Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • A Ukrainian commission wants SpongeBob Squarepants and other shows banned (Wikicommons)First they came for the Simpsons and now they want SpongeBob Squarepants. The Ukraine is considering a move to censor several children's shows after a new study from a conservative commission labeled the shows "a real threat" to the country's youth.

    The Ukraine's National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality released the report, which attacks several U.S. and international programs as detrimental to the country.

    Psychologist Irina Medvédeva is quoted in the study, alleging that children aged 3 to 5 years old, "pull faces and make jokes in front of adults they don't know, laugh out loud and repeat nonsense phrases in a brazen manner," after viewing the shows.

    The Ukrainian paper Ukraínskaya Pravda reported on Thursday that some of the shows under fire include "Family Guy," "Futurama," "Pokemon," "The Simpsons" and "Teletubbies," which the report says are, "projects aimed at the destruction of the family, and the promotion of drugs and other vices."

    The Wall Street Journal

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  • Federal charges against Armando Angulo were dropped because evidence was taking up too much space (AP/Florida Attorney General)The federal government has more than 400,000 pages of evidence against fugitive Miami doctor Armando Angulo, taking up some two terabytes of digital space. On the surface, it sounds like a pretty solid case. But at the urging of prosecutors, charges were dropped against the doctor because the evidence is simply taking up too much space on government servers.

    "Continued storage of these materials is difficult and expensive," wrote Stephanie Rose, the U.S. attorney for northern Iowa, describing the ongoing evidence storage as "an economic and political hardship" for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

    As the Associated Press notes, the collection of evidence against Angulo, who is charged with illegally selling prescription medicines online, is enough to print the classic novel "War and Peace" 625,000 times.

    The evidence against Angulo alone reportedly was taking up 5 percent of the DEA's entire worldwide global storage network. Part of that limited storage capacity stems from the

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  • Pigs at state fairs may carry swine flu: study

    A pig at the 2012 Ohio State Fair in Columbus (Kyle Robertson, Columbus Dispatch/AP)

    Double bacon corn dogs aren't the only porkers that can be dangerous to your health at state fairs around the country. A new study led by University of Minnesota veterinarian Dr. Jeff Bender warns that many of the seemingly healthy pigs on display at state fairs this summer may in fact be carrying the swine flu.

    "This study just shows that viruses are shared between pigs and people," Bender told the Star Tribune. "We were expecting, boy, if pigs had virus then they should be [feverish], sick." Instead, the results, taken from samples at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair, indicate that spotting the virus may be harder than expected.

    Test results found that 11 of the 57 tested pigs19 percenthad the H1N1 flu virus. A similar test in 2008 turned up zero infected pigs. The tests were taken when the H1N1 was believed to be at peak levels of infection across the country.

    The findings were published in the August 2012 edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    While the test results

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  • Vivienne Harr at her lemonade stand (

    Vivienne Harr says she is making a stand, both literally and figuratively, to end human trafficking. The 8-year-old California girl is using a homemade lemonade stand to raise $150,000 for the nonprofit group Not For Sale, which works to end slavery around the world.

    "I will sit at my lemonade stand every day--rain or shine--until i raise $150,000 for: not for sale an organization that is "re-abolishing" slavery," Vivienne writes on her website. "When you buy #MAKEASTAND! lemonade, you aren't just buying a drink, you are MAKING A STAND! 100% of our profits go to not for sale."

    But Vivienne could use some help. So far, she has raised about $1,000, with 19 day left toward her financial goal. So how can you help?

    Back in April, we reported on the 6-year-old Texas boy whose lemonade stand raised more than $10,000 for his Dad's cancer treatment in a single day. Yahoo! Sideshow readers helped donate more than $20,000 after the story broke.

    And in June, Yahoo! Sideshow readers stepped up

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  • Darwin's notes on marriage have recently been made public.Despite devoting his life to science, Charles Darwin had a long and reportedly happy marriage, fathering 10 children after proposing to his cousin Emma Wedgwood in 1838.

    But the naturalist and father of modern evolutionary theory wasn't always sold on matrimony, writing out a list of pros and cons on marriage in a journal entry that was first made public on Tuesday.

    The musings are part of the Darwin Correspondence Project, an online database of Darwin's writings, and noted by the site Brain Pickings.

    Using the back of a letter from a friend, Darwin sketched out some of his thoughts in a journal entry dated April 7, 1838.

    Amongst the pros: "constant companion," "charms of music & female chit-chat."

    And some of the perceived cons: "means limited, Feel duty to work for money. London life, nothing but Society, no country, no tours, no large Zoolog. Collect. no books. … Could I live in London like a prisoner?"

    In July, just four months before his proposal, Darwin returned to his list.

    Read More »from Charles Darwin’s notes on marriage and children, ‘better than a dog anyhow’
  • In 1995, class of 5th graders predicted Internet’s future (VIDEO)

    The future of the Internet, as predicted in 1995 (YouTube)

    A cute, humorous and largely accurate 1995 video made by a class of Helena, Montana, 5th graders attempts to predict what the Internet will be used for by the time they get to college (roughly 2003). And you know what? They pretty much got everything right.

    Yes, even in 1995, 5th graders knew that the modern-day Internet was destined to be dominated by cats.

    "Hey, why should I be on the Internet?" asks one of the Ray Bjork Elementary School students in the video.

    "Well, by the time I'm in college, the Internet will be our telephone, television, shopping center, and workplace."

    "And it's already got more stuff on it than you could possibly imagine."

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  • Mississippi fattest state in the land, according to new statistical analysis

    Obesity rates in the U.S. (Centers for Disease Control)Yes, you do look fat in that dress, Mississippi. A new study analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity in the nation. But even with 34.9 percent of its residents clocking in as obese, The Hospitality State is hardly alone. Twelve states report more than 30 percent of their population as overweight.

    "Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs. It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced," said Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D, executive director of the Trust for America's Health (TFAH), whose group conducted the study with the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The results were compiled using data from the CDC's 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.

    "The good news is that we have a growing body of evidence and approaches that we know can help reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity based on making

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  • Both genders stare equally hard at women’s body parts: study

    It's not just men who are looking at Naomi Campbell's figure. (AFP)

    A new scientific study has confirmed a generally assumed truth: Women are objectified far more than men. But in a surprising development, the study also found that men and women are both equally guilty of looking at women as a "collection of parts."

    "We can't just pin this on the men. Women are perceiving women this way, too," Sarah Gervais, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study's lead author, told Science Daily. "It could be related to different motives. Men might be doing it because they're interested in potential mates, while women may do it as more of a comparison with themselves. But what we do know is that they're both doing it."

    The study results were published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and examined the different ways people process images of men and women. According to the study, men tend to be processed on a "global" level, in which their entire physical being is viewed as a whole. Women tend to be viewed much

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  • 3D printer creates physical model of fetus for expecting parents

    A model of a mother's fetus, created using 3D printing technology (YouTube)A Japanese clinic is offering parents-to-be the chance to hold their baby months before the child leaves the womb. Using a "Bio-Texture" process and MRI scans, the technology offered by Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo, Japan, creates a 3D model of the mother's fetus and womb.

    The "Shape of an Angel" service costs 100,000 (about $1,276), not including the cost of the MRI.

    "We actually got three expectant mothers to try this out. They said it felt great to see how their babies looked before birth, and to be able to actually hold the inside of their own body," Fasotec representative Tomohiro Kinoshita told DigInfo. "They also enjoyed looking at the model after giving birth, thinking, 'This is how my baby looked inside me' and recalling how it felt to be pregnant."

    3D printing is an exciting, emerging technology that uses digital models to create real-life objects. Last week, we told you about University of Southern California engineer Behrokh Khoshnevis, who said it would be

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  • Erskine Bowles praises Paul Ryan, budget plan (VIDEO)

    A video of former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles began circulating in conservative news outlets today. In the clip, the Democratic co-chair of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform gives high praises to Paul Ryan's budget plan.

    "I'm telling you, this guy is amazing. I always thought I was OK with arithmetic. This guy can run circles around me," Bowles tells a class of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    "He is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit just like we did by four trillion dollars."

    The video was shot on September 8, 2011, but was just uploaded to YouTube yesterday. What's striking is that not only does Bowles, a former U.S. Senate candidate from North Carolina, praise Ryan's effort, but he is also highly critical of the budget offered by

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