Never miss a photo op
"Spotting a shark is most surfers' cue to exit the water, but Chuck Patterson captured footage of two great whites circling his board after paddling out to film them," The Daily Telegraph reports. "The professional surfer had spotted two sharks while out stand-up paddle surfing with a couple of friends at San Onofre Beach, Calif. But undeterred by their presence, the 41-year-old waterman returned the following day with a waterproof camera and stroked out to see if they would show up again. Within a matter of minutes, the Californian found himself surrounded by a pair of great white sharks and caught them on video swimming just feet away from him."
It's raining men
"Spanish authorities are warning travellers against the 'balconing' craze - jumping from hotel balconies into swimming pools - that has claimed four lives and left others seriously injured this summer, according to a report by British newspaper The Guardian," Roger Yu writes for USA Today. "… Hotel owners told the paper that balconing is increasingly popular among drunk guests, who often post videos of their jumps on YouTube and other websites. The number of accidents is already triple that of previous summers. 'This year it has become a real plague,' a hotel receptionist in the resort town of Alcudia in Majorca told Spanish newspaper El Pais. 'If you catch them, they say that they have lost their room key, but mostly they are trying to get to a girl's room or think they can jump down into the pool.' "
Australian researchers comparing the ability of dark chocolate and a tomato-extract pill to lower blood pressure reported a startling finding: Some people don't like eating chocolate as medicine. In a study published in last week's British Medical Journal, all the participants said they'd be willing to keep on taking the tomato-extract pill every day, but only 73 per cent said the same for dark chocolate. The chocolate used in the study came from a high-end chocolatier and was made with 70 per cent cocoa, yet two people withdrew from the study because they found it "unpalatable." Other reported side effects of the chocolate included headaches and constipation.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Avoid these gaffes
Britain's hoteliers, pub landlords and cabbies have been given tips on how to avoid upsetting foreign visitors, BBC News reports. Some of VisitBritain's online advice:
- Do not be offended by Argentine humour, which may mildly attack your clothing or weight.
- Avoid winking at someone from Hong Kong - it is often considered rude.
- Visitors from the United Arab Emirates can take great offence if you appear bossy.
- Avoid physical contact when first meeting someone from India.
- Never call a Canadian an American.
- Avoid saying "thank you" to a Chinese compliment. Instead, politely deny a compliment to show humility.
Slobber in the office
The mere presence of a dog in the office appears to make people collaborate more effectively, according to researchers at Central Michigan University. In one of their experiments, The Economist reports, Christopher Honts and his colleagues brought together 12 groups of four individuals each and told them to come up with a 15-second advertisement for a made-up product. Each group had to collaborate on one ad. "Some of the groups had a dog underfoot throughout, while the others had none. After the task, all the volunteers had to answer a questionnaire on how they felt about working with the other - human - members of the team. Mr. Honts found that those who had had a dog to slobber and pounce on them ranked their teammates more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who had not."
Callicebus caquetensis is a new species of titi monkey discovered in the Amazon, New Scientist reports. "About the size of a cat, the Caqueta titi has grey-brown hair and makes an extremely complex call. Unusually for a primate, it forms lifelong monogamous pairs. It is thought that there are fewer than 250 Caqueta titis in the wild, thanks to the destruction of their forest habitats, meaning they are critically endangered. The discovery is described in the journal Primate Conservation."
Thought du jour
"There's a scheme of evasion that has gotten into everybody. It's as though people were to say: 'I get home dog tired after a terrible day out in that jungle, and then I don't want to think about it. Enough! I want to be brainwashed. I'm going to have my dinner and drink some beer, and I'm going to sit watching TV until I pass out - because that's how I feel.' That means people are not putting up a struggle for the human part of themselves."
- Saul Bellow