Arsenic in Water May Sap IQ
At levels well below the EPA’s guidelines
By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff | Suggested by Amanda.Matznick
Could your water be making you dumber? If it has arsenic in it, it might, a new study suggests. Researchers followed 272 Maine schoolchildren over the course of five years, and found that those whose water contained arsenic tended to have lower IQs, the Portland Press Herald reports. “Everyone was a little taken aback by that,” says University of New Hampshire professor Amy Schwartz, who coordinated the tests along with Columbia University researchers. “People shouldn’t panic, but be informed.”
Oprah Winfrey arrives at 2014 Santa Barbara International Film Festival – Montecito Award ceremony on Wednesday, Feb, 5, 2014 in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Oprah, Stepmom in Ugly Eviction Battle
Barbara Winfrey given 60 days to vacate house
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Oprah Winfrey is evicting her former stepmom from the $1.4 million Tennessee home Oprah owns. After an ugly divorce from Oprah’s dad, Vernon Winfrey, late last year, 66-year-old Barbara Winfrey now has 60 days to vacate the estate, the Tennessean reports. Oprah originally bought the home for her father and his wife in 2001, but it remained in her name; she originally wanted her stepmother out in 10 days, but a judge recommended Oprah give her more time, and Oprah’s attorneys extended the time frame.
Oprah had previously offered Barbara Winfrey another house—a house Barbara originally owned, but which went into foreclosure in 2012. Oprah bought the house at that point, and later offered it to Barbara, but she turned it down. Barbara says that she would have had to sign a confidentiality agreement relating to Oprah had she accepted the house, but a rep for Oprah says the house was offered “free and clear.” It seems Barbara is planning to talk freely about Oprah now: “She knows I know the story. And to set me out now, why shouldn’t I just tell my story?” Barbara tells WATE. “You’re a billionaire. God blessed you to be a billionaire and this is what you do? [This home] it’s where I lived for 13 years. That’s where my memories are.”
Merchandise is strewn across the floor in a La Habra Walgreens following Friday night’s 5.1 earthquake. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Blaine, Ohigashi)
Fault Could Cause ‘Quake From Hell’ in LA
Puente Hills bigger threat to LA than San Andreas
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
The San Andreas fault is famous, but the lesser-known fault that caused Friday night’s 5.1 earthquake could be the one that delivers the “Big One” that devastates Los Angeles, experts warn. The Puente Hills fault runs under downtown Los Angeles into Hollywood, near many older buildings, and the US Geological Survey estimates that a 7.5 quake along the fault could kill up to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage, the AP finds. An even stronger quake along the San Andreas would be less damaging, experts say.
A major quake along the fault “would be very damaging to central Los Angeles,” the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center tells CBS
Picture this guy, but waaay bigger. (Shutterstock)
Talk of Sweden: Rat So Giant It Terrified Cat
Rodent was 16 inches long, weighed two pounds
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Scientists’ prediction that giant rats could someday rule Earth hits a lot closer to home when you have a 16-inch-long rodent running around in your kitchen—and that’s not including the tail. Sweden is abuzz over a mega-sized rat dubbed “Ratzilla” (unappetizing photos here), which was discovered three weeks ago and grabbing headlines now after it chewed its way through cement and wood to enter a Stockholm family’s kitchen, where it terrified a cat and munched on leftover food. “It was right there in our rubbish bin, a mighty monster. I was petrified. I couldn’t believe such a big rat could exist,” Signe Bengtsson tells The Local. “I couldn’t help but do the old classic and jump on the kitchen table and scream.”
In this Tuesday, April 23, 2013 file photo, Kent Walker, who farms and ranches, walks through one of his cow pastures in Frederick, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
25 of 26 Drug Makers Will Curb Antibiotics in Animals
FDA’s voluntary plan has gained major ground
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
The FDA’s first attempt to limit antibiotic use in farm animals appears to be working: All but one of the 26 drug companies asked to curb the use of antibiotics in animals to promote growth have agreed to do so, though the plan is voluntary. The plan will see the drug companies remove claims of growth promotion from their products, which will effectively make it illegal for the drugs to be used on livestock without a valid medical reason. Only antibiotics used similarly by humans—think penicillin and tetracycline—will be affected, and the 25 companies in agreement with the plan make 99.6% of those drugs. “I think that within three years we’re going to see growth promotion gone when it comes to antibiotics,” one expert tells the Wall Street Journal.
Judge Joe Brown Arrested in Memphis
Former TV judge taken out of juvenile court in handcuffs
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Joe Brown was arrested in court today, but did political theater play a role? Brown—the former star of Judge Joe Brown, which was canceled last year—arrived at Juvenile Court in Memphis and shook hands to promote his run for district attorney, the Commercial Appeal reports. He then went to court as an attorney and complained vehemently about delays. Brown “began a diatribe” against the judge in the case, said Court Chief Magistrate Dan Michael. The judge “advised Mr. Brown that he needed to desist,” but he refused and “continued acting up.”
Cone snail venom may reduce pain. (Wikimedia Commons/Kerry Matz)
Newly Created Drug Has 100 Times Morphine’s Power
It’s still in experimental stage, and makes use of snail venom
By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Move over, morphine. Someday, we may be turning to carnivorous snails for our pain-killing needs, a study suggests. Australian researchers have found that a drug made using venom from ocean-dwelling cone snails may be 100 times as powerful as top painkillers morphine and gabapentin, which are currently used to ease chronic nerve pain born from injury, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, AFP reports. What’s more, the drug, based on peptides called conotoxins that reside in the snails’ venom, is thought not to have the addictive properties of other painkillers, the Sydney Morning Herald notes.
Black Kids More Likely to Get Suspended … in Preschool
Racial disparities start very young, new Department of Education report reveals
By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff
Black kids are suspended much more often than white kids—and by kids, we mean kids. Almost half of all children suspended from preschool more than once are black, according to a new Department of Education study, even though black students make up just 18% of preschoolers overall. Until now, education advocates have focused on disparities among high school and middle school students, the AP reports. “We think of 4- and 5-year-olds as being innocent,” says one analyst. But “schools are using zero tolerance policies for our youngest also.”
Read more on this story here….
Soul singer Anita Baker is a wanted woman in Detroit after failing to show up in court for a scheduled hearing on Wednesday.
An arrest warrant for the “Sweet Love” singer has been issued.
Could prolonged sleep loss be killing our brain cells? (Shutterstock)
A lack of shut-eye may not just leave you feeling groggy—it could seriously injure your brain. A new study of mice has found 25% of brain cells died off after prolonged sleep loss, meant to duplicate night shifts or long hours at the office—the first evidence of its kind and a scary find if it applies to humans. “We now have evidence that sleep loss can lead to irreversible injury,” a researcher told the BBC, noting that when the mice lost a little sleep, they were protected by an energizing protein, but brain cells began to die off when sleep loss became a habit. “This suggests to us that we are going to have to look very carefully in humans.”
Read more here…