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Political ignorance

Americans know surprisingly less than one might expect about their government, a survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found.

Only about a third of respondents were able to name all three branches of the United States government, and 35 percent could not name any.

The survey also found that only 27 percent of Americans know that it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto, and one in five Americans mistakenly think that a Supreme Court vote of 5 to 4 is sent back to Congress for reconsideration. The study, which surveyed 1,416 adults, was released just in time for Constitution Day.

With the Republicans taking control of the Senate this past election day, hopefully American citizens will become more informed about party power. When the survey was conducted, over half of Americans were unsure which party controlled the House and Senate.

Executive manipulation

CEOs manipulate the timing of corporate news, a study released last week and co-conducted by a Wharton professor found.

Executives seem to control the flow of financial information within their companies in order to boost stock prices at the times most beneficial to bloating their own equity holdings. Isolating the manipulation required a huge research effort.

“The researchers studied the distribution of positive and negative news appearing in a database of more than 166,000 corporate news releases between 1994 and 2011. They then had to correlate that distribution with a separate database containing the ... CEO equity grants,” Barron’s , a financial news source, reported on Nov. 6.

Reducing Breast Cancer Pains

Exercise and acupuncture can help breast cancer survivors feel less pain, according to two recent Penn Medicine studies.

One study found that a specific exercise regiment reduced symptoms of lymphedema, a swelling of the upper body after breast cancer treatment.

The other study found that electric acupuncture reduced pain in breast cancer survivors by 40 percent, and that "sham" acupuncture — the use of needles that don't penetrate a person's muscles — reduced pain by 80 percent for people expecting the acupuncture to work. 

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