Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Car pollution linked to Autism -

Car pollution linked to Autism - 

Children exposed to higher levels of air pollution early in life may have an increased risk of autism, a new study suggests.
In the study, children living in areas with high levels of traffic-generated air pollution during their first year of life were three times more likely to have autism than children living in areas with low levels.
There was also a link between exposure to air pollution in the womb — particularly during late pregnancy — and an increasedrisk of autism, according to the study.
The findings held even after the researchers accounted for factors possibly related to autism risk, including a child's gender and ethnicity, their parent's education and smoking in pregnancy.
The results add to previous findings linking exposure to air pollution with autism risk
However, the new study shows only an association, not a cause-effect link, and the researchers did not gather information on the children's nutrition, or their exposure to indoor pollutants and secondhand smoke, which could affect the results.
"Although additional research to replicate these findings is needed, the public health implications of these findings are large because air pollution exposure is common and may have lasting neurological effects," the researchers write in the Nov. 26 issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/11/27/car-pollution-linked-to-autism/?test=latestnews

Grinch Wastes Little Time: Thieves Steal $3,000 Worth Of Xmas Trees From Boy Scouts -

Grinch Wastes Little Time: Thieves Steal $3,000 Worth Of Xmas Trees From Boy Scouts - 

Police are calling it a heartless holiday crime. Thieves stole dozens of Christmas trees from the Boy Scouts.

But as CBS 2’s Don Dahler found out on Monday, this story of a holiday Grinch has become a reflection of the spirit of the season.

At around 1:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, an Ulster police officer noticed something was wrong at the Boy Scout tree lot.

“One of the patrols actually drove up to this location and saw the Christmas tree sign and wooden gate area that fences it in knocked over,” Ulster Police Chief Anthony Cruise said.

Paul Vanderkruik oversees the lot.

“I arrived at about 2 a.m. and someone had pulled over the entire front of our stand. It looked like they had hooked a chain to it and just drove in,” the Scout camp ranger said.

In all, 60 Christmas trees were missing. They were trees the Scouts were selling to raise money for their camp. The stolen trees amounted to a loss of about $3,000.

“That’s a major amount. We’re a small council. We serve Ulster County and Greene County, about 1,600 to 2,000 kids. We’ve got a pretty small budget and $3,000 is a lot,” Rip Van Winkle Council Scout executive Raymond Braun said.

When asked what the reaction was from some of Scouts, Vanderkruik said, “They were sad, but they took a stiff upper lip. The next morning, Friday morning, they were here to rebuild. Yeah, 7 a.m. they were here.”

It takes a pretty heartless person to steal Christmas trees from Boy Scouts on Thanksgiving morning, but before you start feeling too bad about humanity, read the rest of this story.

People began dropping by to make donations. And then a competitor down the road, Adams Fairacre Farms, a large grocery store that also sells Christmas trees, donated 60 of theirs to replace the ones stolen.

“I was hurt. I was very hurt about what had happened to them and I just thought we needed to help,” Jason Becker of Adams said.

Braun was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I feel like Jimmy Stewart. I feel like, you know, it’s a wonderful life,” Brain said.

And there it is – a Hollywood ending in a town that never forgot what this season is really all about.

Ulster police have no suspects. The theft was the second Christmas tree theft in upstate New York this year. A trailer with 350 trees was stolen from a farm last week.


China's Party Paper Falls for Onion Joke about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive" -

China's Party Paper Falls for Onion Joke about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive" - 

The online version of China's Communist Party newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive" - not realizing it is satire.

The People's Daily on Tuesday ran a 55-page photo spread on its website in a tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline "North Korea's top leader named The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012."

Quoting The Onion's spoof report, the Chinese newspaper wrote, `'With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true."

"Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile," the People's Daily cited The Onion as saying.

The photos the People's Daily selected include Kim on horseback squinting into the light and Kim waving toward a military parade. In other photos, he is wearing sunglasses and smiling, or touring a facility with his wife.

People's Daily could not immediately be reached for comment. A man who answered the phone at the newspaper's duty office said he did not know anything about the report and requested queries be directed to their newsroom on Wednesday morning.

It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by the just-for-laughs The Onion.

In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city's biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington. The Onion article was a spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.

Two months ago, Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reprinted a story from The Onion about a supposed survey showing that most rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. It included a quote from a fictional West Virginia resident saying he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defense seriously."


After 19 years of marriage, husband discovers wife was once a man... -

After 19 years of marriage, husband discovers wife was once a man... - 

The man, only named as Jan, married Monica, his family's former au pair in a previous marriage, in 1993 despite legal difficulties raised by the Belgian immigration authorities.
But it was only in recent weeks that he discovered that his wife had originally been a man and had undergone a sex change.
"I feel I've been assaulted," he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
"I brought her to Belgium. That was not easy. The Belgian courts had serious doubts about the authenticity of her birth and her identity papers, but eventually they accepted it anyway. I thought she was an attractive woman, all woman. She had no male traits."
Jan, 64, said that he and his wife had decided not to have children because he had two by his previous marriage and she fooled him by pretending to menstruate, using sanitary towels, "to conceal the truth".

"Even during sex, I never noticed anything," he said.
For many years the couple lived a normal family life and Monica, 48, was like a "big sister" to his children until their marriage started to come under strain when she got a new full-time job.
"Monica began to change very much," he said.
"My oldest son saw her sometimes at a nightclub. She began to wear very flashy clothes, those ultra-short skirts or tiny tops, so her abdomen was completely exposed."
Finally rumours began to surface and after Jan found "amorous messages" from other men on her computer, he confronted her in a violent row that led to the police being called.
"A friend told me that he had heard that Monica was actually a sex-changed man. I could not believe it. My son heard similar rumours," he said.
"I pushed her against the wall and said: Now I know the truth. Are you a man? She then announced that she was born as a boy and that she had been operated on. She was now a woman, and so she did not need to tell me about her past as a man. My world collapsed. That evening came to blows. The police came."
Jan, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment following the discovery, has started legal proceedings to have the marriage annulled but the Belgian courts have so far refused to allow him to turn her out of the familiy home.
"That person has deliberately deceived him for years, even scammed. Presumably she has also forged documents used here to get a residence permit. The children, who for years have lived with her, are devastated," said his Liliane Verjauw, his lawyer.

Read more -