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Talk may cheapen an experience

"Did you just enjoy a delicious meal? Consider keeping it to yourself," says Scientific American Mind. "Researchers found that describing how good a cupcake tastes makes you enjoy it less and explaining why a movie is horrible makes you hate it less. Recounting an experience may enhance your understanding of it, which then dulls your opinion of the incident."

The data deluge

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"The job market for mathematicians and statisticians has become hot as the sheer volume of data generated by ever faster, cheaper computing resources explodes," says The Huffington Post. "Data storage has become so inexpensive that a 2011 McKinsey and Co. report estimated that a disk drive capable of storing all the world's music would cost about $600 (U.S.). Wal-Mart stores 10 times more data on customer transactions and other parts of its operation than is contained in the entire Library of Congress, according to the same report."

Body art and boozing

"A guy adorned with tattoos and body piercings walks into a bar, and … is more likely than his clean-skinned friends to exit drunk," says "That's the implication of new research from France, which finds a link between tattoos, piercings, and alcohol consumption among young people out for a good time on a Saturday night. Echoing a 2009 American study, it suggests sporting a single tattoo doesn't indicate much of anything. But if you're both tattooed and pierced, you're more likely to get tanked and plastered. This latest look at the relationship between booze and body art is by Nicolas Guerguen of the Universite de Bretagne-Sud."

Hu's who in Milan

"For decades, the family name of 'Brambilla' has been by far the most common in Milan – to the point that throughout Italy … people still jokingly refer to Milan folks as 'Mister Brambillas,' " reports The Christian Science Monitor. "So when the local council published a list of the most common names in the city last week, many were surprised to find that Milan has many more residents known as 'Mister Hu' than 'Mister Brambilla.' Among the 10 most common family names in Milan, three were of Chinese origin, pointing out how ethnically diverse this city in northern Italy has become." The list: 1. Rossi (Italy's most common name), 2. Hu, 3. Colombo, 4. Ferrari, 5. Bianchi, 6. Russo, 7. Villa, 8. Chen, 9. Brambilla, 10. Zhou.

New tornado hazard

"Emergency officials in Kansas said storm chasers have been creating safety hazards while on the lookout for tornados in the north-central part of the state," reports United Press International. "Chancy Smith, director of Dickinson County Emergency Management said a huge convoy of storm chasers arrived in the area Saturday, when weather forecasters predicted a high probability of tornado activity, and got in the way of emergency vehicles, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported Monday. 'It was like a funeral procession, bumper to bumper,' Mr. Smith said of the storm chasers. 'It was horrible.' He said many drivers in the convoy of about 350 vehicles, many of which bore licence tags from out of the state, created safety hazards by refusing to yield to emergency vehicles."

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In praise of browsing

"Browsing is a method of humanistic education," writes Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic. "It gathers not information but impressions, and refines them by brief (but longer than 29 seconds!) immersions in sound or language. … Browsing is the opposite of 'search.' Search is precise, browsing is imprecise. When you search you find what you were looking for; when you browse, you find what you were not looking for. Search corrects your knowledge, browsing corrects your ignorance. Search narrows, browsing enlarges. It does so by means of accidents, of unexpected adjacencies and improbable associations."

Why dogs don't drive?

In her retina, a dog has a greater proportion of rods than cones compared to us, and is also missing one of the three types of cones we normally have, which makes her red-green colour blind, writes Jennifer Messer in Modern Dog. "The trade-off of colour and detail perception in favour of motion detection allows her to recognize an object moving over half a mile away, yet overlook the very same object if it is much closer but stationary. This explains why your dog might stare blankly at you from across the street if you aren't moving, but recognize you instantly by gait or gestures. Putting your dog's vision in human eye-test terms, what your dog sees at 20 feet, you can see clearly from 75. This is 20/75 vision, quite a bit worse than the 20/40 cut off for passing the driver's licence vision test. Yes, Fido would definitely need corrective lenses to get behind the wheel!"

Thought du jour

"I'd rather be right than consistent."

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Al Davis (1929-2011)

U.S. football team owner

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