Air-conditioned shirt offers heat relief
TOKYO, July 31 (UPI) -- Japanese technician Hiroshi Ichigaya has invented what he calls the world's first air-conditioned shirt.
While most shirts trap an individual's sweat -- keeping it from evaporating -- Ichigaya's invention creates circulating air to enhance evaporation through the use of two small battery-operated fans, the Mail on Sunday said.
All electrical parts of the shirt can be removed to allow for washing, and the shirt can even be powered by plugging it into a computer through a USB cord.
The shirt reportedly offers the wearer a pleasant breeze with one drawback -- when it's running, the shirt partially inflates.
"It's true the shirts make you look like a 'Michelin Man' but on factory floors people are more worried about being able to do their jobs in comfort," said Ichigaya -- referring to an advertising icon whose body is made up of auto tires.
Ichigaya's company, Kuchofuku, will distribute the shirts, which range in price from $93 for a blouse to just over $186 for a pair of air-conditioned overalls, the Mail said.
LA sidewalks, citizens' responsibility
LOS ANGELES, July 31 (UPI) -- Nearly half of the 10,750 miles of sidewalk in Los Angeles need repairs, and the city is getting many residents to pay.
The waiting list for repairs is so long -- and the amount of funding available so limited -- that city officials say it would take decades to get to all of the repairs that need to be done, the Los Angeles Times reported.
To speed the process, Los Angeles last year joined a growing number of cities that have implemented shared-cost programs, in which residents cover a portion of the repair expense and, in the bargain, move to the front of the line.
Although some residents welcome the new 50/50 program, many others are perturbed that the city would require property owners to help cover the costs of what they feel should be a routine service.
Some critics contend that the situation forces poor residents to wait longer for repairs while wealthier counterparts obtain almost immediate results.
City officials defend the program, saying it has already enabled crews to fix miles of treacherous walkways. They point out that the city annually pays out $4 million to $6 million in "trip-and-fall" cases involving sprained ankles or broken wrists.
Attractive couples produce more girls
LONDON, July 31 (UPI) -- Research at the London School of Economics indicates physically attractive couples are 26 percent more likely to produce daughters than sons.
The Sunday Times of London said the research cites differing "evolutionary strategies" that each sex has adopted to survive. The research claims that men have had to rely less on physical attractiveness in acquiring a mate. For men, reproductive success often depends heavily on the success and status of the father, as sons from higher standing families are in a position to inherit money to protect and invest in their offspring.
Women, however, rely much more heavily on youth and physical attractiveness in acquiring a mate, the newspaper said.
"We have shown two things," said Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, who led the research. "Beautiful parents have more daughters than ugly parents, because physical attractiveness is heritable and because daughters benefit from attractiveness more than sons.
"We have also shown that women on average are more attractive than men, because over evolutionary history the slight bias of beautiful parents to have more daughters has accumulated, so that girls have become more and more attractive than boys."
The research appears in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.
Report: 'Boy' touched hearts, fooled many
NEW YORK, July 31 (UPI) -- Anthony "Tony" Godby Johnson, a tenacious, AIDS-stricken child who got sympathy phone calls from numerous celebrities, is not real, the New York Post says.
Tony's existence has been the topic of speculation since suspicion arose that Vicki Johnson, the boy's mother and fiercely protective caretaker, had actually fictionalized the boy.
All the celebrities were encouraged to talk to the boy on the phone, but none met him in person. Some even endorsed his autobiography.
The suspicions began when Tony's voice over the telephone was found to bear a very striking resemblance to Vicki's, the Post said. Also cited were cultural references during phone conversations that seemed much too old for a 14-year old boy. Vicki always kept Tony out of the public eye, claiming he was too sick to see anyone, the newspaper said.
Author Armistead Maupin published "The Night Listener" in 2000, a fictionalized account of Maupin's six-year phone relationship with Vicki and Tony. The screen version of the book arrives Friday.
However, Maupin earlier had strong doubts of Tony's actual existence, the Post said -- and now a digital voice analysis has shown that Vicki and Tony are the same person, the newspaper says.