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Of Human Interest: News lite

By ELLEN BECK, United Press International   |   Nov. 15, 2002 at 4:30 AM
WATCH YOUR MOUTH!

A lot of Chicagoans are going to be mighty PO'ed over the city's latest move to increase revenue without raising taxes -- but cussing out the nearest alderman will only net a big fine. The City Council is considering a measure that would increase the cost of a well-chosen curse word to as much as $300.

"Well, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't," Alderman Bill Beavers said. (That will be $600, alderman). But don't worry about the profanity police.

"They're not going up and down the street, picking up people for cursing," Beavers said. "In public places, those kind of situations (where) it's not enough to arrest somebody ... they can issue a citation."

And for those who prefer more traditional Old World curses like, "May you be stricken with cholera," there's no need to give the evil eye. Beavers said those are safe.

(Thanks to UPI's Marcy Kreiter in Chicago)


GM WANTS TO CHANGE HOW YOU THINK

When you think of small midsize, Honda and Toyota -- not GM -- come to mind, and General Motors doesn't like that.

The world's largest automaker this week announced plans to introduce 10 new or redesigned vehicles with at least 15 different body styles through 2005, beginning with the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu.

GM also will roll out fresh models of the Pontiac Grand Am and Grand Prix and the Buick Regal -- a convertible version of the Grand Am is in the works -- all built on the midsized Epsilon platform.

While GM captures 30 percent of the large vehicle market with its wide selection of Buicks, Pontiacs and Cadillacs, it has steadily lost ground in midsized cars to Japan, South Korea and Germany's Volkswagen.


THE TURKEY TABULATION

As Thanksgiving approaches, it's time to ponder the turkey. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says some 270 million turkeys were raised in the United States in 2002.

That's down 1 percent from 2001. In 2001, the turkeys produced weighed 7.2 billion pounds altogether and were valued at $2.8 billion.

North Carolina expects to raise 44.5 million turkeys in 2002. Minnesota estimates a nearly identical total -- 44 million birds, making the Tar Heel and Gopher states the top two in turkey production.

If cranberries are your favorite turkey side dish, you'll be happy to note experts forecast an estimated 572 million pounds of cranberry production for the year, up a strong 7 percent from 2001. Wisconsin leads all states in the production, with 291 million pounds.


BAN THE BABY BABBLE

Talking cutesy wootsey to a young child does little to help that child develop the complex cognitive language skills needed for such tasks as math, a University of Chicago study says.

Speaking to a child in complicated sentences, on the other hand, actually improves his or her ability to understand.

Janellen Huttenlocker, co-director of the UC's Center for Early Childhood research, says children who were exposed to complex language early in life were twice as likely to use complex sentences.

"You don't want to waste a child's energy teaching them made up words," Huttenlocher told UPI. "There's something special about the human brain. Only humans acquire syntax -- but that only happens after an enormous amount of language input."

Topics: Buick Regal
© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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