Educated people on the move
"An Italian professor of math moves from Rome to New York state, a lawyer moves from Sydney to Hong Kong after a spell in the Cayman Islands in between, a Portuguese executive moves from Mexico City to Bogota, a violinist leaves Serbia for the U.K.," reports BBC News. "The movement of professional people on this scale was unimaginable 10 years ago. The cross-border migration of highly educated people from upper-middle income countries rose by 44 per cent between 2000 and 2006, according to a recently published study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In low-income countries, the cross-border movements also jumped significantly, by 28 per cent. "
Tracking the surf industry
"The California city that inspired Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the 1982 comedy film that did much to propagate the laid-back surfer image, is now home to the world's first Center for Surf Research," Associated Press reports. "And, no, it's not a clever way for college kids to earn their degrees by hanging out on the beach. Jess Ponting has heard those jokes. A sustainable-tourism professor, he recently founded the first-of-its-kind institute at San Diego State University with the aim of building a database and spreading awareness about what has evolved from a beach counterculture to a multibillion-dollar global industry, with both positive and negative impacts. Prof. Ponting was amazed to find how little research and critical analysis exists on the surf industry. … [T]ere is virtually no concrete data on just how big the board-carting crowd has become nor exactly how much money they generate. Scholars like Prof. Ponting estimate surf fever has caught on in more than 100 countries, while the U.S. surf industry alone generates an estimated $7-billion [U.S.]annually, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association."
Teaching penguins to swim
"When it comes to water, penguins aren't naturals," says The Baltimore Sun. "As a matter of fact, 'Some of them are terrified,' says Bethany Wlaz, a keeper at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. So each time African penguins are born into the zoo's breeding program for the endangered birds, someone like Wlaz becomes their swimming coach. But first comes the equally terrifying introduction to being wet. Soft as a cotton ball and about the size of a roasted chicken, Male One – hatched on Oct. 12 – is lowered into a stainless-steel sink by Wlaz and Betty Dipple, another animal keeper. 'Araaah, the bird protests, as a stream of lukewarm water washes over its head and flippers. 'Araaah.' Back and belly, tail feathers and webbed feet, nothing escapes the faucet. Five minutes later, the penguin's first bath is in the can. … Once [the birds]get the hang of being wet, the keepers will fill a small pool halfway with water and shoo the birds in. This march of the penguins will happen three times a day, every day, until the lessons take. … 'For each bird, it will click at a different point,' [Wlaz said] 'Some we'll put in and they'll take to it. Some will run and jump out like it's molten lava. One day they realize that it's the coolest thing in the world and they start diving and swimming, and then it's pretty much impossible to get them out.' "
Racism and robots
"Robots promise an enhanced quality of life, notwithstanding the risks – which are amply conveyed by books and movies about robots gone wrong," says The Boston Globe. "But do robots know the risks of associating with humans – including the possibility of being trapped by human stereotypes? Germans were asked to evaluate the same anthropomorphic robot that was either named ARMIN and supposedly developed at a German university, or named ARMAN and supposedly developed at a Turkish university. Germans attributed more warmth and emotion, and felt closer, to ARMIN than ARMAN."
Swedish subway fare dodging
"Want to ride the subway in Stockholm but don't want to drop about $115 [U.S.]for a monthly pass?" asks The New York Times magazine. "For $15 a month, a nonprofit group called Planka.nu (rough translation: free ride now) offers an insurance policy that will pay the $175 fine if you get caught. While the group thinks public transportation should be free, authorities definitely don't. They're spending millions of dollars to replace turnstiles with unhoppable glass panels. Undeterred, Planka.nu posted YouTube videos showing how to sneak through the new gates. The simplest method: follow closely behind a paying customer."
Thought du jour
"Take heed: Most men will cheat without scruple where they can do it without fear."
Thomas Fuller (1654-1734)
English physician and writer