Impress your friends
"As castles go, this one is a fixer-upper," Michael Kiefer writes from Gubbio, Italy, for The Arizona Republic. "Its 37 rooms have been closed for a decade, the paint has peeled and there's a choking smell of 1,600 years of accumulated dust. But it sits on 20 acres of beautiful Umbrian hillside, has a freestanding sentry tower, a prison cell and a dungeon. And , if you buy it, you automatically become the Count of Carbonana." The asking price is €8-million ($10.5-million) as is, or €12-million ($15.8-million) restored.
Source: USA Today
Is your desk empowered?
A British study finds workers' job attitudes can be bolstered by allowing them to personalize their office, Psych Central News reports. "Results consistently showed that the more control people had over their office spaces, the happier and more motivated they were in their jobs. They felt physically more comfortable at work, identified more with their employers and felt more positive about their jobs in general. Two further studies … saw participants take on a series of tasks in a workplace that was either lean (bare and functional), enriched (decorated with plants and pictures), empowered (allowing the individual to design the area) or disempowered (where the individual's design was redesigned by a 'manager.') People working in enriched spaces were 17 per cent more productive than those in lean spaces, but those sitting at empowered desks were even more efficient - being 32 per cent more productive than their lean counterparts without any increase in errors."
Time is precious
A Chinese woman is suing a cinema and a film's distributors for wasting her time by showing 20 minutes of advertisements before the movie started, according to state media. "Chen Xiaomei," The Daily Telegraph reports, "claims the Polybona International Cinema in the northern city of Xian and film distributors Huayi Brothers Media Corp. should have told her how long the advertisements for the film Aftershock lasted … Ms Chen, who is a lawyer, has accused Polybona and Huayi Brothers of wasting her time and violating her freedom of choice." In her suit, she demands that the companies refund her 35 yuan ($5.35) ticket, pay her 35 yuan in compensation and one yuan for emotional damages. She also wants a written apology.
"Research suggests that much of what happens in a dream is unique to that dream," Anahad O'Connor writes for The New York Times. "But some events from a person's day can be incorporated into dreams in two stages. First there is the 'day residue' stage, in which emotional events may work their way into a person's dreams that night. But that is followed by the more mysterious 'dream lag' effect, in which those events disappear from the dream landscape - often to be reincorporated roughly a week later. This lag has been documented in studies dating to the 1980s."
A career necessity
A British soldier who smashed a glass in a man's face was spared jail after a judge said troops needed to have a temper, The Daily Mirror reports. "Trooper Richard Evers, 21, was given a lenient sentence so he wasn't discharged from the army. He also avoided being sent on an anger management course - with Judge William Hart telling the court: 'Soldiers who don't have anger are probably of limited use.' … The 'outstanding soldier,' who has twice served in Iraq, was given a 12-month community sentence with supervision and ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work."
World o' yoga
- "Heard of naked yoga? Kosher yoga? Yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome?" Emily Wax writes for The Washington Post. "More than 30 million Americans practise some sort of yoga in an ever-expanding industry generating an estimated $6-billion [U.S.]in the United States alone. But in the birthplace of yoga, an Indian government agency is fighting what it calls 'yoga theft' after several U.S. companies said they wanted to copyright or patent their versions. Yoga is a part of humanity's shared knowledge, the agency says, and any business claiming the postures as its own is violating the very spirit of the ancient practice."
- "Did you hear the one about the group of strangers who gathered in a room and burst out laughing for no reason?" Harriet Barovick asks in Time magazine. "Neither had I. So when I went to my first laughter-yoga class, I felt as if I wasn't getting the joke. … [E]thusiasts, including senior citizens, cancer patients, corporations and even prisoners, swear it changes lives."
"A Florida man who blamed his cat for downloading child pornography pleaded no contest to 25 felony charges, earning him 12½ years in prison," United Press International reports. Keith Griffin, 49, initially told police the images were downloaded as the result of his cat jumping on his keyboard while he was away from home.
Smithsonian magazine quotes artificial-intelligence researcher David Levy of Maastricht University: "My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots."
Thought du jour
"Work is an extension of personality. It is achievement. It is one of the ways in which a person defines himself, measures his worth, and his humanity."
- Peter Drucker