Bernanke largely unknown to U.S. public – While GOP presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) accused Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke of committing “treasonous” acts should he try to “print more money,” few Americans hold strong feelings on the chairman or the Federal Reserve, and many are entirely unsure. More than a quarter of Americans (27 percent) rated Bernanke favorably in a June Bloomberg poll, about as many as those who gave him a negative rating (26 percent), but just 11 percent rated him very favorably (2 percent) or unfavorably (9 percent). Fully 44 percent said they were “not sure.” In the same poll, the Federal Reserve earned a 42 to 30 percent favorable rating, but 28 percent were unable to offer an opinion.

Congress bottoms out – Another day and another new poll shows record low approval for Congress. A Gallup poll released Tuesday finds just 13 percent approval, tying the lowest measure in Gallup polls since 1974. This is the third national poll in two weeks to record new low points for approval for Congress. A CNN poll from early August found 14 percent approval and a Fox News poll of registered voters was even worse at just 10 percent approval. The low ratings spell trouble for incumbents in 2012. Only one in six respondents in last week’s Washington Post poll said they would vote to reelect their own representative, the lowest in polling since 1989. That sinks to just 12 percent among independents.

 Does love keep women out of the science lab? Women – but not men – express less interest in science, technology, engineering and math when romance is on the front of the mind, according to a new psychological study by researchers at the University of Buffalo and the University of Western Sydney in Australia. One experiment in the study showed men and women images related to romance (such as romantic restaurants or beach sunsets) or intelligence (such as libraries or eyeglasses) and then asked them about their preference for academic majors. The study found that women exposed to romantic cues reported less preference for majoring in math and science fields, but there was no such drop off when the cues were related to intelligence or friendship generally.

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