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Exhaust billows from the stacks of Nova Scotia Power's Tuft's Cove generating plant in Dartmouth, N.S. in this 2009 file photo.

Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

Hot air and global warming

"The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming," says Associated Press. "The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago." The world pumped 512 million more metric tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009 – an increase of about 6 per cent.



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"According to a new research paper, a person's ability to recognize emotional content in faces and texts may be linked to their blood pressure," reports Psych Central. "The recently published study by psychologist James McCubbin, a Clemson University researcher, suggests that people with higher blood pressure have reduced ability to recognize angry, fearful, sad and happy faces and text passages. 'It's like living in a world of e-mail without smiley faces,' Dr. McCubbin said. 'We put smiley faces in e-mails to show when we are just kidding. Otherwise, some people may misinterpret our humour and get angry.' "

Turning butts into shirts

A group of Japanese students in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, has found a way to recycle cigarette butts as T-shirts and persuaded local gaming parlours and gas stations to donate the contents of their ashtrays to their enterprise, reports Asahi.com. "Shinji Sawai, a 21-year-old junior-year student at the College of Economics of Ritsumeikan University, came up with the idea after wondering if there was a way to recycle the butts littered around JR Minami-Kusatsu Station, which he uses to commute to school. He formed a group … with friends … and enlisted the help of the school and a professor at Kyoto Institute of Technology. The group eventually succeeded in removing harmful substances from filters donated by the pachinko [gaming] establishments and gas stations, and recycling the filters to make thread. They asked companies in Osaka and Wakayama prefectures to do the spinning and weaving. About 30 per cent of the fibres used for the T-shirts are from cigarette filters."

Dogs on a leash

"Dogs being walked by men are four times more likely to threaten and bite other dogs, and dogs on a leash are more likely to act aggressively than dogs off the leash," reports Discovery News. "These are just a couple of revelations about dog-walking behaviour from an extensive new study that examined how a dog's age, sex and size, as well as the owner's sex and use of a leash, affect how canines act on their walks. The study, accepted for publication in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, surprisingly found that the sex of the owner had the biggest effect on whether or not the dog would threaten or bite another dog. 'We propose that the occurrence of threat and biting in dogs on a walk may have some connection with aggressive tendencies and/or impulsivity in people,' Petr Rezac and his team wrote, adding that 'dogs are able to perceive subtle messages of threat emitted by another dog. Simultaneously, dogs are unusually skilled at reading human social and communicative behaviour.' " The study examined close to 2,000 dog-dog interactions on owner-led walks held in the city of Brno, Czech Republic.

Who rues tattoos?

"Roughly a third of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have at least one tattoo, according to a 2008 Harris Poll. So do a quarter of 30- to 39-year-olds," says Miller-McCune.com. "… But tattoo remorse is leading many of the painted masses to rethink their ink and opt for increasingly available laser removal procedures. They are fuelling a burgeoning business: specialty removal shops, like California's Dr. Tattoff. … 'It's a common misconception that our patients are gang members and bikers,' says Dr. Tattoff founder Will Kirby, a Beverly Hills dermatologist. … 'Our average patient is a female between the ages of 25 and 40 who got a tattoo as an aesthetic statement and now has a different lifestyle. … I see absolutely gorgeous work. That said, every bad tattoo that you could think of – spelled wrong, done in the garage, etc. – we see a lot more of that than we see beautiful work.' "

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Thought du jour

"Monkeys are superior to men in this: When a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey."

- Malcolm De Chazal (1902-81), Mauritian writer and painter

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