Biggest threat to apes
"For smugglers, a great ape can be more profitable than marijuana," says the New Scientist. "Once, apes were killed for bush meat and turned up on butchers' slabs across Africa. Now they are lucrative contraband, captured live and whisked on private airlines from remote landing strips in the African bush to amusement parks and the private collections of drug lords, tycoons and dictators in China, the Middle East and southeast Asia. This trade is now a greater threat to the survival of great apes than either bush meat or the destruction of their forest habitat, a study by the UN Environment Program concludes."
Get a boost from spring
"The Mozart Effect – the notion that listening to certain pieces of classical music can boost one's brainpower – was initially embraced, widely popularized, and then largely debunked," writes Tom Jacobs in Pacific Standard magazine. " Now, new research from Britain has found cognitive benefits from listening to one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire: Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. In an experiment, the work's evocative Spring section, 'particularly the well-recognized, vibrant, emotive and uplifting first movement, had the ability to enhance mental alertness and brain memories of attention and memory,' reports Northumbria University psychologist Leigh Riby. He describes his study in the journal Experimental Psychology."
Snow sculpture gets ticket
"Traffic wardens slipped up in Germany when they left a parking ticket – on a full-sized snow sculpture of a Volkswagen Beetle," says Orange Co. UK. "Pranksters had built the car overnight in a no-parking zone in Aachen, complete with outlines for its headlights, windshields and even the distinctive VW badge on the hood. 'It was incredibly realistic looking. It looked like you could get into it and drive way once you'd swept the snow off,' said one local. The wardens eventually realized they'd been had when they tried to scrape the snow off the licence plate and found there was no plate, just snow."
Fake fingers fool clock
A doctor in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was arrested after being caught in the act of using fake fingers made of silicone and imprinted with real fingerprints to defraud a hospital's biometric punch-in clock, reports Associated Press. The O Globo newspaper says the doctor, Thauane Nunes Ferreira, was detained and released Sunday. Police said the suspect confessed to using different fake fingers bearing the prints of 11 fellow doctors and 20 nurses to pretend they were showing up to work five overnight shifts each month instead of just one. Ferreira will face a charge of falsifying a public document and could get two to six years in prison.
Monster insects on the way
"One of the most ferocious insects you've ever heard of – it's the size of a quarter – is set to invade Florida this summer," reports Live Science. The Sunshine State can expect to see an explosion of shaggy-haired gallinippers, a type of giant mosquito. "As insects go, gallinippers are particularly formidable. Their eggs lie dormant for years, awaiting the floodwaters that will enable them to hatch. Even in their larval stage, gallinippers are so tough they'll eat tadpoles and other small aquatic prey. And as adults, the voracious pests feed day and night. … Their bodies are strong enough to bite through clothing, and they're known to go after pets, wild animals and even fish."
Go for a walk
"Americans are more sedentary than ever, government surveys show," reports The Wall Street Journal. People on average "take 5,117 steps a day, according to a 2010 study. … A good daily goal, by contrast, is 10,000 steps, according to the American Heart Association and other experts."
Thought du jour
"It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated."
John Ruskin, English art critic (1819-1900)