Babies May Be Smarter Than Adults

A newborn infant

Jonah Lehrer writing in the Boston Globe: “…[S]cientists have begun to dramatically revise their concept of a baby’s mind. By using new research techniques and tools, they’ve revealed that the baby brain is abuzz with activity, capable of learning astonishing amounts of information in a relatively short time. Unlike the adult mind, which restricts itself to a narrow slice of reality, babies can take in a much wider spectrum of sensation – they are, in an important sense, more aware of the world than we are.

This hyperawareness comes with several benefits. For starters, it allows young children to figure out the world at an incredibly fast pace. Although babies are born utterly helpless, within a few years they’ve mastered everything from language – a toddler learns 10 new words every day – to complex motor skills such as walking. According to this new view of the baby brain, many of the mental traits that used to seem like developmental shortcomings, such as infants’ inability to focus their attention, are actually crucial assets in the learning process.

In fact, in some situations it might actually be better for adults to regress into a newborn state of mind…”

Rove To Meet With Prosecutor On Attorney Firings

President George W. Bush stands with Mrs. Laur...

Prosecutors are scheduled to interview former presidential adviser Karl Rove Friday about the firing of U.S. attorneys as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the dismissals.

The Justice Department’s inspector general published a report about the firings that was more than 350 pages long. But the report was inconclusive. Some officials refused to be interviewed.

So, on the inspector general’s recommendation, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed a prosecutor to continue the investigation. Prosecutor Nora Dannehy has been interviewing people ever since. Friday is Karl Rove‘s turn, a development first reported by The Washington Post.” (NPR ).

Dedicated to Dick Cheney

I saw a newspaper picture from the political campaign
A woman was kissing a child, who was obviously in pain
She spills with compassion, as that young child’s
face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed and avarice
coming down on that child’s lips

Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
the black tarmacadam
Well I hope that she sleeps well at night, isn’t
haunted by every tiny detail
‘Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
all she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones say that it all ends the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father who just squeezed the life from his
only son
And how it’s only voices in your head and dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference between justice and contempt
Try telling me she isn’t angry with this pitiful discontent
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up for punishment
And then expect you to say “Thank you” straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you haven’t got the whole disease
Just like a schoolboy, whose head’s like a tin-can
filled up with dreams then poured down the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides, being blown to bits or beaten and
maimed
Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord your soul to keep
I think I’ll be going before we fold our arms and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life could be so cheap
‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down

— Elvis Costello
[thanks, abby]

FDA Says Cheerios Is an Unapproved Drug

A box of Cheerios breakfast cereal.

Hey, General Mills: If you want to say Cheerios is “clinically proven to lower cholesterol,” you better get your whole-grain Os approved as a new drug by the FDA.

That’s what the FDA told the company in this letter, which says the labeling on Cheerios boxes is in “serious violation” of federal rules. The letter continues:

Based on claims made on your product’s label, we have determined that your Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.

What’s more, the letter says, Cheerios “may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.” (WSJ).

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