Why humans succeeded?
"The ability to throw objects fast and accurately helped to turn humans from a second-rate primate into one of the most successful species on the planet, a study suggests," reports The Independent. "Throwing enabled the ancestors of modern humans to defend themselves against dangerous predators, hunt big game, expand their diet, boost brain power and colonize almost every corner of the globe, scientists said. The skills that today enable top-class bowlers to deliver cricket balls at up to 160 km/h are the result of key evolutionary adaptations to the torso, shoulders and arms, which began nearly two million years ago, the researchers said." The study is published in the journal Nature.
Coffeehouse decides for couple
A Connecticut couple said they decided to let Starbucks customers vote on names for their expected son when they were unable to settle on a moniker, reports United Press International. Jennifer James, 25, and Mark Dixon, 24, put the question to customers at the Starbucks in New Haven they frequent, when unable to decide whether to name the boy Jackson or Logan. The choice was Logan, "by far," said Dixon. Jackson will be the boy's middle name. There were write-in votes, including Obama, Lincoln, Jebediah and Webster.
Rescued by a cockroach
"Scientists at North Carolina State University have invented remote-controlled cockroaches that they expect will be used as search-and-rescue animals, sent to disaster zones to hunt for survivors and relay back information that will help to map the damage," says The Christian Science Monitor. "To create a cyborg cockroach, scientists embed a chip with a wireless receiver and transmitter onto a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, making a somewhat endearing-looking little cockroach backpack. That backpack is wired to the cyborg's antennae and its sensory organs on its abdomen and can trick the hapless animal into believing it has bumped into a wall and must turn. In simulating walls, the scientists can effectively steer the insect."
Is glacier-surfing for you?
"Imagine this: Floating in freezing water for 20 hours a day, over seven excruciating days, beneath a 90-metre iceberg which may or may not collapse on you, crushing you to death," says CNN.com. "Why would anyone do this? To surf a wave, of course. The man crazy – or brave – enough to dream up such a challenge, is Garrett McNamara. The same man who surfed the world's biggest wave – a 24-metre monster – off the coast of Portugal in 2011. … In 2007, McNamara became the first person to surf a glacier wave – a wave created when a 75-metre chunk of ice broke off from a massive glacier in Alaska. As the block of ice plummeted into the Copper River, it created a two-metre high wave which McNamara surfed – the first and probably only person ever to ride such a swell. 'It was the closest I've ever come to death,' said the man who has surfed nine-storey waves on the most rugged coastlines in the world."
Why parents push
Tiger moms and sports dads, according to an investigation published in the journal PLoS One, are trying to mitigate their own failures by living through their children. That's not entirely surprising, notes Time magazine, but, as study coauthor Brad Bushman, professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University says: "Our research provides the first empirical evidence that parents sometimes want their child to become a physician when they themselves were rejected for medical school." The small-scale study was conducted in the Netherlands.
Thought du jour
"Working is so satisfying that if we didn't have to work to eat, we'd have to invent some other reason for doing it."
Andy Rooney, American writer (1919-2011)