This week in the News!

Wow, I found a lot of interesting stuff this week. Perhaps because I kept my head under a pile of dust and dirt last week and forgot there was a world outside the basement?

If you read one thing this week I suggest this article:

Sex-deprived male fruit flies seek solace in alcohol, bump into walls and pass out

I’m not even joking, that is in fact the title of the article as printed by the Star (full text below). This article has it all: sex, humor, experimentation and video. I highly recommend you see for yourself. Oh and maybe sign up for future experiments though I’m not sure if you can select which ‘group of males’ you’re placed in.
“And she [Ulrike Heberlein] hopes others will take up the mantle and do similar studies with mammals.”

End of an era
Going to the library to thumb through dusty encyclopedias may be a dinosaur action sooner than we thought. Encyclopedia Britannica has decided after 244 years to kick its paper habit. They downplayed the lack of enthusiastic door-to-door salesmen as the main reason for the change. 😉
(full article below if original posting has disappeared).

Speaking of new information…
Kettling is wrong.
Yep, contrary to what Europeans and teetotalers believe – Kettling is wrong. At least that’s what the Toronto police decided. And frankly, this is one of the few good things I’ve heard come out of that city in a while.

This is an age old question “Why products are more expensive in Canada” .. yes you could read the article but I think I can safely sum it up using one of its own sentences: Vote with your feet!

No no that’s not it.. though that is good advice for stomping out Conservatives.
“Retailers charge whatever the market will bear for their products.” That’s right, so stop baring everything Canada and standup for yourselves! Grow a backbone and complain like everyone else in the world does, no COMPLAIN Directly to the ones inflicting this crap on us. Not just amongst yourselves at Timmie’s.

If you don’t know how to stand up for yourself take a lesson from Egyptians (technically Wind is Russian now.. go Russia!).

“Wind Mobile, a relative newcomer to Canada’s telecom industry, will likely boycott an upcoming auction of wireless spectrum because the rules do not give smaller players enough bandwidth to build the most advanced network.”

“This is a classically Canadian solution, which on the surface looks like they gave all market players an opportunity, but at the end of the day what they’ve actually done is hurt the Canadian wireless industry and therefore hurt Canadian consumers” Anthony Lacavera, Wind Mobile chief executive officer.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I have little interest in Canadian telecommunications but this sums up the “classic” well. Demonstrating that people outside our country can see its flaws clearly. Forest for the trees people.

One more no-brainer for any frogs in a pot of boiling water out there; Newbies getting shortchanged – more so than before. Yes, we now have data to back up your inadequacies as a breadwinner. Seems you really ARE making far less than your parents made when they started out. But don’t worry, it’s not a down and out story for all – the guys at the top are making up the difference. (Full story below, Newbies Shortchanged)


Sex-deprived male fruit flies seek solace in alcohol, bump into walls and pass out

Published On Wed Mar 14 2012
Debra Black Staff Reporter

Sex-deprived male fruit flies are more likely to drink alcohol to excess than those who’ve had sex, new research finds.

And it seems that a tiny molecule in the fly’s brain – known as neuropeptide F – is responsible for the behaviour, according to the study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

According to a study published Thursday in MagazineEND, as the levels of this neuropeptide change in the brain so does the fly’s behaviour – with lower levels of it causing increased drinking.

This neuropeptide in the fruit fly’s brain is similar to a human molecule called neuropeptide Y. Researchers hypothesize that this neuropeptide Y may play a similar role in people – connecting social triggers like sex or the lack of sex to behaviours such as excessive drinking and drug abuse.

Some studies have already shown that reduced levels of neuropeptide Y play a role in people with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression – both risk factors for alcoholism. And there is some evidence from human genetics – although it’s still preliminary – that neuropeptide Y may be involved in alcoholism as well.

If that’s the case it could mean that therapies could be developed to inhibit neuropeptide Y receptors, the researchers believe, as a way to deal with alcohol and drug abuse.

Ulrike Heberlien and her lab at the University of California decided to look at how social experiences affect addiction after studying how genes affect alcoholism since the mid-1990s.

But since in humans only 50 per cent of the risk factor for alcoholism is genetic, Heberlein, a professor of anatomy and neurology, decided it was time to expand the investigation and look at what role social factors play on drinking.

So she along with post-doctoral fellow and lead author Galit Shohat-Ophir and others began conducting experiments on fruit flies to see whether not having sex would increase their consumption of alcohol.

Designing the experiments was fun, said Heberlein and watching the fruit flies get drunk eye-opening. “The first time I saw a drunk fly, I thought: ‘Oh my god, this is just like humans,” she recounted.

According to Heberlein the flies become uncoordinated, hyperactive and uninhibited.

“They bump into each other and the walls. If you give them more alcohol they become lethargic and uncoordinated. They fall over, pick themselves up and fall over again. Eventually they pass out.”

In the experiments conducted for the study, one group of male fruit flies was put in with female fruit flies that had sex already, Heberlein explained in an interview with the Star.

These male flies were rejected because of a sex peptide that is transmitted in male fruit fly seminal fluid. This sex peptide does something to a female fruit fly’s brain and causes it to reject all other sexual advances.

Meanwhile, another group of male flies was put in a container with virgin females with their choice of sexual partners.

Shohat-Ophir took the rejected and non-rejected flies and put them in a vial where there was plain liquid food and liquid food mixed with ethanol, monitoring how much the groups of flies drank during the day.

The study found the males that had been rejected showed a much higher preference for the alcohol laced food compared to the regular food, Heberlein said.

The team then made an educated guess as to why this was happening and decided to see if neuropeptide F might be involved.

Shohat-Ophir and the team of researchers then measured the levels of this neuropeptide in the brain of the flies.

The results: the levels of this neuropeptide were low in the rejected male fruit flies and high in mated males.

“This means the lack of this neuropeptide may be related to their increase in drinking alcohol,” said Heberlein.

Then the team to set out to figure out if the relationship was causal. “The beauty of working with flies is that we have so many tools to manipulate the fly’s brain genetically,” Heberlein said.

Shohat-Ophir, now a research specialist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Centre, reasoned that if neuropeptide F is in fact responsible for the change in drinking behaviour she should be able to transform mated males who have high levels of neuropeptide F into rejected males simply by inhibiting the receptor for this molecule.

So she did that and found that even though the flies had mated they began to drink a lot. “That proves the neuropeptide F is responsible,” said Heberlein.

And when she did the exact opposite in the rejected males – activating the neuropeptide F system – she found they reduced their dinking, Heberlein said.

“We think it’s the act of sex itself that affects their reward system or neuropeptide F and this in turn affects drinking,” Heberlein said.

The authors conclude in the study: “Our findings are thus not only consistent with known functions of mammalian NPY (neuropeptide Y) and its mode of regulation, but also provide evidence for NPF (neuropeptide F) functioning as a key molecular transducer between social experience and drug reward.”

Next Heberlein, who is to become the scientific program director at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Centre, plans to look at whether other social experiences have an affect on drinking.

She wants to test whether increased drinking is a phenomenon restricted to sexual rejection or whether other social experiences trigger a similar reaction.

And she hopes others will take up the mantle and do similar studies with mammals.

END OF AN ERA ******************************************************************************************

Britannica goes Electric

By Irene Moore
updated 3/14/2012 8:45:49 PM ET

After nearly 250 years, the Encyclopedia Britannica is kicking the paper habit.

In the digital age, the granddaddy of general knowlege, where anyone could go and look up seemingly anything, has been rendered obsolete, at least in paper form.

The 244-year-old company, announced on Wednesday that it will no longer issue a print version of its 32-volume compendium of life on earth. It’s been available online for 18 years.

The editors at Britannica were philisophical about the change.

“A momentous event? In some ways, yes; the set is, after all, nearly a quarter of a millennium old,” the editors posted on the encylopedia’s website. “But in a larger sense this is just another historical data point in the evolution of human knowledge.”

From its inception in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1768, the Encyclopedia Britannica was the gold standard for reference resources.

But the advent of the Internet and its ever-more-endless stream of information struck a resounding blow to the paper-bound tradition.

Encyclopedias were the first of the publishing business to be affected by new technology, said Tom Panelas, director of communications for Encyclopedia Britannica.

The news to move solely to an electronic version did not come as a surprise to employees of the iconic reference book company.

In 1981 it produced a text-only version of a digital encyclopedia for the Lexis Nexis database. Then in 1989 it made a multi-media encyclopedia, and in 1994 launched the first version of Britannica online.

The announcement to stop printing was not about Britannica’s past but about its move into the future, said Jorge Cauz, president of the company, in a statement posted online.

“I would like to point out that no single medium, neither books nor bits, is at the core of our mission,” Cauz said. “That mission is to be reliable, up-to-date, and scholarly source of knowledge and learning for the general public.”

Even so, the announcement struck a sentimental chord among those with cherished childhood memories of flipping through informative, colorful pages.

“So Sad!! Nothing like holding a real book in your hands… and I, too, remember just going page after page and trying to soak up what the pages held!!” Kathie Bretches-Urban posted on the NBC LA Facebook page.

Encyclopedias were the great equalizer– if you could afford the cover price (or had a library card) you gained easy access to a depth and range of information previously unavailable to the masses.

“It was a way of providing education to yourself and your children. It helped supplement what they would be learning in school,” said Lise Snyder, collections management coordinator for the undergraduate library at UCLA.

“My parents bought the Encyclopedia Britannica for us. Many times I randomly grabbed a volume and sat alone, turning pages. Bye old friend,” Sean Patrick posted on the NBC LA Facebook page.

Britannica’s accessibility was manifested in its door-to-door sales strategy, an approach it ceased in 1996 two years after it first launched in digital format.

Doris Raymond, who sold a encyclopedias across California and the nation for a Britannica competitor in the 1970s, said her job offered a glimpse into the heart of American home life.

Raymond, who now owns the La Brea Avenue vintage shop The Way We Wore, said despite her affinity for old things, she would “absolutely not” feature any of the old encyclopedias in her shop.

“I love encyclopedias, they were a part of my childhood but this is the 21st century,” Raymond said.

Even the digitial format of the encylopedia is unnecessary, she said. Choosing to go electronic is “redundant” in her eyes because now “you can get everything on Google.”

But unlike the Internet, where misinformation can be perpetuated without substantiation, the encylopedia in digital form continues to offer a trusted source of information, with contributors who include Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Desmond Tutu and Bill Clinton.

With such notable brain power behind it, many institutions had long used the books as a strong point of reference for students and the public.

Unfortunately, for some universities and libraries the cost of the electronic version is too high. Individual subscriptions run $70, but institutions are charged a set fee per student, which can run into the thousands of dollars.

“It’s not one of the most in-demand resources. There are so many options now for scholarly information online and it is quite expensive to order the electronic version,” said Giovanna Mannino, interim director of the central library for the Los Angeles Public Libraries.

“One of the ways we compete with all other sources out there is simply by being better,” Panelas said.

*************************** Newbies Shortchanged ***********************************
Original post:

March 09, 2012

Entry-level pay down 8% from a decade ago: report

It’s a bit unfortunate that anytime new data emerges on worker compensation, we feel the need to compare it to what top CEOs earn.

Stock-photo-12072893-time-sheet-on-a-desktopWhat we know, though, is that executive pay is among the only data set we can track over a period of time.

For instance, the total compensation paid the highest-ranking five executives of a public firm between 1993-1995, according to the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, amounted to five per cent of that company’s earnings. By 2001-2003, that total had nearly doubled, to 9.8 per cent of a firm’s company earnings.

Add that to what we know CEOs earn now, and what we have is a complicated way of saying the earnings of top executives have risen and risen, with few interruptions.

We cannot say that, however, about the rest of the workforce.

In what’s surely some of the most troubling data for young people, a new study shows that entry-level pay has not only failed to increase since the recession, but has reverted back to levels seen some 15 years earlier.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, inflation-adjusted pay for university/college graduates has slumped by nearly eight per cent since 2000, and is almost as low as it was at its dearth over a 40-year period, in 1995.

In 2011, entry-level pay for a post-secondary graduate* scored in at $21.68 in the U.S., down from $23.47 in 2000. In 1995, when wages for fresh graduates were lower than they were even as far back as 1973, hourly pay was $19.51.

What entry-level workers earned last year was about the same, on an inflation-adjusted hourly basis, as they made in 1973.

So what we’ve got here, then, isn’t just a story of how the recession has slammed graduate earnings. The trend, regrettably, has been heading downward for more than a decade.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money

*Figures above represent male pay. Female pay is slightly lower, but reflects the same negative pattern as seen in male compensation.

Posted at 12:12 PM

About yolandalenin

I talk a lot. ______________________________________________________________________ I write even more.
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