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-- News for the Cultural Creative, July 4, 2009 --
Cell Phones & Driving
from the Boston Globe --
A study found no difference between drivers talking on hand-held phones and those talking on hands-free devices—as soon as people started talking, they became more likely to rear end another vehicle than if they were legally drunk. Researchers found that simply talking on a phone cuts the brain activity devoted to driving over 40 percent. Even the wireless industry seems to be having second thoughts: Traditionally opposed to hand held bans, in January the industry shifted its official line to “neutral.”
So why aren’t we seeing outright bans on cell phones in the car? Twenty-nine states have enacted some form of limitation on phone use while driving, but none have gone so far as to wholly prohibit it.
The best explanation for this is a rather disturbing one: Many drivers, state legislators among them, have simply come to depend on using cell phones during drive time to take care of business, check in with spouses or catch up with friends. This may make long commutes more professionally and socially productive. But it also makes the roads more dangerous for everybody. A step in the right direction, this past Monday, city employees in Boston are banned from text-messaging while operating city-owned vehicles, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced.
Pam Fisher, New Jersey’s director of traffic safety, says that we’re at “the beginning of a ‘social norming’ process.” Fisher thinks that attitudes toward talking on the phone while driving can and will shift—much in the same way drunk driving became socially unacceptable. In the meantime, pass on the suggestion: Hang up and drive
Win Beer Contest, Go To Space!
Guinness has reserved a seat aboard a suborbital Virgin Galactic spaceliner as one of three experience prizes in an online contest honoring the 250th birthday of the beer's brewery this year.
Founded by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic is a commercial space tourism company that plans to launch passengers on $200,000 trips to suborbital space using a fleet of SpaceShipTwo spacecraft. The space-liners are designed to be launched from the air by a massive WhiteKnightTwo mothership and send two pilots and six passengers on a weightless joyride. Virgin Galactic currently plans to launch and land space tourist flights from a terminal at Spaceport America in New Mexico — which began construction earlier this month — as well as from a spaceport in Kiruna, Sweden. The first WhiteKnightTwo carrier ship "Eve" has been flying a series of test flights this year.
Guinness officials said their space trip contest runs through Sept. 24 and promised a thrilling ride for the winner. The launch will catapult passengers beyond Earth's atmosphere at nearly 2,500 mph — three times the speed of sound , Guinness officials said. Once in space, passengers will have a view of the blackness of space and unbroken vistas of the Earth for 1,000 miles in every direction before re-entering the atmosphere and gliding back to its home port, they added.
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This may be considered new age news, yet it is also environmental news, holistic news, metaphysical news, and cultural creative news gathered for May 23, 2009