Another smoking hazard
Smoking is a major hazard to your health – even when the cigarettes are imaginary, reports Associated Press. An intoxicated patient at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor started a fire Saturday night when he attempted to light up a cigarette that didn’t actually exist. The patient, whose name has not been released, “thought he had [a cigarette],” said the university’s public safety spokeswoman Diane Brown, and he ended up setting his bedding on fire. A nurse successfully put out the blaze before it spread.
Primates in the office
Chester Zoo has started opening its cages to local businesses so they can observe the beasts, then ape their behaviour in the boardroom in the first management course of its kind in Britain, BBC News reports. “Leading a group of business people around the zoo, Dutch biologist-turned-leadership-expert Patrick van Veen explains they are taught how primitive behaviour is still alive and well in the workplace. By observing monkeys and apes, the premise is that they will start to understand their colleagues better, he says.” Van Veen, whose first job was with an insurance company, said he was particularly inspired by his boss, who reminded him of a gorilla.
Upstairs, downstairs 2012
“Amanda Jones, a real estate agent from San Francisco, toured her house one day last month and counted the number of people she was paying to take care of
her. There were seven,” says The Huffington Post. “April, the dog walker, was in the kitchen picking up Speedy and Willis – Jones’s miniature dachshunds – for their $35 walk. Up in the master bedroom, Christina, Jones’s $50-an-hour closet organizer, was strategizing with Jackie, her $200-an-hour personal stylist, about what to buy at the Container Store (Jackie’s assistant was there, too, built into the hourly rate). Meanwhile, two men were installing new windows in Jones’s bedroom, but she hadn’t hired them herself – she hired someone else to hire them. They came
with rave reviews from Carrie Starner Keenan, a lifestyle management concierge who co-ordinates home contracting projects, plans events and secures the most elusive reservations at the best vineyards in wine country for $75 an hour.”
Big, deep voices
“In the 18th century, whalers who heard whales singing beneath their ships believed they were listening to the souls of drowned men,” says a Guardian blog. “The notion of the silent ocean having a voice seemed so improbable. It wasn’t until the Second World War and the advent of underwater acoustics that science discovered how vocal whales really are. Initially, it was thought that these sounds were seismic shifts in tectonic plates. Only later was it realized that cetaceans such as blue, fin and sperm whales were the loudest animals on Earth. A fin whale vocalizing on one side of the Atlantic can be heard by another fin whale on the other side of the ocean.”
A car alarm that nags
In 1996, Passtime, a manufacturer of car alarms in Littleton, Col., was asked by a car dealer if it could make a gadget that could monitor “credit-challenged” car buyers, reports KDVR.com. “The device they came up with is quite simple. It’s installed like a car alarm, and a series of beeps reminds car owners when their payment is past due. Say you haven’t made your car payment for a couple of days. You would hear a beep when you start your car and when you turn it off that would last for about 20 seconds. And if you wait too long to submit your payment, you’ll hear a different beep. This one means your car has been shut down remotely.”
Thought du jour
“I was brought up to believe that how I saw myself was more important than how others saw me.”
President of Egypt (1918-81)