College or marriage
"People from disadvantaged backgrounds gain financial security by attending college but paradoxically lower their odds of ever marrying, a U.S. researcher says," United Press International reports. "Cornell University sociologist Kelly Musick says men and women from the least advantaged backgrounds who attend college can end up stranded between social worlds, reluctant to 'marry down' to partners with less education and unable to 'marry up' to those from more privileged upbringings, a university release reported ... The findings suggest social and cultural factors may outweigh income as factors in marriage decisions, she says. Prof. Musick calls this phenomenon of social origins versus educational attainment 'marriage market mismatch.'"
Married to a warehouse?
"An Occupy Seattle protester who held a ceremony to wed a 107-year-old building said she was protesting the gentrification of the neighbourhood," reports United Press International. Babylonia Aivaz was asked by a minister if she would "love and cherish and protect this warehouse" in front of 16 friends, adds Sydney Australia's mX newspaper. But it was in vain, the paper added; demolition of the abandoned building has already started.
We're a bit Neanderthal
"Comparing genomes," reports The New York Times, "scientists concluded that today's humans outside Africa carry an average of 2.5 per cent Neanderthal DNA."
"Japan will become a 'super-grey' society in 2060," says The Yomiuri Shimbun, "as people aged 65 or over will account for 39.9 per cent of the population that year, according to a survey conducted by a Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry institution."
Video games? Secret of youth
"Forget jigsaw puzzles or knitting. A centenarian from East Renfrewshire [Scotland]says the only way to keep her mind active is playing computer games on her beloved Nintendo DS," The Daily Telegraph reports. "Kathleen Connell, known as Kit, turned 100 last week but attributes her sharp mind to regular sessions on her hand-held games console. 'It's absolutely super, I can't speak highly enough of it. I don't know what I would do without it,' the grandmother of one said. 'I'll play it in the evening, then I'll have a break and a cup of tea, then I'll go back to playing my Nintendo.' … She proudly admitted that Brain Trainer had scored her a mental age of 64 years old – 36 years younger than her real age."
Our polluted oceans
"By some estimates, 46,000 pieces of plastic trash float in every square mile of ocean," says the Los Angeles Times. "Massive quantities of the waste, often tinier than salt grains, have created huge 'garbage patches' in ocean gyres, giant dead spots formed by currents and winds that push trash toward the becalmed centres. One of those, the Eastern Garbage Patch, midway between Hawaii and California, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas."
Why your team is best
"Now you have an excuse for thinking your team always performs best," says New Scientist. "Your brain perceives the actions of people in your own team differently to those of a rival team. Pascal Molenberghs at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, divided 24 volunteers into two teams and had them judge the speed of hand actions performed by two people, one from each team. As expected, most of the volunteers were biased toward their own team, judging their players as faster, even when the two actions were performed at identical speeds. Surprisingly, brain scans taken during the task showed that this bias arises from differences in brain activity during perception of the hand action and not during the decision-making process."
Thought du jour
"Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke."
- Lynda Barry (1956-), American cartoonist and author