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Unpredictable weather makes birds unfaithful

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Unfaithful? Blame climate

"When climate is shifty and unpredictable, birds are more likely to sleep around," Discovery News reports. "The findings, which suggest that birds may seek out diverse genes for their offspring when they are unsure what the future will hold, might help predict what will happen as climate changes in the coming decades. If weather conditions become more variable in certain places, as some models predict, birds might adapt by becoming more unfaithful. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. 'The overall message of the paper is that there is a lot of hope because females can still employ all of these mechanisms they use to find the best partner available,' said Carlos Botero, an evolutionary ecologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The research could also offer insight into why people sometimes stray from their mates."

On one hand

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"Cognitive scientist Dr. Daniel Casasanto, of the New School for Social Research, [has]demonstrated that quirks of our bodies affect our thinking in predictable ways across many different areas of life, from language to mental imagery to emotion," Psych Central News reports. "… Through a series of experiments, researchers discovered that, in general, people tend to prefer the things that they encounter on the same side as their dominant hand. When participants were asked which of two products to buy, or which of two alien creatures looked more trustworthy, right-handers routinely chose the product, person or creature they saw on the right side of the page, while left-handers preferred the one on the left. These kinds of preferences have been found in children as young as five years old."

Farmed fish no answer

"Seafood reached a tipping point in 2009 when, for the first time, more than 50 per cent of fish used for human consumption came from farms," says "That might sound like good news for the oceans, but farmed fish largely subsist on a steady diet of smaller fish, which are caught from fragile fisheries. It's not a sustainable equation."

Ask a burglary expert

"What to do when burglaries get out of hand? In Denmark, police think they might have the answer: Turn to the experts themselves, the housebreakers," Associated Press reports. "Northern Zealand police spokesman Finn Bernth Andersen says burglars caught red-handed in the district will be asked to participate in an anonymous questionnaire about their profession. The region, which has seen a 60-per-cent annual surge in break-ins in some areas, will ask robbers questions about their typical targets, motives and disposal methods for stolen goods."

Did I do that?

"Police say a western Pennsylvania man who claims to have split personalities confessed to robbing a Chinese restaurant after reading about it in the newspaper and realizing he was the person who did it," says Associated Press. The man came to the Leechburg, Pa., police station Tuesday, saying he wasn't feeling well and "did something stupid." The 23-year-old "told police he ordered food and became angry when he perceived the person waiting on him was continuing to speak Chinese. The next thing [he]remembers, he was playing video games at his cousin's home – but says he later realized he committed the robbery when he read about it in Tuesday's Valley News Dispatch."

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Pushed or pulled at work?

Some researchers think there's nothing wrong with being a workaholic. There's a "relatively new category that some call an 'engaged workaholic,' " reports the Los Angeles Times. "Engaged workaholics, these experts say, are distinct from the classic, compulsively driven worker who can't unplug ever and always feels like he or she should be working and suffers greater-than-average ill effects: more conflicts at work, less job satisfaction, poorer social relationships, more heart attacks, more divorces. Engaged workaholics may dodge some or all of those nasty repercussions for one simple reason: They love what they do. They get a kick out of it. They don't feel stressed by it. 'They work because work is fun,' says Wilmar Schaufeli, professor of work and organizational psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, whose team coined the 'engaged workaholic' term. … Schaufeli's team believe that classic workaholics are 'pushed' to their work, while engaged workaholics are 'pulled.' "

Thought du jour

"For the most part, I do the thing which my own nature prompts me to do. It is embarrassing to earn so much respect and love for it."

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Theoretical physicist

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