No virtuous circle?
"Single, small acts of virtuous behaviour actually predispose us to behave worse," Jeff Wise writes for Psychology Today. "In a 2006 paper published in the Journal of Marketing Research, [researchers]reported a series of studies in which they asked undergraduate students to imagine themselves engaging in various virtuous activities, such as donating money to charity or volunteering to teach children. Compared to control subjects, who spent the equivalent amount of time working on word puzzles, these do-gooders were more likely to indulge themselves by buying luxury items like designer jeans than practical items such as vacuum cleaners. … In effect, we have been 'licensed' by our prior good behaviour to behave badly."
Flesh and the devil
- "The owner of an Ohio strip club and some of his dancers have been protesting at a church that has done the same to them for four years. Women in bikinis sat in camp chairs Sunday outside the New Beginnings Ministries church in Warsaw. … Tommy George owns the Foxhole strip club in nearby Newcastle. He says he and his employees decided to start coming to the church because they were fed up. George says the church's pastor … and his congregation have bothered the club's weekend patrons. He says they come armed with bullhorns, signs and video cameras for posting customers' licence plate numbers online."
- "Police have arrested a pastor in Georgia for protesting outside a high school against its demon mascot." Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh said the 36-year-old pastor was arrested Monday in the central Georgia city of Warner Robins. He and his supporters picked the opening day of classes to protest against the pitchfork-wielding mascot.
Source: Associated Press
The cost of the chase?
"Searching for a partner when the odds are against you may shorten your life, says a new Harvard study. To be precise, researchers believe that ratios between males and females affect human longevity," Psych Central News reports. "Men who reach sexual maturity in a context in which they far outnumber women live, on average, three months less than men whose competition for a mate isn't as difficult. The steeper the gender ratio (also known as the operational sex ratio), the sharper the decline in lifespan. 'At first blush, a quarter of a year may not seem like much, but it is comparable to the effects of, say, taking a daily Aspirin, or engaging in moderate exercise,' says Nicholas Christakis, senior author of the study and professor of medicine and medical sociology at Harvard Medical School."
"Much has been written about a war between cyclists and drivers, as if the two groups were such polar opposites that they could never cross in a Venn diagram," writes a blogger for The Guardian. "But according to new research, those people [in Britain]who cycle the most are likely to own at least two cars. Regular cyclists - those who cycle at least once a week - are also disproportionately likely to read broadsheet newspapers, be well educated, have a household income of at least £50,000 [$81,800]per year … says the latest Mintel report on bicycles. In addition, they are twice as likely to be men as women. 'Thirty or 40 years ago, people would ride a bike for economic reasons, but our research suggests that nowadays a bicycle is more a lifestyle addition, a way of demonstrating how affluent you are,' said Michael Oliver, who wrote the report."
Also on British roads
- A motorist caught speeding at more than 160 kilometres an hour claimed when he was stopped by police that he was dyslexic and didn't understand the speedometer. Witnesses said the man, who is terminally ill, was spotted weaving in and out of traffic, smoking a cigarette and gesticulating at other drivers while passing their vehicles.
- A man who was hit by a truck while "larking about" in the middle of the road has sued the driver, claiming he should have realized he was drunk and slowed down. Carl Heaven, 32, suffered breaks to both arms and his left leg when a truck reversed over him and dragged him down the road while he was out with friends. Mr. Heaven, a plumber, claims he was unable to work for more than seven months. He has filed a personal injury claim for an unlimited amount of compensation.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Got aphids? Try goat breath
"Tiny aphid insects can sense danger on an herbivore's breath to avoid becoming accidental dinner, suggests a new study," LiveScience.com reports. "Most aphids, which include soft-bodied insects built to feast on plants, managed to drop from a seedling when they detected the combination of warmth and humidity coming from an artificial breath device. But the true test of survival came when researchers turned a hungry goat loose on the seedling. 'You wouldn't expect any aphids to survive, but most survived,' said Moshe Inbar, an ecologist and naturalist at the University of Haifa in Israel."
Thought du jour
"There is a slowness in affairs which ripens them, and a slowness which rots them."
- Joseph Roux (1834-86)
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