March 30, 2013 |
SABHA, Libya - Their fatigues don't match and their pickup has no windshield. Their antiaircraft gun, clogged with grit, is perched between a refugee camp and ripped market tents scattered over an ancient caravan route. But the tribesmen keep their rifles cocked and eyes fixed on a terrain of scouring light where the oasis succumbs to desert. "If we leave this outpost the Islamist militants will come and use Libya as a base. We can't let that happen," said Zakaria Ali Krayem, the oldest among the Tabu warriors.
March 26, 2013 |
People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, regardless of their underlying health issues, according to a study of the elderly British population. The findings, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that when mental and physical health conditions were factored out, the lack of social contact continued to lead to early death among 6,500 men and women tracked over a seven-year period. "They're dying of the usual causes, but isolation has a strong influence," said study author Andrew Steptoe, an epidemiologist at University College London.
March 26, 2013 |
Henry David Thoreau relished isolation but didn't feel lonely. Marilyn Monroe was a social butterfly but died lonely. Their separate fates -- Thoreau dead of tuberculosis at 44, Monroe of suicide at 36 -- can't tell us much scientifically, but a study of an elderly population in England might shed more light. Having few social contacts may be more deadly than feeling alone, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Even when physical and mental health are factored out, isolation still led to a higher mortality rate than feeling lonely did among the 6,500 elderly British people whose health outcomes over a six-year period were studied.
March 7, 2013 |
With the rapid shift in public opinion toward same-sex marriage, opposition to changing marriage laws increasingly has become limited to a few slices of the electorate, according to an analysis of polling data by leading Republican and Democratic pollsters. The two major divides are a generational and cultural split, according to the analysis, which looked at data from the November exit polls. Among people who voted in the last election who are older than 65, opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage outnumber supporters 58% to 37%. But those older voters made up only about one-sixth of the electorate.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 21, 2013 |
California prison officials continue to move prisoners out of its controversial high-security units, where inmates are held, many indefinitely, nearly 23 hours a day in spartan isolation with minimal access to exercise and reduced privileges for such things as canteen food. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in October adopted new criteria for what constitutes gang involvement that will land an inmate in a prison's Security Housing Unit, or SHU. The state also began what it says is a trial of a "step down" program that allows inmates to leave the SHU in four years.
February 14, 2013 |
Serendipity is what gives us "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga," an intimate portrait of the vanishing breed of hunters and fishers still making a life in the isolated heart of Siberia, where a mild winter day is 30-below and the only way in or out is by helicopter or boat. That we are given a glimpse of this extraordinary place and its people at all is due to pure chance. Filmmaker Werner Herzog had dropped in unexpectedly on a friend in Los Angeles and found footage of Siberia playing on the plasma.