Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Grannies, Gwynnies, Gender Gaps and Google: Relevant Quickies

List of interesting news is long, and time is short, so welcome to another edition of "Relevant Quickies." Get in, hang on, and awwwwwwaaaaayyyy we goooooooooooo:
  • First Granny? There is some debate about this. Multiple news outlets, including the Washington Post's The Reliable Source column reported earlier this week that Michelle Obama's mom, who has played a big role in the care of the Obama daughters, especially during the long and demanding campaign, is coming to Washington as well and will reside with the first couple. But listening to Access Hollywood tonight (hey, it's not CNN and PBS all the time people) reported that People magazine's interview with Michelle's mother reveals that the First Granny would only be a part-time resident of the Beltway because "she loves her house" back home. Scooped by People Magazine? Ouch!
  • Need a baby name? Hop on the Obama bandwagon!
  • More news about the dratted dog debate. NOW the allergists are up in arms. Apparently, we are under a very dangerous delusion that a hypoallergenic dog exists, and this damaging fallacy MUST be dispelled immediately. The Obama team rightly did not respond to this, as of yet anyway.
  • Since I'm on the subject of celebrity of sorts, Gwyneth Paltrow has launched her own website to share her perspective with the world. GOOP is not yet ready for prime time, but you can register to get her newsletter in the meantime.
  • Japan just sent their first mom into space, a landmark for a society that still struggles with gender equality.
  • Speaking of gender equality. The 2008 Gender Gap report was just released. One half of my genes are happy--Norway (country of my mother's birth--perhaps the paleness factor tipped you off already?) is ranked number one in gender quality. The other half--American--is still miffed, and by miffed, I mean royally p.o.ed. Although the U.S. improved from 31st last time, we are still 27th. Miles to go before we rest ladies, miles to go. Simply unacceptable!
  • Google is tracking the flu regionally to assist the CDC in predicting infection movements, and direct resources. They will do so by tracking keywords that are entered into the search engine, and their frequency by area. While this seems pretty altruistic, it does reveal the power that Google has at it's fingertips. No wonder, one of the co-founders is sitting on Obama's economic advisory team.
  • Important story about the squeeze on the middle class and pre-K educational access.
  • Sign of the times: Layaway is back at Sears, and K-Mart has been advertising the option as well.
  • Britain has a shortage of sperm donors, following changes in regulations and loss of anonymity. Kind of scary factoid: there are varying regulations in different countries about how many babies can result from one donor, but the "United States does not cap sperm donations at all." The suggested guideline is "no more than 25 births in a population of 800,000 to avoid having siblings from the same sperm donor having children together."
  • It's my way or the highway? Um' not so much. What'oh! Canadian courts dealt a serious blow to parental discipline when it ruled against the father of a twelve year old, who had taken her father to court because she disagreed with his decision to not allow her to go on a school trip because she has disobeyed his web surfing guidelines.
  • Usually steer away from prurient, but this is just sad. Apparently police had a very difficult time finding any relative to drive home a one year old who wasn't drunk, after stopping the mother for drunk driving.
  • Also a bit morbid, but actually useful info. A report on the toy related deaths from 2007.
  • An interesting perspective on the financial crisis, courtesy of the writer's nephew.
  • The abandoned children count in Nebraska under it's controversial surrender law is now at 31. There is a deep underlying problem, rarely simple, which this article touches on.
  • Everything, and I do mean everything, revolves around South Korea's college entrance exam. Planes are not even allowed to land during the exam to reduce distraction. Now that's a national commitment to education!

Whew! Stay tuned for a Science and Health nerds quickie in the next day or so.

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