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Youth should learn to drive over a one-year period say British insurers

No crash courses

"People should spend at least a year learning to drive, say insurers who are calling for an overhaul of the system," BBC News reports. "The Association of British Insurers say drivers ages 17 to 24 are responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes, deaths and claims. ... 'Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives ...,' said ABI director general Otto Thoreson."

Stealing knots in trees

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"Police have made an arrest in the mysterious disappearance of burls from trees in Boston parks," reports Associated Press. "Burls are giant knots on the trunks of most tree species prized by woodworkers for their intricate grain. Police went to a Dorchester apartment on Wednesday after a witness reported seeing the man shaving scrap pieces off a burl in a park, then leaving with a chainsaw. … Greg Mosman, Boston's arborist, noticed burls cut from trees at city parks last spring. Removing them can cut a tree's lifespan. Woodworkers say a burl can fetch from $50 to $500 depending on size and quality."

Under the volcano

"Disturbing a dormant volcano might seem ill-advised, but that's what a company will do this month in a bid to exploit an untapped source of clean energy," says the New Scientist. "Engineers working for Seattle-based AltaRock Energy and the firm's partners have been given the green light by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to start injecting water into a series of connected cracks three kilometres down at Oregon's Newberry volcano. Their goal is to heat the water before returning it to the surface as steam to drive turbines and generate electricity."

Why the rich are smiling

"If you're thinking that the benefits of a hefty bank account could help turn up the heat in the bedroom, you're at least partly right," blogs Ian Kerner for CNN.com. "Money might not buy love, but it can allow for a sizzling sex life. About 70 per cent of multimillionaires – with a mean net worth of a whopping $90-million [U.S.] – say they enjoy better and more adventurous sex, according to a 2007 survey by Prince & Associates Inc., a marketing research firm specializing in global private wealth. 'Fully 63 per cent of rich men said wealth gave them 'better sex,' which they defined as having more-frequent sex with more partners. That compares to 88 per cent of women who said money gave them better sex, which they defined as 'higher quality' sex,' writes Robert Frank in an article for the Wealth Report entitled 'The Rich Libido.'"

Discriminating colours

U.S. researchers put young adults with normal vision through a battery of tests and found women are better at discriminating among colours, says SciTechDaily.com. "The scientists published their findings in the journal Biology of Sex Differences. Israel Abramov, lead author and psychologist at Brooklyn College [found] that men and women tend to ascribe different shades to the same objects. Males require a slightly longer wavelength than females to experience the same hue. Longer wavelengths are associated with warmer colours, implying that colours like orange might appear redder to a man than a woman. Likewise, green appears a bit yellower to men than women. Men are also less adept at distinguishing among the shades in the centre of the colour spectrum, like blues, greens and yellow." Men excelled at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance.

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Thought du jour

Money is human happiness in the abstract: He, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete, devotes his heart entirely to money.

Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860)

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