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The caxirola, a pear-shaped plastic percussion piece, is to be the musical instrument of choice for the 2014 World Cup. (Fabio Pozzebom/AP)
The caxirola, a pear-shaped plastic percussion piece, is to be the musical instrument of choice for the 2014 World Cup. (Fabio Pozzebom/AP)

The next vuvuzela debuts for the 2014 World Cup Add to ...

The stadium sound for 2014

“Friends, Brazilians and soccer fans, lend me your ears – the shimmy and shake of the caxirola is coming to a football match near you soon,” writes Sarah Holt of CNN.com. “The pear-shaped plastic percussion piece is to be the musical instrument of choice for the 2014 World Cup after it was given the seal of approval by Brazil’s ministry of sport. About time, too, some might argue after the raucous cacophony of the vuvuzela – the long, plastic horn trumpeted on the terraces during the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa. … If the buzzing vuvuzela, whose raspy monotones drew comparisons to a swarm of angry bees, provided the sound track to the World Cup three years ago, Brazil’s aural arouser is based on the caxixi, a woven South American Indian instrument filled with dried beans. Designed to produce a gentler sound – similar to maracas or rain sticks – and dressed in the green and yellow colours of Brazil’s national flag, the caxirola has also been given a ringing

endorsement by the country’s President Dilma Rousseff.”

Ice cubes of steel

“A U.S. designer has created ice cubes that will never water down or change the taste of a drink – because they are made from stainless steel,” says Orange Co. U.K.keep periods “Dave Laituri of Wayland, Mass., came up with the idea for people who prefer their drinks on the rocks, but don’t want extra water from melting ice.”

The rat race has benefits?

“New research using rats suggests that even when individuals are forced to exercise, they still benefit from reduced anxiety and depression,” says Psych Central. “Prior research has shown that voluntary exercise is a method to relieve stress, but experts were uncertain as to the mental benefits of exercise when exercise is mandated. Specifically, researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, wanted to study whether a person who feels forced to exercise, eliminating the perception of control, would still reap the anxiety-fighting benefits of the exercise.” Apparently, they would.

Anxiety – a winning strategy

“For people who are anxious about abandonment, here’s a silver lining: Such individuals are better than the rest of us at detecting when someone is lying,” says The Wall Street Journal. “Perhaps as a result of this talent, they also make better poker players. In a new paper, psychologists in Israel report on two studies showing that the higher a volunteer is in ‘attachment anxiety,’ the better at sensing deceit. In a third study, involving semiprofessional poker players, scoring higher on attachment anxiety predicted higher winnings, perhaps because such individuals are especially adept at noticing signs of trouble and warning others about them.”

‘How’s my correcting?’

“American prisoners have resorted to using the online review site Yelp to rate the service provided by jails,” reports The Daily Telegraph. “From advice on how to get double food rations to allegations of abuse by correctional officers, the Web-based service fills a new niche. … Inmates claim that they have turned to Yelp as a way of airing grievances, which could be dangerous to voice directly to the prison authorities. It is alleged that complaints made by prisoners in formal administrative hearings can often result in unsanctioned retribution by officers. One former prisoner, identifying herself only as Judith H. wrote under a posting for the Sing Sing correctional facility in New York: ‘It is hell on earth. The people that work there are the most unprofessional staff in the world and the rudest. I wouldn’t even let them tend my animals, much less human beings.”

Thought du jour

Any fool can be fussy and rid himself of energy all over the place, but a man has to have something in him before he can settle down to do nothing.

J.B. Priestley, English writer and broadcaster (1894-1984)

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