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The Globe and Mail

Carbon dioxide emissions delaying the next ice age

Steam and emissions are seen coming out of a funnel at an oil refinery in Melbourne.


Next ice age postponed?

"Carbon dioxide emissions will delay the arrival of the next ice age, according to a new study," The Telegraph reports. "Researchers from Cambridge University who examined variations in the Earth's orbit and global climate patterns calculated that the next ice age should begin within the next 1,500 years. But the impact of carbon dioxide emissions on the environment means that the global freeze which should be on its way will not be able to take hold, they said. The period between the end of an ice age and the beginning of the next is typically about 11,000 years due to a natural cycle related to the Earth's orbit."

Cash mobs to the rescue

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"Around 40 people met Sunday afternoon in [San Diego]to participate in a 'cash mob' aimed at helping local businesses with purchasing power," reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. "Organizer Lauren Way, a volunteer, told the group that three rules would be in effect: 'The first rule is to spend at least $20. The second rule is to meet at least three new people,' she said. 'And the third rule is to have fun!' The group met about one block away from the selected location: Bluestocking Books, an independent store with more than four decades in business on Fifth Avenue. Most of the people didn't know each other beforehand, having organized a meeting place and time through Twitter and Facebook. Supporting independent merchants and introducing people to stores in their neighbourhoods is the idea behind San Diego Cash Mobs, the local branch of what supporters say is a fledgling grassroots movement taking root in Cleveland and Oakland, among other cities."

Overdue books crackdown

"[British]universities have raised almost £50-million [$78-million]from fining students for overdue library books in the past six years," The Guardian reports. "… With fines as little as 10 pence for each day a book is overdue, it shows that students are returning thousands of books late each year. But many are never returned – more than 300,000 university library books remain unaccounted for. … The University of Westminster does not fine students for returning library books late. Students are instead banned from using the library for the length of time that the books were overdue. Many universities bar students from graduating until they pay their fines."

Bad spelling exposed

"Spelling lessons are making a comeback in U.S. schools, which have had a spelling decline in an era of spellcheckers and text lingo, educators said," United Press International reports. "Richard Gentry, a Florida reading and spelling consultant, told The Boston Globe that spelling is a hot topic these days. 'Researchers want to understand how we learn it, teachers want to know how best to teach it, and kids want to know how to … win competitions,' he told the newspaper. … The Internet has actually made people more aware of bad spelling, the newspaper said. … 'People never knew how to spell,' said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. 'They kept it a secret unless you saw their shopping lists or Christmas letter. You didn't see the comments they wrote on other people's blogs. You didn't see their own blogs.' "

Slippery sidewalks

"About one million [Americans]fall every year and about 20,000 die from their injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," reports The Baltimore Sun. "Don't be too confident, says Mike Ross, author of The Balance Manual and exercise physiologist. … He teaches balance classes to those 50 and older – a time when a person's ability to balance weakens because of changes in muscles and sensory perception, including in the inner ear, where equilibrium is partially determined." Tips to avoid slips and falls:

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  • Make sure your shoes and boots have traction.
  • Bring a cellphone every time you leave the house, so you can call for help if needed.
  • Allow extra time when it’s slippery so you’re not in such a hurry that you’re not careful.
  • Ask for help from someone sturdy when crossing an icy sidewalk.
  • Plan for what you would do if you fell.

Traffic-fine discount

"Police in Norway cut in half a traffic fine for a Swedish trucker on the grounds that Swedes earn less than Norwegians, Oslo newspaper VG reports. Ulf Ander Andersson, 61, was driving a lorry for his Norwegian employer in March when he was stopped by police, who found his brakes were not in order," says BBC News. "He was fined [$1,323 (U.S.)]but last month got a letter saying the sum had been reduced due to his nationality. … The two Scandinavian nations are among the richest in the world. … 'I thank them for the rebate, but I find it very strange,' the driver said. 'I actually make more than my Norwegian colleagues since the Swedish krona is weak and I live in Sweden. They should be able to figure that out.'"

Thought du jour

"Common sense is the little man in the grey suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it's always someone else's money he's adding up."

- Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), American novelist

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