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Hot young mentors, cycling in cities and advertising that smells

Made a mess, sweetie?

"Do you greet each other with excitement, overlook each other's flaws and easily forgive bad behaviour? If it's your pet, the answer is probably yes. But your spouse? Probably not," Tara Parker-Pope writes for The New York Times. "In an article on Psych Central, clinical psychologist Suzanne Phillips of Long Island University explores what our relationships with pets can teach us about our relationship with a spouse or romantic partner. … People often describe pets as undemanding and giving unconditional love, when the reality is that pets require a lot of time and attention, special foods and care. They throw up on rugs, pee in the house and steal food from countertops. Yet we accept their flaws because we love them so much."

No sushi for you

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"Mom's old adage of finishing everything on your dinner plate has been given a new, hard-line interpretation by one brave Japanese chef in Australia. Failure to sufficiently clean your plate at Yukako Ichikawa's restaurant, Wafu, will see you banned from returning to the popular Sydney eatery. '[When they try to return,]if I remember their face, I say no,' Ichikawa said. … Diners able to polish off their old-fashioned Japanese meal get 30 per cent off their bill and an invitation to join Ichikawa's exclusive list of more than 800 regulars."

Source: The Japan Times

Hot young mentors

"Students seeking success should look for mentors among rising young stars instead of established big names in their field, according to the first large-scale study of mentorship," Jeremy Hsu reports for LiveScience. "Such findings might also extend beyond academia to business, the military and the arts, if future studies of mentorship come up with similar results." Researchers studied a sample of 7,259 mathematicians who graduated between 1900 and 1960. "The networking data showed that successful academics did a much better job mentoring students during the first third of their careers, rather than the last third of their careers. 'What we observe is that when protégés select mentors who are relatively young prospective hotshots, they in turn become hotshots themselves,' said Dean Malmgren, a chemical and biological engineer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. By contrasts, students who hoped to ride the coattails of a big-shot mentor late in that person's career fared less well."

Cycling in cities

"Cycling to work may seem the healthy option, but a study has shown that people riding in cities inhale tens of millions of toxic nanoparticles with every breath, at least five times more than drivers or pedestrians," Jonathan Leake reports for The Sunday Times of London. "The research involved fitting cyclists with devices that could count the particles, mostly emitted by car exhausts, in the air they were breathing. … 'This is the first time anyone has counted the particles while also measuring people's breathing during city commuting. It showed that cyclists can inhale an astonishing number of pollutant particles in one journey,' said Luc Int Panis of the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study."

The arts today

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A British artist has abandoned a bid to throw a million stones into the sea after running out of cash, Britain's The Sun reports. Pete Codling, 40, spent 16 years hurling 500,000 pebbles bearing numbers, patterns and messages. "It started in 1994 as a giant artwork," the sculptor said. The project, which cost thousands, was funded by local sponsors and the Arts Council.

Advertising that smells

"It's not just the picture of beef on a new billboard in North Carolina that tries to catch drivers' attention, it's the aroma coming from the sign," Associated Press reports. "The billboard … in central North Carolina emits the smell of black pepper and charcoal to promote a new line of beef available at the Bloom grocery chain. … A Bloom spokeswoman says the billboard will emit scents from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day until June 18."

Online porn

Some statistics from

- A full 12 per cent of websites on the Internet are pornographic.

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- A quarter of search engine queries (around 68 million a day) are related to porn.

- The top pornography-related search items are "sex," "adult dating" and "porn." There are some 116,000 searches for "child pornography" daily.

- Sunday is the most popular day for viewing porn online. U.S. Thanksgiving is the least popular day.

- Twenty per cent of men and 13 per cent of women say they have watched porn online while at work.


Fish can be ugly?

"In a study of tropical guppies, scientists have found that the less attractive males have 'better sperm,' " BBC News reports. "The research revealed that colourful, flamboyant-looking males 'invest' in their appearance at the expense of their sperm quality. This suggests, the scientists say, that there is a trade-off between different characteristics that help the male to reproduce." The study, described in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, was carried out by Prof. Jonathan Evans at the University of Western Australia.

Thought du jour

"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick."

- Gwyneth Paltrow

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