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facts & arguments

Escaping the fire: Kashmiris transport their belongings to a safer place after their houses were destroyed by a fire on the outskirts of Srinagar, India.DANISH ISMAIL/Reuters


There's new reason to feel less guilty about imbibing during the recent holiday season. USA Today reports on a new study indicating that moderate drinking may in fact boost your immune system and help fight off infections. The study from the Oregon Health & Science University began with the vaccination of test monkeys against smallpox and splitting them into two groups. Half had open access to 4 per cent ethanol solution and the other group were given sugar water. After seven months, all the monkeys were re-vaccinated and those monkeys who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol showed better responses to the vaccine compared to those who drank the sugar-water. Researchers hope the study could assist scientists in finding new ways to improve the body's ability to respond to infections and vaccinations.


Facebook is, like, so over, according to European teenagers. The Guardian reports on a new study that focused on social-media use of 16 to 18-year-olds in eight EU countries. The most startling revelation of the University College London study: Younger people have shifted sharply away from Facebook in direct correlation to the site's increased popularity among an older demographic. In other words, as more European parents and older users finally discover Facebook, more teens are jumping onto Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other sites. "Facebook is not just on the slide – it is dead and buried," said study author Daniel Miller. "Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives."


Hell hath no fury like a female soccer fan. As reported in the Herald Scotland, a leading historian has discovered that women were the original football hooligans. Dr. Matt McDowell of Edinburgh University recently discovered one of the first reported incidents of hooliganism that took place in Port Glasgow between two groups of female fans. An 1898 report in the Port Glasgow Express and Observer documented an alleged brawl between fans of the now-defunct Glasgow Athletic football club and followers of rival team Morton (now Greenock Morton). "There was a general scuffle among the girls and stones were thrown," said the newspaper account. "One girl was so badly hit on the eye that she had to be taken into the surgery of a doctor at hand."


The use of language is all we have to pit against death and silence. – Joyce Carol Oates, author (1938 - )