In Brief

Burn, Baby, Burn On the last Friday in October, which happens to be Halloween this year, the people of West Sayville, New York, will dress in costume and gather around a burning boat for no particular reason. The town's annual Boat Burning Ceremony began 12 years ago when an unseaworthy boat was burned while a small group watched. Now about 1,000 people assemble around an unfit and insignificant boat at what's become an annual-and strange-tradition.

Fish On A recent study in the Archives of Neurology suggests that people 65 and older who eat fish-which is packed with omega-3 fatty acids said to help brain development-once a week may reduce their risk of Alzheimer's disease. Scientists say more research is needed, but we've already left to go fishing with Grandpa.

Toe the Line Who's the epitome of a die-hard fisherman? Other than the Ultimate Angler, the vote should go to a Welsh man who underwent a 13-hour surgery so he could fish again after losing eight fingers. Surgeons amputated two of his toes and attached them to his right hand next to one of his spared thumbs. Now he casts almost every day. We'd be impressed-if we weren't so grossed out.

Hooky for Health New research supports what we've always known: It's good to skip work. With that in mind, we say go boating. A study from the State University of New York suggests that ditching work may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by almost 30 percent. And a study in the United Kingdom suggests that being part of a community gives a greater feeling of self-worth, which strengthens immune systems. The Boat Doctor's prescription: Take off work one day a week and congregate at the docks.

Climate Control IBM is refining its computers to provide highly focused weather reports with specific forecasts for areas the size of counties. NOAA recently acquired one of these so-called supercomputers, giving it the ability to forecast hurricanes five days in advance. Read last month's NewsBriefs here