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Happiness has a drawback?

"Being happy in and outside of work makes us more productive, but is there ever a time when too much happiness is a bad thing?" asks the New Scientist. " 'There are case studies that seem to show that paradox,' says sociologist Brendan Burchell of the University of Cambridge." For instance, Joe Forgas at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, found that after giving students positive feedback, they tended to behave more selfishly than those who had received bad feedback. Being grumpy, it seems, might turn people into better team players.

Daydreaming is a pitfall?

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"Heather Kappes and Gabriele Oettingen recently published a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggesting that the more clearly you visualize success, the less motivated you are to actually try to achieve it," Nancy Darling, PhD, writes for Psychology Today. "… Past research has found that people who spontaneously dream about a rosy future tend to have lower achievement. That research is interesting, especially in that it flies in the face of a lot of popular psychology ideas about 'visualizing success.' It's also depressing for those among us who are chronic daydreamers and hope that our fantasies will help us to build a positive future."

A deep voice not so manly?

"Men with deep voices have lower sperm counts than their counterparts, researchers have discovered," The Daily Mail reports. "With studies finding that women rate men with deep voices as being more dominant, older, healthier and more masculine, scientists from the University of Western Australia tried to discover if they are also more fertile. They recorded men saying the five vowels and calculated the pitch of their speech. The tapes were played back to women, who rated them for attractiveness. Finally, sperm samples were analyzed. The women judged the lower-pitched voices as more attractive, but those men had lower sperm counts, the journal PLoS ONE reports. The biology behind the phenomenon may be quite simple, with high levels of the male sex hormone testosterone impeding sperm production."

When copying is sacred

"Swedish authorities have officially recognized the Missionary Church of Kopimism, founded in 2010 on the belief that copying and sharing files over the Internet is a sacred act, as an official religion, TorrentFreak reports. Chief Missionary Isak Gerson, who founded the Church of Kopimism last year as a 19-year-old philosophy student, led the year-long effort to gain freedom of religion protection under the Swedish constitution," says The Huffington Post. "With membership tripling from 1,000 to 3,000 in the last half of 2011, the church's followers – known as 'Kopimists' – knew that the official recognition was essential if they wanted to continue practising their religious system, which considers file-sharing to be a holy act akin to prayer or meditation."

Studying architecture?

"Recent [U.S.]college graduates with bachelor's degrees in the arts, humanities and architecture experienced significantly higher rates of joblessness, according to a study" by Georgetown University, The Washington Post reports. "… [T]ose with the highest rates of unemployment had undergraduate degrees in architecture (13.9 per cent), the arts (11.1 per cent) and the humanities (9.4 per cent), according to the study. The recent college graduates with the lowest rates of unemployment had degrees in health (5.4 per cent), education (5.4 per cent) and agriculture and natural resources (7 per cent). Those with business and engineering degrees also fared relatively well."

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The allure of the cowboy

"To hundreds of millions of people across the planet," Mark Gottlieb writes for The Christian Science Monitor, "when you say 'American' you are really saying 'cowboy.' … In many places around the world, the fascination with cowboys and the American West reveals itself in music. I have heard home-grown country bands from Austria to Australia, and all have been terrific. Indeed, one of the most popular musical groups in Nagoya, Japan, is Cussy & The Aus City Limits, a local bunch that performs with such skill and enthusiasm that I once told pedal steel guitar player Hideo 'Buddy' Hebisawa that he should be playing in Nashville, Tenn. He laughed heartily at that, but then he assumed a serious mien and bowed his thanks for the compliment."

Thought du jour

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

Anatole France (1844-1924)

French author

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