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Don't forget your meds, cousin of T. rex?, how we laugh

Third time lucky, chaps

Officials in Birmingham, England, apologized for typos in voting cards mailed out to replace a previous round of misprinted cards, United Press International reports.

Don't forget your meds

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A new study has found that changes in daily behaviour have a significant effect on whether people remember to take their medication, and that these changes affect older and younger adults differently, Psych Central News reports. "We've found that it is not just differences between people, but differences in what we do each day, that affect our ability to remember to take medication," says Dr. Shevaun Neupert, lead author of a paper describing the research. "… [We]learned that these changes in daily behaviour also affect different age groups in different ways. For example, young people do the best job of remembering to take medication on days when they are busier than usual," the researcher said. "But older adults do a better job of remembering their medication on days when they are less busy. … We've found such a disparity between young and old adults that it's clear we need to tailor our messages to these two groups."

Fight, fight, fight

"After the stress of her job became too much for her to handle," reports, "one young woman in Tokyo decided to quit and channel her energy into brightening the days of workers feeling the same stress. Since August, 2009, this young Tokyo cheerleader gets up every morning to cheer for the morning commuters outside a busy train station."

Cousin of T. rex?

"A newfound ant-eating dinosaur was one of the smallest known and also one of the best adapted for running, scientists revealed," Charles Q. Choi writes for LiveScience. "A farmer discovered the fossil skeleton of the roughly foot-and-a-half-long [45 centimetre]creature, named Xixianykus zhangi, in southern Henan in China. … The dinosaur was a theropod, which includes famous carnivores such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor."

How we laugh

"All language groups laugh 'ha-ha-ha' basically the same way," says Baltimore neuroscientist Robert Provine. "Whether you speak Mandarin, French or English, everyone will understand laughter.… There's a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound." Each "ha" is about one-fifteenth of a second, repeated every fifth of a second, he told Associated Press. Laugh faster or slower than that and it sounds more like panting or something else. Deaf people laugh without hearing, and people on cellphones laugh without seeing, illustrating that laughter isn't dependent on a single sense but on social interactions, the neuroscientist said.

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Hyenas' food fights

The giggling sounds of a hyena contain important information about the animal's status, scientists say. In the first study to decipher the hyena's so-called "laugh," they have shown that the pitch of the giggle reveals a hyena's age, BBC News reports. What is more, variations in the frequency of notes used when a hyena makes a noise convey information about the animal's social rank. This is usually done while fighting over food, researchers found. From a study of 26 captive animals in California, they note:

- Spotted hyenas make up to 10 different types of vocalization.

- "Whoops," with long inter-whoop intervals, are primarily used to signal that two individuals have become separated.

- Grunts or soft growls are used when hyenas of the same clan come into close contact.

Pictures too good

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A British photography student was told by staff at the Boots drugstore chain that they would not print her pictures - because they appeared to be of professional standard, The Daily Telegraph reports. "Joanna Ornowska, 25, photographed her pregnant best friend Malgorzata Kulinsha last week so that Ms. Kulinsha could show her family the pictures. But the pair were astonished when Boots refused to print the pictures because they suspected they were professional shots illegally downloaded on the Internet. The chain's policy on copyright means it is illegal to print photographs taken by a professional photographer without permission." A Boots spokesman later admitted the store had been overly cautious.

Thought du jour

"Some people do not become thinkers simply because their memories are too good."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

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