The truth is out there: 17/04/2010

A weekly look at the world

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*A new study claims to have found a human population immune to racial stereotypes.

Children with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that limits social anxiety, displayed no racial biases when shown pictures of other children and asked to assign good or bad traits. A control group reliably pointed to other races when asked questions like "which is the naughty boy," said

*America's top 25 hedge fund managers earn the equivalent of 658,000 teachers, according to Les Leopold, writing in The Huffington Post. With an average salary of $1bn (£650m) each, their combined earnings would pay the $38,000 salaries of enough educators to enlighten 13 million young people.

*New Scientist this week championed the efforts of Number Watch's Warm List; a comprehensive and fully linked list of all the things the media has said are caused by global warming. Among the credible and terrifying effects are some which are less so, including claims that it is responsible for child insomnia, frogs with three heads and six legs, the decline of haggis and beer, swelling cockroach and starfish numbers, saving endangered salmon, forcing lemmings out of house and home and boosting seal sex.

*Charity starts at home for both Greeks and Americans as their respective governments have both launched services offering their citizens the chance to donate to the national debt. According to the Freakonomics blog, the Greeks have developed a Solidarity Account, whilst the US Department of the Treasury conveniently offers the chance to donate online.

*A notorious San Francisco beggar known as 'Hate Man' – because of his request that everybody say "I hate you" before engaging him in conversation – has been revealed to be the former New York Times journalist Mark Hawthorne. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, the cross-dressing, rubbish-eating 73-year-old described his world view, which revolves around being "straight about the negatives".

*The US Navy lieutenant Don Walsh has been awarded the Hubbard Medal, National Geographic's highest honour, for travelling to the deepest place in any ocean on our planet. The 35,800ft descent into the Mariana Trench off Guam was actually made 50 years ago and, half a century later, Walsh and his co-pilot Jacques Piccard remain the only two people to have plunged into the Earth's ultimate abyss.

*Despite widespread perceptions to the contrary, more immigrants are in white-collar jobs than blue-collar ones, according to a new analysis of census data in the US. The Fiscal Policy Institute's latest research, reported by The New York Times, found that in 14 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, including Boston, New York and San Francisco, more immigrants were likely to be doctors, lawyers and the like, than the much vilified stereotypes of cleaners and labourers, perceived to be flooding across the southern border.

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