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Social studies

Who needs a name when a number will do? Add to ...

What’s your number?

“Online, you can project whatever identity you like. But for some people, it’s easier to have no identity at all,” writes Breeanna Hare of CNN.com. “A new social networking site, Social Number, caters to those who have a preference for anonymity. Instead of a name or a handle or a thumbnail photo of themselves, users are identified only by a number. In this way, the site encourages users to discuss anything, from a bad job to a hot-button social issue to a substance-abuse problem without fear that the conversation could be connected to their real-world identity.” The site’s creator, who gives his name only as M.K., said: “I just felt that there was one site needed where people could just come and talk … freely and not worry about who’s going to read it and what’s going to happen.”

How to clean your glasses

Although there are countless products on the market claiming to wipe streaks away, the American Optometric Association recommends the most basic of options: dish detergent, kitchen-sink soap, says The Wall Street Journal. The best way to clean your glasses, according to Dr. Teri Geist, the AOA’s chairwoman, is to run them under warm water and put a tiny drop of dish-washing liquid on the tip of your fingers to create a lather on the lens. Then rinse with warm water, and dry with a clean, soft cotton cloth. “Everyone uses their shirt cloth – worst thing!” she says. “Your shirttail almost certainly carries dust, and that has the potential of scratching your lens.”

Your own mannequin

“Japanese apparel stores,” blogs Kevin Hartnett for The Boston Globe, “are testing a new way to attract shoppers: digital mannequins that model the piece of clothing you’ve just picked off the rack. The system uses an innovative hanger that signals a computer when it’s picked up by a consumer; the computer then displays the clothing on a model on a nearby screen. This technology is part of a trend among bricks-and-mortar retailers who are trying to match the personalized shopping experience provided online.”

Music to cough by?

“It may come as no surprise to anyone whose enjoyment of music has been ruined by a chorus of coughs, but it now appears they are not exaggerating the nuisance,” says The Telegraph Online. “Prof. Andreas Wagner, a German economist, said there were few statistics on the subject but all the existing research did indicate a strange increase in coughing among classical concert audiences. … He said the finding held true even when the demographic makeup of the average classical concert audience was accounted for. … [C]ertain types of music appear to attract more coughs. ‘It is the more modern pieces of 20th-century classical music; it is the more quiet and slow movements that are interrupted by coughs,’ Wagner said. ‘It is also non-random, in that coughing sometimes appears to occur in sort of avalanches or cascades through the audience.’”

Giving students good luck

“With examination season in full swing, hotels in Chiyoda Ward are offering various special services for examinees from outside Tokyo,” says the Daily Yomiuri Online, adding that there are 18 universities and colleges in the ward. Some hotels prepare goods considered lucky for students: the Hotel Niwa Tokyo prepares bento featuring a fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) for dinner as a play on katsu, which means to win; the Keio Presso Inn Kudanshita offers chopsticks labelled “bridge to the university of your choice;” and the Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu offers cherry blossom bath products – these are accompanied by a note saying, “We’re sure your cherry tree will bloom.” Cherry blossoms are associated with exam success.

Thought du jour

“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”

Oscar Wilde, Irish writer (1854-1900)

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