11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The extinct pelagornis bird had a wingspan as wide as 24 feet.  (Learn more at International Business Times) 2. The Nazi’s “perfect Aryan” poster child was Jewish. (Learn more at The Telegraph) 3. A computer chip that delivers a contraceptive hormone can be turned off when a woman wants to get pregnant. (Learn more at CNET) 4. Scientists know where an on-off switch for consciousness is located in the brain. (Learn more at New …

Why We Brag About Our Children

My mother was so proud of her adult children that even an offhanded “How’s the family?” launched her into a detailed accounting. My little sister repeatedly listened to this litany and threatened to print a brochure on the family. “Mom could just hand them out and save time,” she joked. The “brochure” of the 21st century is Facebook and email, where many parents share – okay, brag – about their children’s achievements. Not that bragging in cyberspace stops us in …

Luxury Travel: To Spree or Not to Spree

Sometimes we want to indulge on a special vacation. We read “Zen-like ambience.” How peaceful. “Oasis.” Ah, yes. “Holistic therapy for body, mind and spirit.” How rejuvenating. But how do those eat-your-heart-out amenities really stack up? Couples massage? A butler-drawn bubble bath strewed with rose petals? An elegant seaside dinner served at a table right in the sand? Some luxuries are sure to please, and others … not so much. As a travel-show host I’ve been treated to just about every form of …

Older Americans Face Increasing Risk of Hunger

More than 15 percent of Americans over age 60 – some 9.3 million men and women – experienced the threat of hunger in 2012, according to a report just released by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. From the start of the recession in 2007 to 2012, the number of older people threatened by hunger has jumped 49 percent. The report, based on statistics from the 2012 Current Population Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, says the following groups of older Americans …

Could You Give Up Sugar for 10 Days?

Television host Katie Couric, whose new documentary, “Fed Up,” blames sugar for the country’s spiraling obesity problem, is challenging people to take a 10-day break from the sweet stuff. In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Couric urged people to try and give up foods with added sugar, including artificial sweeteners, “which have the same impact on your brain as added sugar.” That means foods with naturally occurring sugar, including fresh fruit and plain yogurt, are fine, but options …

Food Talks

Ah, the language barrier. No matter how much you’re looking forward to your trip abroad, you can’t ignore that nagging worry about interacting with people who speak a different language – and potential situations ranging from difficult to ego-crushing. Rest assured, however, that no one expects you to speak in full sentences or be able to conjugate verbs. What you should know, even before you even arrive in another country, is how to be polite. “Hello,” “please” and “thank you” …