Brief asides


POSTED: Monday, December 21, 2009


Lucky you live Hawaii

What's not to love about paradise? Hawaii scored high—second place, to be precise—in a study ranking the U.S. states based on the happiness of residents.

The ratings were based on a survey of 1.3 million people across the country over the past four years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sunshine, ocean breezes, swaying palm trees ... that stereotypical tropical idyll turns out to be true for many folks. Also conforming to type: New York, whose residents actually must be pretty surly to come in dead last.



Driver's ed a budget casualty

Driver's ed, that rite of passage for high school students, is getting left by the side of the road.

More and more American high schools are cutting back on driving instruction to save money, leaving it up to parents to teach their kids themselves or to send them to commercial driving schools, the Associated Press reports.

The trend worries some educators, since motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers.



Beauty elixir apparently backfired

Talk about suffering for beauty. An older mistress of 16th-century French King Henry II may have died from consuming too much drinkable gold, believed at the time to preserve youth. When French experts dug up the remains of Diane de Poitiers last year, they found high levels of gold in her hair. Since she was not a queen and did not wear a crown, scientists concluded that de Poitier's beauty elixir very likely killed her. Despite being two decades older than King Henry, she was one of his favorite companions. The findings were published in the British medical journal BMJ.