Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Patt Morrison for Thursday, December 15, 2011


Thursday, December 15, 2011

1-3 p.m.




1:00 – 1:40



1:40 – 2:00

Analog Christmas cards in the digital agedo you send them?

Sending Christmas cards has long been as much a part of the holiday season as egg nog and decorating the tree. Then came the Internet and social media sites like Facebook. Suddenly, sending a paper card seemed so 20th Century. But the ritual of sending Christmas cards has hung around in the new millennium. Although the numbers are slightly down from 2010, the American Card Association says that 1.5 billion Christmas cards will crisscross the globe this holiday season, sending glad tidings by way of your actual mailbox. And that figure does not include "e-cards" or web sites that allow users to create and send custom paper cards. Do you still send Christmas cards? Have social media and e-cards changed the number of cards you send and the way you send them?



Susan January, president, Greeting Card Association; vice president, Leanin' Tree in Boulder, Colorado, a family owned business that sells traditional and e-cards.  



Jaci Twidwell "JACK-ee TWID-well", Hallmark spokeswoman



2:00 – 2:30

Is being left-handed a health “risk”?    

New research on “handedness,” or the dominance of one hand over the other, shows the following breakdown: 89% of the population is right-handed, 10% of the population is left-handed, and 1% qualifies as mixed-handed (using different hands for different tasks without a dominant side).  And it’s not about the genes.  Twins, for instance, can demonstrate differences in handedness. Researchers in Denmark and Sweden have uncovered evidence that links left-handedness to environmental factors in the womb, particularly stress. Interestingly, being left-handed does not always correlate to right-brain dominance, as previously thought. 70% of lefties are still left-brain dominant, while 30% are either right-brain dominant or show a “distributed pattern” of brain use.  Even more interestingly, researchers admit that it’s hard to collect data on the left-handed because differences in brain wiring makes it difficult for them to participate in neuroimaging studies. So what’s the evidence that being left-handed could be a health risk? Several studies have shown psychiatric and developmental disorders such as ADHD and schizophrenia to be more common amongst the left-handed. For example, despite the small number of lefties in the general population, 20% of schizophrenics are left-handed.

Do statistics like these cause you to think of being left-handed as an actual health risk?  Would you want to know ahead of time if your child was going to be right- or left-handed?  If you’re left-handed, please share your stories of surviving in a world prejudiced toward the right hand.



Shirley Wang, reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Her article on the health risks of being left-handed was published on December 6th.



2:30 – 3:00

Christmas - a good time of year to be an atheist

“No God? No problem!” That’s the message the American Humanist Association is conveying this holiday season. The AHA and organizations like it are spreading the word that, like virtually all paradigms of belief, atheism is okay, even around Christmas time. “It’s always a great time of year to be an atheist,” said Bobbie Kirkhart, head of Atheists United. Kirkhart claims that atheism and the celebration of the non-religious winter solstice are beginning to register throughout society as a reaction, in part, to the presidency of George W. Bush, which she refers to as “eight years of something pretty close to an open theocracy.” However, Kirkhart reports that atheists are still discriminated against because of their humanist ideas. How vocal should atheists be about their ideas during the holiday season? Or can we all celebrate our particular beliefs together without prejudice?  



Bobbie Kirkhart, president, Atheists United; past president and current vice president, Atheist Alliance of America







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