Posted in Morning Briefing, tagged Britain, Cruise Ships, David Cameron, Denmark, Elections, European Court of Human Rights, Pornography, Prisoners, Psychology, Voting on November 2, 2010|
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The Strange Link Between Winning Elections and Online Porn [via Time]
Online porn usage spikes in states that voted for a winning candidate after elections, two psychology professors from Villanova and Rutgers Universities found. The researchers hypothesized that, because men, who consume the vast majority of online pornography, experience elevated testosterone levels after winning a fight, that energy might reveal itself through searches for online porn. They discovered that states that voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 saw the spike, and blue states experienced more porn searches in 2008.
Allure of the Sea Misses Bridge by Inches [via AOL]
A new Royal Caribbean cruise ship, costing over $1.5 billion and one of the largest ocean liners ever built, cleared the Store Belt Bridge in Copenhagen, Denmark by just 20 inches. The Allure of the Sea had to pass under the bridge on its way from dry-dock to the open ocean. The 236-foot-tall ship could sail under the 213-foot-tall bridge by lowering its retractable smokestacks and increasing speed to create downward suction and lower the ship’s height.
Prisoners to Get the Vote for the First Time [via The Daily Telegraph]
British Prime Minister David Cameron conceded yesterday that there is nothing he can do to challenge a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the U.K.’s 70,000 incarcerated citizens be allowed to vote in general elections, a right prisoners have not enjoyed for 140 years. If the government hesitates, lawyers say, taxpayers could be forced into hundreds of millions of dollars worth of litigation. The government is still hoping to limit the right for lifetime prisoners and murderers at the very least.
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Star Trek Cited by Texas Supreme Court [via Wired]
The Texas Supreme Court cited “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” in its opinion in Robinson v. Crown Cork and Seal, an asbestos-related case. “Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.” The reference included a footnote explaining a famous scene from the film involving the quote.
New species of snub-nosed monkey found in Myanmar [via the BBC]
Scientists surveying northeast Myanmar have announced the discovery of a new species of monkey, the Burmese snub-nosed monkey, so named because of its unusual upturned nostrils. The newly discovered species is separated from its nearest relatives, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, by two rivers; that isolation, scientists say, is key to differentiating the Yunnan and Burmese species rather than indicating merely a different coloring. The population of Burmese snub-nosed monkeys is thought to be small, between 260 and 330 individuals. “It is absolutely exceptional to discover a new species of primate, and especially discovering a new species of snub-nosed monkey is very rare indeed,” Asia-Pacific Development Director for Fauna & Flora International Frank Momberg told the BBC.
Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys in Britain [via The Daily Mail]
Records indicate Mohammed topped the list of most popular baby boy names in Britain in 2009, toppling Jack from its 14-year stint at the top. 7,549 babies were named Mohammed or one of 11 variant spellings, including Muhammad and Mohammad. That number has increased by more than 50 percent since 1999, when 4,579 babies were named Mohammed. Oliver came in second at 7,364 babies. The most popular name for girls was Olivia.
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Spanish prostitutes ordered to wear reflective vests for their own safety [via The Daily Telegraph]
The town of Els Alamus in Catalonia has ordered prostitutes to wear yellow fluorescent safety vests or face a €40 fine in order to comply with traffic safety laws. A spokesman for the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra said: “In the past couple of months the prostitutes have been fined for two reasons: for not wearing the reflective jacket and for creating danger on the public highway.” Prostitution is not illegal in Spain, although profiting from another’s sale of sex is.
Emperor stag killed: anger after Britain’s biggest wild animal shot dead [via The Daily Telegraph]
A red deer stag weighing about 300 pounds and standing 9 feet tall was shot and killed recently, sparking anger among British citizens over what is believed to be that nation’s largest wild animal. Deer experts are using the Exmoor Emperor’s death to decry allowing hunting during the deer mating season. “It’s a disgrace that this magnificent animal has been shot at this time because it could be that he didn’t get a chance to rut properly this year – therefore his genes have not been passed on this time round,” deer management expert Peter Donnolly said. “If we care about deer we should maintain a standard and stop all persecution during this important time of the year.”
New Hampshire’s largest newspaper rejects gay couple’s marriage notice [via New York Daily News]
Although New Hampshire is one of five states to recognize same-sex marriage, the Union Leader of Manchester has caused waves by rejecting a gay wedding announcement. According to the publisher, the Union Leader “isn’t anti-gay but staunchly believes marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman.” The paper has previously published editorials condemning same-sex marriage.
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NASA closer to getting extra space shuttle flight [via the AP]
President Barack Obama signed a budget bill for NASA yesterday directing the nation’s space agency to move ahead with one more space shuttle flight before retiring the fleet. Funding for the final mission is not yet secure, but Senate Democrats noted they hope the issues will be worked out during the upcoming lame duck session. Only four astronauts, rather than the usual seven, will go on the mission in case the shuttle is damaged and cannot land. In that case, the astronauts would have to wait for rescue at the International Space Station, which could take up to a year.
New carnivorous mammal species found in Madagascar [via the BBC]
Scientists have announced that they discovered a new mongoose-like mammal, dubbed Durrell’s vontsira, in the wetlands surrounding Lake Alaotra in Madagascar. The cat-sized creature was first discovered in 2005, and researchers believe its wetland habitat is being threatened by invasive species. Discovering a new carnivore is “particularly unusual,” said researcher Paula Jenkins. “We know of only two animals in the wild. It has only been found in the wetlands of [Lake] Alaotra in Madagascar, so it lives in a very small area and is consequently vulnerable to the pressures on this threatened habitat.”
More black people jailed in England and Wales proportionally than in US [via The Guardian]
England and Wales imprison a greater proportion of black people to the overall population than the United States, a report from Britain’s Equality and Human Right Commission found. The report “shows that the proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated here is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater.” “People will be and should be shocked by this data,” said Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust. “We have a tendency to say we are better than the US, but we have not got prison right.”
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