Discovered: the dangers of headphones for pedestrians, troubling obesity rate numbers, our sun's future, and the impact of medical marijuana on traffic accidents. 

  • Deadly headphone-related accidents on the rise.  Walking around wearing ear-buds is all fun and games until a train comes by and flattens an unsuspecting iPod user. So enmeshed in their jams, pedestrians, who don't hear oncoming traffic, are getting run over by trains and cars. Sound absurd? It could happen to you. The number of these headphone related deaths has tripled in six years, up from 16 in 2004 to 47 in 2010, found research out of the University of Maryland. We're now officially convinced headphones are all around bad, since they also have more obvious health effects, like contributing to hearing loss. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
  • Americans are still fat. Michelle Obama's vegetable garden hasn't done much to curb America's weight issues, as our country's obesity rates have remained steady over the last two years. To us that sounds discouraging. But researcher Dr. Youfa Wang doesn't see it like that. "I'm not very surprised, but I think this is a kind of encouraging finding, given all the efforts we have been making," he told Reuters. The rates haven't continued to climb, which Wang finds encouraging. "The general public for sure nowadays has become more aware of the health consequences of obesity, and industry has been heavily influenced by all the efforts," he reasoned. And we still can't get our act together? [Reuters]
  • What the future of the sun looks like. In some-odd billions of years, once our sun has run out of juice, it will look like this pretty nebula below. This photo of The Little Ghost Nebula also known as NGC 6369 comes to us via the Hubble Telescope. This nebula was once a star like our sun, but it has since expanded (see space dust) and then contracted into the tiny white dwarf in the center. Don't let all that rainbow dust fool you, though: the end of the sun will probably be a less than beautiful time for earthlings. But until then, enjoy.   [io9 via NASA]
  • Medical marijuana credited with cutting traffic fatalities. Those looking for some fuel for their weed legalization argument get some good news today from science. States that legalized medical marijuana have seen an almost 9 percent decrease in fatal traffic accidents, found research out of The University of Colorado. The scientists believe it has something to do with kids smoking more weed, as it's more available, rather than boozing, which matches research from earlier this year that found teens are choosing marijuana over alcohol. "The legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 9 percent reduction in the mean number of drinks consumed per month by males, [and] a 12 percent reduction in the mean number of drinks consumed by females," wrote the researchers, which in turn has made driving safer. Take that weed haters.  [Hartford Courant]