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Social Studies

The shining hour, viva underdogs, checking out a roommate Add to ...

The shining hour

"The earliest-rising bee," BBC News reports, "catches the best flower and ultimately the best meal, according to research. A study has found that bees are better at learning new odours in the morning. This early brain power may have evolved to help the insects sniff out flowering plants and forage for nectar more efficiently. An experiment in which a team tested more than 1,000 bees is described in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. … The process of memorizing the new odours released by flowers is very energy intensive for the bees' brains, so being a little 'less clever' later in the day could help the insects to conserve that energy."

Viva underdogs

"Americans love the underdog whether it's in sports, in history or political campaigns - and in the brands they buy," Brad Wittwer writes for Miller-McCune magazine. "… Many Americans idealize the start-from-scratch-and-work-out-of-your-garage company that hits it big through hard work. Such bootstrapping firms have, or create for themselves, their own unique biography consisting of humble origins, a lack of resources and a noble, determined struggle against the odds. … Apple, certainly no longer an underdog ($222-billion [U.S.]market capitalization), routinely depicts itself as the embattled (and cooler) No. 2 to Microsoft, though it is in fact now No. 1."

Us is well-matched

"There is no shortage of niche dating sites, offering to serve everyone from women 'in their prime' seeking younger men to ladies hunting for wealthy men to married couples interested in extramarital affairs," The Huffington Post reports. "A new online dating website, You and Me Are Pure, has launched to help virgin singles meet other virgins online. The aim of the site, the creators explain, is 'to use virginity as a significant compatibility tool to bring people together. Some people may overlook the bonding power of virginity. Virginity as an important common aspect between people can lead to close friendships, or can even serve as a mutual precious gift of marriage.' "

Checking out a roommate

"As soon as he received his roommate assignment in the mail, Sam Brown did what any 17-year-old about to enter college would do: He looked him up on Facebook," Isaac Arnsdorf writes for The Wall Street Journal. "When Sam, who will be attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, couldn't find him, he turned to Google Earth. By searching the address the college provided, Sam could see aerial photos of his future roommate's house in Encino, Calif. - his lawn, his basketball hoop, the cars in his driveway, his pool. This online scouting - and the judgments students make based on what they see - are dramatically changing the time-honoured college practice of learning to live with a stranger freshman year."

How to spot drowning

A few ways to spot someone who's drowning or prevent a drowning from happening, The Boston Globe reports:

- Swimmers in distress still have the mental or physical capacity to call or wave for help. Swimmers who are actually drowning do not. Look for other signs.

- Look for someone "climbing the ladder" - vertical in the water, perhaps paddling but doing little or no kicking.

- Remember the two Qs: Drowning, especially for young children, is a quick and quiet event. Many drowning swimmers struggle for only 20 to 60 seconds.

How about My Way?

A busker who knows only two songs was arrested July 29 after threatening a British pub landlord who pleaded with him to learn how to play something else, The Daily Telegraph reports. "Dean Langley played Wonderwall by Oasis and American Pie by Don McLean over and over again for more than two hours before being approached by a pub landlord who pleaded with him to stop playing or learn another tune." He was arrested for begging in a public place and using abusive words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress, and pleaded guilty to both charges.

Thought du jour

"The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity."

- George Carlin

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