Wikipedia Article of the Night

Sound of fingernails scraping chalkboard:

People’s aversion to the sound could be because it sounds like the warning call of a primate ancestor. However, a study using Cottontop Tamarins, a kind of New World Monkey, found that they react similarly to both screeching sounds similar to fingernails on chalkboard, and to amplitude-matched white noise. This is different from how humans react, as humans are less averse to the white noise than to scraping.[3]

A 1986 study attempted to determine why the sound was so unpleasant. It used a tape-recording of a three-pronged garden tool similar to a fork being “grided” across a chalkboard, which reproduces the sound of fingernails on chalkboard. It also used other sounds for comparison. They then manipulated the recording to remove the lowest, highest, and middle pitches. The results were then played back. It was determined that the middle pitches are what make the sound of fingernails scraping chalkboard so bad, not the highest ones as previously thought. The authors hypothesized that it might be due to predation early in human evolution; the sound bore some resemblances to the alarm call of macaque monkeys, or it may have been similar to the call of some predator.[4] This research won one of the authors, Randolph Blake, an Ig Nobel Prize in 2006.

Sebelius: Public Health Care Option “Not The Essential Element”

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON – Bowing to Republican pressure, President Barack Obama’s administration signaled on Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama’s liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

Officials from both political parties reached across the aisle in an effort to find compromises on proposals they left behind when they returned to their districts for an August recess. Obama had sought the government to run a health insurance organization to help cover the nation’s almost 50 million uninsured, but he never made it a deal breaker in a broad set of ideas that has Republicans unified in opposition.


Now I’m just confused:

An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President. The official said that the White House did not intend to change its messaging and that Sebelius simply meant to echo the president, who has acknowledged that the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president’s view, the most important element of the reform package.