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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rides his campaign bus to a rally in Pompano Beach, Fla., January 29, 2012. (BRIAN SNYDER/BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rides his campaign bus to a rally in Pompano Beach, Fla., January 29, 2012. (BRIAN SNYDER/BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

Mitt Romney is really, really rich Add to ...

Richest Republican running

“Just how rich is Mitt Romney?” asks Associated Press. “Add up the wealth of the last eight presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. Then double that number. Now you’re in Romney territory. He would be among the richest presidents in American history if elected, probably in the top four.”

The world’s largest city

“Which is the biggest city in the world? And why is such a simple question so difficult to answer?” asks BBC News. “If you search on the Internet for the world’s biggest city, you’ll find various different candidates: Tokyo, Seoul, Chongqing, Shanghai … Defining the borders of a city is no easy task – and there is no international standard to ensure consistency. Three scholars who in 2009 compared eight different lists of top cities by population, found there were 30 ‘top 20 cities’ in total. One of them, Rich Greene, associate professor of geography at Illinois University … says even the most authoritative list, from the UN, ‘compares apples with pears.’”

A part-time Tarzan

“A Manchester supermarket security guard has moved to Africa to live in the jungle as a real-life Tarzan,” reports Orange Co. UK. “DeWet Du Toit, 24, has swapped his Co-op uniform for a loin cloth and spends his days swinging through the trees and eating insects. He became obsessed by Tarzan while living in Namibia as a young boy, where his father was a collector of Tarzan books and comics. He said: ‘People might say I’m crazy, but I know this is what I was born to do. I’m like Tarzan in so many ways. My best friend is an elephant called Shaka and I spend more time with monkeys, zebras and crocodiles than I do with people. … The former bodybuilder films his daily life and hopes Hollywood scouts cast him in a movie about his hero. The farmer’s son spends three nights a week alone in the bush capturing his antics on camera. The rest of his time is spent at his parents’ home in George, South Africa.”

The perfect martini

“James Bond insists on his being shaken, but scientists claim preparing the perfect vodka martini requires stirring it with a wooden spoon,” The Daily Telegraph reports. “Rather than mixing the secret agent’s favourite tipple with a long metal cocktail spoon – or risk bruising the alcohol by shaking it over ice – experts claim a thin piece of wood is the best tool for the job. The revelation comes in the science magazine New Scientist, which asked its academic readers for the optimum way to serve the drink. The magazine concluded that metal spoons warm up a drink too much because metal is a good heat conductor. … It is believed that the original Ian Fleming books called for Bond’s martini to be shaken, not stirred because vodka was originally made from potatoes, which left an oily aftertaste if not shaken vigorously.”

When mice serenade

“Most people are familiar with the telltale squeak of a mouse scurrying out of their pantry, but scientists have long known that these aren’t the only noises house mice make,” says Live Science. “During courtship, the rodents also communicate in the ultrasonic frequency range, which sits beyond human hearing. Now, new research shows that these mating vocalizations are more than just your typical squeaks – they’re songs, not unlike those you’d expect to hear from courting birds. ‘It seems as though house mice might provide a new model organism for the study of song in animals,’ lead researcher Dustin Penn, an evolutionary biologist at the Veterinary University of Vienna in Austria, said in a statement. … [Researchers]found that the squeaks are quite complex and contain several features seen in bird songs, such as variations in duration and frequency of call syllables (units of sound separated by silence). When they compared the songs with one another, they saw that the vocalizations contained signatures of individuality and kinship.”

Thought du jour

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

- T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), U.S.-born English poet and critic

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