Dispatches from Planet News

Six stories that have nothing to do with each other, that span the considerable extremes of a day in the U.S.

Harvard researchers have shown, apparently, that the embryonic stem cell debate may be moot. They’ve made lines of stem cells, able to turn into any other cell in the body, from bits of skin or blood of 10 patients with genetic diseases including muscular dystrophy and juvenile diabetes.

A woman in Florida is under arrest for driving around in a parking lot with her 3 year old granddaughter on the roof of the car. “I would never do anything to hurt her,” she’s quoted as saying, adding she was giving the child some air.

There’s only one treatment center in the country that treats people for their addiction to the Internet. It’s busy, these days.

In Seattle, a 6-foot-tall, 250-pound letter carrier is campaigning for the right to take off his pants. Dean Peterson wants the U.S. Postal Service to add kilts as a uniform option for men

Pandas: Evolutionary mistake or indicator of intelligent design?

Can you hear what you’re seeing? US scientists have discovered people with synaesthesia – a condition where senses intermingle. It came to light, the BBC reports, after a student reported “hearing sounds” from a screensaver.

  • Kevin

    Somewhere in the public radio universe last year there was a piece on syneasthesia – it was absolutely fascinating to me and even more so when I spoke to a special-education teacher. She works with many dyslexic kids, who in some cases are intensely “visual” learners, and associate colors and attitudes with letters and numbers. Now, this is more of an emotional connection, as opposed to genuine synaesthesia, but it’s pretty neat nonetheless.

    My mother and I are both visual learners, but we’ve never really talked about it until last year. When we do math in our heads, we both “see” the numbers, and apply predictable colors to them. So, for example, when I multiply five by twenty-two, the five is usually red, and the twenty-two is white. The answer, in this case, is whitish-gray on a black background.

    Does anyone else have this?

  • MR

    The National Park Service has official uniform sarongs. They were created for the NPS employees in American Samoa.

  • c

    syneasthesia sounds like another right brain function.

  • c

    Oh and by the way Bob, Barack Obama was at the Copper DOME by Cretin Derham Highschool on Randolph. For three dollars and seventy cents you can get a plate full of buckwheat pancakes. They have a menu full, a couple pages, of pancakes. My son gets the onion rings and they are homemade and battered and lovely. He has them for breakfast and that makes him happy. (I know I am muddying up your blog but since this was a misc. who ha article why not)

  • Mac Wilson

    I thought it was interesting that the panda article started with a sensational, creationist-baiting headline, only to answer the question in favor of natural selection at the end of the article:

    “The panda’s weaknesses in today’s world—from its failure to reproduce in captivity to its yawn-inspiring lifestyle—is a product of its natural history, not a malicious joke of an intelligent designer.”

    The article’s asinine headline was written solely to boost traffic from eager creationists. Unfortunately for them, the science says otherwise.

  • b2

    Russian author Vladimir Nabokov shared extreme syneasthesia with his mother. He also stated that they communicated by telepathy when he was a child. Colorblindness is inherited through the female line perhaps super color-sightedness is also.

  • JohnnyZoom

    >>sensational, creationist-baiting headline

    Not an unusual tactic at all for news these days. But even less attractive. I stopped even bothering to read CNN’s online articles about a year ago because the titles drifted so far away from what the stroies really said.