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5 snowboarders die in Colorado avalanche

Georgetown, Colo. • Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon after apparently triggering a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass, authorities said.

Search and rescue crews recovered the bodies several hours after the slide, which was 600 yards wide and 8 feet deep, said Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.

A sixth snowboarder caught in the avalanche was able to dig himself out and call for help, Krueger said. That person's condition wasn't immediately known.

The victims all had avalanche beacons, Krueger added. Krueger said authorities were "pretty sure" the snowboarders triggered the avalanche, which he said traveled about 1,000 feet some 100 yards off Route 6.

The identities of the victims were not immediately available.

USA Today founder Neuharth dies at 89

Cocoa Beach, Fla. • Al Neuharth changed the look of American newspapers when he founded USA Today, filling the newspaper with breezy, easy-to-comprehend articles, attention-grabbing graphics and stories that often didn't require readers to jump to a different page.

Critics dubbed USA Today "McPaper" when it debuted in 1982, and they accused Neuharth, of dumbing down American journalism with its easy-to-read articles and bright graphics. USA Today became the nation's most-circulated newspaper in the late 1990s.

The hard-charging newspaper founder died Friday in Cocoa Beach, Fla. He was 89. The news was announced by USA Today and by the Newseum, which he also founded.

USA Today was unlike any newspaper before it when it debuted in 1982. Its style was widely derided but later widely imitated. Many news veterans gave it few chances for survival. Advertisers were at first reluctant to place their money in a newspaper that might compete with local dailies.

But circulation grew. In 1999, USA Today edged past The Wall Street Journal in circulation with 1.75 million daily copies, to take the title of the nation's biggest newspaper. Numbers in an October 2012 report show it is still holding its own, second behind The Wall Street Journal. The New York Times was third in the 2012 numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

"Everybody was skeptical and so was I, but I said you never bet against Neuharth," the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham said in a 2000 Associated Press interview.

Babies's brains fast to develop, study says

Los Angeles • Babies wise up fast. By the time infants are 3 months old, their unfinished brains are laced with a trillion connections, and the collective weight of all those firing neurons triples in a year.

But the indecipherable babbling and maladroit wiggling so beloved by parents just leave scientists in baby labs scratching their heads. What do those little people know, and when do they know it?

A team of French neuroscientists who compared brain waves of adults and babies has come up with a tentative answer: At 5 months, infants appear to have the internal architecture in place to perceive objects in adult-like ways, even though they can't tell us.

"I think we have a pretty nice answer," said Sid Kouider of the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, whose findings were published Friday in the journal Science. "Babies as early as 5 months, and probably earlier, are displaying the same neural aspects of consciousness as adults."

Researchers spent the better part of five years fiddling with fussy babies — at 5, 10 and 15 months old — who had to sit still while wearing a cap with 128 electrodes and watching images flicker before them at eye-blink intervals. Said Kouider: "We had to be very patient."

While the adult-like wave forms were somewhat weaker and delayed in 5-month-olds, they were strong and sustained in the older babies, the researchers reported.

Kouider acknowledged that the study describes brain function, not the content of the babies' thoughts.

Further research may unveil what babies actually know but just can't tell us.