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Older and wiser, nocturnal bingeing, mysterious Area 51

Older and wiser

"It turns out grandma was right: Listen to your elders," Randolph Schmid reports for Associated Press. "New research indicates they are indeed wiser - in knowing how to deal with conflicts and accepting life's uncertainties and change. It isn't a question of how many facts someone knows, or being able to operate a TV remote, but rather how to handle disagreements - social wisdom. And researchers led by Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan found that older people were more likely than younger or middle-aged ones to recognize that values differ, to acknowledge uncertainties, to accept that things change over time and to acknowledge others' points of view. 'Age effects on wisdom hold at every level of social class, education and IQ,' they report in … Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

The third gas

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"Thawing permafrost can release nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, a contributor to climate change that has been largely overlooked in the Arctic, a study [shows]" Reuters reports. "The report in the journal Nature Geoscience indicated that emissions of the gas surged under certain conditions from melting permafrost that underlies about 25 per cent of land in the Northern Hemisphere. Emissions of the gas measured from thawing wetlands in Zackenberg in eastern Greenland leapt 20 times to levels found in tropical forests, which are among the main natural sources of the heat-trapping gas. … Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas from human activity, dominated by carbon dioxide ahead of methane."

Suggested weight loss

A school principal in West Yorkshire, England, lost almost 85 pounds and beat diabetes - after being hypnotized into believing that she had a gastric band fitted, reports. Kaye Linley, 59, was 315 pounds when she signed up for treatment at a clinic in Spain. The treatment involved being put "under" and talked through every step of the medical procedure as if she were in an operating room. She was told her stomach was the size of a golf ball - and would feel full if she tried to eat anything other than small portions of food. Within five months, Ms. Linley's weight fell to 238 pounds and she dropped five dress sizes.

Nocturnal bingeing

"Most people have heard of sleep disorders and eating disorders. But what about an eating disorder that shows up while you're asleep?" Tara Parker-Pope writes for The New York Times. "… People with sleep-related eating disorders often wake up in a bed full of crumbs or discover wrappers from junk food and candy that they've consumed while still asleep. Sleep eaters 'make a beeline for the kitchen' and tend to binge on sugary, high-calorie snacks, sometimes five times a night, said Dr. John W. Winkelman, medical director of the Sleep Health Center of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Brighton, Mass. Some go for bizarre food combinations like peanut butter and pasta, and even the occasional nail polish or paper."

Hard times

"Police in Juneau, Alaska, say lawbreakers must really be getting desperate because someone left 13 fake $1 bills in a bar's tip jar - an unusually small denomination for the crime," Associated Press reports. Viking Lounge owner Jack Tripp says that in the 19 years he has owned the establishment, it has received counterfeit money only twice. Both times were in the last year and both were fake $20 bills. Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills said the latest fake bills were probably printed off the Internet. Some were blank on one side."

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Mysterious Area 51

"After nearly five decades, guys like James Noce finally get to tell their stories about Area 51," Erik Lacitis writes for The Seattle Times. "Yes, that Area 51. The one that gets brought up when people talk about secret Air Force projects, crashed UFOs, alien bodies and, of course, conspiracies. The secrets, some of them, have been declassified." In the 1960s, Area 51 was the test site for the A-12 spy plane and its successor, the SR-71 Blackbird. In CIA parlance, it was a black project: Mr. Noce, sworn to secrecy for 47 years, was always paid in cash and signed for it with a phony name. He remembers when an A-12 crashed in Utah in 1963. He was among those who flew in a cargo plane to the site and loaded all the debris. However, a local deputy sheriff had witnessed the crash and a family of tourists had taken pictures. "We confiscated the camera, took the film out. We just said we worked for the government." The deputy and family were warned not to talk about what they'd witnessed. "We told them there would be dire consequences. You scared them." As an added incentive the CIA arrived with a briefcase full of cash. "I think it was like 25 grand apiece for the sheriff and the family," Mr. Noce said.

Thought du jour

"Television newsmen are breathless on how the game is being played, largely silent on what the game is all about."

- John Kenneth Galbraith

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