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Fish gotta fly, geezers unplugged, what use are narcissists? Add to ...

Your boss's secret?

"Chances are your boss takes up a lot of space," Frank Bures writes for Scientific American Mind. "Dominant animals show their status with expansive postures, and humans are no exception. Now a study suggests that these poses alter hormone levels. When researchers put subjects' feet up on a table or leaned their bodies over a desk, the volunteers experienced a rise in testosterone and a drop in the stress hormone cortisol. 'Not only did people feel more powerful,' said lead author Dana Carney, a psychologist at Columbia Business School, 'but their physiology indicated that they were actually becoming more powerful.' So put your feet up, then ask yourself: Who's the boss?"

Fish gotta fly

"Take a flying fish out of water, and it will glide like a bird. That's the word from two South Korean scientists who decided to test the fish's performance in a wind tunnel," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Their findings - the fruit of what they say is the first direct investigation of flying fish aerodynamics - showed that the fish could stay airborne just as well as small-to-midsize birds. The news was published online [last week]in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Flying fish are equipped with wing-like fins that they keep close to the body as they swim but spread out when they launch into the air, usually in attempts to escape predators. … The lift-to-drag ratio, which essentially measures how much horizontal distance is travelled during descent, suggested the fish can glide better than insects such as the dragonfly, and just as well as birds such as the petrel and wood duck."

Sober up, kids

"Children should learn first-aid skills to help friends who become dangerously drunk, the British Red Cross has said," BBC News reports. "Its survey of 2,500 11- to 16-year-olds found 10 per cent had been left with a drunk friend who was sick, injured or unconscious and 14 per cent said they had been in an alcohol-related emergency. The Red Cross wants to promote a broad range of first-aid skills, but says the effects of alcohol are a key concern. … Many youngsters told the survey that they drank - 23 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds said they have been drunk, while one in three 14- to 16-year-olds said they drank most weekends." The Red Cross campaign, called "Life. Live It," will send trainers into schools and provide first-aid packs for teachers. Children can learn resuscitation techniques and the recovery position to avoid someone choking on their own vomit.

Want to hit some bars?

"Usually, people will do anything to get out of jail, but with prison tourism on the rise, folks are now paying to get in," Lonelyplanet.com reports. "Defunct prisons all over the world have found a second life by operating as tourist attractions, museums and even hostels, offering everything from spooky evening tours by candlelight to the chance to stay overnight in a cell. (And, of course, a gift shop. Don't forget that souvenir shiv for your auntie.)"

Geezers unplugged

"Have you ever wondered why kids seem so much better at video games than adults? A University of Michigan study suggests that, as we age, our brain connections break down, slowing up our physical response times," Psych Central News reports. "According to the study, older adults seem to have excessive 'cross-talk' between the two hemispheres of the brain. This cross-communication occurs through a brain structure called the corpus callosum, which can act as either a bridge or a dam between brain hemispheres. … Researchers believe there is hope, however, and just because we all get older, it doesn't have to be our fate to react slowly. [They]are developing and piloting motor-training studies that might rebuild or maintain the corpus callosum to limit overflow between hemispheres."

What use are narcissists?

"At work, in the news, or on reality shows like Survivor or The Apprentice, narcissism and success seem to go hand-in-hand," Kevin Lewis writes for The Boston Globe. "However, according to a new study, the direct influence of narcissists is probably less important than their indirect influence. While the study finds that narcissists are perceived to be more creative - ostensibly because they do a better job of selling themselves - there is little objective evidence of their superior creativity. Yet, the narcissist manages to create more than a self-serving reputation; he can also stimulate his peers to be more creative, especially if there is another narcissist competing for attention. Of course, like cooks in a kitchen, a group can sustain only so many narcissists before it breaks down."

Now we can place bats

Australian scientists have discovered that bats develop different dialects, depending on where they live, Reuters reports.

Thought du jour

"He who knows himself trusts no one."

- Paul Eldridge (1888-1982)

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