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The fakes were forged, one fast table, one early blob Add to ...

The fakes were forged

"A Dresden court has sentenced a woman for forging copies of masterpieces made by Konrad Kujau, famous as the author of the Hitler Diaries," Der Spiegel reports. "Copies of his copies allegedly earned the convict €300,000 [$394,000] … A woman claiming to be the great-niece of Konrad Kujau, author of the mother of all forgeries, the Hitler Diaries, has been convicted of selling forged versions of paintings made by Kujau in his later years, themselves copies of famous masterpieces. … A talented artist, Kujau, who died in 2000, turned to producing fakes in the late 1980s following his four-year stint in prison for fraud stemming from the Hitler Diaries case. Though clearly marked as fakes, Kujau's newfound fame meant that people were willing to pay up to €3,500 [$4,600]for his work. He also sold many of his own pieces."

New workout for guys?

"Ever wished you had a great voice - one that was deeply sensual and rich?" The Times of India asks. "All admirable voices share one common characteristic - a degree of warmth, almost like a blanket. But if you were under the impression that such sounds were the stronghold of the singing fraternity, think again. Men today want rich resonant vocals to impress their ladies. And those yearning for the baritone of choice are now heading to voice gyms. These gyms are full-fledged fitness centres that monitor the use of vocal cords."

Chess, not cruelty

Australian entertainment news:

- "Playing a game of pool or darts at your local may seem as natural as having a schooner or a pot," News.com.au reports. "But try having a relaxing game of chess and things could quickly turn to 'check mate.' Melbourne couple Jasmine Costello and Richard Putnam hope to fill this gap in the market after winning a $10,000 [$9,550 Canadian]business grant to start a chess bar they are calling Chess-Nuts."

- "A circus act featuring the swallowing and regurgitation of a live fish has been banned in Australia," Orange News U.K. website reports. "The Great Moscow Circus's show in Sydney features the fish-puking feat, but authorities have deemed it cruel to the fish, reports The Metro. The New South Wales Department of Industry and Investment stepped in after members of the public complained, saying the act breaches the Animals Protection Act."

Where lies your brow?

"If I told you my taste in movies, would you be able to tell me what kind of music I listen to? How about my favourite reading material, or taste in television?" Tom Jacobs writes for Miller-McCune magazine. "Peter Jason Rentfrow can - and it's no parlour trick. The Cambridge University psychologist is lead author of a new study that finds a person's entertainment choices tend to share certain basic characteristics, which may or may not be immediately obvious. 'Individuals prefer genres that share similar content, irrespective of the medium through which it is conveyed,' he and his colleagues write in the Journal of Personality." The highbrow/lowbrow split is alive and well. The researchers conclude that people's tastes can be broken down into five "entertainment-preference dimensions": aesthetic (which includes classical music, art films and poetry), cerebral (current events, documentaries), communal (romantic comedies, pop music, daytime talk shows), dark (heavy-metal music, horror movies) and thrilling (action-adventure films, thrillers, science fiction). The first two are labelled highbrow, while the final three are labelled lowbrow.

One fast table

"Perry Watkins, an inventor from Buckinghamshire, is thought to have set a world record for the fastest piece of furniture after driving his dining table down a racetrack at more than [180 kilometres an hour]" The Daily Telegraph reports. "The 47-year-old piloted the Queen Anne table, set for a silver service dinner, twice down a 500-metre track at Santa Pod, Nottinghamshire, last weekend. The table, named Fast Food, reached a top speed of [209 km/h]and averaged [183 km/h] comfortably eclipsing the [148 km/h]set by a sofa in 2007."

One early blob

" 'We think we have found the oldest fossil animals in Earth history,' says Adam Maloof. The geologist at Princeton University is referring to a jumble of fossilized blobs, discovered on Australia's Flinders Ranges, which he believes are the remains of ancient sponges," New Scientist magazine reports. " Maloof's team dated the fossils to 650 to 640 million years ago - making them around 90 million years older than the next oldest animal fossils. Sponges are the most primitive living animals. … To identify the sponges, Maloof's team ground down a fist-sized lump of rock a fraction of a millimetre at a time, taking hundreds of images in the process to create a three-dimensional map of the fossil."

The worm turns

"You don't really think of the humble earthworm as a predator," BBC Focus magazine reports, "but for live seeds and seedlings, that's exactly what it is, says a new study in the journal Soil Biology and Biochemistry. The new findings could mean a complete rethink of the creature's role in a plant community."

Thought du jour

"All except the best men would rather be called wicked than vulgar."

- C.S. Lewis

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