April 01, 2005

Science in few words:

The universe at your hands!

A Service of Hispanic Radio Network (HRN) and the Self Reliance Foundation

Feeling Blue

People across cultures process emotions in a similar way, possessing more words for negative feelings such as sadness and anger, than for positive ones like happiness and love, according to a study in the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. Robert W. Schrauf, associate professor of applied linguistics at Penn State University, and Julia Sanchez, a graduate student at the Chicago School for Professional Psychology, asked people in Mexico City and Chicago in two age groups—20 years old and 65 years old—to list the names of as many emotions as they could. The researchers found that 50 percent of the words given by respondents across all groups described negative emotions; 30 percent described positive emotions; and 20 percent were neutral. “Cross culturally, it appears that … negative emotions require more detail (to process and work through) and therefore more words,” Schrauf says.

Combating Obesity: A Family Affair

Childhood obesity in the United States has tripled over the last 30 years, leading to increased risk for elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, depression, and other serious health problems, says Dr. Katherine Kaufer Christ-offel, founder of the Nutrition Evaluation Clinic at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In an interview with the online journal Healthology, Christoffel says there are steps that all families can take to combat childhood obesity, such as reducing the consumption of fast foods and sugary drinks, switching to low-fat milk and increasing exercise. She touts the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” rule: 5 fruits and vegetables a day, 4 glasses of water, 3 servings of low-fat dairy products, less than 2 hours watching television or playing video games, and engaging in at least 1 hour of physical activity. “Young children’s eating and activity patterns are largely set by their adults,” Christoffel says. “There has to be a commitment from the family.”

Hispanics Earning More Doctorates in Science

Hispanic citizens and permanent residents earned 738 doctorates in science and engineering from U.S. institutions in 2003, the second highest total in the past 10 years, according to data released earlier this year by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The 2003 figure represents a slight increase from the 724 doctorates earned in 2002, and a significant jump from 1994’s total of 548. Only in 1998, when 754 doctorates were awarded to Hispanic citizens and permanent residents, were the totals higher. In total, U.S. citizens and permanent residents of all ethnic groups earned 15,669 science and engineering doctorates from U.S. institutions in 2003, up from 15,508 in 2002, but significantly lower than the high of 18,996 in 1995. While Hispanics in the U.S. continue to make significant gains, they remain underrepresented in the sciences.

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