International News Desk – At Home: The Fast and the Furious – Around the World: Half Empty

International News Desk – At Home: The Fast and the Furious – Around the World: Half Empty

At Home: The Fast and the Furious

Speeding, even on a minor scale, is a pretty frequent sight across Canada’s streets and highways. Five, ten, or even twenty kilometres over the limit seems standard fare these days. Less common, fortunately, are those who decide to make history by clocking 170 km/h?over the speed limit.

As the CBC reports, Quebec provincial police recently ticketed a Montreal driver who was reaching speeds of 240 km/h in a 70 km/h zone. It’s considered to be ?one of the worst cases of speeding in Canadian history.?

The driver, who was apparently driving a borrowed BMW SUV, was sober and cooperated with police when he was stopped. Fortunately, his reckless driving didn’t cause any damage?other than to his wallet, that is. The speeder received a $2,598 ticket and lost his license for six months.

Although a previous Quebec driver had been clocked at 242 km/h, that situation had involved a speed zone of 100 km/h. Here, the excess speed earned the driver a place in history, as well as ?a record 42 demerit points.?

Typically, the maximum number of demerit points given at one time is 15, but ?new provincial laws allow more points to be taken away from particularly egregious offenders.? In fact, the laws state that 30 demerit points may be given if the speed limit is exceeded by 121 km/h. At a record-breaking 170 km/h over the speed limit, the 2011 driver probably deserved the notoriety.

Around the World: Half Empty

Some people, it seems, find the dark side in everything. Are they naturally pessimistic, or really just cranky and in need of a new outlook on life? According to recent research, it may actually be the former?and the tendency might be ingrained in their genetic code.

As The Daily Telegraph reports, a study from the University of Michigan theorizes that ?the amount of a chemical in the brain affects how we view the world.?

This chemical, neuropeptide Y (NPY), is present in the brain in what’s believed to be genetically determined, but varying, amounts. Those with lower levels of NPY ?are much more negative and find it more difficult to deal with stressful situations . . . [and] are also more susceptible to depression.?

Psychiatrists are hopeful that these discoveries will lead to breakthroughs in psychiatric research, particularly ?early diagnosis of and prevention of psychiatric illness.? As Dr. Brian Mickey, study co-author and a psychiatrist himself, told reporters, he hopes that the research will ?guide [them] toward assessing an individual’s risk for developing depression and anxiety.?