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The Lighter Side of the News


Is there a mastermind mapping all brain projects?

  • Neuroscientist Henry Markram, coordinator of the Human Brain Project, attends a press conference at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL...

    Associated Press

    Neuroscientist Henry Markram, coordinator of the Human Brain Project, attends a press conference at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday.

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  • Neuroscientist Henry Markram, coordinator of the Human Brain Project, attends a press conference at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL...

    Associated Press

    Neuroscientist Henry Markram, coordinator of the Human Brain Project, attends a press conference at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday.

So much heavy news, let's take a walk on the lighter side:
•"The human brain project begins": This one is in Switzerland.
Not to be confused with the U.S. brain-mapping project announced by President Obama in April. Not to be confused with the work being done at The Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. Not to be confused with the (Paul) Allen Institute for Brain Science. And the list goes on and on.
Of course there's always room for multitudes of studies in a particular area of research. And research is competitive. But when it comes to studying the "brain," wouldn't it make sense to put a few of these brilliant heads together?
•"Gary Locke: China 'hungry' for U.S. products": Wow, what a coincidence. So are Americans.
"American adults score poorly on global test": We lag behind adults in other countries in our math, reading and problem-solving skills. Which may explain why our children also lag behind children in other countries in such skills. On the other hand, American adults score almost 100 percent in pop culture skills, such as knowing, whether one wanted to or not, what "twerking" is.
"'Extinct' Pinocchio lizard sighted in northwest Ecuador": "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated ... by me," snickered the long-snouted lizard.
"Google in Jeopardy: What If IBM's Watson dethroned the king of search?" People would cheer?
"Nest's next challenge: Make fire detectors sexy": When did "sexy" come to mean "stylish" when talking about design? Creating a smoke detector that isn't ugly doesn't make it "sexy" unless there's some wild smoke-detector trend of which I am unaware, which is certainly possible.
"Lack of funds prevents fixes to Filbert Road": That's just nuts.
"Survey finds most hotel guests prefer coffee in the morning to sex": Uh, is that what they were offering? "Try our free continental breakfast buffet. Or your own personal wake-up call by whoever is on duty." Waffles, please.
"Better mechanical eyes could let robots play pingpong": Because robots have recreation needs?
"Viewpoint: Twitter's all-male board spells failure":" In its preliminary filing for an IPO, Twitter revealed that all seven members of its board of directors will be white and male, writes Nilofer Merchant in Time. All the other major tech companies -- Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn, and eBay all have at least one female elected to their boards, author notes. (And "at least one" is a low bar.)
Several paragraphs down, in what's known as "burying the lede" in the news business, the writer finally throws this out there: "On Twitter, women out number men by 6 percent." She adds: "So on that basis alone a board with no women to shape your strategic direction is troubling." Exactly. Except "troubling" is an understatement.
Here's one way to "unbury" the lede: "In its preliminary filing for an IPO, Twitter, whose female users outnumber male users by 6 percent, revealed that all seven members of its board of directors will be white and male. The twits."
•"Marilyn Monroe's medical records to be auctioned": Of course they are. As Bernie Taupin and Elton John noted, her "privacy" has always had as much chance as a candle in the wind.
"Best cruise lines for teens": Hey, make them come up with their own.
"Pumpkin-flavored everything comes early, often": So much so, one might call it the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Where is Linus Van Pelt these days? Should he get credit/blame for all this pumpkiness?
So who has the most sincere pumpkin patch? Or pumpkin latte? (As Linus said of his: "I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.")
•"The Netizen Report: More than 2 million workers monitor web activity in China": That sounds about right ... when you're trying to keep tabs on 1.354 billion people. How many millions does it take to monitor the monitors?
"Samsung offers 1st curved smartphone": Ah, finally one that you can sit on.
"Oregon cheerleaders wear terrifying Oregon contact lenses": Good grief. As if anyone is looking at their eyes.
"Celebrity endorsements and child eating": Yum? Is that like the famous wicked witch talking about how to cook Hansel and Gretel?
Support your alma mater, but there's no need to wear contact lenses in team colors.
Carol MacPherson: 425-339-3472, cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

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