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Singer Justin Bieber performs during the Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Gardens in New York, December 7, 2012. (CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)
Singer Justin Bieber performs during the Z100 Jingle Ball at Madison Square Gardens in New York, December 7, 2012. (CARLO ALLEGRI/REUTERS)

social studies

Mozart, Beethoven and … Bieber? Add to ...

Justin Bieber’s secret?

“Clemency Burton-Hill, the actress and violinist, has said the work of Justin Bieber, the Canadian singer beloved of pubescent women, is comparable to that of Mozart and Beethoven,” reports The Sunday Telegraph. “She has likened Bieber’s hit song Baby to Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Beethoven’s The Eroica. The secret to their greatness, she said, is they share the key of E-flat major. She said: ‘Justin Bieber is in incredibly good company in writing his song in E-flat major. … It’s a very accessible key but it’s also rather heroic. That is offset with Justin Bieber’s voice – it works incredibly well – and what he’s singing about seems to work particularly well with that. I’m not raving about this song, but it is a lot more than the pre-packaged formulaic pop that you might expect it to be.’”

A lookalike? Unlikely

“Even though the ‘identical stranger’ is a major plot point in many works of fiction … and even though there are some seven billion people currently living on the planet, the odds of there being an exact physical copy of you are pretty slim,” says The Christian Science Monitor. “The number of genetic and environmental factors that go into fashioning your appearance is just too large. … [F]or two people to look exactly the same, it would require a mind-bogglingly improbable series of genetic coincidences, followed by an equally unlikely series of environmental events. Either that, or you’d need them to be identical twins. But even identical twins tend to look slightly different, as any parent of such twins knows.”

Beautiful athletes do well

“Life is unfair. Not only do the rich get richer, but a new study finds that the beautiful develop more skill,” writes Kevin Lewis of The Boston Globe. “The prettiest golfers in the LPGA – as judged by Americans and Koreans unfamiliar with golf – had better scores and won more tournament prize money, even controlling for experience and early talent. The theory goes like this: ‘Physically attractive athletes are rewarded more than unattractive athletes for one unit of effort. Being rewarded more, physically attractive athletes devote more effort to improving their productivity. Consequently they become more productive than less attractive athletes with comparable natural athletic talents.’”

Marriage not a boon for all?

“For decades, sociologists and epidemiologists have praised the sanction of marriage as a health-enhancing action. That is, married individuals were believed to have better health than individuals who were not married,” says Psych Central. “New research now suggests the benefits of marriage may not occur in certain situations or for particular individuals. … In the new study, investigators have learned that marriage provides less protection against mortality as health deteriorates, even though it does seem to benefit those who are in excellent health. Secondly, married people tend to overestimate how healthy they are, compared to others.”

A gangster priest dies

“Takahiko Inoue, yakuza boss and Buddhist priest, died Feb. 10 at age 65,” reports The Japan Times. “The police determined that he fell from the seventh story of the building where his office was located. When the ambulance arrived, Inoue told the crew: ‘I’m fine. Just take me to the hospital. I’ll walk to the car myself.’ Those were his last words. There was no protracted investigation. … It’s not uncommon for a disgraced yakuza boss to seek refuge by becoming a priest after banishment; but it’s usually just an exchange of Armani suits for robes and tax-exempt status. Sometimes, the robes double as a sort of bulletproof vest, because even in Japan it’s bad PR to kill a priest. However, bosses who are practising Buddhist priests? Rare.”

Thought du jour

“The value of a sentiment is the amount of sacrifice you are prepared to make for it.”

John Galsworthy, English novelist (1867-1933)

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