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facts & arguments

A SkyTrain commuter train travels into downtown Vancouver in April, 2012. TransLink, the organization responsible for public transit in Metro Vancouver has been told to cut costs after seeking to raise fares in 2013.Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

Public transit and flu

"A new survey by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found that catching public transport does not increase your risk of getting the flu," reports The Daily Telegraph. "Researchers who surveyed nearly 6,000 people found that actually fewer people who caught public transport got ill than if they commuted in another way."

How's my dadding?

"With Father's Day approaching, new research suggests that just being a good parent may not be good enough; some researchers believe fathers must reach out and query their kids on how they are doing," says Psych Central. "Dr. Jeff Cookston, professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, believes there's a need for fathers to sometimes say to their kids, 'How am I doing? Am I the dad you need me to be?' Kids are actively trying to make sense of the parenting they receive … and the meaning that children take from the parenting may be as important, or more important, than the behaviour of the parents."

Weeds are everywhere

"All weeds are trespassers of a kind," writes Richard Mabey in Intelligent Life magazine, "but across boundaries which are as often cultural as topographical. Blacklists are so subjective that the only really practical definition is that a weed is a plant which gets up somebody's nose (literally, in the case of hay-feverish grasses). Plants get labelled as weeds if they're toxic, ugly, parasitic (i.e. immoral), aggressively loutish (giant hogweed) or just limp-wristedly 'weedy' (chickweed). In America, the Department of Agriculture, trying to find some unifying principle behind its own pragmatic lists, admits that 'over 50 per cent of our [America's] flora is made up of species that are considered undesirable by some segment of our society.'"

What, no cellphone?

Cellphones are now being used by 91 per cent of U.S. adults, according to the Pew Research Centre, which adds that the cellphone is the most quickly adopted consumer technology in the history of the world. However, some demographic groups lag behind others in the acceptance of the phones: people ages 65 and older, those who did not attend college, those living in households earning less than $30,000 (U.S.) a year, and those in rural areas.

Waste food, waste water

Tossing out food is both a waste of money and a waste of water, says U.S. National Public Radio. "According to the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, inside the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year worldwide is 45 trillion gallons of water. This represents a staggering 24 per cent of all water used for agriculture."

Mandarin, a plan, a canal

"Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications," reports The Guardian. "The president of the country's national assembly, Rene Nuñez, announced the $40-billion (U.S.) project, which will reinforce Beijing's growing influence on global trade and weaken U.S. dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans."

Bible is Norwegian bestseller

"It may sound like an unlikely No.1 bestseller for any country, but in Norway – one of the most secular nations in an increasingly godless Europe – the runaway popularity of the Bible has caught the country by surprise," says Associated Press. "The Scriptures, in a new Norwegian language version, even outpaced Fifty Shades of Grey to become Norway's bestselling book."

Thought du jour

"The events of childhood do not pass but repeat themselves like seasons of the year."

Eleanor Farjeon, English author (1881-1965)