Your best-before dates
"Over 35? Boy, do we have some news for you," Hilary Moss writes for The Huffington Post. "A recent survey out of Britain revealed that no one wants to see you in a miniskirt. Period. More than 2,000 women took the poll, which [was]administered by Diet Chef, some sort of self-esteem boosting prepared-meals site. The findings show that age 47 is the cutoff for wearing a bikini, 61 for swimsuits altogether, and at 51, you can skip both the stilettos and the ponytails."
How long will you live?
"A blood test that can show how fast someone is aging - and offers the tantalizing possibility of estimating how long they have left to live - is to go on sale … in Britain later this year," The Independent reports. "The controversial test measures vital structures on the tips of a person's chromosomes, called telomeres, which scientists believe are one of the most important and accurate indicators of the speed at which a person is aging. Scientists behind the €500 [$690 Canadian]test said it will be possible to tell whether a person's 'biological age,' as measured by the length of their telomeres, is older or younger than their actual chronological age. Medical researchers believe that telomere testing will become widespread within the next five or 10 years, but there are already some scientists who question its value and whether there should be stronger ethical controls over its wider use."
Superjobs for all
"In this new era of the superjob, everyone does windows, and anyone who gripes about working too hard will hear an even hairier tale from the exec on the next bar stool," The Wall Street Journal says. "Emboldened by an unemployment crisis that's only now easing up, businesses of all sizes have asked employees to take on extra tasks that have little to do with their primary roles and expertise - with engineers going on sales calls, accountants pitching in on customer service and chief financial officers running a division on the side. And some believe this shift is permanent, as the quickening pace of change demands more flexibility from everyone at the office. … In a recent survey by Spherion Staffing, 53 per cent of workers surveyed said they've taken on new roles, most of them without extra pay (just 7 per cent got a raise or a bonus). Now that sales are picking up, there's even more work to do, but companies are reluctant to hire, say human-resources experts. Some are anxious about what the economic future holds, while others are seeing their profits increase now that their work forces are leaner."
Since one of its teams killed Osama bin Laden, every American seems to be dreaming of what it's like to be a U.S. Navy SEAL, know a SEAL or at least look like one, Associated Press reports. "Book publishers say they cannot order the printings of the memoirs of former SEALs fast enough, while people are dialling 1-800-Hooyah! like mad to get their hands on T-shirts emblazoned with the SEAL insignia and sayings like: 'When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight! Call in the US Navy SEALS.' … But nothing short of joining the SEALs offers a more true-to-life taste of their toughness than the workout places run by ex-Navy commandos."
The American diet
- "U.S. shoppers are making fewer shopping trips, eating out less and skimping even on groceries to rein in household budgets amid rising gasoline prices, a survey showed," Reuters says. "… About a third of Americans surveyed by America's Research Group said they were making fewer trips to stores due to higher gas prices, with about 53 per cent of participants also cutting back on small luxuries like sit-down dining."
- "They are not quite groceries, but Illinois roads could soon be serving up dinner ingredients as a result of a bill approved by lawmakers Thursday that would allow some citizens to pick up roadkill," The Associated Press reports. "Under the bill, people with proper permits could retrieve certain in-season, furry mammals killed by motorists. People could do whatever they please with the carcasses, whether it's skin them for their hides or add them to a rustic stew. … Supporters say it will cut spending because enabling ordinary citizens to keep the unfortunate animals would require fewer employees for roadkill cleanup."
Power or choice
"People want control of their lives, which we often think of in two ways - having power, and having choice," Kevin Lewis writes in The Boston Globe. "Are these needs related? A new study finds that they may be, and that these two forms of control can be substitutes for each other. After thinking about being in a position of low power, people had a stronger desire to make choices from a larger number of options. Conversely, people offered only a limited set of options from which to choose were subsequently more eager to assume a position of power or buy a high-status item. Other studies showed that people are content as long as they have either power or choice."
Remaining Nazi war criminals
"A German court has convicted John Demjanjuk of participating in the murder of more than 28,000 Jews at Second World War death camps," Slate online magazine says. "… [H]w many Nazi war criminals are still at large? Probably hundreds." In the latest full report of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, released in November last year, "they noted that there were 852 ongoing investigations of accused Nazis. While that's probably the best number available, it's a very rough estimate. … [T]ere are an unknown number of former Nazi executioners living anonymously around the world."
Thought du jour
"The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days."
- Robert Leighton (1611-84), Scottish preacher