What if your New Year's resolution to get more exercise could be fulfilled — by taking a pill? That's the far-flung idea suddenly brought much closer to reality by the discovery of a hormone called irisin, which is produced by the human body in response to exercise.
Irisin may hold some of exercise's key benefits that relate to obesity and Type 2 diabetes, researchers say.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 2:57 pm
"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."
Audie Cornish talks with Thomas Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. He's the lead author of the study that helped uncover the source of a mysterious and large uptick in Legionnaires' disease. The study, "An Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Associated with a Decorative Water Wall Fountain in a Hospital" was published in the online journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
The next 40-some weeks or so are going to be a screaming tower of political babble, a cacophony of accusing and boasting, pandering and slandering. I watch the news these days with the mute button permanently depressed, lest I fall into a permanent depression myself. There's only so much contention and vitriol a sensitive soul can bear.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 1:39 pm
Ever wondered who the big greenhouse-gas emitters are in your neck of the woods? The answer is now just a click away.
The US Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled a new website that identifies most of the nation's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases. It lets you, for example:
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:45 pm
Parts of Nigeria are under a 24-hour curfew, after demonstrations against a government policy to end fuel subsidies turned into a fiery rampage in the city of Minna. The BBC reports that "hundreds of rioters set fire to government and political party offices and also targeted the homes of local politicians."
As we've said before, to figure out what the Federal Reserve means when it reports about how the economy is doing and whether policymakers think it's doing better or worse, you need to carefully compare the central bank's latest words to what it has said in preceding months.
U.S.-Pakistan ties are virtually frozen. And now, relations between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Washington are once again getting frosty.
Over the weekend Karzai surprised the Americans with the demand that the largest U.S.-run prison be turned over to Afghan control much sooner that planned.
It's the latest in a series of announcements by the Afghan government that sometimes appear designed to embarrass and annoy U.S. officials, as well as complicate American plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 1:34 pm
After a third-place finish in New Hampshire, the state he poured his heart and soul into and placed all his bets on, Jon Huntsman doesn't need any more bad news. Just a cursory look at the headlines, and you find they're mostly talking about the end. Even the Christian Science Monitor doesn't mince words, asking, "Is Jon Huntsman toast?"
An explosion in Tehran Wednesday killed an Iranian nuclear scientist while he was driving his car. It's the fifth such death in five years, and Iranian officials immediately blamed Israel. The attack is the latest manifestation of escalating tensions between Iran and the West.
When Pope Benedict XVI goes to Latin America in March, Mexico is an obvious choice, with nearly 100 million Catholics.
But communist-run Cuba is also on his itinerary. The 84-year-old pontiff does not travel often, and this leg of his trip will be a strong show of support for Cuba's church leaders and their growing role in pushing President Raul Castro's government for change.
More than anywhere else in Cuba, the Santa Rita church in Havana's Miramar district is the place where religion and politics intersect.
Originally published on Thu January 12, 2012 8:45 am
Tuesday was an exciting night for Mitt Romney in New Hampshire. In mid-Ohio, not so much.
By about 9 a.m. Wednesday, the bankruptcy of a local barbecue restaurant chain was one of several stories ranked higher in the "most popular stories" list on The Columbus Dispatch's website than anything coming out of the GOP primary.
For many people, the election so far just hasn't been that interesting — and it might be even less so if Romney again rakes in the chips in South Carolina next week, adding to the perception that his nomination is virtually a done deal.
Computer chips and technology are invading all sorts of previously dumb devices. Phones are now smart. Cars are becoming connected computers on wheels. Call it the computerization of everything. But how we interact with these machines is bound to evolve.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, touch pads are everywhere — in phones, in tablets and laptop screens. And Brad Feld has had enough.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 1:32 pm
As we noted earlier, all the candidates today are in South Carolina, and it did not take long before the gloves came off. As Ron previewed earlier, the hardest punches came in relation to Mitt Romney's business ventures.
We've looked around for what the candidates are saying at their different campaign stops. Here's a roundup, which we'll add to as the candidates make more stops:
When you think of your orange juice in its infancy, you probably envision neat rows of leafy green citrus trees in Florida or California — Tropicana and other companies' have helped seal that image in our minds.
But the reality is that a lot of our orange juice comes from Brazil — about 14 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Just before he left office this week, outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) issued more than 200 pardons or sentence reductions — including more than a dozen to persons convicted of murder, manslaughter or other death-related crimes. And that has sparked outrage and calls for changes in the law that gives the state's governor such authority.
The list of Barbour's executive orders in the last four days before his departure from office on Tuesday is posted here.
Social media has become a huge part of how people experience the web. So it's not surprising that Google's move to integrate "personal results" into its web searches — drawing from a user's Google+ profile — wasn't praised by the folks who run rival social networks.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 10:01 am
Two months after announcing they were going to take another look at the circumstances surrounding the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood, authorities in Los Angeles are saying there's "no evidence to suggest that the cause was anything but accidental," the Los Angeles Times reports.
Eight people were killed in the city of Homs today. While the circumstances are not entirely clear, we do know that among the dead was Gilles Jacquier, a French journalist with France 2.
The AP reports that the television channel announced his death, saying he was in Syria on a government-authorized reporting trip. "News director Thierry Thullier of France Televisions, the parent station of France-2, told French TV BFM that Jacquier appeared to have been killed by a mortar or rocket as part of a series of attacks," the AP reports.
Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, this morning pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in Lima.
The Associated Press reports that van der Sloot told a court in Lima that "yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. ... I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 9:26 am
Under editor Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword puzzle has won fans for being in touch with the modern world — relying less on arcane words and more on a working knowledge of America's cultural landscape.
But according to some, Shortz took a false step with this past Saturday's puzzle, when he included a clue steeped in hip-hop slang. The clue asked for a 5-letter word that means "Wack, in hip-hop."
Before Sept. 11, 2011, there were 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. But after the attacks, the 9/11 Commission recommended creating a 17th intelligence agency — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — to coordinate intelligence operations.
The 16 already existing agencies didn't react well, says historian and former intelligence analyst Matthew Aid.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 7:47 am
Michael J. Williams said he is stepping down as chief executive of the quasi-governmental mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The company made the announcement late last night, saying Williams will wait to step down until the board of directors names a successor.
"I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader," Williams said in a statement.