Beer to manage menopause, the Chinese tamper with the weather and baritone women get what they want.

Stouts for Broads
Scientists at the Czech Republic’s Research Institute for Brewing and Malting have created a non-alcoholic beer with 10 times the normal amount of the hormone phytoestrogen that they hope will help menopausal women keep their hormone levels up, thus easing the transition into post-reproductive life. The new drink is considered a breakthrough in the thriving field of “functional beer,” a research area that ought to be especially near-and-dear to Czechs, whose national per capita beer consumption is the world’s largest.

Rain Or Shine, All is Mine!
China has decided it will not be nature’s subordinate, especially when it comes to the country’s precious 2008 Olympics in Beijing. During the Summer Games, China’s Weather Modification Office (seriously) plans to blast chemicals into the atmosphere so that clouds will dissolve and let the sun shine in.  China has long been shooting dry ice into the sky, coaxing water droplets to condense around crystals and rain on its northern regions, where farmers often have to work with dry, infertile land. The Chinese think they can slightly modify this process to dissolve clouds without roducing rain. And if the plan fails and rain falls during the Olympics, at least the evidence won’t show up on Google.
(source: CNN)

It’s Hip to Be Square
The youth of today are high and dry compared to the kids of 1991, according to a new CDC study. The study found that while marijuana use has increased since 1991—with the percent of high school students who have tried marijuana jumping from 31% to 38%—fewer high schoolers are drinking, as the proportion who have had at least one drink decreased from 82% in 1991 to 74% in 2005. Kids today are also less likely to have tried smoking (54% now, down from 70% then) and less likely to have had sex (47% now, 54% then). Of those who have some carnal knowledge, more are making safe choices: Today 63% report using condoms, whereas only 46% donned a love glove in 1991. If this slow but steady trend toward adolescent responsibility isn’t disconcerting enough, a new market research study found that more college students think iPods are “in” than think beer is “all that.”
(sources: Los Angeles Times, CNN)

Hurts So Good
Sketchy men: Next time you’re at a club, instead of grinding with the girl so drunk she’s immune to the pungent odor of your cologne, try the girl in the corner—the one holding her head in her hands and weeping from the pain, the nausea and the bursts of light clouding her vision. She may not be in the mood now, but according to a new study published in the journal Headache, she’ll be totally frisky later. Researchers found that migraine sufferers have a 20% higher sex drive than people who simply endure tension headaches. On average, women who experience migraines have about the same level of sexual desire as an average man who doesn’t suffer from headaches of doom. The scientists say that both migraines and high sex drive may be related to low system levels of the brain chemical serotonin.
(source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center)

Pollute the Air, Save the Earth
Lack of sufficient pollution apparently caused Katrina. Yeah, you read that right. According to a new study published in the journal Eos, the decline of aerosol pollution in our atmosphere may be leading to more Atlantic hurricanes. Aerosols, man-made pollution particles that eat ozone concentrate in the air, dim the sunlight over a region and can mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases by keeping that region cool. Aerosol emissions were sharply cut in the 1970s and 1980s, and the blazing rays of the sun now beam down onto the Northern Atlantic, heating up the waters and setting the stage for more hurricanes.
(source: Discovery News)

Bass-ic Research
The traditional arguing style of speaking louder than your opponent may now be overtaken by a new workplace tactic: speaking lower than your opponent. New British research shows that the average pitch of women aged 18 to 25 dropped by a semi-tone between 1945 and 1993. The researchers attribute this change to women trying to get ahead in a male-dominated workforce. Famous lowered-talkers include Margaret Thatcher, who dropped her pitch at the behest of image maker Gordon Reece; Princess Diana, who received coaching to tone down her sound; and “Weakest Link” host Anne Robinson, who reportedly changed her voice to sound more authoritative.
(source: Daily Mail, London)

Compensating Much?
A new study out of the University of Sussex shows that men engage in unhealthy “masculine” behaviors such as binge drinking when they feel they need to compensate for a lack of masculinity in another area. The researchers say this might explain why men drink heavily while they watch sports: Since they’re not man enough to play in the World Cup, they’ll show the world they’re man enough to guzzle down a stadium full of brewskis. Interviews with men between the ages of 18 and 21 found that they believe the ideal guy is physically tough, capable of supporting his family financially and confident in both risk-taking and sex.
(source: UK Economic & Social Research Council)

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Originally published June 12, 2006


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