Away and up to no good
"When you travel for business, you might work hard and live a clean life, but most people suspect you are drinking, cheating on your spouse and stuffing your face with fatty food," says the Los Angeles Times. "That's the conclusion of an online survey of more than 2,000 adults taken by Harris Interactive on behalf of On24 Inc. … The survey found that 94 per cent of those surveyed said 'bad behaviours' take place among people who travel to business trade shows and conventions." The presumed behaviour included heavy drinking (77 per cent), cheating on a spouse (66 per cent), spending too much money (54 per cent) and eating fatty foods (53 per cent).
"If you want to get belligerent people to simmer down, here's an unexpected suggestion: remind them that they're animals," says The Boston Globe. "A new study finds that highlighting how we're like animals – or 'creaturely' – causes us to become uncomfortable with aggression, in both an individual and collective sense. People who read about how humans are like animals were subsequently less enthusiastic about hitting a punching bag, became more aware of their own mortality, and were less supportive of military action against Iran."
There's no one boss up top
"We humans think we make all our decisions to act consciously and willfully," writes neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga in Discover magazine. "We all feel we are wonderfully unified, coherent mental machines and that our underlying brain structure must reflect this overpowering sense. It doesn't. No command centre keeps all other brain systems hopping to the instructions of a five-star general. The brain has millions of local processors making important decisions. There is no one boss in the brain. You are certainly not the boss of your brain. Have you ever succeeded in telling your brain to shut up already and go to sleep?"
More guns for schools
"An Illinois community southwest of Chicago is astir after the local police chief proposed a new method to protect students: bring more guns to school," reports The Huffington Post. "Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek wants officers regularly assigned to district high schools to be allowed to keep an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle under lock and key in school offices so they are better prepared to handle school shootings if the situation arises. School officers will be the only ones able to access the weapons, NBC Chicago reports. Chief Konopek notes that training exercises have shown that officers are 'much better equipped to handle this type of incident' while using a long gun – with greater range, accuracy and stopping power – versus a handgun."
Our vegetarian future?
"Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages," The Guardian reports. "Humans derive about 20 per cent of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5 per cent to feed the extra two billion people expected to be alive by 2050 … 'There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected nine billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,' the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute said."
Children herded not seen
"School field trips might be fun for kids, but try being a teacher having to keep track of dozens of little charges, each with a penchant for wandering off," writes Niall Firth in the New Scientist. "RubberBand uses a sensor attached to each child's backpack that broadcasts a radio signal to all the other children's sensors once every second. The signals are collected by a smartphone running software that measures the signal strength between every pair of children in the group to determine their locations relative to each other. If a child toddles off, or a splinter group forms, the system plays a sound to alert the teacher and displays photos of the kids involved." The system will be presented at the Ubicomp conference in Pittsburgh next month.
"A south-central Idaho woman with a history of sleepwalking was treated for hypothermia after apparently sleep swimming in the Snake River," reports Associated Press. "Cassia County officials tell The (Twin Falls) Times-News that [last] Tuesday's disappearance was the third time in five weeks the 31-year-old wife and mother from Burley had left her house at night. Another time, deputies located her disoriented and wet after another apparent sleep swim. The woman's husband called the sheriff's office at 2:25 a.m. Tuesday to report his wife was missing. The woman was located, wet and hypothermic, on the riverbank about a quarter mile downstream from the house."
Thought du jour
The head never rules the heart, but just becomes its partner in crime.
Mignon McLaughlin, American journalist (1913-83)