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Why practice doesn’t always make perfect

Practice is not enough

"New research suggests it takes more than just practice to reach an elite skill level," says Psych Central. "In the study, Michigan State University psychologist Dr. Zach Hambrick discovered a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people differ in level of skill in two widely studied activities: chess and music. Hambrick believes the findings confirm that it takes more than hard work to become an expert. … The debate over why and how people become experts has gone on for more than a century. Many theorists argue that thousands of hours of focused, deliberate practice is sufficient to achieve elite status, but emerging evidence points to innate talent as a contributing factor."

No worries, kangaroo's okay

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"An Australian politician taking his morning jog through the capital [Canberra] has been attacked by a kangaroo," The Guardian reports. Shane Rattenbury, a minister in the Australian Capital Territory government, said he was jogging in suburban Ainslie when he almost collided with an eastern grey kangaroo that had been grazing on a front lawn. "We both got a nasty fright – and of course when kangaroos are startled they lash out," the 41-year-old said. "As the kangaroo sought to escape, it landed on me and its claws dug into my leg." When the minister limped into Parliament a few hours after his ordeal, he was bemused that many colleagues seemed more concerned about the kangaroo's welfare. "I can assure people that the kangaroo is fine," he said. "It was last seen hopping off into the distance quite comfortably."

Tip for future rock stars

"Singer and songwriter Bret Michaels knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a rock star – and he has some surprising advice for hopeful musicians on how to keep your voice healthy for long performances," reports The Huffington Post. Michaels says getting proper rest is the best way to sustain high performance as a rock singer. "The thing that will kill you more than alcohol is being tired," he said. "If you're worn out and wiped out, your voice gets gravelly. I've been blessed with the ability for my voice to heal quickly. Don't get me wrong. Rock is tough … but if you can get a little sleep and exercise, it helps get that blood flowing."

Last ride is green

"An Oregon funeral home in Eugene offers natural burials where the ride to the person's final resting place is on the back of a three-wheeled bicycle," says Associated Press. "Sunset Hills Cemetery and Funeral Home director Wade Lind says he got the idea from bikers and he designed the pedal-powered hearse himself. It has an electric motor to give him a little help hauling the casket."

See Jane run

"Jane yawns and climbs the stairs from the subway at 145th Street, New York," says the New Scientist. "A stranger rises from a bench as she approaches, catching her eye. 'Jane Murphy?' She nods. 'Here's your package.' This is the ultimate aim of a crowd-powered delivery system dreamed up by a group of Microsoft researchers. Fictional Jane never has to deviate from her normal route to pick up her package. Instead, it is sent by a chain of people – an algorithm calculates the fastest route using aggregated location data from New York tweeters. Eric Horvath of Microsoft Research in Seattle calls the concept TwedEx. The idea could make it possible to deliver purchases to customers on the move, as well as making it cheaper to send them."

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Thought du jour

"Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time."

Henry Beston, American writer and naturalist (1888-1968)

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