What Barack and Hilary have going for them

America has never had a black president or a female one. But race and gender aren't the biggest obstacles to the White House. Data360 has survey data on the percentage of Americans who said they would vote for the following: A Catholic candidate: 95% A black candidate: 94% A Jewish candidate: 92% A female candidate: 88% A gay candidate: 55% An atheist candidate: 45%

Yep, black, female or Jewish doesn't matter so much as long as you've got god. Somebody remind me what century we're in. [via Freakonomics]

The weatherman's best friend

Two TV stations in Houston, Texas have adopted dogs to be part of their weather teams. Radar on NBC's KPRC was first and he now has a rival in Stormy, on CBS 19. Stormy clearly has the better agent. While Radar teaches "Houstonians how to become the best pet owners they can be", Stormy actually delivers the weather forecast, through the medium of costume:

If the weather dog is wearing a sweater viewers will know they are in store for a cool weather forecast. If Stormy is dressed in a parka, those tuning in will know it is time to bundle up.

Stormy has also been added to the station's masthead as part of the line-up of anchors.

So who will be the first British broadcaster to bring in a dog for the weather? My money's on Sky. [via Metafilter]

To cross the street, push button

Or not. This is an old story - two-and-a-half years old, in fact - but I'd never seen it before and it's interesting. It turns out that most of the buttons for pedestrian crossings in New York don't do anything at all. They were disconnected years ago.

Most of the buttons scattered through the city, mainly outside of Manhattan, are relics of the 1970's, before computers began tightly choreographing traffic signal patterns on major arteries. They were installed at a time when traffic was much lighter, said Michael Primeggia, deputy commissioner of traffic operations for the city's Transportation Department.

I wonder whether that's true at traffic lights in Britain. It certainly feels like it in many places. [via Digg]

Don't look at the nasty breast, darling

American parenting magazine, Babytalk, received 1,000 outraged responses after they put a picture of a baby being breastfed on the cover of their magazine. Gayle Ash, 41, told AFP she wanted to protect her 13-year-old son. She wimpered: "I shredded it. A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

Kelly Wheatley, 40, is apparently more concerned about her husband, who must have led a very sheltered life. She droned: "Men are very visual. When they see a woman's breast, they see a breast - regardless of what it's being used for."

Now I can just about understand the teenage boy thing. Just saying the word 'breast' in front of a 13-year-old boy can have alarming results. But a grown man?

However, given the mind-boggling prudishness of these women, it's possible that their husbands haven't actually seen a breast in 20 years.

It falls to Babytalk editor Susan Kane to inject a little intelligence into the conversation: "There's a huge Puritanical streak in Americans and there's a squeamishness about seeing a body part - even part of a body part.

"It's not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them! Mostly, they are trying to be discreet."