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The Globe and Mail

Former brokers go from Wall Street to driving cabs

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Need a broker? Hey, taxi

"Scott Curtis spent 25 years trading stocks on Wall Street before he lost his job in the recession," reports The New York Times. "Now he drives a yellow cab, not just to make a living, but also to find his next post: He hangs a hiring pitch in the back seat. 'Three interviews so far,' he said with a grin. … It is a long slide from the trading floor to the driver's wheel of a taxicab, but [some]former bankers have adopted a bullish outlook on their new profession. They say taxi driving, with its flexible hours and all-cash wages, is an undervalued asset – and an efficient way to meet potential employers face to face. 'There are 20 million other people on,' said Mr. Curtis, who chats up his fares in case a chief executive or headhunter has stumbled in. 'I thought people would see this and think, he'll go the extra yard to go and get a job.' "

You this theory can believe?

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"Many linguists believe all human languages derived from a single tongue spoken in East Africa around 50,000 years ago," says "They've found clues scattered throughout the vocabularies and grammars of the world as to how that original 'proto-human language' might have sounded. New research suggests that it sounded somewhat like the speech of Yoda, the tiny green Jedi from Star Wars. There are various word orders used in the languages of the world. Some, like English, use subject-verb-object (SVO) ordering, as in the sentence 'I like you.' Others, such as Latin, use subject-object-verb (SOV) ordering, as in 'I you like.' In rare cases, OSV, OVS, VOS and VSO are used. In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Merritt Ruhlen and Murray Gell-Mann, co-directors of the Santa Fe Institute Program on the Evolution of Human Languages, argue that the original language used SOV ordering ('I you like.') 'This language would have been spoken by a small East African population who seemingly invented fully modern language and then spread around the world, replacing everyone else,' Ruhlen [said]"

Assets, key to your appeal

"We don't like to think of ourselves as gold-diggers," The Boston Globe says. "Nevertheless, a recent analysis by a Princeton sociologist suggests that we still see assets as a prerequisite for marriage, whether we're black or white, educated or uneducated, female or male. Men who owned a car or had financial assets were significantly more likely to marry, even controlling for income, employment, education, religion, family background and location. Assets also explained a large fraction of the marriage gap across race and education – more than was explained by income or employment. And women who had assets were more likely to marry, too."

Lefties and righties

"Research indicates that lefties and righties don't differ in personality, ability, creativity or any other measurable characteristic," The Wall Street Journal says in a review of Rik Smits's The Puzzle of Left-handedness. "An indispensable helper is a right-hand man and a clumsy dancer is said to have two left feet, but these associations of right and left are cultural phenomena, not rooted in biology. As to the cause of handedness, those are considerably less clear, Mr. Smits says. There are a few theories – disturbed development in the womb, genetic predisposition, the influence of hormones on embryonic development – but not a complete account. In short, we don't know."

Cheatin' at Scrabble?

"A player at the World Scrabble Championship demanded that an opponent should be strip-searched after a tile went missing," The Telegraph reports. "England's Ed Martin was accused of hiding a letter 'G' during a match. A Thai player wanted him to be taken to a toilet so he could be searched, although authorities refused. Mr. Martin won the match in Warsaw. Nigel Richards, a New Zealander, took the overall title after scoring 95 points with the word 'omnified.' " For his acceptance speech, he simply said: "Nice."

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Thought du jour

"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."

- Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian writer

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