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3:17pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Research News

Twitter Data Reveal The Mood Of The Planet

iSockphoto.com

Right now, armies of marketers, pollsters and social scientists are trying to figure out what Americans are thinking about — issues like global warming or Lady Gaga's latest outfit. And surveys are only so good: It's hard to get a big enough sample to be sure of the results. That's particularly vexing for social scientists who want a high standard of accuracy.

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3:16pm

Thu September 29, 2011
The Salt

Scent Of Rotten Fruit Signals Sex, At Least For Fruit Flies

Waitin' on a lady
digicla Flickr

If you're into sexual chemistry, set an aging banana peel or apple core out on your kitchen counter, pull up a chair, and wait — for the fruit flies.

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3:05pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Animals

Chicago-Area Skunk Population Raises A Stink

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 4:15 pm

This small juvenile skunk was caught by Des Plaines, Ill., homeowner Richard Kaulback. He says there have always been raccoons and opossums in the Chicago area, but this year, skunks have become prolific.
Cheryl Corley NPR

There is a slight stench as Brandon Owen steps out of his truck. The biologist is a wildlife technician with ABC Humane Wildlife Control, and his company has captured 687 skunks so far this year in northeastern Illinois — about 200 more than last year.

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2:59pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Europe

French Feminists Say 'Non' To 'Mademoiselle'

In France, feminists are trying to do away with the word mademoiselle, which they see as separating women into two categories — married and unmarried — in a manner men aren't subjected to.
Thurston Hopkins Getty Images

Feminists in France say the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal has forced the country to confront longstanding sexist attitudes. Buoyed by this new awareness, they are now taking on what they see as one of the most entrenched, if not discreet, barriers to gender equality in France: the word "mademoiselle."

In France, when you fill out a form — whether it's a job application or a parking citation — if you're a woman, you have to choose between madame and mademoiselle.

Too bad if you feel your marital status is nobody's business, there's simply no French equivalent of "Ms."

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2:40pm

Thu September 29, 2011
Politics

It Took Only 5 Minutes? House Votes To Stay Funded

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 5:13 pm

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), pictured here on Tuesday, was one of a few House members present Thursday to vote to keep the government funded till next week. "Once you get to yes, things can move quickly," he says.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The House or Representatives met for exactly 5 minutes and 2 seconds Thursday and — in less time than you can eat lunch — passed a spending bill that will keep the government up and running.

That is, for a few days, anyway.

How It Happened

At 11 a.m., an officer of the sergeant at arms threw open the doors of the House of Representatives to carry in the 4-foot ceremonial mace with the golden eagle on top.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) was in the chair and called on the House chaplain to give the prayer.

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