Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009


Gulp! Liquor tax increase?

In an effort to fund increased health insurance, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is looking at raising the tax on beer, liquor and wine.

The industry is understandably nervous, and winemakers are quick to point out that moderate amounts of wine have been suggested to be good for one's health.

The Associated Press reports that wine would see the biggest increase, with a jump of about 233 percent per bottle. Stock up that cellar!



Hawaii drivers' skills on the skids

The rules of the road aren't on the minds of many Hawaii drivers, according to an insurance company's annual ranking.

Hawaii drivers scored an average 72 percent on GMAC's annual national driver's test, good for 49th place among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Last year Hawaii ranked 45th. A passing grade is 70 percent.

Maybe there weren't any questions about driving with aloha. Or perhaps everybody was too busy texting from behind the wheel to study.



Ida is a true rock star

Who are we? Where did we come from?

These esoteric, eternal questions have long been part of humankind's mystery.

Now, another possible piece of the puzzle has emerged. A remarkably well-preserved skeleton of a small, 47 million-year-old primate-like creature found in Germany went on display Tuesday in New York.

“;The Link”; fossil is like an aunt from many generations ago, said German scientist Jens Franzen.

Other experts, though, question how closely the fossil is related to ancestors of monkeys and humans.

Still, the find, nicknamed “;Ida,”; is getting lots of publicity. In addition to the exhibit, a scientific paper is out, a TV special will air on the History Channel, and a book is planned. Talk about a rock star.