Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

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East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

•What uses $6 billion worth of energy every year, more than all common kitchen appliances, freezers or water heaters? And creates 12 million T. of carbon dioxide? A: computer gamers. A new study, Green Gaming: Energy Efficiency without Performance Compromise, says that huge draw on resources could drop 24% over the next five years with more efficient equipment and better playing habits.

•Clinical psychologists at a hospital in Norway are offering fast treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Rather than treatment one or two times a week, a four days “marathon exposure” is offered. While difficult, patients have called it “magical and life-changing,” TIME magazine reports.

•Studies show that five percent of families can be faulted for possibly 50 percent of all crimes (and 10 percent of families are behind two-thirds of crimes), according to stats cited in the new book In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs In the Family. Can the cycle be broken? The author doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but he does note that in one such family the parents shielded their daughter from the family’s criminal element, and she now hold’s the family’s first college degree.

•Shoes leave a significant carbon footprint — mainly because their plastic parts are derived from petroleum. But, TIME reports, changes are afoot: The start-up company Allbird is testing SweetFoam, made from otherwise discarded sugarcane refuse. So far it’s being used in flip-flops. Allbirds says it will make the technology for the eco-friendly product available to all manufacturers who are interested.

•A study shared in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine found dietary supplements can influence dogs’ behavior issues. Dogs treated were over-active, had inappropriately-timed elimination, were fear-based, destructive and/or aggressive to people and other dogs who were unfamiliar. Supplements used were fish oil capsules, magnesium citrate and zinc sulfate. Feedback from dog owners saw improvements in behaviors linked to fear, destructiveness and untimely elimination.

•That pets may be deficient in minerals makes sense, says on-line veterinary columnist Dr. Karen S. Becker. Many pet kibbles bypass grains, but replace them with legumes, which bind minerals and leech them out of pets’ bodies.

•In the last two decades there have been more than a dozen local and state elections that were so close they were either decided by one vote, or ended in a tie, National Public Radio reports.

•Stats reported by The Guardian show 259 deaths occurring as a result of taking “selfies” between Oct. 2011 and Nov. 2017. Most victims were between ages 10 and 29. And most incidents were related to drowning, high falls or transport accidents.

•American Dialogue author Joseph J. Ellis, in his recent book, examines what Founders George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Adams might think about political events today. The Founders did not anticipate the political strains of the Internet and our population surge. Asked recently by TIME magazine if our “better angels” will save us, Ellis responded: “My view of history is that trusting in the better angels of our nature is a bad bet. The Founders did not believe in better angels. They created a Constitution, which was designed to deal with imperfect human beings.”

•Political culture clash: Newly-elected Congressional lawmakers, at their orientation, noted that prominent sponsors were from the corporate world, with no representation from public interest advocates. A former Goldman Sachs president told the assembled freshmen, “you guys are way over your heads; you don’t know how the game is played.” Lawmaker-elect Rashida Tlaib responded: “No Gary [Cohn], you don’t know what’s coming — a revolutionary Congress that puts people over profits.”

•Air Force One, basically the White House on wings, costs $200,000 an hour to operate, according to Business Insider. New refrigerators for the aircraft cost $23.7 million, TIME shared.

Lorraine H. Marie is a writer based in Colville, Washington.

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