Newsworthy – Nov 22nd, 2019

Researchers have found a more accurate way to calculate dog age in human years, songs from different cultures exhibit universal patterns, big retailers are pushing costs of tariffs onto suppliers.

These, and more, are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • Researchers have come up with a much more accurate formula to assess dog age in human years.

    Human Years = 16 ln(Dog Years) + 31, where ln is the natural logarithm.

    Dogs seem to age very quickly in the first part of their life (which is why the age of young pups seem very weird translated into human years), but their ageing process slows down massively compared to that of humans.

    – ZME Science
  • When learning a new task, brain activities alter over time as mice transition to an expert from a novice. The changes are reflected in neural networks and neural activity. As the animal’s knowledge grows, neural networks become more focused.

    – Neuroscience News
  • According to a new study, a background of white noise can enhance how well you hear other sounds. These findings could be used to design new and improved cochlear implants that provide better hearing.

    – ZME Science
  • Bitcoin mining requires large amounts of electricity for computer processing. The emissions of Bitcoin are on par with those of small countries like Croatia or Estonia.

    – ZME Science

Health and Society

  • No matter where they are from, similar-sounding songs are associated with the same activities, such as infant care, healing, love and dance.

    Songs from cultures around the world exhibit some universal patterns, according to a new study that hints at the psychology behind music’s broad appeal. The new research suggests a fundamental property underlying music’s uncanny hold on the mind, several evolutionary biologists and musicologists said. People listen to more music than ever, streaming some 611 billion songs on demand last year.

    – Axios
  • When pregnant women consume diets high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids, an excess of endocannabinoids is produced which overloads the fetus, and impairs healthy brain development. This can result in psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.

    – Neuroscience News
  • More female athletes are talking about a taboo: their periods.

    Female athletes are speaking about the importance of getting a period and embracing emerging research about how hormonal fluctuations can affect training and performance.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • According to a recent report, around 35% of dementia cases might be prevented if people do things including exercising and engaging in cognitively stimulating activities.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • An AP investigation of Catholic mandatory review boards across the country found that they have broadly failed to uphold commitments to investigate sexual abuse allegations fairly and kindly.

    – AP

Business and Economics

  • Big retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, and TJX Brands are refusing to accept tariff price increases from their brand suppliers, telling the companies they will have to either eat the tariff costs or find another buyer.

    This forces the costs of President Trump’s trade war with China down to smaller businesses that can hardly afford them, while the big companies keep the impact of tariffs at bay.

    – Axios
  • Alphabet’s Google said it will stop allowing highly targeted political ads on its platform, rolling out a ban in the U.K. within a week (ahead of a Dec. 12 general election), in the EU by the end of the year and in the rest of the world Jan. 6.

    The policy will bar targeting based on users’ interests inferred from browsing or search history, though targeting based on age, gender and location will be allowed, and political advertisers will still be able to display ads based on the content of the page a user is viewing.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • California’s unprecedented law requiring all public companies headquartered there to have at least one female board member by 2020 is drawing lawsuits.

    The law sets a penalty of $100,000 in fines for public companies that don’t have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019.

    – Axios

Government and Politics

  • A divided U.S. House committee approved a proposal Wednesday to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level, a vote that was alternately described as a momentous turning point in national cannabis policy or a hollow political gesture.

    – AP
  • The U.S. no longer will consider Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

    The move formalizes the Trump administration’s treatment of the West Bank and shifts decades of U.S. policy. The new policy drew swift praise from Israelis and condemnation from Palestinians, European officials and rights groups who say the stance could hinder peace efforts.

    – The Wall Street Journal


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