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The Globe and Mail

Among girls, video gaming tied to fighting and weapons

Boy, girl gamers

Investigators from the Yale School of Medicine surveyed 4,028 adolescents about their gaming and health behaviours, reports. "They found that 51.2 per cent of the teens played video games (76.3 per cent of boys and 29.2 per cent of girls). The study not only revealed that, overall, there were no negative health consequences of gaming in boys, but that gaming was linked to lower odds of smoking regularly. Among girls, however, gaming was associated with getting into serious fights and carrying a weapon to school." Most adolescents, however, appeared to be gaming without any ill effects.

Where are we?

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"There is a new man in the office who sits at a desk just behind mine," Lucy Kellaway writes for the Financial Times. "Most mornings he's in early, as am I, and as I leaf through the newspapers, I hear a rustling sound and the ring of metal on china followed by a slurp-munch-slurp noise. I look around and see that he has pushed his keyboard aside and at his elbow is a box of Fruit 'n Fibre. He is eating his cereal intently, staring at his computer screen. Presently, he gets up, takes the bowl to the sink, washes it and returns to his desk. … Modern office workers can conduct all their most intimate morning rituals at work. They turn up in sweat pants, take a shower, clean their teeth and apply makeup. Offices double as wardrobes and laundry rooms with damp towels, spare clothes and shoes strewn carelessly around the place. … Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are part of office life, too. The first and the second are officially forbidden, but still practised when no one is looking. Rock 'n' roll can now be done quite openly at work, thanks to the iPod. … There is only one thing that people choose to do at home but not at work: to give birth, though this can't be far off."

Out, damned spot

"For struggling New York actors reduced to waiting tables for a living, there's finally an alternative career path: bedbug hunter," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Ever since the city began suffering from a widespread infestation of the pernicious bugs last year, demand has soared for people to get rid of them. Actors, it turns out, make the perfect bug busters. 'Actors have great personalities and follow directions well,' says Janet Friedman, owner of Bed Bug Busters NY, who employs many people from the theatre world to clean up the vermin. She favours entertainers, she says, because they can improvise, work quickly and are used to the drama of a stressful situation."

Women love tall guys

Hatice Kocaman of Turkey has been declared the world's smallest woman by the Guinness Book of Records. She is 71 centimetres and, at 21, weighs just 15 pounds. She is the second smallest person in the world; a Nepalese man is 65.5 centimetres. She tells The Daily Telegraph that being famous "makes me feel like I am much taller. I hope to travel and to meet lots of people including the tallest man in the world."

Stress and Gen-X

A study of stress in America finds that "Gen-Xers are the most stressed-out generation, with 56 per cent feeling frequently irritable or angry and 46 per cent suffering stress-induced headaches," reports. The research, published by the American Psychological Association, notes that "Gen-Xers respond to stress with unhealthy behaviours such as lying awake at night (49 per cent), overeating or eating unhealthy food (48 per cent) and drinking alcohol (23 per cent)."

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Future geezers

Among the observations and anecdotes at

- Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

- I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

- Bad decisions make good stories.

- You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

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- Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

We are late bloomers

"Neanderthals reached full maturity faster than humans do today, suggests a new examination of teeth from 11 Neanderthal and early human fossils," Discovery News reports. "The findings, detailed in the latest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, portray Neanderthals as a live-fast-and-die-young species. Our characteristically slow development and long childhood therefore appear to be recent and unique to Homo sapiens. These traits may have given our early modern human ancestors an evolutionary advantage over Neanderthals."

Thought du jour

"To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top."

Robert M. Pirsig (1928-) U.S. writer and philosopher

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