A new study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, says couples who drink together are generally more happy. The study found that: "Concordant drinking couples reported decreased negative marital quality over time, and these links were significantly greater among wives." To paraphrase, basically couples who drink together in moderation are happier than those who don't, or if only one drinks. Study author Dr. Kira Birditt notes the study shows that it's not about how much they're drinking, it's about whether they drink at all and says, "We're not suggested that people should drink more or change the way they drink." Dr. Fred Blow, from The University of Michigan, also pointed out that problem drinkers are an entirely different story noting, serious heavy drinkers have disruptive relationships with people, particularly their partners. Well, whatever it is you take from this study, please drink responsibly. (Reuters)
Guess We Better Have the "Killer Robots" Discussion
Believe it or not, we've got to have the "killer robots" discussion. Experts from countries all over the world are meeting in Geneva to discuss ways to define and deal with "killer robots" -- futuristic weapons systems that could conduct war without human intervention. The weeklong gathering that opened Monday is the second at U.N. offices to focus on such lethal autonomous weapons systems and to explore possibilities for regulating them. In theory, fully autonomous, computer-controlled weapons don't exist yet so the debate is still in its infancy as experts have at times grappled with basic definitions. The United States has argued that it's premature to establish a definition of such systems, much less regulate them. Others, including Amnesty International, say governments and militaries should be banned from developing such systems. At a news conference hosted by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams said the group wanted "meaningful human control" when it comes to the use of military weapons and negotiations toward a ban on computer-controlled weapons systems. (CTV News)
From the "You Don't Say" Department
From the "You don't say" department, on average, Americans are paying 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline than they did last Labor Day Weekend. Much of the increase can be linked to the impact of Hurricane Harvey. But we're not done with you yet. Retail gasoline prices will likely go up ahead of the long Labor Day holiday weekend, but analysts say the higher pump prices won't last long. AAA lists a national average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline at $2.84 per gallon, a slight increase from Monday, but 2 cents less than one month ago. An AAA report read: "Despite no hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014." The West Coast has the most expensive market in the country, with all but Arizona reporting a national average price above the $3 per gallon mark. (UPI News)
They're calling it a miracle in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. A man with two female passengers and an infant was driving a van down a city street when his brakes suddenly failed. Dale Borough Fire Chief Todd Litzinger said the driver continued through an intersection to avoid hitting other cars, then turned into a funeral home parking lot, hoping the guardrail would stop the van. It didn't - and the van went through the guardrail and then drove off a second story parking lot and crashed nose first into the alley below. Believe it or not - nobody was injured - mostly because the driver was only going 15-20 mph at the time and everyone was wearing seat belts. Litzinger said if those involved in the crash had not been wearing seat belts, the incident would have been tragic adding, "It's a miracle they came out without a scratch." (WJAC-TV)
You Know What - Don't Eat Raw Fish
Maybe it's just better to avoid eating raw fish. In South Korea, a 71-year-old man had to have his hand amputated when his flesh started rotting just 12 hours after eating raw sushi. After two days of fever and excruciating pain in his left hand, he went to the emergency room. He also had a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Despite the doctors best efforts - they operated on his hand and gave him two types of intravenous antibiotics - the man's condition got worse and doctors had no choice but to amputate the left forearm 25 days later. The patient did well after the surgery and was discharged home. People with diabetes are at particular risk of complications from skin ulcers because the condition restricts the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin so it takes longer to heal - and sometimes is not able to heal at all. (Metro)
Well Flipper, What Did You Learn During Your Incarceration?
A bottlenose dolphin named Billie, who learned to walk on its tail while in captivity, has now taught nine of her friends the trick after being released into the wild. Billie was rescued from a severely polluted creek in January 1988 and learned the trick known as the tailwalk by watching other dolphins she was housed with at a dolphinarium in Adelaide, Australia. The trick, which involves "standing" upright on the tail and running backwards along the waterline, is a common part of their routine but is rarely seen in the wild. After she was released into the wild, Billie continued to perform her trick and by 2011, other dolphins began copying her, according to a new study published in Royal Society's Biology Letters. Scientists say it marks the only known example of a mammal teaching human tricks to its peers in the wild without any help from a human trainer. (Metro)
What the What?
Over in Russia, Maxim Gert is a young Russian artist who will apparently spend the next 11.5 years in prison - because he went to Peru. It seems he made the huge mistake of bringing home two small bottles of ayahuasca - a famous spiritual medicine prepared by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin. Maxim has long been suffering from back pain, and while in the South American country, someone suggested he meet one of the local shamans and try ayahuasca, a traditional spiritual medicine with known psychoactive properties. Must have worked because he brought two small bottles with him on the flight home. But when he landed at Domodedovo airport, Russian custom officials confiscated the bottles and sent them to the lab for testing. The results showed a high concentration of dimethyltryptamine, a strong psychoactive compound that happens to be illegal in Russia. So, being Russia, he was arrested and charged with possession of drugs with an intention to sell them. Maxim's lawyer claims his client believed the substance was simply a natural remedy that could help him with his back pain, nothing more. Attorney Vladimir Brigadin told the court, "This drink is freely and legally sold throughout Peru, it is a national treasure." But again, this is Russia so the judge basically said, "tough luck" and sentenced Maxim to 11.5 years in prison for drug smuggling. The lack of a criminal record and testimonies of his friends and family that he had never used or dealt drugs didn't seem to matter too much. Maxim's lawyer is already working on an appeal, but chances of success are slim at best. (Oddity Central)