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Mexicans favor life in U.S.

October 04, 2009|Deborah Bonello; Shari Roan; David Colker; Tami Dennis; Patrick Kevin Day

Most Mexicans think their lives would be better in the U.S., and one in three said they'd move to the U.S. if they could, according to the latest findings on Mexican attitudes from the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Half of those who said they'd migrate north of the border said they would do so without permission, although recent data on immigration suggest that the flow of Mexicans north is slowing.

President Felipe Calderon's military-led campaign against the country's drug lords and organized-crime networks is "overwhelmingly endorsed" by the majority of Mexicans, although large majorities describe crime (81%) and illegal drugs (73%) as very big problems, according to the study.

The popularity of the tough stance against drug gangs seems to be bolstering support for Calderon. Roughly two-thirds (68%) have a favorable opinion of the president, while only 29% express an unfavorable view.

Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,000 adults in Mexico between May 26 and June 2, 2009, for the Pew report.

Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

From La Plaza: Latin American news from L.A. Times correspondents

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Popularity is linked to health

Social status in childhood appears to influence one's health in adulthood, according to a 30-year study published today.

The study tracked more than 14,000 children born in Sweden in 1953. They were followed through 2003. When the children were in sixth grade, they were assessed for their degree of popularity, power and social status. The information was matched to data on subsequent hospital admissions recorded from 1973 to 2003.

The analysis showed the least-popular people in childhood had the highest overall risk of serious health problems as adults.

The findings were not dependent on the children's social class, which suggests that social relationships had some significant bearing on future well-being.

It's possible that some health problems, such as psychological or behavioral problems, preceded relationships with peers, noted the authors from Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute. But, they wrote, "peer status and health are perhaps best seen as parts of a process of mutual influence, evolving over time."

-- Shari Roan

From Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the world of health

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Bathroom scale goes Wi-Fi

A French technology company, Withings, has introduced the first bathroom scale with Wi-Fi capability. And if that wasn't enough, it also has an iPhone app.

All you do is step on the scale, and your weight shows up on a personal Web page or the phone screen where you can compare it to past readings. You can even get a graphic showing weight loss -- or gain -- over time.

The Wi-Fi Body Scale also measures body mass index and recognizes up to eight users, so the whole household can join in. The price: $159.

In a press release, a Withings official declared that the company strives to make products "that make everyday life better."

Well, in this case, it would depend on the day.

-- David Colker

From Technology: The business and culture of our digital lives

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We don't eat our fruits, veggies

Persuading Americans to consume at least three servings of vegetables a day and at least two servings of fruit would seem a modest goal. Apparently it isn't.

Only 32.8% of adults consume two or more servings of fruit a day. Only 27.4% consume three or more servings of vegetables a day. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's first state-by-state look at fruit and vegetable consumption. (In California, those numbers are 40.6% and 25.6%, respectively.)

The report offers up ways to improve these numbers -- focusing on supermarket and store offerings; school influence; and the overall systems that get food to consumers. But access is only part of the problem -- as the diet of a friend or loved one might suggest.

The press release states: "The Healthy People 2010 objectives aim for at least 75 percent of Americans to eat the recommended two or more daily servings of fruit, and for at least 50 percent of Americans to eat the recommended three or more servings of vegetables daily."

By 2010? I don't think we're going to make it.

-- Tami Dennis

From Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the world of health

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Making actor look younger

In order to make 54-year-old Bruce Willis' surrogate robot look like a man in his mid-30s in the sci-fi film "Surrogates," Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson oversaw some work worthy of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

"We started out with makeup," Stetson said. Makeup supervisor Jeff Dawn oversaw the application of straightforward cosmetic makeup, which was enhanced by cinematographer Oliver Wood's lighting. Then the digital-effects artists went in to the roughly 200 shots of Willis' surrogate and removed the creases of the actor's face frame by frame.

"It was a lot like doing concept work for a face-lift," Stetson said. And is this kind of digital de-aging popular with stars in non-science-fiction films? "We're getting into an area we really shouldn't be talking about," was all Stetson would say...

-- Patrick Kevin Day

From Hero Complex: For your inner fanboy

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