When to wash jeans
"How often do you wash your blue jeans? After each wearing? Once a week? Once a month?" Walletpop.com asks. "According to some enthusiasts, you're destroying what should be a long-time love affair. Blogger Dr. Denim says the most enthusiastic denim lovers will wear their new jeans six months before the first washing, then three months before a second washing. And these aren't washings as you might picture them. Carl Chiara of Levi Strauss and Co. told The Wall Street Journal that at the six-month mark, he soaks his jeans in the bathtub with some very mild soap and lets them air-dry. That's it. There is also an environmental spin to this issue: The United Nations put out a video encouraging people to wash their jeans less often."
" 'There is research that shows people still have the same self-control as in decades past, but we are bombarded more and more with temptations,' said Kathleen Vohs, associate professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota," The New York Times reports. " 'Our psychological system is not set up to deal with all the potential immediate gratification.' … Willpower is a component of self-control, Prof. Vohs said. 'Self-control is setting goals. Willpower is moving from the current place to where you want to go,' she said. The final step in the process - and the one most often ignored - is assessment, or measuring to see how well we're doing in managing our self-control."
"For a man who thinks he's a robot," The Daily Telegraph reports, "Prof. Patrick Haggard is remarkably cheerful about it. 'We certainly don't have free will,' says the leading British neuroscientist. 'Not in the sense we think.' … Prof. Haggard is demonstrating 'transcranial magnetic stimulation,' a technique that uses magnetic coils to affect one's brain, and then to control the body. One of his research assistants, Christina Fuentes, is holding a loop-shaped paddle next to his head, moving it fractionally. 'If we get it right, it might cause something.' She presses a switch, and the coil activates with a click. Prof. Haggard's hand twitches. 'It's not me doing that,' he assures me, 'it's her.' "
Monarch butterflies can cure themselves and their offspring of disease by using medicinal plants, according to new research. A parasite can invade the gut of caterpillars and then persist into the adult stage. Infected butterflies prefer to lay eggs on plants that will make their offspring less sick.
Kosik, an elephant in South Korea's Everland theme park, can vocalize seven words in Korean, such as "hi" and "good," although researchers say he may not know what he's saying. Elephants have shown they can mimic the sounds of trucks and other elephants.
The West Bank desert town of Jericho is celebrating its 10,000th anniversary. The locality, which hopes to become a tourism hub, boasts that it is the world's oldest and lowest-lying town.
Word watch: Manchine
Prince Charles warns, in his new book Harmony, that the discovery of methods for connecting the brain directly to computers could create a generation of "manchines" that need hardly experience real life at all.
Sunday Times of London
Thought du jour
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
Robert Brault, veteran U.S. freelance writer