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Dull day, dull you?

"Overcast days can certainly feel gloomy – they might even fog your brain," says Psychology Today. "In a recent Environmental Health study, researchers used simple cognitive tasks like short-term recall to evaluate the mental effects of weather on men and women, some with symptoms of depression. The subjects were scattered across different climes. Those who were depression-free had sharp thinking no matter the weather. But among those who were already feeling down, less sunlight was associated with dulled thinking."

Free agents at work

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"When an economy takes a tumble, it's hard to imagine quitting your job," the Chicago Tribune says. "But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, resignations rose steadily in 2011. In September of last year, nearly two million [Americans]gave notice – which is the highest number of resignations in a one-month period since November, 2008. Do these people know something that we don't? 'There are no points for loyalty any more,' said prosperity coach Randy Gage. 'If you've been somewhere the longest, you have a target on your back. With so much downsizing, they're going to find someone younger, cheaper and willing to do more than you. So people are developing a sort of 'free agent' mentality, just like professional athletes.'"

Cash for an old gadget

"The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is all about the latest smartphones, tablet computers and other devices," says USA Today. "But what about the old gadgets? Don't they get any love? Actually, one machine at the show, [which ended on Friday,]is designed to help recycle gadgets, giving old phones a fitting end, or a better home. Drop your phone into the EcoATM, and the machine will pay you what it believes the handset is worth. The cupboard-sized machine has a large touch screen and a big metal 'mouth' where you can place your old phone or MP3 player. It takes pictures of the device to figure out what kind of shape it's in. Then, you choose one of the machine's many cables to connect to your device. The machine will figure out if the device's internals are working. When its analysis is complete, it gives you a quote on the spot. … If you accept, it spits out cash."

No Blonde jokes

"Starbucks launched its new, mellower 'Blonde' roast [last]week," reports, "and it doesn't want to hear any baristas sniggering about the name. 'We were told at a regional rally there are absolutely no Blonde jokes to be told around the coffee whatsoever. It will be a written offence if so,' a worker writes at Starbucks Gossip. … The manager of Starbucks' flagship Chicago store describes the Blonde roast as 'coffee for the non-coffee drinker.'"

Using the wrong icon

"The company that manufactures Mercedes-Benz luxury cars unleashed outrage among Cuban-Americans in Miami and other cities [last week]for using the image of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto (Che) Guevara to promote their vehicles," says The Miami Herald. "While Daimler AG, the German company which controls Mercedes-Benz, quickly apologized for the use of the image in a presentation in Las Vegas … the damage was done. Many Cuban exiles in south Florida who have fled the island since Fidel Castro took power with the help of Guevara in 1959 not only rejected the ad campaign but also expressed disgust that such a prestigious company would use the image of the revolutionary blamed for executions and implementation of communism on the island."

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Wearing PJs in public

"Caddo Parish District 3 Commissioner Michael Williams doesn't care to see people in their PJs, at least not at a shopping centre, restaurant or anywhere else in public," says The (Shreveport, La.) Times. "Williams said after seeing a group of young men at a local Wal-Mart wearing pyjama pants that revealed one young man's private parts, he decided to push for an ordinance that would prohibit wearing pyjama pants in public. … 'Today it's pyjamas,' Williams said. 'Tomorrow it's underwear. Where does it stop?' Khiry Tisdem of Shreveport has no problem going out in his [PJs] 'I wear my (pyjama) pants anywhere,' Tisdem said. 'I'm an American and I can wear my clothes anywhere I want. I'm a grown man. I pay my own bills, so I can wear my clothes the way I want. I don't know why it's an issue.'"

Thought du jour

"I have great faith in fools – my friends call it self-confidence."

- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49), American author

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