Culture

MANHATTAN, KAN. -- When it comes to predicting the rate of inflation, professional economists might tell consumers, "Your guess is as good as mine."

Research by a Kansas State University professor shows that household surveys predict the inflation rate fairly accurately and as well as professional economists. The pros employ statistics like the unemployment rate, money supply growth and exchange rate changes. Consumers participating in surveys are more likely to think about how much they spent at the grocery store that week.

Americans are better at saving money when they set goals in the near future -- such as next month -- rather than the more distant future, according to a new study by researchers at Rice University and Old Dominion University. The study was presented this month at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Three quarters of parents of young athletes let their child forgo an exam for an important game, a new study conducted at the University of Haifa has found. In comparison, only 47% of parents of young musicians will agree to their child choosing a performance over an exam. "Parents usually don't understand their role in the course of their child's career development, and cross the line between involvement and intervention," the study's authors said.

Amid mounting agreement that future clean, "carbon-neutral", energy will rely on efficient conversion of the sun's light energy into fuels and electric power, attention is focusing on one of the most ancient groups of organism, the cyanobacteria. Dramatic progress has been made over the last decade understanding the fundamental reaction of photosynthesis that evolved in cyanobacteria 3.7 billion years ago, which for the first time used water molecules as a source of electrons to transport energy derived from sunlight, while converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

A new report from the National Research Council, THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF HIGH-END COMPUTING ON FOUR FIELDS OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, looks at scientific advances that could be achieved using high-end computing. The report – which focuses on the fields of astrophysics, atmospheric science, chemical separations, and evolutionary biology – identifies major scientific questions that will require high-end computing to address. The report also describes the requirements needed to address these questions and discusses the ramifications of postponing the use of high-end computing.

As portion sizes have increased, Americans' waistlines have expanded. And as a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates, consumers are tricked into drinking more soft drinks when retailers eliminate small drink sizes.

No matter what the volume of the soft drink, customers tend to avoid the largest and smallest options, according to authors Kathryn M. Sharpe, Richard Staelin, and Joel Huber (all Duke University). "Our basic premise is that consumer purchases are altered by the portfolio of drink sizes made available," the authors explain.

Households located in poor neighborhoods pay more for the same items than people living in wealthy ones, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

WASHINGTON -- When done correctly, public participation improves the quality of federal agencies' decisions about the environment, says a new report from the National Research Council. Well-managed public involvement also increases the legitimacy of decisions in the eyes of those affected by them, which makes it more likely that the decisions will be implemented effectively. Agencies should recognize public participation as valuable to their objectives, not just as a formality required by the law, the report says.

The European Space Agency is about to launch the most sophisticated mission ever to investigate the Earth's gravitational field and to map the reference shape of our planet – the geoid - with unprecedented resolution and accuracy.

Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington, DC – (August 21, 2008) It costs money to improve the quality of nursing care through work environment changes or increases in staffing but those costs may be offset through improved nursing satisfaction and patient outcomes, according to research in a Special Issue of Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice published by SAGE.