Acupuncture is essential?
“[U.S. states] are in the middle of answering one of the health law’s most important unknowns: What health benefits should every insurance plan be required [to] cover?” blogs Sarah Kliff for The Washington Post. “In California, the answer is coming together quickly – and, if all goes as planned, acupuncture will be on the list.”
Who owns that sperm?
“A [British] woman whose husband donated sperm without her knowledge is demanding a change in the rules that would require clinics to obtain consent from donors’ wives,” The Sunday Times of London reports. “She suggests that her husband’s sperm could be regarded as a ‘marital asset.’ The woman, a business owner in her mid-30s from Surrey, is fearful of the emotional upset to herself and her own child if any offspring fathered through donation contact them in the future. Such children, of whom there could be up to 20, would be not only the genetic sons and daughters of her husband but also the half-siblings of her child. She believes the psychological impact of one of her husband’s donor children entering her family’s life ‘would almost feel like introducing the offspring of an adulterous relationship.’”
Desirable spouse sizes
“In China,” writes Zhang Qian in The Shanghai Daily, “height is traditionally an important esthetic criterion for a man’s good looks (comparable to large eyes for women) and ability to attract a suitable wife. It’s generally accepted that 180 cm (5 foot 10) is an ideal height, especially in the eyes of the bride’s parents, while those below 170 cm (5 foot 7) may be teased as ‘second-rate’ or ‘disabled.’ Women at 165 cm (5 foot 5) are generally considered more desirable than shorter women.”
Chimps are better gamblers
“If you thought Planet of the Apes was just fiction, guess again: In certain cognitive tasks, at least, chimps appear to have us beat,” writes Kevin Lewis in The Boston Globe. “Researchers pitted chimps against other chimps in simple games, where winning each round was rewarded with a piece of food. The researchers also pitted humans against other humans, where winning each round was rewarded with a coin. It turns out that the chimps’ decisions were actually very close to what game theory said were the best strategies, and, in fact, hewed closer than humans’ decisions.”
“When Bill Doherty, a family therapist and professor at the University of Minnesota, was researching overscheduled kids about 10 years ago, parents complained that ‘birthday parties are becoming out of hand,’” writes Bethany Swain of CNN.com. “Talk to parents of school-age children, and they’ll tell you about the pressure and expense of the birthday circuit. Besides soccer, dance and violin lessons, children also have invitations to birthday parties several weekends out of the year. Prof. Doherty said that examples of extravagant birthday parties were easy to find. In one Minnesota town, the parents of the birthday girl rented a bar for a princess-themed party. Guests were picked up in limos. The parents wore tuxedos and formal gowns. There was live music and champagne for adults. And the birthday girl was turning 4.”
Birds hold funerals
“Some birds, it seems, hold funerals for their dead,” reports Matt Walker for BBC News. “When western scrub jays encounter a dead bird they call out to one another and stop foraging. The jays then often fly down to the dead body and gather around it,scientists have discovered. The behavior may have evolved to warn other birds of nearby danger, report researchers in California, who have published the findings in the journal Animal Behaviour. … Spreading the message that a dead bird is in the area helps safeguard other birds, alerting them to danger, and lowering their risk from whatever killed the original bird in the first place, the researchers say. Other animals are known to take notice of their dead. Giraffes and elephants, for example, have been recorded loitering around the body of a recently deceased close relative, raising the idea that animals have a mental concept of death, and may even mourn those that have passed.”
Thought du jour
“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”
– Kathearine Hepburn (1907-2003), American actress