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The Globe and Mail

Think you're nice? You probably have a bad credit score

Nice guy, poor credit

"An emerging trend is for companies to use credit scores as an employment screening tool," says Psych Central, but a new study to appear in the Journal of Applied Psychology "shows no connection between poor credit scores and theft – although some interesting connections were discovered. 'With regards to personality and credit – it makes sense that conscientiousness is related to good credit, but what was really interesting was that agreeableness was negatively related to your credit score,' said Jeremy Bernerth, PhD, assistant professor at Louisiana State University. 'That suggests easygoing individuals actually have worse credit scores than disagreeable and rude individuals,' he said. Such congenial people might get themselves in trouble by co-signing loans for friends or family or taking out additional credit cards at the suggestion of store clerks, according to Bernerth."

Academic behaving badly

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"A prominent European psychologist has admitted committing scientific fraud by fabricating data in dozens of studies, saying he has 'failed' as a scientist," says United Press International. "Diederik Stapel – who was suspended from his post at Tilburg University in the Netherlands in September after three junior researchers alleged scientific misconduct – had been responsible for a succession of attention-getting social psychology studies on topics including stereotyping and discrimination, and the effectiveness of advertising. The university released an interim report Monday concluding that dozens of papers, as well as 14 out of the 21 PhD theses Stapel had supervised, contained fabricated data."

Who gets to sleep in

For most Globe readers, the clock goes back this Sunday. "A total of 74 countries observe daylight-saving time," says The Independent. "Many countries near the equator don't bother changing their clocks as the length of daylight is consistent."

The malady lingers on

"Recently, I have been researching a book on the ever-increasing pace of modern life, and have been staggered by how familiar some ancient diagnoses now seem," writes Robert Colvile for The Telegraph. "In 1869, George Miller Beard identified a new disease, 'neurasthenia,' which resulted, he thought, from the exhaustion of the central nervous system's energy reserves. In his 1881 book, American Nervousness, he argued that the impact of the telegraph, railroads and steam power had caused an increase in neurasthenia, neuralgia, nervous dyspepsia, early tooth decay and premature baldness. 'We are under constant strain,' he wrote, 'mostly unconscious, oftentimes in sleeping as well as in waking hours, to get somewhere or do something at a definite moment.' "

Watering blue jeans

"From the cotton field in rural India to the local rag bin," says The New York Times, "a typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, Levi Strauss & Co. says, or enough to fill about 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home. The company wants to reduce that number any way it can, and not just to project environmental responsibility. It fears that water shortages caused by climate change may jeopardize the company's very existence in coming decades by making cotton too expensive or scarce. So to protect its bottom line, Levi Strauss has helped underwrite and champion a non-profit program that teaches farmers in India, Pakistan, Brazil and West and Central Africa the latest in irrigation and rainwater-capture techniques. It has introduced a brand featuring stone-washed denim smoothed with rocks but no water. It is sewing tags into all of its jeans urging customers to wash less and use only cold water."

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Thought du jour

"There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen."

- Alexandre Dumas, père (1802-70), French author

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