Blog Posts by Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine

  • Childhood autism rate may be as high as 1 in 38, study finds

    New research shows that the childhood autism rate may be much higher than previously thought-1 in 38, up from 1 in 110-but it doesn't necessarily mean that autism is on the rise.

    The latest study, published Monday in The American Journal of Psychiatry, followed children in a middle-class South Korean city for six years and found that 2.6 percent of children age 7 to 12 in the city of Goyang had some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    "That is two-and-a-half times what the estimated prevalence is in the United States," one of the study's authors, Roy Richard Grinker, a professor of anthropology at George Washington University, told NPR. "Two-thirds of the children with autism that we ended up identifying were in mainstream schools, unrecognized, untreated."

    According to the National Institutes of Health, "Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems

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  • How to decipher a job listing: Reading between the lines

    Most of us know how to read between the lines when we're looking through real estate listings-"cozy" is usually code for small, "antique" often means that the home needs work. But when it comes to job hunting, there are codes to crack in those listings as well.

    There's a difference between "familiar" vs. "proficient" and "required" vs. "desired," points out Maria Stein, director of career services at Northeastern University. You need to figure out what the employer really wants before you can decide whether you should apply for the job-and that can be tough when you don't know the jargon. Here's a guide to decoding job listings.

    • If you have command of a skill, software, or task, it means that you are very experienced with it-so much so that you could teach it to someone else.
    • When an ability, education level, or skill is desired, the company is looking for something in particular, but may be willing to consider a candidate who does not have it, especially if the candidate is
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  • An extra guest in the royal wedding photos: A neon-pink toy "wiggly worm"

    Royal bridesmaid Eliza Lopes, 3, holds a bright pink wiggle worm in the official royal family photograph taken after Prince William married Kate Middleton last week. (Photo: Hugo Burnand/Clarence House-WPA Pool/Getty Images)Royal bridesmaid Eliza Lopes, 3, holds a bright pink wiggle worm in the official royal family photograph taken after Prince William married Kate Middleton last week. (Photo: Hugo Burnand/Clarence House-WPA Pool/Getty Images)While Prince William's goddaughter Grace van Cutsem stole the show with her famous frown on the balcony of Buckingham Palace last week, another tiny royal bridesmaid, 3-year-old Eliza Lopes, had a little help getting ready for her closeup.

    In the official family photograph from Prince William and Kate Middleton's lavish royal wedding, the little girl can be seen clutching a fuzzy, neon-pink "wiggly worm."

    It stands out in stark contrast to her white silk dress but, according to her grandmother, Duchess of Cornwall (a.k.a. Camilla Parker Bowles), people have only just noticed it-and it's too late to do the photos over.

    "Did you see the wiggly worm? That was the funniest thing," she told the Daily Mail. "I can't believe no one has spotted it."

    The toy was a gift from her step-uncle, Prince Harry, who gave it to her when she was startled by the roar of the crowd during the carriage ride after the wedding. The scared toddler saw it and started to laugh-and then refused to give it back.

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  • Jesse James: How I told Sandra Bullock I cheated on her

    Actress Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James arrive at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted after the Oscars on March 7, 2010. Bullock won an award for best actress that night; James confessed he was cheating on her soon after. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage)Actress Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James arrive at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted after the Oscars on March 7, 2010. Bullock won an award for best actress that night; James confessed he was cheating on her soon after. (Photo: Jordan Strauss/WireImage)Last year, when Jesse James of the motorcycle dream shop (and former reality-TV show) West Coast Choppers, confessed that he'd had an affair, celebrity watchers wanted to know: "How could anyone cheat on a superstar like Sandra Bullock?"

    And then: "How did he tell her about it?"

    Now, he's sharing the humiliating moment in his new memoir, "American Outlaw."

    "I admitted the affair," he writes. "I told her the hard details. I let her know that I had never loved this woman, that I had never cared for her at all."

    James, 42, says Bullock's publicist called to warn him that "tattoo model" Michelle "Bombshell" McGee had talked to the tabloids about their relationship. He decided to come clean to his wife of almost six years, actress and all-American favorite Sandra Bullock, 46.

    "The feeling of shame and sadness that washed over me as Sandy began to cry was almost beyond measure," he writes in his book. "I didn't touch her. I sat frozen in my chair, watching, as Sandy's small body shook

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  • Teacher who vowed to grow beard to remember 9/11 finally shaves it off

    Gary Weddle has finally shaved the beard he started growing on 9/11. Photo: Screengrab from KXLY-TV.Gary Weddle has finally shaved the beard he started growing on 9/11. Photo: Screengrab from KXLY-TV.Like so many of us, when the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001, Gary Weddle, a teacher at Ephrata Middle School in Washington state, was crushed.

    "Watching those towers come down, it was quite obvious that we were losing a lot of civilians," he told his local TV station, KXLY-TV. He decided that he would not shave again until Osama bin Laden was brought to justice. But he never thought he'd wear that beard for so long.

    "I figured six months," he said. At the start of each school year, he would explain to his students that the long, scraggly beard was a reminder of the attacks and would tell them about his vow.

    Ten years later, the grey-streaked beard-which grew down to the middle of his chest-is finally gone. He shaved it off Sunday night as friends and family members watched, and while President Obama confirmed that bin Laden had been killed.

    "I spent my first five minutes crying and then I couldn't get it off fast enough," Weddle, 50, told the Capital Press.



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  • Tips for making bath time more fun and less stressful

  • The scientific secret to gorgeous eyes

    If you can't stop gazing into your new sweetheart's eyes, or if a smouldering look leaves you weak in the knees, there's a scientific reason for it-and it might not be what you'd expect.

    A recent study by researchers at the University of California at Irvine, published in the journal "Evolutionary Psychology," found that the darker your limbal ring-the border between the colored part of your eye (the iris) and the white part (the sclera)-the more attractive you are to others.

    The researchers showed volunteers 80 pairs of male and female faces, each of which were the same except for the eyes; one face had very dark limbal rings, and the other had none. The participants had to choose which faces were more attractive and by how much. The results? "For male and female observers, both male and female faces with a dark and distinct limbal ring are rated as more attractive than otherwise identical faces with no limbal ring," the researchers wrote. The results were the same regardless of

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  • Royal wedding mysteries, solved

    Who is that little girl frowning during the big kiss? Read on. (AP Photo)Who is that little girl frowning during the big kiss? Read on. (AP Photo)Why didn't Prince William watch his bride walk down the aisle? Who was that little girl covering her ears and frowning while the newlyweds kissed on the balcony? Where can I get those gorgeous earrings Kate wore to her wedding? The last remaining mysteries of the royal wedding are solved, right here at Shine.

    Who was that adorable little girl frowning and covering her ears on the balcony during the big kiss? That's Prince William's goddaughter, 3-year-old Grace van Cutsem, who was one of the official bridesmaids (there are no "flower girl" roles in traditional British weddings, so children are often included as bridesmaids or pages). She is the daughter of Lady Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem, and great-great-great-granddaughter of William Waldorf Astor, a New York-born lawyer and politician who later became a member of the British Aristocracy. (The Waldorf Hotel was one of his pet projects.) Little Grace was also pouting for part of the carriage ride; apparently, the crowd of adoring

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  • Beyond spring cleaning: Feng Shui your car

    While we're focusing on our flower beds and on spring cleaning our homes, our cars are just sitting out there, crusty with dirt (and, for some of us, kid-related detritus). Chicago Healers practitioner Andie Pearson suggests that instead of just spring cleaning your car, you can feng shui it to reduce your stress levels while you're on the road. Here are some of her tips:

    1. Clean and clear: Before leaving on a long drive, completely clean out the vehicle. Dispose of all trash, magazines, receipts, etc. Vacuum the carpets and clean the windows to allow a clear view of your life's path. Take out the supplies you don't need (so long, winter!) and stock up on the things you do.
    2. Go with the flow: If you're prone to road rage, hang a round, faceted crystal from a blue ribbon on your rear-view mirror. This will add water energy to your car, making it easier to cope with frustrations like traffic, poorly marked roads and reckless drivers. (If you aren't able to find a crystal, use
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  • Could Donald Trump really be president?

    Donald Trump speaks to the media at Pease International Trade Port in Portsmouth, N.H., on April 27, 2011. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)Donald Trump speaks to the media at Pease International Trade Port in Portsmouth, N.H., on April 27, 2011. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)With some polls showing him ahead of other possible GOP candidates and with his supporters continuing to rally, it's time we asked ourselves: Could Donald Trump really win the White House?

    With the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate today, the White House has shown that they're taking Trump seriously, whether they meant to or not. "If there is a politician who understands less how conservative politics have operated in this country over the past three decades than Barack Obama, I can't imagine who that might be," says Charles P. Pierce, author of "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free." "Donald Trump now has been legitimized as a candidate. What was a political freak show has now become a legitimate political issue."

    A poll by the conservative news site Newsmax.com has Trump far outpacing other possible republican contenders with a whopping 55 percent of the vote in a field shared with Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty,

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