Can your grandma do this?
Last week, a great-great-grandmother rappelled down a building in Hampshire, England, to celebrate her 99th birthday, BBC News reports. Doris Long of Hayling Island currently holds the world record for being the oldest person to rappel. She scaled Portsmouth University's 35-metre-high Mercantile House in a bid to break her own record and raise money for a hospice. Long, who completed her first rappel at 85, has carried out a total of eight descents for the charity. After her descent, the nonagenarian, who is also known as Daring Doris, said she was looking forward to her birthday party on Sunday.
Rich kids, expensive lessons
"In China, having too much money is a relatively new problem. But the rapidly growing country is second only to the United States in its number of billionaires," Louisa Lim reports for U.S. National Public Radio. Now an enterprising company, China Britain Financial Education, has set up a course for kids born into wealthy families who are learning how to deal with the excesses of extraordinary wealth. "Even for me, for all our teachers, we sometimes feel very surprised to hear how much pocket money they have," says Paul Huang, the head of research and development. "One girl told our teacher that each year at the spring festival, she might have more than $20,000 (U.S.) as pocket money." It's ironic, writes Lim, that learning the value of money comes at no small price: A year's lessons cost the parents almost $10,000.
Commute, fall in love
Transport officials in Prague said the capital city's trains will soon offer cars geared exclusively toward singles seeking to meet a special someone, United Press International reports. Ropid, the transport company, said details of the plan are still being worked out, but the idea is for singles to meet without having to sacrifice the time demanded by their jobs. "In the metro you can already read and learn, so why not find a partner?" said spokesman Filip Drapal. "We want to make life more pleasant. People today have no time to meet." Officials said they are conducting surveys of commuters to determine the interested age groups and the best time to operate the cars.
Prisoners' view of Gatsby
"Thanks to Baz Luhrmann's new movie, readers everywhere are taking a second look at The Great Gatsby. That includes the Connecticut prison where I conduct a class in literature," Joseph Cooper writes for The Christian Science Monitor. "Of course my student-inmates had their own unique take on the book – and it was a view much more pragmatic than romantic. The character they felt influenced Gatsby the most? Not Daisy Buchanan. She was dismissed as too obvious or too trivial. Instead, they favoured a character who surfaces only briefly: the gambler and unrefined 'reminiscer' Meyer Wolfsheim. … They also allocated some admiration to Gatsby. But what they felt mostly was envy mixed with incredulity – and disdain for his devotion to Daisy. ('Get over it, Slick. Move on, fellow.')"
Coworkers' layoffs stressful
"The recession obviously was bad for those who lost their jobs. But what about those who survived the cuts?" Kevin Lewis writes in The Boston Globe. "Researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine analyzed personnel and health claims data from aluminum company Alcoa to compare workers at plants that had experienced different proportions of layoffs. At plants that had experienced more layoffs, workers had an elevated risk of being diagnosed with hypertension, especially if they were hourly workers without tenure."
Thought du jour