Broadband for all
"Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every citizen," BBC News reports. As of July 1, every Finn has the right to have access to a 1 Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection - meaning all telecommunications companies are obliged to provide all residents with broadband lines that can run at this minimum speed. The country has vowed to connect everyone to a 100 Mbps connection by 2015.
How realtors get burned
"The promotional material had promised a 'motivation day' that would enable participants to 'do away with disempowering beliefs and create new ones that could represent a path to their dreams and aims,' " John Hooper reports for The Guardian. "Unfortunately for the eight employees of one of Italy's biggest [real-estate]agencies, however, the path from an incentivizing jamboree outside Rome led straight to the [emergency]wards of two hospitals in and near the capital." Walking on burning coals left some participants with injuries that doctors said could take up to 10 days to heal. Alessandro Di Priamo, the "performance coach" who staged the fire walk, said that particular kinds of charcoal were required to prevent injury, fir and chestnut being ideal. "But, without our knowing, other sorts were delivered to the hotel. What is worse, charcoal slack was added to speed up combustion." He stressed that only eight of the 40 to 50 participants had been hurt.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Saturday it has helped seize a submarine capable of transporting tons of cocaine, Associated Press reports. DEA officials said that the diesel/electric-powered submarine was constructed in a remote jungle and captured near a tributary close to the Ecuador-Colombia border. Ecuadorean authorities seized the sub before it could make its maiden voyage. The sophisticated, camouflaged vessel has a conning tower, periscope and air-conditioning system. It measures about three metres high from the deck plates to the ceiling and stretches 30 metres long. The DEA says it was built for trans-oceanic drug trafficking.
"The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. military science and technology department, has set about creating an aircraft that can fly low over the water until near its target before disappearing under the sea to avoid detection," Tom Chivers writes for The Daily Telegraph. "It would then creep closer in submarine form before attacking its target, probably a ship or coastal installation, and fly home. New Scientist reports that the project, which has been in development since 2008, has reached design proposal stage, and several outside developers have submitted designs."
"Any dachshund owner knows the feisty breed rarely backs off from a challenge, but one in Russia is taking that reputation to new heights - or depths," Associated Press reports. "The dog named Boniface is learning how to scuba dive. Owner Sergei Gorbunov, a professional diver in the Pacific Coast city of Vladivostok, had a diving suit, complete with helmet, made for the dog and is teaching him the tricks of the trade. In a recent demonstration, Boniface barked eagerly as Gorbunov readied the equipment, and uncomplainingly endured being hung upside-down as Gorbunov fitted the suit on him. Once underwater, he seemed to have a different outlook, emitting some high-pitched whines. Gorbunov says, 'Underwater, I don't think he experiences any stress.' "
Don't show me the money
"One of the big puzzles in economic psychology is why people don't seem to get happier beyond a certain point of affluence," Kevin Lewis reports in The Boston Globe. "Unsatisfying jobs or nagging envy can obviously play a role, but researchers think they've found another key mechanism linking money to happiness. People with more money find it harder to savour positive experiences. The power of money to dampen enjoyment doesn't just apply to the wealthy - in an experiment, people shown a picture of a large stack of cash then consumed a piece of chocolate more quickly and appeared to enjoy it less than people who hadn't seen the money."
Let's go feed the bugs
"Moviegoers in New York," United Press International reports, "could be snuggling up with bedbugs, bug experts say. Experts warned theatre seats pose a bigger bedbug threat than clothing racks despite last week's reports about bedbug infestations at two popular clothing stores, the New York Daily News reported Monday. 'In a movie theatre, you are sitting in one spot for two hours. They have the opportunity to feed on you,' said Jennifer Erdogen, director of Bell Environmental Services, a pest-control company that fumigates movie theatres, offices and stores.' "
Stern sumo action
Reacting to severe public opinion, Japan's public TV broadcaster NHK will not air the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament live later this month - for the first time since television broadcasts began in 1953. The sport has recently been rocked with charges that some wrestlers and stable-masters (trainers) were betting on professional baseball games.
Source: Kyodo News
Thought du jour
"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes