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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tech Bits

TSA cashes in….A puzzle even Stephen Hawking can’t solve….Is politics biologically programmed….Put down that Crackberry….Shut off that TV….And knock it off, guys
By Will Collette

TSA: Like breaking open a giant penny jar. In 2011, the flying public left $409,085.56 in loose change at airport security checkpoints. The most left-behind coin was collected at New York’s JFK Airport and LAX in California. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) keeps the money and uses it as part of its budget. Unknown: how much they get for all those bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, etc. that exceed size limits, not to mention all the more serious contraband. 

Dr. Stephen Hawking on the Big Bang Theory. The renowned theoretical physicist just turned 70 years old, outliving most people who suffer from ALS  (or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease). But the man who has found answers to some of the most baffling mysteries in the universe told New Scientist magazine that there is one mystery that has baffled him: "Women. They are a complete mystery."  Hawking has been married and divorced twice and has three children. 

Some of our commenters will NEVER believe this….but that’s because they focus on the negative. According to a new study out of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, conservatives tend to focus on negative stimuli, while liberals/progressives focus on the positive. "They're [conservatives] essentially monitoring things that make them feel uncomfortable, which does feel fairly consistent with conservative policies, actually," said study researcher Mike Dodd, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Dodd also sees a biological link: "Based on your biology, you might be experiencing and processing something in a fundamentally different way from someone else." So maybe you just can’t help yourself.

Another reason to turn off your smart phone and shut off your computer. A study published in PLoS ONE discusses a mental disorder called “internet addiction disorder (IAD), finding more patterns of “abnormal white matter” on the brain scans of internet-addicted individuals. These abnormalities could affect emotions, decision-making and self-control.

And your TV, too. And don’t drive, either. A new study published in the European Heart Journal correlated physical activity and incidence of heart disease. As you might expect, more physical exercise typically translates into better heart health. However, the study of more than 29,000 people in 52 countries showed that persons who owned both a car and a television have a 27% higher risk of heart attack.

I’m not sure what to do about this. According to a new study published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (which has a great crossword puzzle), male sex drive is responsible for most of the world’s wars and conflicts – everything from football (soccer) hooliganism to religious disputes to world wars. Men are programmed to be aggressive toward anyone viewed as an “outsider,” a trait the study called the “male warrior” instinct. Women, by contrast, are programmed to “tend and befriend” to resolve conflicts in order to protect their children.