Brief asides


POSTED: Thursday, April 22, 2010


Volcano monitors get the last laugh

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal laughed about President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package last year being “;larded with wasteful spending.”; He noted that it included “;$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington.”; We now know from this month's European airline crisis caused by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull that monitoring volcanos is money well spent. Those monitoring points include the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.



Ochoa's departure tees up Wie

The stunning retirement announcement by 28-year-old Lorena Ochoa, the No. 1 player in women's golf for three years, leaves a void as the LPGA's top draw. Her departure has eyes looking at Hawaii's Michelle Wie, No. 9 in the world rankings, to assume the role. Wie is No. 2 among Americans in the world rankings, behind Florida native Christie Kerr, in a sport that is increasingly dominated by Asians. Ochoa is one of the most popular Mexican athletes of all time.



You think you're so smart playing online games


If you're one of those people who go online to play games designed to improve cognitive skills in hopes of getting smarter, well, think again.

A new study done by the BBC and published online in the journal Nature found that, alas, such games did nothing special for the brain.

More than 8,600 people played online brain games designed by researchers to improve memory, reasoning and other skills for at least 10 minutes a day, three times a week. When compared with more than 2,700 people who did not play any of the games, tests showed no discernible differences.

So go ahead, play for the fun of it. But with the goal of getting smarter, as some marketers claim? Talk about mind games.