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facts & arguments

How to get that raise

"A New York real estate company is offering a 15-per-cent raise to employees who get the company's logo tattooed on their bodies," says United Press International. Rapid Realty owner Anthony Lolli said he was inspired by an employee who decided to get a tattoo of the company's logo without wanting anything in return. "He calls me up, he says, 'Hey, Anthony, I'm getting the logo on me.' I show up at the shop and I'm, like, 'this is cool, how can I repay you?'" Lolli said. He said a total of 40 employees have now been inked with the company's logo and have been rewarded with 15-per-cent pay raises. Lolli said there are no restrictions on the location or size of the tattoo and the company picks up the bill.

Brisk start to melt season

"After a record loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean last year, the 2013 melt season has begun at the top of the world, with ice vanishing in April at a faster pace than it did this time last year," reports The Christian Science Monitor. "Summer sea ice – a key player in Earth's climate system and one whose decline is widely taken as a prominent sign of global warming – has been shrinking in extent since satellites first started to build a consistent record of ice in late 1978. … Whether the start of the 2013 thaw presages another record melt is unclear."

Paint could power homes

"Houses could be painted with a new super-material that generates electricity from sunlight and can even change colour on request, following new research," says The Daily Telegraph. "Scientists at the University of Manchester used wafers of grapheme, the discovery of which won researchers a Nobel Prize, with thin layers of other materials to produce solar-powered surfaces. The resulting surfaces, which were paper-thin and flexible, were able to absorb sunlight to produce electricity at a level that would rival existing solar panels. These could be used to create a kind of 'coat' on the outside of buildings to generate power needed to run appliances inside while also carrying out other functions, too, such as being able to change colour."

The dog burned my homework

A Northern California couple might be able to blame this one on the dog, says Associated Press. Authorities say sun refracted by the dog's shiny water bowl ignited a fire at the home of Terry and Shay Weisbruch in Santa Clara last Wednesday. The fire was quickly put out but it left a hole in the siding. A fire department engineer helped discover the role of the dog's bowl in the blaze. During his investigation, he returned the bowl to its original position and found it concentrated the light right on the area of the home that was charred.

We crave important work

"If you're looking for low-cost labour on the Internet, you would be wise to frame the assignment as something significant," writes Tom Jacobs for Pacific Standard magazine. "That's the conclusion of newly published research, which takes the truism that man craves meaning … and applies it to the contemporary practice of online piecemeal work." The more a monotonous Internet project is perceived as meaningful, "the more likely a subject is to participate, the more output they produce, the higher-quality output they produce, and the less compensation they require for their time," say researchers in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization. What's more, they add, this applies across cultures, equally affecting workers in India and the United States.

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