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While You Were Sleeping: April 2012 

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According to recent studies, the rich are more likely to take candy from children, break the law while driving, lie in negotiation, cheat to win, and promote unethical behavior in the workplace. In the candy test, 129 undergraduates were asked to view themselves as either upper class or lower class, then presented with a jar of candy. The participants could take as much as they wanted, with the remainder going to children in the room next door. The participants who believed they were of a higher income took more than those who believed they were of a lower income. In another study researched observed cars at an intersection. Drivers in more expensive vehicles were more likely to cut off other drivers and less likely to stop for pedestrians.
Source: Washington Post

Two years after the devastating BP oil explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico, deepwater drilling is regaining momentum—this time on a larger scale. There are more than 40 rigs drilling in the Gulf, compared to 25 last year, and drilling is expanding waters off Mexico and Cuba. Oil companies are also moving into new areas off the coast of East Africa and in the Mediterranean after an abundance of natural gas was discovered. Amy Myers Jaffe, associate director of the Rice University energy program said, “We need the oil. The industry will have to improve and regulators will have to adjust, but the public will have to deal with the risk of drilling in deep waters or get out of their cars.”
Source: New York Times

The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation located on the southern border of South Dakota—home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe and one of the poorest places in the country. In Whiteclay, Nebraska (population 14), just across the state line, an average of 13,000 cans of beer and malt liquor are sold everyday. Tribal officials say most of the alcohol sold ends up on the reservation or consumed by its residents. In February, the tribe filed a lawsuit against Whiteclay’s distributors along with Anheuser-Busch and other large American brewing companies. In a population of 45,000, the tribal police made 20,000 alcohol related arrests last year. Tribal data says four in five families on the reservation have a family member with alcoholism, and one in four babies is born with alcohol-related disorders.
Source: New York Times

Nestle has gone natural in the UK. The first major candy manufacturer to do so, Nestle has removed all artificial ingredients from their product line, replacing them with natural ingredients including carrot, hibiscus, radish, and lemon to provide color or flavor to treats such as Rolo, Kit Kat, and Smarties. The changeover was prompted by the UK backlash against the use of food dyes and additives in Nestle products such as the 2007 Ban the Additives campaign, which followed research finding that children become hyperactive when they consume a diet of sweets, cakes, and sodas that often contain additives.
Source: Good News Network

The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report on February 28 stating that the number of hate groups and anti-government organizations has grown since last year. The report showed a large rise in the number of groups that identify with the patriot and militia movements, whose beliefs include a strong distrust in the government. The far-right patriot movement grew after the election of President Obama and the beginning of the recession. In 2010, Antigay groups were shown to have risen from 17 to 27. The states with the most active hate groups are California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, and New York.
Source: New York Times

A long range study examining the eating habits of over 110,000 adults for more than 20 years found that any amount of red meat can increase mortality rate. Unprocessed red meat causes a 13 percent greater chance of premature death, while processed meat including salami and bacon causes a 20 percent increased risk. The study suggests that substituting a serving of nuts instead of red meat is associated with a 19 percent lower risk of dying, whole grains was linked with a 14 percent reduced risk, low-fat dairy or legumes at 10 percent, and fish at seven percent.
Source: Los Angeles Times

On February 28, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report “Protecting Patient Privacy” citing that New York State’s system allows hospitals and doctors to upload patient information into regional databases without patient consent. New York’s approach is that once a patient gives consent to access their electronic medical records, their doctor is able to view everything. There is no way to share some records and hide others, but the NYCLU wants patients to be able to control what medical information doctors have access to. With consent, healthcare providers can view all patient records including sensitive reports about psychiatric care, abortion, and sexual health. About 65,000 hospitals, doctors, and providers statewide participate in regional networks for sharing medical information. The Capital Region’s network, Healthcare Information Xchange New York, processes 27,000 new consent forms from willing patients.
Source: Albany Times Union

According to AARP’s report issued on February 28, the price of popular drugs used most widely by older Americans rose nearly 26 percent from 2005 to 2009. The price of generic drugs fell nearly 31 percent yet the price of brand-name drugs grew 41 percent, and specialty drugs rose over 48 percent.
Source: New York Times

Former University of California, Berkeley quarterback Joe Ayoob made the throw of his lifetime when he exceeded the world record paper airplane distance by 19 and a half feet. His 226-foot, 10-inch toss trumped the previous Guinness World Record of 207 feet, 4 inches set by Stephen Kreiger in 2003. John Collins aka “The Paper Plane Guy” was the brains behind the design of the plane, artfully folded to float an astonishing distance.
Sources: The Guardian (UK), Huffington Post

Experts at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago said an estimated 30 to 50 percent of food produced in the world is thrown away. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American throws away 33 pounds of food each month, which translates into 400 pounds of discarded food per person in a year. In many countries people can’t afford the food that’s being produced. Patrick Woodall of Food and Water Watch said, “Even in 2008, when there were hunger riots around the world, there was enough food to feed people, it was just too expensive.” EPA experts and other groups have proposed various solutions to help control food waste including clarifying “sell by” and “use by” dates to prevent consumers from disposing of food too soon, some food could be “rescued” for soup kitchens, certain leftovers could be used for animal feed, and increasing compost production could boost soil health and reduce the size of landfills.
Source: MSNBC

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