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Sea cook, the cult of fun, self-serve wine stations Add to ...

Sea cook

"In Australia, a senior submarine cook with more than six years of experience earns $200,000 [Australian](about $187,000 U.S.) per year, the same as a junior admiral," says Walletpop.com. "The base pay is $58,806 per year, but the key is in the bonuses, which include a capability bonus of $40,000, seagoing allowance of $22,254, submarine service allowance of $26,703, and a bonus of $50,000 a year just for showing up for work, because the job is listed as 'critical to the navy.' "

Son of a cook

"[Last]Wednesday, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver announced the birth of his son, Buddy Bear Maurice - brother to Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela and Petal Blossom Rainbow," Linda Rosenkrantz writes for The Daily Beast website. "Perhaps Buddy Bear Maurice is not so strange in Hollywood. Just recently, Ever Carradine, actress and member of a multigenerational Hollywood dynasty, gave her baby daughter an equally out-of-the-box name: Chaplin Haddow. It got me wondering: Could there be an extreme-baby-naming gene that passes from generation to generation?"

After 55, chopped liver?

"Older men go on being physically attractive to women for at least a decade longer than they used to, a study has shown," The Daily Telegraph reports. "The modern man is capable of turning a woman's head up to the age of 55, while 30 years ago few women would have looked twice at a man over 45, the research showed. A greater emphasis on dressing well and keeping fit has dramatically improved the physical attractiveness of older men, according to the findings. … Baldness is no longer seen as a stigma, and even a slight paunch is unlikely to render a man unattractive to women, the study for Debenhams [department stores]found. Many women reported finding the greater financial security of older men reassuring because it represents a better life for their children."

I'll be a better emperor

"A seal made of white jade for the Chinese emperor Qianlong could fetch more than £5-million [$8-million]at auction," Steven Morris reports for The Guardian. "The seal is one of a set of three commissioned by the emperor and made in 1793. It features a dragon to represent the emperor and includes the motto: 'Self-strengthening never ceases.' "

The cult of fun

"These days many companies are obsessed with fun," The Economist's Schumpeter column reports. "Software firms in Silicon Valley have installed rock-climbing walls in their reception areas and put inflatable animals in their offices. Wal-Mart orders its cashiers to smile at all and sundry. The cult of fun has spread like some disgusting hemorrhagic disease. Acclaris, an American IT company, has a 'chief fun officer.' TD Bank, the American arm of Canada's Toronto-Dominion, has a 'Wow!' department that dispatches costume-clad teams to 'surprise and delight' successful workers. Red Bull, a drinks firm, has installed a slide in its London office."

Left-handed anger

"It's been known for some time that lefties and the ambidextrous are more prone to negative emotions," John Cloud writes for Time. "[A]new study shows that they also have a greater imbalance in activity between the left and right brains when they process emotions. Of course, you can't be sure which comes first: Maybe angry people are more out of balance, or maybe the inability to find equilibrium makes you angry. As for the left-handed: Maybe they're more angry because the world is designed for the right-handed majority."

Wipe yourself out

"For many, a limited conception of privacy is normal [these days]" Katie Beck writes for BBC News, "but there are some people who are now having second thoughts about how much of themselves to display to the world. … Gordan Savicic picked up on the fact that some people feel they have lost control online. He created a service to help people disconnect from social networks. Based in the Netherlands, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a website that logs into your accounts and deletes all of your data, friend-by-friend and post-by-post. There is quite a demand for the service. It has had about 90,000 requests so far and there is currently a month-long backlog."

Self-serve wine stations

What if you could bring your own container to the store for wine? Thekitchn.com asks. "Coming soon to American grocery stores are fill-your-own wine machines. The machines carry anywhere between 500 and 1,000 litres each and all you do is supply the container. By reducing the amount of packaging needed to contain and transport wine, there's a substantial savings that's able to be passed along to the consumer. Plus, it means you can take your adult beverage home in a container that actually fits in your fridge, in the amount you want. The machines contain red, white and rosé wines and should run around $2 (U.S.) a litre. They work the same way a self-service gas pump does: Just swipe your card at the machine, fill your container and it prints you a receipt."

Thought du jour

"A new broom sweeps clean, but an old one knows the corners."

- English saying

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