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Jan 05
2019

Posted by: Jim Lillie

Has the Internet Totally Ruined Christmas Shopping?

Jim Lillie
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Has the Internet Totally Ruined Christmas Shopping?

Has a growing reliance on all things digital resulted in a corresponding reduction in meaningful human-to-human encounters, particularly when it comes to an exchange of presents in celebration of the Christmas holiday?

Would we all be better off using those home-automation devices to do all of our Christmas shopping for us? And, while they're at it, all of the wrapping and transporting and, while we're at it, the showing up in person?

Matthew Cantor, writing at the Guardian newspaper of London, starts out his opinion piece on the Internet and Christmas shopping by saying simply, "Christmas shopping was so much easier when stuff existed".

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Jan 03
2019

Posted by: Jim Lillie

Things to Know Before You Spit

Jim Lillie
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Things to Know Before You Spit

Before submitting that spit to a company for DNA testing -- as many people will this holiday season, thanks to the ubiquitous advertising efforts of the likes of Ancestry and 23andMe -- you might want to ponder a few points.

That's in addition to whether to send more money to your chosen company to get a better picture of the kinds of genetic risks inherent in your DNA.

It's perfectly understandable that people want to get a better idea of where their ancestors came from -- particularly if there are fuzzy or conflicting details that emerge (or don't) during family gatherings where stories and legends are told and made.

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Jan 02
2019

Posted by: Jim Lillie

’Shade Balls’ May Consume More Water Than They Save

Jim Lillie
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Shade Balls May Consume More Water Than They Save

During the latest California drought, which parched the state from 2011 through 2017, 96 million "shade balls" were deposited on the Los Angeles reservoir.

The hope was that the black plastic balls would float along the water's reface in order to stave off evaporation.

But a new study recently demonstrated that the process to make the balls themselves likely wound up consuming more water that deploying them did.

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Jan 01
2019

Posted by: Stephanie Faris

Meditation May Help You Learn from Past Experiences

Stephanie Faris
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Meditation May Help You Learn from Past Experiences

It’s no secret: meditation can be a great stressbuster. The practice has been linked to improved physical health and overall well-being. But a new study links cognitive improvements to meditation. Researchers in the U.K. have found a connection between meditation and how a person learns.

The study focused on a specific type of meditation called “focused attention meditation,” which involves fixating on a specific item and holding that focus for an extended period. The study found that after one of these meditation sessions, participants were better able to learn from past experiences.

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Dec 31
2018

Posted by: Jim Lillie

NY Restaurant's Oyster Brightens Man's World

Jim Lillie
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NY Restaurants Oyster Brightens Mans World

A man who walked into New York's Oyster Bar Restaurant in Gotham's Grand Central Terminal had no idea that he'd be walking out a substantially richer man as a result of a simple repast.

How much richer? Hard to say, since Rick Antosh of Edgewater, NJ reportedly won't have his valuable item -- a pearl retrieved from one of the oysters he was served -- appraised to determine its sellable value.

This despite the fact that according to CBS News, the found pearl is probably worth thousands of dollars.

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Dec 30
2018

Posted by: Stephanie Faris

Frequent Sex Makes Older Men Happier

Stephanie Faris
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Frequent Sex Makes Older Men Happier

For men, frequent sex means a greater enjoyment of life, not only putting a spring in their step, but also potentially improving their overall health. According to a new study, though, those benefits are more pronounced in men than they are in women. Researchers surveyed approximately 7,000 adults in England between the ages of 50-89 and found noticeable results in men versus women.

Physical intimacy isn’t irrelevant to older women, though. They just prioritize it in different ways. For women in the study, kissing and petting were associated with a higher quality of life, as well as feeling emotionally close to their significant other. But it’s important to note that previous studies have linked frequent orgasms in women to increased life expectancy.

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Dec 29
2018

Posted by: Jim Lillie

Tales from the ER Billing Department

Jim Lillie
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Tales from the ER Billing Department

Writer Sarah Kliff has for the last 15 months been asking readers to send her their emergency room bills for a database she's compiling.

Nearly 1,200 bills made their way to Kliff, she reports, which have expanded her understanding of how emergency-room billing works in various parts of the United States. Facility fees, for instance, can range from a little more than $500 to over $3,000 -- just for walking through the ER doors to seek treatment.

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