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Chickens as pets

"Ingrid Dimock may be the world's only chicken entrepreneur," says Mental Floss magazine. "Over the years, the savvy Australian has grown her chicken breeding business City Chicks from a part-time affair to a thriving operation that ships ducks, turkeys and bees as well. But her first love is chickens, and she's partly built her business by advocating for them as household companions. As she told The Brisbane Courier-Mail: 'When you come home they are looking for you and they run up to you. … Ms. Dimock's most famous invention, the Chicken Nappy, is a fashionable diaper for indoor hens. … Ms. Dimock also makes 'bling for birds,' funky wristbands for identifying your chicken in a crowd, and chicken chandeliers – for when you want to give your old chicken coop a touch of class."

A scarcity of bosses

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"Only 27 per cent of people older than age 15 globally are working more than 30 hours a week for an employer, according to a new report from Gallup," says the Los Angeles Times. "The percentage is highest in North America, where it's 41 per cent. But in sub-Saharan Africa, just 12 per cent of adults work full time for a boss other than themselves. The European Union has 32 per cent of its population in such a situation. In the Middle East and North Africa, it's 18 per cent. That excludes those who are self-employed, working part-time, unemployed or out of the workforce."

Beautiful conformists

"The beautiful are different from you and me," says Pacific Standard magazine. "But not in the ways we think. That's the conclusion of new research from Israel, which confirms the truism that we idealize attractive people, and suggests that – at least as far as women are concerned – the pedestal we place them on is largely unearned. 'Despite the widely accepted "What is beautiful is good" stereotype, our findings suggest that the beautiful strive for conformity rather than independence, and for self-promotion rather than tolerance,' writes a research team led by Lihi Segal-Caspi of the Open University of Israel." The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

Wealth trumps opportunity

"The rhetoric is relentless: America is a place of unparalleled opportunity, where hard work and determination can propel a child out of humble beginnings into the White House, or at least a mansion on a hill," says "But the reality is very different, according to a University of Michigan researcher who is studying inequality across generations around the world. 'Especially in the United States, people underestimate the extent to which your destiny is linked to your background,' said Fabian Pfeffer, a sociologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research … 'Research shows that it's really a myth that the United States is a land of exceptional social mobility.' …[Dr. Pfeffer] found that parental wealth plays an important role in whether children move up or down the socioeconomic ladder in adulthood. And that parental wealth has an influence above and beyond the three factors that sociologists and economists have traditionally considered in research on social mobility – parental education, income and occupation."

Take a number

The mother of identical quadruplet boys shaved numbers into her sons' hair to help teachers and classmates tell them apart," Orange Co. U.K. reports. "Tan Chaoyun of Shenzen in China's Guangdong province shaved the six-year-olds' heads with the numbers one to four. She took the drastic step before they started elementary school because she was worried the boys would get mixed up. 'My sons are identical, even to me,' said Ms. Tan who reckons the only difference among them is the shape of their eyelids. 'I could only tell the difference between them by having different ankle tags on them before they turned 18 months old. Even now, their father can't tell which is which. Sometimes he punishes the second one for something the third one has done.' "

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High-calibre giveaways

One U.S. jeweller may have found a sure-fire way to get hunters to propose marriage to their girlfriends, says The Huffington Post. D. Geller and Son, a jewellery store in Atlanta, Ga., is offering a free hunting rifle worth $430 (U.S.) to anyone who buys $2,499 in diamonds from Sept. 20 through 22. The shop's website ad tells hunting fans they now don't have to choose between a diamond ring and a rifle this hunting season. "Gun giveaways with a diamond purchase may be a new thing, but guns have been a bonus item more than once in recent years. One car dealer in Missouri gave away free handguns with the purchase of a car in 2008. In 2011, a Montana Radio Shack gave away guns to customers who bought satellite TV service from the store."

Thought du jour

"The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their MP they have run out of better ideas."

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London (1964– )

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