Showing posts from August, 2015

What Would Have Saved Alison Parker and Adam Ward?

High Gun Ownership in State? Don't Be a Cop

This shouldn't surprise anyone but police are more likely to be killed on duty in states that have high gun ownership.

In fact, in states with high private gun ownership, they're more than three times more likely to be killed on the job than those in states with the lowest gun ownership. points out that Camden and Newark, New Jersey, are perceived as two of the most violent cities in the nation, yet New Jersey’s police officers are among the least likely to get shot on the job. Montana, with its serene landscapes and national parks, has among the highest homicide rates for law enforcement officers. Why?

Simple.  There are many more guns in Montana.

Across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, homicides of police officers are linked to the statewide level of gun ownership, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Previous studies have linked firearm ownership with higher overall firearm death rates in the United States an…

Live with Beautiful Scenery, Weather? You Probably Don;t Go to Church

It seems like an oxymoron (love that word!).

But would you believe that people who live in the most beautiful places -- foam-tipped crashing waves in their backyard, trees full of birds and lush green bowers of leaves -- are the least religious?  Who else do they think created all this?

Now, before you dismiss me as a bible-thumper, I just marvel at the rush of pink streaking the early morning winter sky or the birds breaking the dawn in the dark in late spring.  I'm not sure how anyone can not see a force greater than themselves in this tableau.

But a new study says that communities with beautiful scenery and weather have lower rates of religious affiliation, according to  And it turns out they're just like me.  It's not about not believing in God, but about seeing the sacred in nature.  

“Beautiful weather, mountains and waterfronts can serve as conduits to the sacred, just like traditional religious congregations,” says lead author Todd W. Ferguson, a d…

Character of Giver More Important Than What's Got

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise, but character traits mean more to us than material benefits when we're thinking about how much we like someone.

When it comes to making decisions involving others, the impression we have of their character weighs more heavily than do our assessments of how they can benefit us, a team of New York University researchers has found.

 “When we learn and make decisions about people, we don’t simply look at the positive or negative outcomes they bring to us—such as whether they gave us a loan or helped us move,” explains Leor Hackel, a doctoral candidate in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the study’s lead author. “Instead, we often look beyond concrete outcomes to form trait impressions, such as how generous a person seems to be, and these impressions carry more weight in our future social decisions."

Admit it.  Don't you look deeper into how a person treats you than the $2 they may have given you when you came up short at…

Punishment Works -- If You Can Do It!

It was one of my biggest failures, as a parent.


I would get mad and send my son as a toddler to his room, then go in my room and cry.  I was pretty lucky, he was a quiet, contained child who didn't get into too much (except his one rare climbing incident, at 18 months, when he split a glass table with his forehead).

But you have to discipline kids, there's no question about it.  A friend recommended a book, with the title "1 2 3 Magic"and the idea was to tell your kid you would count to three and then something would happen -- a "Go to your room," or a withdrawal of a promised treat or taking the computer away -- if he didn't stop it.

I failed at all three.

When he was small and wouldn't go to his room, I could pick him up and put him there.  But after not too long, the door would open and out he'd come and I would have to think of something else.  Or give up.

Some parents were successful at getting their kids to sit in a certain spo…

Hormones Behind Cheating, Too

Men blame them for their partners' moods and misanthropy, women for their weight gains and woe.

We're talking, of course, about hormones.

Now a new study says they're also responsible for cheating.  According to, hormones influence unethical behavior.

The study found that the endocrine system plays a dual role in unethical acts. First, elevated hormone levels predict likelihood of cheating. Then, a change of hormone levels during the act reinforces the behavior.

“Although the science of hormones and behavior dates back to the early 19th century, only recently has research revealed just how powerful and pervasive the influence of the endocrine system is on human behavior,” says author and University of Texas Austin professor of psychology, Robert Josephs.

 Researchers asked 117 participants to complete a math test, grade it themselves and self-report the number of correctly completed problems. The more problems they got correct, the more money they wou…

Willing to Wait for Your Treat? Connected Parts of Your Brain Decide

Are you an icing first or a cake?

Don't know about you but I always save the icing for last.  It's my favorite (I could eat a whole bowlful of that alone!).  I can't get over the people who scrape it off.

A new study has found the specific parts of the brain involved in decisions that call for delayed gratification. Researchers discovered that the hippocampus (associated with memory) and the nucleus accumbens (associated with pleasure) work together in making critical decisions of this type, where time plays a role. The researchers showed that when these two structures were effectively ‘disconnected’ in the brain, there is a disruption of decisions related to delayed gratification.

Simply put,  scientists have figured out that, unless these parts of the brain are connected, we're pretty much willing to wait for a reward, but only for so long.

"This is a type of decision-making that many of us grapple with in daily life, particularly the very young, the ver…

Eat Cake! New Study Says It's All in the Genes

Ah, if only!

No more cutting out cakes and cookies.  No more skipping lunch.  No more Weight Watchers.

Now all you have to do is find the gene that blocks fat.  Or, at least, scientists do.

According to a new study, by blocking the expression (or working) of a certain gene in patients, University of Montreal researchers have been able to isolate and somewhat shut down the production of the triglycerides that cause hypertriglyceridemia, the ones most often associated with frequent health issues, such as obesity or diabetes.

“Triglycerides, like cholesterol, are lipids. They come from fats carried by our food or produced by our bodies. Depending on the cause, the accumulation of triglycerides in blood is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and pancreatic illnesses, and other complications,” explains Dr. Daniel Gaudet, first author of the study.  

What all that gobbledygook simply means is that, if the gene that produces this can be blocked, so may obesity or diabetes.