Belief in God
"A new report measures the strength of people's belief in God in 30 countries around the world, and how those beliefs have changed over time," reports The Huffington Post. The study, Beliefs About God Across Time and Countries, was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. "The researchers found the Philippines to have the highest and Japan to have the lowest number of strong believers, with close to 84 per cent of the respondents in the Philippines, and 4.3 per cent of the respondents in Japan indicating that they know God really exists and that they have no doubts about it. On average, 33.56 per cent of those surveyed worldwide identified as strong believers."
Texting at the movies
"Have you ever been totally engrossed in a movie on the big screen when all of a sudden the guy sitting right next to you starts glowing?" writes Michelle Maltais in the Los Angeles Times. "He decided to write an opus in text messages … Well, you might need to get used to it. A debate has begun to brew among theatre owners and CEOs at the annual industry convention in Las Vegas about whether to allow texting during movies, according to the Company Town blog. At a recent panel at CinemaCon, Regal Entertainment chief executive Amy Miles suggested that exhibitors consider allowing younger customers to use their cellphones during certain types of movies such as 21 Jump Street, the blog reported."
The price of obesity
"U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients," says Reuters. "The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960. [America's]rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled. But businesses, governments and individuals are only now coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds, many of which are even greater than believed only a few years ago: The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows."
Hello, what's all this?
"A photograph of a naked woman and a swan was taken down after a police officer complained that it appeared to 'condone bestiality,' an art gallery has claimed," The Daily Telegraph reports. "The Scream gallery in Mayfair [London]had exhibited the artwork for a month with no complaints from the public. The work is intended as a modern depiction of the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan. But a Metropolitan police officer who saw the Derrick Santini image from a bus was alarmed. He alerted his colleagues and two uniformed police officers went to the gallery … Jag Mehta, the sales director at the gallery, said she spoke to the officers and asked what the problem was. 'They said the photograph suggested we condoned bestiality, which was an arrestable offence,' she said. 'It's crazy. Perhaps the cultural references were lost on them.' As the exhibition was already over, they took down the artwork, which shows the animal ravaging the naked woman. 'They stood there and didn't leave until we took the piece down.'"
Caught by the ears
"Criminals beware – don't leave earprints," says Der Spiegel. "They are as useful to the police as fingerprints. A burglar in Germany made the mistake of pressing his ear to front doors to check if anyone was home. The unique prints have allowed the police to pin 96 burglaries on him. … The 33-year-old man from Macedonia was arrested and temporarily held in custody last December after committing a burglary in Kiel, police in Hamburg said in a statement. He has now been linked to the burglaries in Hamburg, some 90 kilometres south of Kiel, through matches of DNA, fingerprints and ear prints that were taken off him."
PhD joins work force
"A British man with 11 university degrees, including a doctorate in philosophy, said he took a job as a school crossing guard to give back to the community," reports United Press International. "Bruce Berry, a member of the high-IQ organization Mensa, said he took a job as a crossing guard five days a week near the Crofton School in Wakefield, England, The Sun reported … 'I love working for degrees but wanted to do something for the community. It's nice to get kiddies to and from school safely,' said Mr. Berry, who speaks five languages fluently."
Thought du jour
"The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible."
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)