September 4 2006


September 4 2006



There is much to praise in the 30-year-old golfer’s domination of the 2006PGA championship, his performance being described as art. He has brought to 12 his number of major championship victories in 10 years of professional golf. Woods has a strong chance of beating the Golden Bear’s lifetime record of 18 victories. And no one was praising Woods more this week than CBS Sports, which saw coverage of Sunday’s final round surge by 22 per cent over last year.


People power

Japan Railways is experimenting with generating electricity from the thousands of people passing through its stations every day. The carrier, working with Keio University, is installing piezoelectric pads on the floor. The pads contain special crystals that produce electricity under me-

chanical pressure. As passengers walk over the pads, their movement generates tiny amounts of electricity that can be accumulated and then stored in batteries to power the station.

Portrait of a hero

He’s seen on a white horse, holding a banner, a quiver of conquering arrows on his back. Painted in the Tibetan thangka style, a newly discovered portrait featuring Genghis Khan, the Mongolian warlord, was uncovered in a northern Chinese temple devoted to Tibetan-style Buddhism. Made during the late Qing dynasty, the picture is highly unusual because, although Chinese emperors have been painted in the thangka style, such examples of the Mongol lord in that style are rare, indicating that the temple adherents revered Genghis as a hero.

Actors on call

Want to hear Sir Laurence Olivier read the latest bestseller? It

doesn’t matter he’s dead. Sony proposes a unique database and computer server that would enable it to provide fans of audiobooks the voices of famous performers reading virtually any book in the database. By recording words and phrases of actors, even dead ones, the service would make it possible to compose audio performances on the fly. The words and phrases would be endlessly flexible because they’d be chosen to contain every phoneme (the constituent sounds of words) in the language.

Think or die

Your brain wants you to think, and if you don’t, baby brain cells will die. This neurotic-sounding theory has emerged from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California. A researcher there has found that new brain cells in adult mice have a greater chance of dying if they’ve failed to participate in thinking. Cells communicate thanks to a surface protein called NMDA, which eases connections made during thinking. If older cells are suddenly deprived of the protein, they exhibit a higher chance of surviving than new brain cells in the same circumstance. Conclusion:

getting new brain cells to work helps ensure their survival.


Inappropriate attire

His rescuers named him Scrappy, after the prolonged resistance he put up. A marine mammal research institute team found the male bottlenose dolphin swimming in Florida’s Sarasota Bay wearing a black Speedo bathing suit. Somehow Scrappy got the suit over his head and was being constrained at the pectoral fins by it. Had it stayed on, the suit would have dug deep enough into Scrappy’s fins to sever arteries. It took five speedboats and 31 people to set a net to catch him, remove the Speedo and clean his wounds. Scrappy has returned to the open sea, nude and no worse for the wearing.

Scared skinny

Ever since the 1995 réintroduction of wolves in areas adjacent to grazing lands in Montana and Idaho, ranchers have had an unexpected worry. Not only do they have to fret about the wolves eating their livestock, but just the fear of wolves is scaring livestock skinny. The Idaho Cattle

Association says that when cattle are frightened, they bunch together instead of spreading out. When they’re packed in, there’s less grass to go around. Lower weights mean lower income, so cattlemen have complained to the U.S. Office of Species Conservation, which has agreed to compensate them if they can prove their animals have lost weight because of wolves.


Love your dimples

If you think dieting will rid you of unsightly cellulite, forget it. Cellulite, a dimpling caused by fibrous tissue connecting skin to muscle, affects 85 per cent of women. Plastic surgeons have studied women who lost varying amounts of weight and say that while cellulite may become less prominent after dieting, it will not go away. In some cases, it can even become more prominent, depending on how much weight has been lost. The verdict? Cellulite is a fact of life.

Painless television

Parents’ suspicion (and occasional hope) that television numbs kids seems to be true. New research shows that when children view cartoon shows in hospitals, they


Pope Benedict XVI will visit Italy’s Abruzzo region to pray at a monastery that hosts the Veil of Veronica, which locals believe is a cloth that St. Veronica used to wipe Christ’s forehead on his way to the cross. It bears a near-photographic image of Jesus and has lately become a focus for pilgrims. In 1999, scientists examined the cloth but failed to determine how the image had been created. The Pope is not endorsing the relic, but his presence will inevitably lend it credibility.

seem to experience less discomfort when receiving hypodermic needles. But other experts suggest it’s not just television that calms children, it’s any overwhelming distraction.

Hazardous when dull

People who are bores and pains in the butt can compromise your health. Eli Finkel, a psychology professor at Chicago’s Northwestern University, has found that working with dullards or difficult personalities rapidly saps mental energy, leading to stress and exhaustion. One reason is that summoning the patience to control oneself in the presence of troublesome, inefficient and boring workers is a far more demanding and energy-consuming task than previously thought.


Younger is funnier

Are you funnier than your older brothers and sisters? You’re not alone. A new survey has found that more than half of younger siblings say they find it easy to be funny, whereas only a third of eldest children have the ability. More joyless are only children, among whom only ll per cent say they’re funny. The survey’s

compiler, psychologist Richard Wiseman, says that younger children have to compete for parents’ attention, and one device is humour. In contrast, older children are expected to take on more serious roles in the family, while only children have no need to aspire for parents’ attention.

What’s spotted dick?

Traditional dishes seem destined to disappear in British cuisine because fewer young people are willing to try them. Many have never even heard of them. Whereas one in five British pensioners recognize “calf’s footjelly,” only two per cent of people under 25 do. A majority doesn’t know what spotted dick is, and only one per cent know that “bath chaps” are smoked pigs’ cheeks rolled in crumbs. Even when young people had heard of a heritage dish called “jugged hare” (boiled rabbit served in a sauce of its own blood), seven out of 10 would refuse to eat it. For some reason.


Women crave gadgets

Forget the bling; three out of four women would rather have a plasma television than a diamond necklace. “Girls Gone Wired,” a survey conducted for a U.S. cable channel, found that when it comes to gifts and purchases, today’s females more closely resemble males. Women own 6.6 hightech gadgets, compared to 6.9 for men, laying to waste the old idea that women are disinterested in consumer technology. More than half of women would choose a fancy TV over a winter holiday down south, and 86 per cent would opt for a video camera over designer shoes.

Pet renos

One-fifth of the 56 per cent of Canadians who own pets have

spent money renovating their houses to accommodate the animals. A new survey by RBC Financial reveals just how far some will go. Among the alterations: entire seven-by-nine-foot playrooms for animals and toys; oversized doggie showers with oversized drains to prevent pethair clogs; niches built into lower kitchen cabinets to keep cats from getting underfoot; windows that have been lowered to permit easier viewing by animals; and doggie portals designed to look like miniature garage doors.


Glitter gotch

Police in Brazil’s remote Amazonian state of Rondonia decided to question a man at a regular road check because he seemed nervous. In his car they found jeweller’s equipment for measuring gems. But when they looked in his underwear they hit the jackpot. He had stashed 666 rough diamonds worth about US$200,000. The man was returning from Indian territory, a place where illegal diamond prospectors often sneak out fortunes, depriving native populations of income.


Alfredo Stroessner, 93, Paraguayan dictator. Between 1954 and 1989, the military strongman ruled variously with terror, cronyism and by fostering economic growth, thanks to construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Brazilian

border. By the late 1980s, the caudillo style of government was out of favour and he fled into exile.

Bruno Kirby, 57, actor. From his debut in The Godfather II to his heyday in Billy Crystal comedies such as City Slickers and When Harry Met Sally, the actor had a memorable high and husky voice. He also appeared in Good Morning, Vietnam and most recently in HBO’s Entourage. M