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Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi arrives to give television interviews at a hotel in Tripoli March 8, 2011 (AHMED JADALLAH/AHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS)
Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi arrives to give television interviews at a hotel in Tripoli March 8, 2011 (AHMED JADALLAH/AHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS)

Gadhafi awarded himself the title King of Culture Add to ...

Renaissance man?

"[Moammar Gadhafi's]official title is 'Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,' " Stephen Kurczy writes for The Christian Science Monitor. "He doesn't stop there. Gadhafi has also awarded himself the title 'King of Culture.' Why? Maybe it's his colourful costumes, from mustard yellow to royal purple. Personally, I think it's got to be the massive black pin of the African continent that he sports sometimes. Now that's bling."

Homeless man builds car

Orismar de Souza, a homeless man in Brazil, built the car he couldn't buy, using junk, spare parts, a hammer and a chisel, MSNBC reports. "Four years later, the 'shrimpmobile' has him back on his feet. Souza, 35, had to panhandle in the Brazilian city of Sao Jose de Piranhas and go hungry for four months in order to raise the initial $270 [U.S.]he needed for sheet metal, which he cut into shape using a borrowed hammer and chisel. He scrounged a 125-cc motorcycle engine, and gathered other junked parts from all over the region. While Souza had decorated and traded metal cans as a child in exchange for food and clothes, he had no other experience in working with metal, and almost gave up when the steelwork became too difficult. … The mostly Fiat shrimpmobile can reach [80 kilometres an hour]on the highway, and Souza has been able to use it to find a home and a job in the local sugar-cane fields."

Diversified dads

"More than one-quarter of women in the United States with two or more children have had children with different men, a new study shows," HealthDay News reports. "University of Michigan demographer Cassandra Dorius analyzed data from nearly 4,000 women who were past their childbearing years and had been interviewed more than 20 times over 27 years as part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The analysis revealed that 28 per cent of the women with two or more children had children by different fathers. … Factors that increased the likelihood that a woman would have children by different fathers included if they weren't living with a man when they gave birth, and if they had low income and less education."

I love me so much

"Vocalists often warm up by singing, 'Mi, mi, mi, mi, mi,' " Miller-McCune reports. "But increasingly, the songs they perform - or at least those that make the top 10 lists - are odes to 'me, me, me, me, me.' Clear evidence of American society's increasing narcissism can be found in our best-selling popular songs. That's the conclusion of a study just published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. Compared to a quarter-century ago, 'Popular music lyrics now include more words related to a focus on the self,' reports a team of researchers led by University of Kentucky psychologist C. Nathan DeWall. … The researchers found the use of first-person plural pronouns (we, us, our) declined over the years, while the use of first-person singular pronouns (I, me, mine) increased. Words reflecting anger or antisocial behaviour (hate, kill, damn) became more prevalent over the 28-year period."

Dark feathers and health

"Darker-coloured pigeons are healthier, researchers in France have discovered," BBC News reports. "A study of urban pigeons in central Paris has shown that birds with higher levels of the dark pigment melanin have stronger immune systems. They are also better able to fend off parasites. Writing in the Journal of Avian Biology, the researchers say the findings may help explain why different-coloured birds have adapted to different environments. … [T]ere are higher populations of dark-feathered birds in urban areas, where parasite prevalence is higher."

When ravens reconcile

"Ravens often squabble with each other, but they usually kiss and make up afterward, new research suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. "Scientists found that after a bout of fighting - chasing and pecking each other - the birds would then stop and switch to offering tender loving care. This behaviour, which involved touching beaks and preening, was especially striking as the birds are not known for their affectionate ways. Monitoring a group of seven captive ravens ( Corvus corax), Dr. Orlaith Fraser of the University of Vienna and colleague Thomas Bugnyar found that pairs of birds were more likely to be friendly to each other if they had fought each other in the previous 10 minutes. 'It wasn't just standard friendly behaviour,' Dr. Fraser told the New Scientist. 'Rather the ravens sat touching each other, and sometimes touched their beaks together or preened each other.' "

Thought du jour

"The only thing one can be proud of is having worked in such a way that an official reward for your behaviour cannot be envisaged by anyone."

- Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French writer and filmmaker

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