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City bees eat well, spelling's important, powerful fools Add to ...

City bees eat well

"Bees in urban and suburban settings have a richer, healthier diet than bees in farmland settings, say researchers," BBC News reports. "Honeybee hives from 10 National Trust sites were studied in an attempt to assess the link between bee health and the diversity of pollen they encounter. Bees from farmlands showed a distinctly narrower range of pollens than both urban and untouched 'natural' settings." Matthew Oates, an adviser on nature conservation to Britain's National Trust, said: "The difficult area for bees is modern mainstream farmland: intensive arable land for wheat, barley, oilseed rape [canola] and also dairy beef and sheep grasslands. There really is so little forage for bees in those modern intensive farming systems."

Spelling's important

"Massachusetts authorities are searching for a man they say faked his death to beat charges of driving without a licence. The Gloucester Times reported that 42-year-old Michael Rosen of Salem sent a man to court last week to file a certificate showing that Rosen had died the previous week. Afterward, a judge dismissed the traffic case. But a suspicious probation officer heard from a colleague in a neighbouring town that Rosen had checked in four days after he purportedly died. Additional investigation showed the certificate contained spelling errors in the place of birth, cause of death and the cemetery. City officials confirmed the document was a fake, lacking a raised seal and printed on the wrong kind of paper. Rosen now faces additional charges of forgery and counterfeiting."

Source: Associated Press

Powerful fools

"Surveys of organizations find that the vast majority of rude and inappropriate behaviours, such as the shouting of profanities, come from the offices of those with the most authority," Jonah Lehrer writes for The Wall Street Journal. "Psychologists refer to this as the paradox of power. The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude." He quotes Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who says: "It's an incredibly consistent effect. When you give people power, they basically start acting like fools. They flirt inappropriately, tease in a hostile fashion and become totally impulsive." He notes that people with lots of authority tend to behave like neurological patients with a damaged orbito-frontal lobe, a brain area that's crucial for empathy and decision-making.

You must say this

"A New York English professor said she was kicked out of a Starbucks by three police officers because she refused to follow the café's ordering rules. Lynne Rosenthal, who gave her age as early 60s, said she got into an argument with a barista Sunday morning because she refused to specify whether she wanted butter or cheese on her multigrain bagel, the New York Post reported. 'I just wanted a multigrain bagel,' Rosenthal said. 'I refused to say 'without butter or cheese.' When you go to Burger King, you don't have to list the six things you don't want.' "

Source: United Press International

You can't say that

"A California appeals court struck down a mall's rules banning strangers from talking about subjects other than the mall while inside the facility," United Press International reports. The court issued a 43-page opinion describing the rules, which ban the unacquainted for discussing anything other than Roseville's Westfield Galleria mall and its stores while in the mall, as "unconstitutional on their face," according to The Sacramento Bee. The mall's rules allow for conversations between two strangers on non-mall related topics only if an application is submitted four days in advance and approved by officials.

Einstein? Hah

"It seems that the folks at Conservapedia - a sort of conservative alternative to the more familiar online encyclopedia Wikipedia - are not fans of Einstein's most famous theory, general relativity," New Scientist reports. On a page titled "Counterexamples to relativity," it says: "The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world." A footnote adds: "Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold."

Thought du jour

"To be nobody-but-myself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting."

- E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

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