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Stop loafing, kids, your inner hamster and starry-eyed men

Stop loafing, kids

"Children should be given chores to help them develop a caring attitude and keep them grounded, according to a survey that found parents are now reluctant to ask children to do household tasks," Amelia Hill writes in London's The Observer. "A study of the articles, advice and letters published in more than 300 parenting magazines between 1920 and 2006 has found that most modern-day children are only asked to take on trivial responsibilities, such as feeding a pet, clearing the table after dinner or tidying up after themselves. 'In earlier generations, children and adolescents were given meaningful opportunities to be responsible by contributing not only to their households but also to their larger communities,' said Markella Rutherford, assistant professor of sociology at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and author of the new study, Children's Autonomy and Responsibility: An Analysis of Child Rearing Advice."

Homework for tigers

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"Zookeepers in China say their tigers have grown so tame that they're frightened of the chickens they're supposed to eat," Ananova.com reports. "The Chongqing Wild Animal Park has five rare adult white tigers which were originally trained to perform tricks for visitors, reports the Chongqing Morning Post." Keepers have been throwing them live chickens to encourage the cats to follow their natural instincts, but without success. They're now forcing the tigers to stay outside 12 hours a day to toughen them up. And they are planning to introduce a wild tiger to show the domesticated big cats the ropes.

Very crafty, or stupid

On Wednesday, Los Angeles police busted a sophisticated marijuana farm inside an industrial building eight metres from the back door of the Topanga Community Police Station, reports TV station KTTV in Los Angeles. About a week ago, officers smelled marijuana coming from the building and notified the narcotics unit. Police estimated the operation had been going on for eight months.

Your inner hamster

In Nantes, France, the Villa Hamster lodging offers its guests the "unique" opportunity to leave their species at the door and live the life of a rodent, The Guardian reports. "A compact space of 18 square metres … the unusual rental home has been deliberately designed to evoke a hamster's cage. It boasts such authentic facilities as containers of organic grain, a water tube which guests can sip, and a double bed accessible only by a stepladder and a quick scramble on all fours. The pièce de résistance is a two-metre-wide metal wheel in which both residents, if they wish, can take a turn side-by-side."

Starry-eyed men

"Men are quicker to declare their love to their partner than women, according to a survey …" Ben Leach writes for The Sunday Telegraph. They take an average of seven months to tell a new partner they love them, whereas women take almost eight months, according to a dating survey conducted for Stella Magazine. The study also found that over-55s are the most active - and experimental - age group when it comes to dating. Oliver James, a clinical psychologist and author, said the findings supported other studies that showed men fall in love more frequently than women, and are more prone to feelings of being "swept away" by someone. "Women mature sooner than men and develop to be more hard-nosed, realistic and in touch with their emotions," he said.

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The Minute Waltz?

A German orchestra announced plans this week to play a concert in a brothel, in a novel effort to bring classical music "out of the concert hall and to where people are," Agence France-Presse reports. Customers and employees at the Eros Centre in Leipzig were to be treated today to six musicians and a singer from the city's Forum for Contemporary Music, performing "licentious and erotic" works, the orchestra promised.

Thought du jour

"It is a very curious thing about superstition. One would expect that the man who had once seen that his morbid dreams were not fulfilled would abandon them for the future; but on the contrary they grow even stronger just as the love of gambling increases in a man who has once lost in a lottery."

- Soren Kierkegaard

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