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(Yuri Arcurs/Thinkstock)
(Yuri Arcurs/Thinkstock)

Social Studies

Don’t feel well? Stop lying Add to ...

Honesty is healthy

“Feeling tense or melancholy? Got a sore throat or headache?” writes Laura Rowley in The Huffington Post. “Now: How many times have you stretched the truth this week? A new study finds lying is linked to mental health and physical ailments. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame found most Americans lie about 11 times a week. They studied a group of 110 people from age 18 to 71 and asked half the group to reduce their lying over a 10-week period. Those participants who stopped lying – exaggerating their accomplishments, making false excuses for being late and evading uncomfortable questions – had a significant improvement in their health. Their social interactions also went more smoothly, the study found.”

Bugged at the office

“Even the cleanest office can sometimes come down with a pest problem,” writes Claire Suddath in Bloomberg Businessweek. “According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), the three most common office invaders are cockroaches, mice, and bedbugs. The first two come into the office looking for water (the bathroom) and food (communal kitchens, a messy co-worker’s desk). … Offices can guard against cockroaches, ants, and mice by keeping everything clean and crumb-free, but bedbugs are a different problem. ‘They’re not sanitation-oriented,’ says Missy Henriksen, vice-president of public affairs for the NPMA. ‘They feed off of humans – it’s gross to say, but they drink your blood.’ They’re also hitchhikers; if they appear in an office, Ms. Henriksen says, ‘it’s usually because they’ve come in on belongings from people who have bedbugs in their homes.’ Then they will travel home with you by jumping on your belongings.”

Video games as art

“Video games are often dismissed as toys, the preserve of children and nerdy, mostly male, adults,” says The Financial Times. “That irks many in the industry. They point out that technological advances are allowing games to become increasingly sophisticated, with narrative arcs comparable to movies, richly, even wittily detailed settings, specially composed soundtracks and A-list actors providing voices and motion-captured performances. There are signs that the arts establishment has started to take notice. In Washington, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is holding an exhibition that explores the history of video games ‘as an artistic medium.’ The British Academy for Film and Television now hands out gongs for games, as does New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. Even the venerable Louvre recently announced a joint venture with Nintendo. Has the time come to take games more seriously?”

Degrading dog dances

Britain’s Kennel Club has announced a ban on “degrading” routines and tricks following a rise in the popularity of dog dancing, The Sunday Telegraph reports. Some moves causing concern:

“The wheelbarrow,” where the dog’s hind legs are held by the owner and the animal is walked on its front legs. This can damage the dog’s back and pelvis.

“The foot-stand,” where the handler lies on the ground with their feet in the air and the dog stands on these. If the animal slipped, it could strain a limb.

Walking on front paws, which can damage joints. Walking on hind legs is a problem if done for longer than around 10 seconds.

Just a waste of three weeks?

“Too big? Too bad,” writes Steve Carp of The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That’s the attitude the Mesquite (Texas) Pee Wee Football Association took regarding Elijah Earnheart’s desire to play in its league. Earnheart, a 12-year-old seventh grader, is 6-feet-1.5 inches (187 cm) tall and weighs 297 pounds (135 kg). The league’s weight limit for his age group is 135 (61 kg). ‘He might be the size of a grown man, but he’s 12 years old and he has feelings, too,’ the boy’s mother, Cindy, told CBSSports.com. ‘No one’s telling boys who are too thin or too small that they can’t play football. Why tell my kid he’s too big?’ … Said Earnheart: ‘I’m not sad. I’m mad that I don’t get to play. I’ve been practising for three weeks.’ ”

They’re off to see the willow

“The Chinese are on the verge of leapfrogging the Germans and Americans to become the nation whose tourists spend the most money overseas,” says The Guardian. “While Chinese tourists do more shopping than others – partly because of sky-high luxury taxes at home – scenery and culture are bigger draws, [said Wang Yali, marketing manager at China Travel Service.] There are also peculiarly Chinese must-sees. Montargis, a small town around 60 miles (100 km) south of Paris, is a popular stop because key leaders such as Deng Xiaoping lived there in the 1920s. In Cambridge, tourists flock to King’s College not for its celebrated chapel but to see a willow by the river, immortalized in one of the best-known modern Chinese poems, Xu Zhimo’s On Leaving Cambridge.”


Thought du jour

“You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

American essayist and lecturer (1803-82)

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