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Brains need watering, I worked hard to cheat, samurai women Add to ...

Getting the point

What's the difference between a bee sting and a wasp sting? Boston Globe columnist John Swain answers:

- "For a bee, a sting is all or nothing; the bee loses its stinger and injects a relatively large volume of venom - typically about 50 micrograms. A wasp, which retains its stinger, injects from two to 15 micrograms - but it can do it many times."

- "Chemically, the venoms are quite different, though the effects are similar. You can be allergic to one type of sting and not the other."

- "Wasps and bees that hot conditions such as poorly ventilated classrooms or exam halls could lead to pupils becoming dehydrated enough to affect the neural activity in key parts of their brains which, as a result, have to work harder to achieve the same tasks."

I worked hard to cheat

A new study finds that most U.S. high-school students say they have cheated on tests and homework, Psych Central News reports. In some cases, the teens said, they don't consider certain types of cheating out of line. "Students generally understand what constitutes cheating, but they do it anyway," said Kenneth Kiewra, professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and one of the study's authors. "The results suggest that students' attitudes are tied to effort. Cheating that still required students to put forth some effort was viewed as less dishonest than cheating that required little effort," he said.

Samurai women

"Aerobics is for wimps, marathons are for the uncommitted and kickboxing is yesterday's game. If you really want to vanquish your flab, no exercise can compete with an hour of vigorous feudal massacre," Leo Lewis writes for The Times of London. "Welcome to Samurai Camp, a fitness regime that fuses ritualized 16th-century swordsmanship, an imaginary bloodbath and throbbing techno music - and which has captivated 21st-century Japanese woman. … Devised late last year, the growing popularity of Samurai Camp has already outpaced the expectations of Takafuji Ukon, the young choreographer who founded the sport. … One of the stranger aspects of the class is that its devotees are entirely women. Despite being open to both sexes, the male heirs to Japan's bushido warrior tradition cannot handle the pace. 'When the class started, it was all men coming to symbolically cut the fat from around their middles,' said Mr. Takafuji, 'but they weren't like real samurai, and quit. The women stick to it. They are Japan's modern samurai.' "

The game's a foot?

Police in Germany are planning to use vultures to lead them to human corpses that sniffer dogs cannot reach, The Daily Express reports. "Officers in Walsrode, near Hamburg, have already recruited one bird, called Sherlock, who flies into remote locations such as woodland or in thick undergrowth with a GPS attached to his leg. The scavenger's keen sense of smell means he can detect the scent of rotting flesh from 3,000 feet [one kilometre]in the air. Unlike sniffer dogs, who need regular breaks, Sherlock, a turkey vulture, can cover vast areas. He's being trained to love the smell of putrefying human flesh with the help of shrouds from a local medical school."

Quidditch world

"More than 400 teams worldwide now play Muggle Quidditch by the rules of the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association," The Guardian reports. "So how does it work? Jetpacks? Tiny planes? Hover brooms? … None of the above. There is no actual flying and the balls aren't strictly magical. Instead, players hold broomsticks between their legs and throw footballs at each other, and the role of the Golden Snitch is played by a cross-country runner in a yellow jumpsuit."

Thought du jour

"Every man cheats in his own way, and he is only honest who is not discovered."

- Susanna Centlivre (1667-1723)

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