Posted in Morning Briefing, tagged Cambridge University, Common Cold, Constitution, Linguistics, Medicine, Microbiology, Spain, Tea Party, Thomas Jefferson on November 3, 2010|
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10-Year-Old Gives Birth in Southern Spain [via the AP via NPR]
Authorities in Spain are considering whether a 10-year-old in Spain should be permitted to keep her newborn baby. An official from Andalusia said the father is also a minor and that mother and baby are in good health. “Under Spanish law, having consensual sex with someone under age 13 is classified as child abuse, an official with the Spanish Justice Ministry in Madrid said. But this particular case is complicated by the fact that the father of the baby is also a minor and it is not clear if he could be charged, the official said.”
Why do Tea Partiers uppercase so many of their nouns? [via Slate]
Slate language columnist John Lackman looks at why Tea Partiers often capitalize nouns not usually considered proper and concludes that it is an attempt to mimic the language of the Constitution, which includes capitalization such as: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” Historically, however, such capitalization is attributed not to founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson, who rarely capitalized even proper nouns such as I, but rather to Timothy Matlack and Jacob Shallus, the secretaries who actually wrote the physical Constitutions and were wont to capitalize with abandon.
Cambridge scientists may find cure for the common cold [via The Independent]
Researchers at Cambridge’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology have for the first time shown that “the body’s immune defenses can destroy the common cold virus after it has actually invaded the inner sanctum of a human cell, a feat that was believed until now to be impossible.” Within a few years antiviral drugs that enhance the body’s natural defense system could begin clinical trials, scientists announced. “This is a way of boosting all the antibodies you’d be naturally making against the virus. The advantage is that you can use that one drug against potentially lots of viral infections,” researcher Leo James said. “We can think of administering these drugs as nasal sprays and inhalers rather than taking pills… It could lead to an effective treatment for the common cold,” he said. “The beauty of this system is that you give the virus no chance to make its own proteins to fight back. It is a way for the cell to get rid of the virus and stay alive itself.”
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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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Unemployed security guard tapped as Spain’s top snoozer [via CNN]
Unemployed Ecuadoran security guard Pedro Soria Lopez, 62, won the inaugural Spanish National Siesta Championship after napping “for 17 minutes and register a 70-decibel snore while sprawled out on a couch in the middle of a crowded shopping mall.” Lopez and hundreds of other contestants had 20 minutes in which to nap (the ideal length for an energy-boosting snooze, experts say) and received extra points for form, pajamas and snore loudness. The grand prize was €1,000 in credit at the Madrid mall.
Crocodile blamed for Congo air crash [via MSNBC]
According to the lone survivor of an August 25 plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a crocodile that escaped from a duffel bag and frightened passengers sparked panic on the aircraft that ultimately led to the accident that killed 20 people. The routine flight from Kinshasa to Bandundu went awry when the crocodile, snuck on board by a passenger who apparently planned on selling the reptile, forced the flight attendant and passengers toward the cockpit, destabilizing the plane and bringing it to a fiery crash. The crocodile reportedly survived and was later killed by a machete.
Booze-Friendly Hospitals Aim to End Patient Woes [via NPR]
A Fort Wayne, Ind. Hospital is hoping to waylay patients complaints about stereotypically bad hospital food with a little booze — though it’s BYOB. Patients and families can bring in alcohol if doctors approve of the consumption, and as a bonus are serving steak dinners before patients’ discharge. Not all are happy with the policy, however; Susan Levin of the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine said the practice is “mind-boggling.” “The hospital just isn’t the right environment for a crutch put you at ease,” says Levin. “Of all the places, hospitals should be educating patients about healthy dietary habits.”
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Doughnuts: In Sour Times, a Sweet Success Story [via Time]
The number of donuts served in America increased by 6 percent this spring to approximately 1.8 billion, according to a market research firm. Dunkin’ Donuts attributes its success to a 2009 marketing shift back to the basics. “The franchise had been so focused on its coffee and new products like bagel twists and waffle sandwiches that it forgot the power of the doughnut in these tough economic times. ‘Faced with daily disappointments and struggles, the doughnut is one of those affordable treats that can make someone’s day,’ says Frances Allen, a brand-marketing officer for the company.”
Spanish fathers entitled to breastfeeding leave [via CNN]
The European Union Court of Justice ruled last week that working fathers in Spain enjoy the same right to breastfeeding breaks as mothers. The court called the law “an unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sex” and granted men two half hour-long breaks per day for the first nine months of a child’s life. No word on what the fathers are to do with their newfound break time.
Iraq breaks world record for time taken to form a government [via the BBC]
Iraqi politicians have shattered the world record for time taken to form a government, previously held by the Dutch government, which took 208 days to form in 1977. The BBC notes that it took three months just to verify March’s election records due to massive numbers of complaints and appeals, and the largest coalition is still four seats short of forming a parliamentary majority. BBC correspondent Jim Muir concludes that “the Iraqis seem likely to push the record quite a bit further than the Dutch.”
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