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If Dracula were real, he'd have hypertension Add to ...

Zzzzzip

"Not even 30 years could come between Brooke Shields and her Calvins," Mark Marino writes for Stylelist.com. "On the Sept. 22 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the 45-year-old model turned actress revealed she's still able to slip into the same pair of jeans she sported at age 15 in her controversial Calvin Klein Jeans ad. 'They didn't look pretty,' she admitted, 'but they fit.' … 'I got those suckers zipped up!'"

POP goes the dieter

"Weight-loss has a serious downside: It leads to the release of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which may have a significant impact on health," New Scientist reports. "POPs are synthetic chemicals which enter the food chain from sources including pesticides. They have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cancer and dementia. Once consumed, POPs collect in fatty tissue, where they are not thought to be harmful. Now, Duk-Hee Lee of Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea, has shown that weight loss causes POPs to be freed, leading to their build-up in the blood. … The level of POPs needed to have an adverse effect in humans is unknown, so it should not stop obese people trying to lose weight, says Amanda Sainsbury-Salis at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia."

Slimy's come home

"Gardeners have been advised to dump unwanted snails more than 300 feet [90 metres]away from their plants after an amateur scientist discovered the creatures have a homing instinct," The Daily Telegraph reports. "Scientists have previously believed that snails are far too simple to find their way home. But Ruth Brooks, a 69-year-old grandmother, began an experiment to settle the issue after she became exasperated with the snails in the garden of her home in Totnes, Devon." Mrs. Brooks, who describes herself as a "reluctant snail murderer," marked snails with a dab of nail polish and tracked their movements.

Know your friends?

"Newly published research finds a lot of people make inaccurate assumptions about their Facebook friends," Miller-mccune.com reports. "'Friends disagree more than they think they do,' a Yahoo! Research team led by Sharad Goel reports in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 'In particular, friends are typically unaware of their disagreement, even when they say they discuss the topic.' Facebook users tend to infer the opinions of their online chums, 'in part by relying on stereotypes of their friends, and in part by projecting their own views,' the researchers write. While this assumption-based thinking works most of the time, it also means people are often clueless about the true opinions of others."

Engineer gone wild

"Police in Brazil say they have caught an Italian man who managed to amass $259,000 [U.S.]in traffic fines and other penalties linked to his van," Associated Press reports. "Police say they arrested 62-year-old engineer Roberto Cintio at his office after a 10-day investigation. Most of Cintio's fines were for speeding, which are levied in Brazilian cities by radar cameras without a police stop of the vehicle. Other fines were for parking, not paying vehicle property taxes and other infractions. A police statement … says Cintio likely evaded police by using false IDs. It says several blank identification cards were found with him."

Artist gone wild

Artist Maurizio Cattelan has placed a sculpture of a hand with its middle finger raised in front of Milan's stock exchange, Central European News reports. The artist said of the 10-metre-tall piece: "Officially, its name is L.O.V.E. So it stands for love - but everyone can read between the lines and take away the message they see for themselves." The artist has previously shocked the world with controversial exhibits of Adolf Hitler praying and Pope John Paul being struck by a meteor.

Dracula? Hypertension

"Could I live as a vampire just by drinking blood?" asks a reader at Bbcfocusmagazine.com. "Blood contains about 700 kcal per litre, so an average adult would need to drink around three litres to meet their energy requirements each day." To avoid scurvy from lack of vitamin C, you'd have to consume nine litres of blood a day - unless you dosed your victim with lemons. "The real danger, then? Salt. Human blood contains about nine grams of salt per litre. Those three litres you're drinking each day would give you around 4½ times your RDA, which would lead to dehydration and kidney failure if you didn't also drink lots of water, and hypertension if you did."

Have a beer, Homer

" The Simpsons is the most successful television brand of all time, with global DVD and merchandising sales of more than $8-billion [U.S.] according to a survey of industry experts," The Guardian reports. "Despite more than 20 years on screen and 450-plus episodes, the continuing appetite for Simpsons T-shirts, books, games, toys, calendars and other merchandising makes it the 'most successfully licensed TV show' in TV history, according to figures supplied by the Brand Licensing Europe 2010 conference." Sesame Street was the runner-up.

Thought du jour

"Not only are we not at the centre of the universe, but we're not even made of the same stuff as most of the universe."

- Prof. David Caldwell, University of California

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