Life-saving for gangs
In Liverpool, England, gang members are being taught first aid for stab wounds in a rehabilitation course for young offenders involved in knife and gun crime, The Guardian reports. "The brainchild of a group of medical students at Liverpool University, the course specializes in teaching teenagers … the skills to give pre-hospital care immediately after a penetrating injury. The two-week Basics course is now a core part of Liverpool's young offenders team's restorative justice program. … 'The course changed my life,' said Michael, 16, who was convicted of threatening a rival gang member with a blade [last]year. 'It makes you think, because you realize you can kill someone really easily with a knife. There's no safe place on the body to stab someone. I had a friend who was stabbed recently. I would have been a lot more help to him if I'd done this course when it happened.' "
Older folks care most
"People's ability to empathize with others peaks during their 60s, scientists have found," The Daily Telegraph reports. "Older generations have greater 'emotional intelligence' than younger members of society, the researchers said. They are also better at seeing the positive side of stressful situations. The U.S. scientists believe it makes sense that humans developed an enhanced 'caring' side near the end of their lives. 'Increasingly, it appears that the meaning of late life centres on social relationships and caring for and being cared for by others,' said psychologist Prof. Robert Levenson, from the University of California at Berkeley. 'Evolution seems to have tuned our nervous systems in ways that are optimal for these kinds of interpersonal and compassionate activities as we age.' "
Slim chances of a job
"Female students in China have been eating roundworm eggs to lose weight for job interviews - because employment is so hard to come by," the Daily Mail reports. "They hatch in the stomach, allowing those who take them to shed pounds without exercising or dieting. … But swallowing the worms is extremely dangerous - and definitely not to be recommended for those wanting to shed pounds in the New Year. With job shortages across the country, women in China are under pressure to appear thin if they are to have any chance of landing a role. … Other students are staring at pictures for hours on end to suppress their appetite so they can shed excess weight. A student called Xiaomei said that women are using a 'special soap' that helps them with their diets. Some are having up to 10 showers each day."
Did mom tan your hide?
"Like mother, like daughter. So says a new study about the habits of female college students who use tanning beds," Stylelist.com reports. "For a report published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers Mary Kate Baker, Joel James Hillhouse and Xuefeng Liu surveyed 227 female East Tennessee State University students to find out at what age they began to fake-bake, as well as who accompanied them on their first visit. The results were overwhelming." Mom took nearly 40 per cent to the tanning bed for the first time, and students whose mothers introduced them to tanning began at age 14, two years younger than the other students.
Worst New Year's gathering
"A woman who claimed the world was going to end in an apocalyptic earthquake [Dec. 31]was arrested in the Marin Headlands on allegations of abducting four people off the streets of Berkeley and San Francisco, a federal spokeswoman said," the Marin Independent Journal reports. The 36-year-old woman was arrested after leading police on a chase in a U-Haul truck and was jailed on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment and evading police. "At the jail, she described her occupation as 'save the world.' … Authorities were still investigating what [she]intended to do with the people in the truck. She told police she thought the world was going to end in an earthquake at 11:11 a.m. and she 'wanted to be prepared.' "
"Harold Camping, controversial head of the California-based independent Christian ministry Family Radio Worldwide, says Judgment Day is coming this spring," the Chicago Tribune reports. "Camping's calculations, derived from his interpretation of the Bible, forecast May 21 as the date of the rapture. That's the time when some Christians believe Jesus will return to Earth, taking the saved with Him to heaven and leaving everyone else to suffer the fate of the apocalypse, which Camping says will occur in October. [The 89-year-old]previously predicted the rapture for September of 1994."
Thought du jour
"The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away."
Barbara Kingsolver (1955-), American novelist