Hot Docs: Convention Buzz, Fighting Climate Change at Home, Asthma and Kids

Today's selection of timely reports.


DNC Wrapup: Convention Buzz: To see what people were talking about during the Democratic National Convention, the Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at online coverage of the proceedings. Following the last night of the convention, interest in Barack Obama's candidacy was predictably high—the most E-mailed story on Yahoo was a transcript of his speech accepting the nomination. Readers were also looking ahead to the next convention, though. The pending announcement of McCain's vice presidential pick was another hot topic. PEJ noted that one website, the Huffington Post, used the "iconic old media imagery" of printed newspaper headlines to illustrate its coverage.

Combating Climate Change Starts At Home: Policymakers have talked about cap-and-trade programs and other regulatory measures as a way to tackle emissions and climate change. What about individual homeowners, though? The Federation of American Scientists looks at the benefits of residential retrofitting, which it calls "an untapped resource right at home." Homeowners can take steps like installing insulation and replacing inefficient appliances. Conservation would also help utilities meet an anticipated 27 percent increase in electricity demand by 2030. Such "avoided energy consumption" will save money, and could help alleviate the need to build new power plants.

Asthma and Kids: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality notes a huge increase in cases of childhood asthma over the past few decades. A new study reports that, in 2006, almost 10 percent of children had been diagnosed with asthma. Another finding: asthma strikes disproportionately hard in low-income areas. Kids from less affluent neighborhoods are 76 percent more likely to go to the hospital because of asthma than their wealthier counterparts.

Seeking Information Online: More and more, Americans are turning to the Internet to get information about politics and their health. Some 75 to 80 percent of those online use the Web to look for health information, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Even so, they are conscious that the information they find may not be right—60 percent agreed that "the Internet is full of misinformation and propaganda." The report traces the shift in part to the prevalence of high-speed broadband connections.