Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 4:59 pm
Just as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tries to overcome unease about his Mormon faith in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, a new ad campaign promoting the religion is drawing attention.
"I'm a Mormon" billboards and television commercials aimed at improving the religious group's public image have surfaced over the past week in states almost certain to be battlegrounds for next year's presidential contest.
Syria's President Bashar Assad has survived an uprising that's now in its eighth month, and he shows no signs of buckling. The president has relied on a massive security presence to limit protests at home, and has dismissed criticism and sanctions from abroad.
But is this strategy sustainable, or is Assad simply buying time?
Abbott Labs is splitting up. The diversified maker of medical products will become two companies: one focused on brand-name prescription drugs and the second on the other stuff, including medical devices, diagnostic tests and baby formula.
It's a big deal, and Forbes' Matt Herper explains the logic behind it: Investors aren't giving drugmakers much respect, so separating the businesses could give a lift to the future stock of the faster-growing non-drug business.
Eight times a year the Federal Reserve releases "beige book" reports about how the economy is doing. Named for the traditional color of their covers and based on reports from the central bank's 12 districts, they're largely anecdotal and full of generalizations about what businesses leaders and others are saying about current conditions.
Many of the protesters occupying Wall Street and other places say they are upset about the rising price of going to college. Tuition and other costs have been going up faster than inflation, and family incomes can't keep up. Despite public outrage about the problem, there's little sign these costs will drop anytime soon.
For as long as there's been an IQ test, there's been controversy over what it measures. Do IQ scores capture a person's intellectual capacity, which supposedly remains stable over time? Or is the Intelligent Quotient exam really an achievement test â€” similar to the S.A.T. â€” that's subject to fluctuations in scores?
The findings of a new study add evidence to the latter theory: IQ seems to be a gauge of acquired knowledge that progresses in fits and starts.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 12:17 pm
I'm a complete TED fangirl. I get irrationally excited when I see new talks from the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference arrive. I just feel smarter listening to intelligent people from around the globe speaking about their passions and creative pursuits of all sorts, from writing to developing solar technology to advances in neurology.
But it's also become a rich treasure trove of musical performances and talks about musicians' creative processes, as you can see in these five videos. Enjoy.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 1:04 pm
USA Today parses through New York Federal Reserve's latest report (pdf) on Household Debt and Credit and finds that for the first time, this year the amount of student loans will surpass the $100 billion mark and the outstanding balance will exceed $1 trillion.
"The United States will hold a fresh round of talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program next week and appoint a new full-time envoy as its seeks to deepen its engagement with the reclusive regime," U.S. officials and a Washington-based foreign diplomat tell The Associated Press.
Protesters are not only occupying Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park; they're also occupying Twitter and other social media sites like Livestream, where visitors to the site can watch live footage from the protests.
Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 11:43 am
With all the time he's had to prepare since 2008 when he last ran for president, you might have thought Mitt Romney would have come up with a more persuasive and sympathetic defense to the charge that illegal immigrants once worked on his Massachusetts property.
And with all the news coverage that issue got during the 2008 presidential campaign, including being raised in GOP debates, you might have also thought that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would have resorted to the story sooner to put Romney on the defensive and counter Romney's immigration attacks on him.
In the aftermath of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon's death Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there's been a passionate discussion going on in the racing world about whether it was just too risky to have open-wheel-style cars on an oval track with banked turns designed for NASCAR races.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 12:18 pm
Anger over proposed new austerity measures boiled over in Greece on Wednesday as unions shut down the country with what one newspaper called "the mother of all strikes."
Flights were grounded, and state offices and shops were shuttered on the first day of a 48-hour general strike, the biggest organized protest against austerity since the debt crisis began almost two years ago.
You know that a political food fight may be a teensy bit out of hand when it becomes fodder for late night TV. And that's exactly what happened last night to the long-running saga of the subsidized school lunch spud.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 1:05 pm
Movies, music and video games always seem to get a bad rap for flooding teenagers' minds with sex. The all-you-can-watch buffet of television is no exception.
A heavy, TV-watching habit makes teens who don't have close relationships with their mothers more likely to have looser attitudes about sex, according to a study of about a thousand 16-year-olds in Belgium. Teens were surveyed about the amount of TV they watched, how close they were with their moms and their attitudes on sex.
Zhou Youguang should be a Chinese hero after making what some call the world's most important linguistic innovation: He invented Pinyin, a system of romanizing Chinese characters using the Western alphabet.
But instead, this 105-year-old has become a thorn in the government's side. Zhou has published an amazing 10 books since he turned 100, some of which have been banned in China. These, along with outspoken views on the Communist Party and the need for democracy in China, have made him a "sensitive person" â€” a euphemism for a political dissident.
More than half of all employed people worldwide work off the books. And that number is expected to climb over the next decade.
"Estimates are that the informal economy around the world is [worth] about $10 trillion a year," says journalist Robert Neuwirth. "That's an astounding figure because what it means, basically, is that if the informal economy was combined in one country, it would be the second-largest economy on Earth, rivaling the United States economy."
Let's face it, vegetables are the goody-two-shoes of the food world. We eat them because we know they're good for us. They're like station wagons, treadmills, and sensible shoes. They are practical and healthy but they're not much fun. And they're definitely not what most of us would call sexy.
Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 4:38 pm
In an interview for Wednesday's All Things Considered,Bill Adair, editor of PolitiFact.com and Washington bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times, will talk about how candidates at Tuesday night's GOP debate rated on PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter.
The government is not shy about its success deporting people from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently sent out videos of early-morning raids conducted across the country. Uniformed ICE agents are shown planning to capture suspects, followed by shots of the suspects being handcuffed and put into vehicles.
Two more pieces of data to add to the economic mix:
-- Builders started work on 5.7 percent more housing units in September than in August, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. The number of "housing starts," 594,000 at an annual rate, were still down 5 percent from August 2010. But, The Associated Press notes, the pace was the fastest in 17 months â€” "a hopeful sign for the struggling housing market."
But while the outcome may be difficult to predict because both teams can make compelling cases for why they should emerge victorious, Tom said the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers has some very compelling story lines. The Series is set to begin tonight in St. Louis (game time is 8:05 p.m. ET. Fox-TV is the broadcaster.)