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Realistic beats real

"Some residents of a Michigan town said they are disappointed the 35-foot (11-metre) Christmas tree in a city park will be artificial this year," reports United Press International. "John Heiney, director of Birmingham's principal shopping district, which is responsible for the tree in Shain Park, said officials decided to construct the fake tree instead of using the droopy old tree the district has been decorating for years because the fake is so 'realistic' … 'They're just so good at making them look so realistic now,' Heiney said of the fake trees, made from Taiwanese PVC."

Follow your dream?

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"News flash: Following your dreams can be kind of hard," says The Huffington Post. "Just less than 30 per cent of workers land their dream job, or work in some related field, according to a recent LinkedIn survey of about 8,000 professionals. The top dream jobs for American men were pilot, scientist and professional or Olympic athlete. American women hoped to become teachers, vets or writers. That not everyone is working in their dream profession may come as news to Warren Buffett, who … can afford to tell everyone to do what makes them happy. The Oracle of Omaha told Fortune in a recent interview that he tells college students to 'take the job that you would take if you were independently wealthy.' Good luck with that one, kids."

Ennui in the playground

"The child who insists on running up the slide at the playground is doing it for a good reason," writes Sumathi Reddy of The Wall Street Journal. "Chances are he's uninspired and trying to create more of a challenge for himself. And if the child is 9 or 10, he is likely fully bored by the swings, slides and climbing gear. Some child-development experts and parents say decades of dumbed-down playgrounds fuelled by fears of litigation, concerns about injury and worrywart helicopter parents, have led to cookie-cutter equipment that offers little thrill. … Some psychologists suggest that not exposing children to risk can result in increases in anxiety and other phobias. Children who never climb trees, for example, are more likely to develop a fear of heights, according to a study in Norway."

Happy kids, rich adults

"A new study finds a relationship between youth happiness and wealth in later life," reports Psych Central. "U.K. researchers say the first in-depth investigation of whether youthful happiness leads to greater wealth in later life reveals that, even allowing for other influences, happy adolescents are likely to earn more money as adults. … Investigators found that happy individuals' greater wealth is due, in part, to the fact that happy people are more likely to get a degree, find work and get promoted quicker than their gloomier counterparts."

Dorothy's dark side?

"It may or may not be 'the best film synopsis ever,' as many have dubbed it, but Rick Polito's one-sentence summation of The Wizard of Oz, which he wrote in 1998, has become an unlikely Internet sensation in recent days," says Pacific Standard magazine. "It reads, in its entirety: 'Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets, and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.' Nothing inaccurate there, but it rather misses the spirit of the film – intentionally, of course, and with considerable wit."

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Thought du jour

There's no secret about success. Did you ever know a successful man who didn't tell you about it?

Frank (Kin) Hubbard

American humorist (1868-1930)

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