Here is what I am reading today:

“When two professors interviewed subjects for a study on Black Friday, almost all the shoppers said they started their days before 9 a.m., and most spent at least three hours hunting down bargains. But none matched the tenacity of one woman, a 40-year-old named Tracy, who had been a Black Friday shopper for 18 years. Starting her day at midnight on Thanksgiving, she spent the next 16 hours shopping.”

“Thanking people is good manners, but it may also lead to better, healthier lives.”

“When it comes to coaches and athletes, there are some simple rules of thumb to follow to make sure the relationship is a healthy one and kids and teens are protected, says Max Trenerry, an associate professor of psychology and consultant in clinical neuropsychology at the Mayo Clinic. (Trenerry isn’t speaking specifically about the Penn State situation.)”

(Laura’s Note: five years or so ago, my daughter Karen wrote a wonderfully informative post on the male coach/ female athlete issue that she termed  ‘Honeybuns’)

“Two lovers. Twenty lovers. Two hundred lovers. They seem almost to be from different universes, the collections of five or six lovers, versus the serial harems of 100 or 200. How to talk coherently about a hodgepodge of small and big numbers?”

“…This morning, a scientist named Svante Paabo delivered a talk. Its subject might make you think that he had stumbled into the wrong conference altogether. He delivered a lecture about Neanderthals. Yet Paabo did not speak to an empty room. He stood before thousands of researchers in the main hall. His face was projected onto a dozen giant screens, as if he were opening for the Rolling Stones. When Paabo was done, the audience released a surging crest of applause. One neuroscientist I know, who was sitting somewhere in that huge room, sent me a one-word email as Paabo finished: “Amazing….””

“…Earlier this month I attended the 41st annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which was held in Washington, D.C. I’m writing two short features about the conference for the Dana Foundation, and they’ll be available soon. Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of conference coverage elsewhere…. The Nature Neuroscience blog Action Potential featured a series of guest posts, including one by myself about how the human brain switches between two different cognitive maps during spatial navigation.”

“…That drew a sharp question from two female researchers in the audience who expressed concern that political correctness too often prevents researchers from asking purely scientific questions….”