Saturday, March 29, 2008

Wine at home teaches responsibility?

Is introducing wine at the dinner table earlier than 21 a way to prevent binge drinking later in life? Some scientists thing so.
Paul Steinberg, a psychiatrist in Washington, who is the former director of counseling at Georgetown University, said the attitude of forbidding adolescents to even so much as touch a drop of alcohol is almost counterproductive.

“The best evidence shows that teaching kids to drink responsibly is better than shutting them off entirely from it,” he said. “You want to introduce your kids to it, and get across the point that that this is to be enjoyed but not abused.”
He said that the most dangerous day of a young person’s life is the 21st birthday, when legality is celebrated all too fervently. Introducing wine as a part of a meal, he said, was a significant protection against bingeing behavior.

In 1983, Dr. George E. Vaillant, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, published “The Natural History of Alcoholism.” His study concluded that teenagers should be introduced to wine with meals. More than 25 years later, he still stands but the results.

But both men say sips of wine are key; they are not endorsing an entire glass.
“If you are taught to drink in a ceremonial way with food, then the purpose of alcohol is taste and celebration, not inebriation,” Vaillant added. “If you are forbidden to use it until college then you drink to get drunk.”

Not everyone agrees with this school of thought. Recent studies have shown that heavy drinking does more damage to the teenage brain than previously suspected, while the part of the brain responsible for judgment is not even fully formed until the age of 25.
But is it again naive to think teens won't experiment with alcohol until they are at least legal, let alone 25?

European Travel to be Cheaper and Easier

Traveling to Europe is about to get easier and cheaper. March 30, the "open skies agreement" will be effective. This agreement allows airlines based in the U. S. as well as European airlines to travel to any two airports in either region.
Before the agreement, the trans-Atlantic flights were governed by different agreements; one between the U. S. and separate European regions. The pacts required airlines to take off or land in their native countries, and limited which airlines could serve certain airports.

Before this new agreement British Airways flights headed for the U. S. had to take off in Britain. And only two U. S. carriers could land at Heathrow Airport (London), United and American.

When this agreement goes into effect Continental, Delta and Northwest will be able to serve Heathrow for the first time.
Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, the Irish no-frills carrier, has said he plans to start a new airline that will fly from secondary European markets like Liverpool or Birmingham to a half-dozen American cities like Baltimore or Providence, R.I., for a base fare as low as 10 euros, or about $16 at $1.59 to the euro.

Air France will begin operating a daily flight between Los Angeles and Heathrow on March 30.

This agreement is said to be a blessing for most travelers. Currently there is no direct flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Heathrow. This forces passengers to fly from Dallas to Gatwick or Luton, other London airports, even if they have a connecting flight out of Heathrow. The passengers then have to haul luggage through passport check points, take a cab or bus to the other airport and check in again, a process that could take more than three hours.

Aside from making things easier on the traveler, this new agreement should put pressure on airlines to reduce fairs. United will begin flying between Denver and Heathrow on March 30, with introductory fares starting at $570 round trip for travel before May 15. British Airways, by contrast, has been offering that same route for $1,461, according to an online search.

Consumers are warned not to expect great deal yet. With the price of fuel sky-rocketing, this will have an effect on ticket pricing.

Trans-Atlantic Flights for Air France and Delta