Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best of Nov/Dec 2011 Magazines & Periodicals Round-up Part I: A Visualization of Martin Scorcese's Career, Birth Control & Wi-Fi Cancer, Soccer Causes Brain Damage, Afghani Sesame Street Notable Missing Characters and more

The best of film list has been delayed I can see enough of the prospective contenders of 2011. So instead, some quick news tidbits that you might have missed in the news.  They might be interesting conversation starters.

From BusinessWeek.

Wondering why Italy's economy is in trouble? Take a look at a few interesting Italian worker statistics from the article"Italy's Labor Pains" :
  • On average, Italian workers spend almost six times as many hours on strike as their German counterparts, according to the European Industrial Relations Observatory. 
  • Italy supports a class of workers who, though universally despised, are the most pampered in the country. Most of the year they enjoy a roughly two-day workweek, for which they receive an aftertax salary of $90,000 per annum, plus a $5,500 living allowance and a similar sum for expenses. They get free plane and train tickets, meals subsidized by taxpayers, free seats at premier soccer games, and a generous pension that kicks in after just five years of service. They’re the country’s politicians. Any reform of Italy’s workforce will have to start with them. 
Here's a novel idea pharmaceutical giant Roche in Germany is offering a money back guarantee if there cancer drug Avastin fails you.

Three types of people you should fire immediately.

Why zany James Altucher is a beacon of hope for the post-crash world and you should be reading his blog (and the comic book he's inspired)?

Fast Company's Infographic showing the wide range of Martin Scorcese's varied film making career:

And here's a few interesting tidbits I ripped out and saved from The Week (literally).
  • Research from the UK says smart kids are more likely to take drugs. Girls between the ages of 5 and 10 who score in the top third on IQ tests are more than twice as likely to try marijuana or cocaine by age 30 as their lower-scoring peers.
  • Hormones found in birth control pills may be increasing men's risk of prostate cancer according to Canadian research. So women trying to avoid pregnancy are causing men cancer? A recompense?
  • On average, someone is murdered every seven and a half hours in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's per capita rate of drug homicides is now higher than Mexico's. (via Washington Post)
  • A quote from Arthur Schopenhauer, "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see." 
  • Gallup Survey: Americans are getting heavier, a shocker. The average American male now reports weighing 196 pounds, up from 180 in 1990. The average female claims 160  up from 142. Yet only 39 percent say they're overweight while 56 percent say they're "just right." Like Goldilocks' porridge.
  • The interesting work of artist CJ Pyle.
"The Audible Strains of Clarence White" C J Pyle

  • Dutch Christmas causes cries of racism. Why? Because all of Santa's (Sinterklaas) little helper in the Netherlands is Black Peter. Peter is done up in blackface. According to an editorial in De Telegraaf, "Black Peters are an integral part of a Dutch custom that has long been one of the country’s most important traditions and vital to our national heritage. And these sourpusses can’t change that.”
  • Via Sitting still for long stretches increases your cancer risk. Research shows that 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer can be prevented each year if people just stood up more often. So the computers are causing carpal tunnel, eye strain, and cancer... but they make things much more efficient.
  • Oh, I forgot. Using Wifi on a laptop can damage sperm too. Thanks COMPUTERS! (BBC)
  • Heading soccer balls linked to Brain Damage. Soccer moms, turn those vans around!
  • Explorer Ranulph Fiennes's very adept quote from The Times of India: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."
  • From Fortune, Americans last year filled 254 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet - enough to medicate every American adult around the clock for a month.
  • The US is one of a handful of countries including Swaziland and Papua New Guinea that do not require paid maternity leaves for mothers.
  • Afghanistan now has it's own Sesame Street as part of a government educational effort since at least 1/3 of Afghani children do not attend school. Funded by the US Embassy, it features many of the American Sesame Street characters but not Oscar the Grouch, who love of trash doesn't translate and not the Count, whose fangs perplexed viewers.
  • And last but not least, is e-mail obsolete? "Atos, Europe’s largest IT firm, thinks so. The company last week announced that it was banning internal email, as CEO Thierry Breton thinks that 90 percent of messages sent between employees are a waste of time. Instead, Breton wants his 74,000 staff members to talk to one another in person or on the phone, and switch to “real time” messaging tools like Facebook."

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