Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BREVITAS

OUTLYING PRECINCTS

Craig Crawford, CQ -
13 battleground states have already received 3.4 million new registrations as of Oct. 14, compared to 1.8 million new registrations in 2004. To see how this could improve Barack Obama's chances, consider Gallup's alternative surveys for a traditional turnout versus the expanded turnout that appears to be developing. Turnout of likely voters who look like those who made it to the ballot box four years ago yields a five-point lead for Obama over Republican John McCain, according to Gallup. But when Gallup models an expanded electorate comprised of more new voters and increased numbers of those who have not showed up in the past, Obama jumps to a nine-point lead.

ECO CLIPS

Daily Green
- Perhaps the ultimate "alternative to the alternative," the LED (light-emitting diode) light bulb may well dethrone the compact fluorescent as king of the green lighting choices. But it has a way to go yet in terms of both affordability and brightness. LEDs have been used widely for decades in other applications -- forming the numbers on digital clocks, lighting up watches and cell phones and, when used in clusters, illuminating traffic lights and forming the images on large outdoor television screens. Until recently LED lighting has been impractical to use for most other everyday applications because it is built around costly semiconductor technology. But the price of semiconductor materials has dropped in recent years, opening the door for some exciting changes in energy-efficient, green friendly lighting options. . .

Proponents say LEDs can last some 60 times longer than incandescents and 10 times longer than CFLs. And unlike incandescents, which generate a lot of waste heat, LEDs don't get especially hot and use a much higher percentage of electricity for directly generating light. But as with early CFLs, LED bulbs are not known for their brightness. According to a January 2008 article in Science Daily, "Because of their structure and material, much of the light in standard LEDs becomes trapped, reducing the brightness of the light and making them unsuitable as the main lighting source in the home."

HEALTH & SCIENCE

LA Times
- After falling for more than a decade, the U.S. suicide rate has climbed steadily since 1999, driven by an alarming increase among middle-age adults, researchers said. A new six-year analysis in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the U.S. suicide rate rose to 11 per 100,000 people in 2005, from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999, an increase of just under 5%. The report found that virtually all of the increase was attributable to a nearly 16% jump in suicides among people ages 40 to 64, a group not commonly seen as high-risk. The rate for that age group rose to 15.6 per 100,000 in 2005, from 13.5 per 100,000 in 1999. Susan P. Baker, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and an author of the study, said she was baffled by the findings. Sociological studies have found that middle age is generally a time of relative security and emotional well-being, she said. . . One possibility, she said, is that the increase in suicides might be tied to a concurrent increase in abuse of prescription pain pills, such as OxyContin. Studies have shown that people who abuse drugs are at greater risk for suicide, she noted. Another possible explanation, she said, was the drop in hormone replacement therapy after it was linked to health risks in 2002. Women who gave up the drugs or decided not to take them might have been more susceptible to depression and potentially suicide, she said. In the current study, researchers found little or no change in the suicide rates for three other age groups: 10 to 19, 20 to 29, and over 65.

THE MIX

Steven Reinberg Health Day -
Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to die in U.S. emergency rooms after a trauma than white patients are, researchers report. Moreover, uninsured ER patients are more likely to die compared with insured patients, according to the study in the October issue of the Archives of Surgery. . . Compared with an insured white patient, equivalently injured black patients have 20 percent higher risk of dying, while Hispanic patients have a 51 percent increased odds of dying, Haider said.

An ACLU study
finds that LA blacks are three times more likely to be stopped by police than whites.

ARTS & CULTURE

GORE VIDAL'S SELECTED ESSAYS

FURTHERMORE . . .

Dallas News - Last week, a Collin County district judge ordered [Eric] Rush to serve 30 days in the county jail for contempt of court after violating an order prohibiting him from teaching dance lessons within 25 miles of a Plano dance studio. . . Mr. Rush's former bosses at Arthur Murray Dance Studios said the dancer violated terms of a non-compete employment agreement. By teaching near the studio, they said, Mr. Rush could undermine their "competitive advantage." Mr. Rush acknowledged he tap-danced around the law and violated the court order, but he said the 25-mile order is too restrictive. . . Attorney Anne Terwilliger said that her client, the dance studio, tried hard to avoid going to court but that Mr. Rush wasn't willing to comply with the non-compete clause. "Mr. Rush certainly reaped the benefits of having extensive training by world-renowned experts," Ms. Terwilliger said. "He violated the agreement and did not fulfill his end of the bargain. . .

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