daily: dice
Friday, 21 February 2014

The Daily: February 21

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Helena Gumley - Mason
Dogs truly are man's best friend and can recognise our voices.
A recent study has found that our canine friends have dedicated voice areas in their brains, the same as human beings. This is the first study to compare the brains of humans with any nonprimate animal and seems to make sense of why man and dog have been such constant companions for the past 30, 000 years. Researchers in Hungary captured dogs' and humans' brain activities while listening to 200 human and dog sounds. Attila Andics, who led the study, said 'Dogs and humans share a similar social environment. Our findings suggest that they also use similar brain mechanisms to process social information.'

Swept away beach yields 5,000 year old forest.
The latest sets of battering storms have revealed 5,000 year old tree stumps near the village of Borth Ceredigion in Mid Wales. Before being overpowered by the sea, the forest was covered in peat (which is slightly alkaline and free from oxygen) which is why the tree stumps have survived. Part of a wattle walkway which is believed to have dated from ancient times has also appeared. It is thought that this was made from branches and logs so that people could cross the wet ground without sinking in. The discoveries were made by Deanna Groom and Ross Cook, from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Groom (a maritime archaeologist) said that 'the site around Borth is one where if there's a bad storm and it gets battered, you know there is a good chance something will be uncovered as the peat gets washed away.'

Worried about destiny? – leave it to fate!
According to a new study – when faced with making a tough decision, most of us tend to let fate do the leg-work. Psychologists have discovered that the notion of fate is a concept that exists in all human cultures and was developed to deal with hard situations which made people feel uneasy. One of the researchers, Aaron Kay, said 'Fate is a ubiquitous supernatural belief, spanning time and place. It exerts a range of positive and negative effects of health, coping, and both action and inaction.' The researchers tested their hypothesis by looking at voting choices before the US 2012 presidential election. When voters found it increasingly difficult to choose between Romney and Obama, the more likely they were to agree with the statement 'Fate will make sure that the candidate that eventually gets elected is the right one.'

Man put life on eBay, lives on deserted Tropical Island and has never been happier.
Ian Usher from County Durham decided to do something few of us would dare dream about. He put his life up for sale on eBay in 2008 and used the proceeds to buy a remote island just off the coast of Panama. The 50 year old put his car, his job and motorbike (among other things) on the website and uprooted to the deserted Caribbean Island. Six years on, he grows his own food, has ten chickens and has built his own house and canoes. He spends most of his time working the land or relaxing on his beach with his girlfriend – Vanessa Anderson.

Britain's first commercial Olive Farm – in Kent
In a four acre garden on the Isle of Oxney in Kent, Neil Davy and his wife have opened the first olive farm in the UK. It has been a decade long aspiration of Neil's to produce Britain's first olive grove. It all began during his and his wife honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast. They met when they were both working in Shanghai and married in 2002. Neil said 'we joked that if we won the Lottery, we would buy an olive grove in Italy.' After moving from London to Oxney, the couple decided to use their land they had been told was only good for grazing.


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