prostate cancer and other diseased organs. The snakebots carry tiny cameras, scissors and forceps, and even more advanced sensors are in the works. For now, they’re powered by tethers that humans control. But experts say the day is coming when some robots will roam the body on their own.”
A denser brain may help
“A new study suggests exposure to solvents at work may be associated with reduced thinking skills later in life for those who have less than a high school education,” Psych Central reports. “Harvard University researchers said the thinking skills of people with more education were not affected, even if they had the same amount of exposure to solvents. ‘People with more education may have a greater cognitive reserve that acts like a buffer, allowing the brain to maintain its ability to function in spite of damage,’ said study author Lisa Berkman. ‘This may be because education helps build up a dense network of connections among brain cells.’”
Ambulances that rock
“Too many Denver motorists refuse to yield the road to emergency vehicles,” reports The Denver Post. “The problem is bad enough that a dozen Denver Health ambulances have been equipped with subwoofers that shake the ground as sirens blare. ‘People seem to be more aware now,’ said Scott Bookman, chief paramedic for Denver Health EMS. The 100/200-watt siren amplifiers point at the ground, generating a frequency low enough to vibrate everything outside the ambulance – an experience akin to pulling up next to a club kid blasting hip-hop from a trunk filled with speakers. … ‘They vibrate the entire ground,’ Mr. Bookman said. ‘People can feel it throughout their car. It’s pretty neat.’”
Worried about Jaws?
“If you get attacked by a shark, you’ll probably live,” says a Washington Post blog. “It’s a bit terrifying that fatalities from shark attacks hit a 20-year high in 2011, with 12 people across the world dying from encounters with the animals. American tourists can rest slightly assured though, that all of those shark-related fatalities were outside the United States. And, in general, [most]shark attacks actually aren’t fatal. A 2001 review of 86 cases found that 81 per cent of those attacked suffered only minor injuries that required ‘a simple, primary suture,’ the researchers said.”
Thought du jour
“If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.”
– Judith Martin (1938- ), U.S. etiquette columnist known as Miss Manners