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You were always that way, dormant words, the arts today Add to ...

You were always that way

"New research suggests a strong link between personality traits observed in childhood and adult behaviour," Psych Central News reports. "Scientists reviewed data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse elementary schoolchildren in Hawaii. They then compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. What they discovered was surprising, said Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California-Riverside and lead author of the paper. … 'We remain recognizably the same person,' Nave said. 'This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts.' " The study will appear in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Dormant words

Millions of "non words" that failed to make the Oxford English Dictionary lie unused in a vault owned by the Oxford University Press, The Daily Telegraph reports. Some of them date back hundreds of years. The vault includes:

- Accordionated: being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time.

- Fumb: your big toe.

- Nonversation: a pointless chat.

- Optotoxical: a look that could kill, normally from a parent or spouse.

- Peppier: a waiter whose sole job is to offer diners ground pepper, usually from a large pepper mill.

- Polkadodge: the dance two passing people do when they try to avoid each other but move in the same direction.

- Whinese: the language spoken by children on long trips.

- Wurfing: surfing the Internet at work.

The arts today

"Matej Kren built a folly, entirely out of books, in the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna," Rob Beschizza writes for BoingBoing.net. "Named Scanner, the installation is designed to create a destabilizing individual experience." The artist's statement explains: "The narrow inside space, multiplied and complicated by mirrors, evoke a sensation of sublime terror, an alteration referring to a puzzling infinity itself created to destabilize conventional spatial habits. Mirrors become an instrument to create illusion and, at the same time, to unmask it. Since the public can easily see themselves reflected in a false infinite - thus discovering the illusion - the problem becomes the latency of perception."

UFOs, then and now

- Until recently, British bookies were offering 100-1 odds that Prime Minister David Cameron or U.S. President Barack Obama would admit the existence of aliens within a year. Published claims that Winston Churchill suppressed a report of a UFO sighting during the Second World War to prevent public "panic," have prompted oddsmakers to slash this to 80-1. "We have had loads of calls. There are thousands of believers out there, many of whom are putting their money on an imminent announcement," said a spokesman for bookmaking firm William Hill.

- Michael Largo, author of the recently published God's Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns and Other Victims of Man's Eternal Search for the Divine, has collected anecdotes about the world's strangest religions. Benyamin Cohen writes for TheDailyBeast.com that among his stories is that of "Mrs. Marion Keech of Missouri, [who]used to get collect calls from aliens. At least, that's what she told people. It was the 1950s and the public believed lots of things. Mrs. Keech took careful notes of her extraterrestrial communications and informed America that a flood would destroy the world on Dec. 21, 1954. But those who joined Keech's cult could board a spaceship leaving her front yard at the stroke of midnight just barely avoiding the apocalypse."

Other source: Orange News U.K.

Our bedroom's a cave?

A study by German psychologists finds that people's preferences regarding the placement of bedroom furniture reflect the safety concerns of our cave-dwelling ancestors, Miller-McCune.com reports. Researchers at the University of Munich gave floor plans to 138 volunteers, divided in half between men and women. They found:

- 83 per cent of the participants "positioned the bed in such a way that it offered a view of the door from the resting position," allowing them to quickly recognize an intruder.

- 70 per cent of subjects "positioned the bed to the wall opposite the door without leaving space between bed and wall," they report. "Hence, a significant majority of the participants chose the maximum possible distance between bed and door."

- 74 per cent positioned the door on the left side of the room if the door opened to the left, while 64 per cent positioned it on the right if the door opened to the right. This placement allows those in bed to detect when the door is opened "without being immediately visible to the person entering the room."

Thought du jour

"Debauchery is liberating because it creates no obligations. In it you possess only yourself; hence it remains the favourite pastime of the great lovers of their own person."

- Albert Camus

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