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facts & arguments


Space tourism expected to boom

"Commercial spaceflight and space tourism could become a $1.6-billion industry in the next decade, researchers told a congressional committee in Washington," says United Press International. "A joint study by the Tauri Group and the [U.S.] Federal Aviation Administration found here will be enough demand for such spaceflights to fill 400 to 500 seats per year, at an average price of $200,000 per seat … Demand at these prices was found to be 'genuine, sustained, and … sufficient to support multiple providers,' the study said."

How to loosen your tie

"With the summer as sweltering as it has been this year, dapper men in Manhattan have really gotten into the loose-tie look," writes Teri Agins in The Wall Street Journal. "A tutorial: Tie your tie (one with a little heft – not a skinny one) with a slightly looser knot, then slide it down an inch or so. Unbutton one or two of your top buttons. (If your shirt has a button-down collar, leave one or both of the collar buttons undone.) When your tie is slightly askew, you look finished in a jacket – a blazer or one of the newer slim-fit suits. Relaxed and formal, you're having it both ways – very Fred Astaire."

Smart soccer for fans

"Get the feeling your team's star player isn't pulling their weight? Next season, U.S. football fans will know for sure," says the New Scientist, as players in all 19 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams will wear a chip underneath their shirt that tracks heart rate, speed, acceleration and where they are on the field. The MLS-Adidas project will create the world's first so-called smart league. All the information will be available for the fans and the team coaches to view on an iPad app, letting them compare each player's performance and see who is coasting through the game – and who is busting a gut to win.

Trying to help daddy?

A young boy may have been responsible for causing his father's plane to land without its landing gear in California. "According to an FAA report, a 55 Baron T-42 Cochise plane landed on its belly at the Fallbrook Community Airpark Wednesday afternoon," says ABC San Diego's "Firefighters said a father and his six-year-old son were in the twin-engine four-seat plane. It was later determined that the boy apparently pulled the landing gear lever just as the plane touched down, retracting the landing gear and putting the plane on its belly. It skidded to a stop without injuring either passenger. … The propellers were bent, the flaps on both wings are no longer flat and the underside of the plane was scratched …There was no word on whether the boy has been grounded as well."

Cheetah breaks speed record

"The fastest cheetah on Earth has done it again, breaking her previous world record for the 100-metre dash and setting a new best time of 5.95 seconds," reports Stephanie Pappas at "This feat surpasses the fastest of all human 100-metre sprinters by almost four seconds. Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter now competing at the 2012 London Olympics, holds the human world record at 9.58 seconds in the 100-metre dash. Cheetahs, of course, are built to run faster than humans, regularly clocking speeds of up to around 60 miles an hour (96.5 kilometres an hour). During a photo shoot with National Geographic Magazine, a cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo named Sarah covered 100 metres at 61 mph (98 km/h)."

Who owns the North Pole?

"Danish geologists heading for the Arctic say their expedition could support a claim the North Pole belongs to Greenland and, by extension, to Denmark," says United Press International. "Seismic data they collect may support the claim of Denmark and Greenland, politically linked, to 60,000 square miles [155,399 square kilometres] of extra territory extending north from Greenland into the oil- and gas-rich Arctic sea floor, they said. The claim rests on whether an underwater formation extending north of Greenland called the Lomonosov Ridge qualifies as an extension of Greenland's land mass."

Tug-of-war with elephants

"Animal 'olympics' are under way in Changsha Ecological Zoo in China's Hunan Province," reports The Shanghai Daily. "Visitors play tug-of-war with elephants, compete with parrots in cracking sunflower seeds … The games will last for around two weeks. The zoo recently issued a call for 20 'warriors' to challenge the elephants in tug-of-war. Winners will be richly rewarded, the zoo said."

Thought du jour

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.


Greek philosopher (341-270 B.C.)

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