Whatever You Say
March 18, 2014
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Generally, people assume that stress makes us more anxious and thus, less sympathetic and patient towards others. A new study found that was true — but only for men.

Researchers at the University of Vienna hypothesized that "stressed individuals tend to become more egocentric." Their findings however, showed that for women, "the exact opposite is true," and that stress actually makes women more "prosocial."

During the experiments, subjects had to perform stress-inducing tasks, such as complex math problems or public speaking, and then judge others' emotions and perspectives. "What we observed was that stress worsens the performance of men in all three types of tasks," said researcher Giorgia Silani. "The opposite is true for women."

While the reasons behind the results are still unclear, Silani posits the explanation that "women may have internalized the experience that they receive more external support when they are able to interact better with others. This means that the more they need help — and are thus stressed — the more they apply social strategies." Whatever the scientific explanation, the study's findings will undoubtedly provide for some great punch lines. Meghan DeMaria

The Daily Showdown
2:08 p.m. ET

Trevor Noah won't take over the anchor chair for The Daily Show until fall — but that doesn't mean Trevor Noah isn't eager to give it a spin first. In a new promo for his upcoming, "new and sexy" takeover of the Comedy Central series, Noah screws around on a (seemingly) empty set:

Jon Stewart's final episode of The Daily Show will air on August 6. Trevor Noah's first episode as host of the Daily Show will premiere on September 28. Scott Meslow

Science!
1:57 p.m. ET
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A team of Swiss scientists has finally discovered the answer to a mystery close to their hearts: the reason Swiss cheese has holes.

The scientists at Agroscope, an agricultural research center, found that the holes are the result of hay inside the milk used to make the cheese, rather than from bacteria, as scientists previously believed.

The researchers explained to The Guardian that small bits of hay can fall into traditional milk buckets, which cause holes in the cheese. Most modern cheesemaking techniques don't use traditional buckets, which eliminates the hay bits.

Before the new study, most scientists believed a 1917 study arguing that the holes were caused by milk bacteria releasing carbon dioxide during Swiss cheese production. But recent developments also side with the Agroscope team's findings — in the last 10 to 15 years, Swiss cheese has had fewer holes, as traditional milk buckets have been replaced by sealed milking machines. Meghan DeMaria

FIFA
1:13 p.m. ET
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FIFA President Sepp Blatter spoke publicly about the organization's corruption scandal for the first time at the organization's annual congress in Zurich on Thursday, the New York Times reports. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted several FIFA members Wednesday, including two vice presidents.

Blatter was not implicated in the report, but said he knows soccer fans hold him responsible "for the actions and reputation of the global football community."

"We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time," Blatter continued. "If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it. But it must also fall to me to be responsible for the reputation of our entire organization, and to find a way to fix things."

Blatter said he still plans to run for re-election. Julie Kliegman

Really?
12:50 p.m. ET
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The Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Daily Item issued an apology Thursday for printing a letter to the editor that called for President Obama's execution on Memorial Day.

Lewisburg resident W. Richard Stover, author of the letter, wrote that it was "time to rise up against an administration who has adequately demonstrated their gross incompetence." Stover adds that the needed "regime change" has "previously been accompanied by execution by guillotine, firing squad, [or] public hanging." Stover's letter was critical of Obama's handling of the ISIS situation in Iraq and the fall of Ramadi.

In its apology Thursday, the Daily Item said there was "no excuse" for its printing the letter. "We should have recognized that the final two metaphorical paragraphs of the Ramadi letter were inescapably an incitement to have the chief executive of our government executed," the newspaper wrote. "They should have been deleted."

The Daily Item also admitted its staffers' shortcomings, adding that the reason the letter was published was that "no bells went off when the editor handling the letter read it and placed it on the opinion page." Meghan DeMaria

Coming Soon
12:38 p.m. ET

It's only May, but this year's wannabe Oscar contenders are already jockeying for buzz. The first trailer for Edward Zwick's Pawn Sacrifice — a biopic of chess legend Bobby Fischer — shows off star Tobey Maguire in a trailer that recalls last year's Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game:

Pawn Sacrifice focuses on Fischer's legendary 1972 match against Boris Spassky — arguably the most famous game in chess history. "It's a war of perception," says the trailer. "A poor kid from Brooklyn against the whole Soviet empire." But as the pressure builds, Fischer begins to snap, eventually leading to his well-publicized reclusion.

Pawn Sacrifice hits theaters in September. Scott Meslow

We all scream for ice cream
11:28 a.m. ET

Ben & Jerry's wants ice cream lovers to know their dessert isn't the only thing in danger of melting. They announced new flavor Save Our Swirl, or SOS for short, to draw awareness to December's UN Climate Summit in France. There, global leaders are expected to work toward establishing a universal climate change agreement.

The flavor combines raspberry ice cream, marshmallow and raspberry swirls, and dark and white fudge ice cream cones.

"We created a flavor to bring attention to this historic issue and to send out our own SOS for our planet," the company said in a news release Wednesday.


Ben & Jerry's is also encouraging fans to sign activist group Avaaz' petition to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Julie Kliegman

it's getting hot in here
11:20 a.m. ET

Parts of India are in the grips of a brutal heat wave that has risen to a hellish 117 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas. Some 1,100 people have died from causes related to the heat wave, which is expected to continue through next week.

It's gotten so bad that asphalt roads are literally melting, as captured here by The Hindustan Times' Sanjeev Verma, in New Delhi: Ryu Spaeth

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