January 4, 2012 |
The Federal Reserve, taking an innovative step in its public statements, will start providing a quarterly forecast of when it plans to make a shift in the key short-term interest rate that it sets — its latest effort to spur the sluggish economy and calm volatile stock markets. The projections, to start late this month, could act as an economic stimulus by offering a tentative financial road map to consumers and businesses to encourage them to borrow and take risks. It also could help ease market tension and push down already historically low yields on long-term bonds.
December 18, 2011 |
Psst: Want to know a way to reduce our national debt by a quarter of a trillion dollars over the next decade, and remove an often abused and possibly unconstitutional section of the tax code? Are you sure you do? You may want to sit down. Get rid of the federal charitable-giving tax deduction. I know that statement will create a firestorm. I ran the California Community Foundation for 25 years, and the foundation — not to mention your alma mater, the Girl Scouts, the AARP and many other charities — think pretty highly of the tax deduction.
November 9, 2011 |
Forget about rock 'n' roll: When rats are administered the highly addictive stimulant methamphetamine and allowed to engage in sexual behavior while high, all they want is more of both. That's the raw finding of a study published Tuesday by the Journal of Neuroscience. It's important because many who use methamphetamine report that it enhances their sexual experience. But because it also reduces their inhibitions , those abusers are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior , including unprotected sex and anal intercourse.
October 10, 2011 |
Even when vision has failed, the mind's eye can see, given just the right voltage to just the right place in the brain, says a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study , which used rhesus monkeys with intact vision, demonstrated one way to restore something akin to sight in the blind. It showed that direct stimulation to the brain's visual cortex can create the perception of shapes, colors and contrasts -- even when the eyes cannot see them.
June 24, 2011 |
A surprise move to tap government oil reserves could slash painfully high gasoline prices this summer and give the U.S. economy a much-needed boost, but the rare action underscores the challenge posed by the weakening recovery. The price of oil tumbled Thursday after the U.S. and other industrialized countries, citing the loss of oil from Libya, said they would release 60 million barrels of crude from emergency stockpiles and sell it on the energy markets over the next 30 days. Half of the oil is to come from the U.S. government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve on the Gulf Coast.
May 27, 2011 |
The Obama administration has identified dozens of unneeded regulations — from handling spilled milk to requiring warm-air hand dryers — that should be eliminated to save hundreds of millions of hours a year in filling out forms and, over time, billions of dollars in costs. The proposed changes, a few of which already have been enacted or are in their final stages, came in a report Thursday from a government-wide review ordered by President Obama in January to weed out overly burdensome rules and stimulate job growth.
February 23, 2011 |
A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. found evidence that cellphones’ electromagnetic energy prompts unusual levels of activity in a user’s brain, raising concern that our national habit of jabbering into our 300 million cellphones might not be completely innocuous. But wait. Haven’t we been told that stimulating our brains with intellectual challenges, new experiences and copious social interaction is good for us? Why the ominous tone?
February 10, 2011 |
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke defended the central bank's continued efforts to stimulate the economy, even as he acknowledged a strengthening recovery and gave a slightly more upbeat assessment of the nation's employment situation. In his first appearance before the House Budget Committee since Republicans took control, Bernanke on Wednesday downplayed the threat of inflation in the U.S., despite sharply higher oil and food prices that have pinched emerging economies such as China's and contributed to the wave of protests in the Middle East.
January 30, 2011 |
Two drugs that produce a meth-like high and are being sold under the guise of "bath salts" would be banned as federally controlled substances under a bill unveiled Sunday by Sen. Charles E. Schumer. "These so-called bath salts contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics, and they are being sold cheaply to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country," said Schumer (D-N.Y.). Schumer said he would introduce a bill to outlaw the two synthetic drugs ?
January 28, 2011 |
The website that hawks the "concentrated bath salts" warns in red letters: "Not for human consumption. " It cautions against using alcohol and prescription medications while "bathing," and adds, "PLEASE do not use this as SNUFF. " But the little packets of powder, with names like "Ivory Wave" and "Vanilla Sky," were never intended for the tub, and they're not among the fragrant samples in the bath and body shop at the local mall. The "bath salts," are powerful synthetic stimulants, designed to be comparable to cocaine or methamphetamine, and with similar risks, law enforcement and health officials say. But unlike cocaine or meth, the stimulants are legal in most of the United States, at least for now, selling for about $25 to $40 a packet online and in convenience stores and head shops.