Tuesday, 02 September 2014

The Daily: 2 September

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Stephanie Rihon
The sounds of shopping
Could the sounds of the city really help you make better shopping decisions? eBay seems to believe so and has subsequently released a new CD called ‘sounds of shopping’ which plays radio tunes, football commentary and even the sound of chatting to help shoppers make better decisions when they hit the high street. It was produced by Mistabishi and aims to create rational thinking. Research at Goldsmiths University also concluded that different noises affected nearly 2,000 online shoppers. Good sounds, for example, included pop music which usually ‘suckered’ shoppers into buying things they probably did not need. Additionally, speakers that pumped out factual information took away emotional cues which led to better decisions. Now an Attenborough documentary will make you think less ‘what a dashing skirt to show off my pins’ and more ‘this will be very practical for those after-work drinks’. However, other sounds had a more negative effect, including traffic which panicked shoppers and classical music that interestingly increased the quality of goods by 5%. To see the video http://vimeo.com/104005894

Sputnik: the name of the Soviet space mission which landed the first man in space has become ingrained in our common knowledge, but what about Muttnik? Before Yuri Gagarin there was Laika, a stray dog who was sent to space to test whether it was safe for humans. Unfortunately she ‘died in action’. A new book reveals more detailed information about the history of the fateful Russian dogs sent to space in the 1950s with some adorable images. The golden duo, who survived their 1960s mission were Belka and Strelka. Upon their return to Moscow they were greeted by a sea of well-wishers and copious amounts of sausages. These two pampered pooches became a cult symbol of 1960s Russia, fuelling propaganda about the Soviet Union being the greater power in the infamous Cold War. Yet, the Soviets did not just pick any pooch for these missions as there was a very rigorous selection process. They had to be mongrels or strays because housepets were too ‘precious’ and it was essential that they were bitches as females tended to be calmer in temperament. Monkeys were debated for a while but their fidgety behaviour and emotional characters made them an unstable choice. Politicians even queued to get their pictures taken with these canines. Belka and Strelka: to infinity and beyond!

Selfies? One is not amused
There has been great discussion in the past few months about whether we live in a selfie obsessed world. Well, it seems that now the Queen is thinking about this too. In a recent conversation with the US ambassador to the UK, our fair lady confided that it was ‘strange’ to only see a sea of mobile phones whenever she made a public appearance. Essentially, ma’am was saying how she missed eye contact. Even to a recent visit to the newly refurbished BBC Broadcasting House in London, the staff greeted the Queen with the backs of their iPads and mobile phones rather than with a warm, human smile. It is safe to say that one was not amused: clearly bad manners. With regards to the Queen’s own relationship with mobile phones, she was given one in 2001 by the Duke of York to use when on the grounds of Balmoral and taught how to send and receive text messages by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry later on. 'But wait, let me take a selfie' may not be the right thing to say when the Royals are on their next walkabout…the old school bouquet of flowers will do.

The Queen of Cakes
From one Queen to another variety, we all love Wednesday’s television queen: Mary Berry. She fills our screens with scrumptious cakes and her manner warms our hearts. However, in a recent interview, Berry has spoken about the future. She claimed that she did not wish to live beyond the age of 90 as she would not like to be a burden to her two children in her old age. She told the Radio Times, "I have no desire to be a centenarian. I think 90 is a great time. You've had a good innings. You have to deal with the cards that have been dealt, of course, but I don't think very old age, if you haven't got your marbles, can be very nice’. However, living to your hundreds isn’t something the Berry’s are new to. Her mother lived until she was 105 even driving a car until 95 too. Despite all the morbid talk, Mary Berry at 79 believes she has ‘no remaining ambitions’ and only wants to ‘continue to be a good granny and a good wife’ and ‘do what [she] loves. And I really do love Bake Off – they’re my other family’. We are happy to hear that! Another interesting factoid: her great great grandfather was also a master baker. It certainly runs in the Berry family.

Bigfoot’s big foot
Bigfoot: the man/animal creature in the forest we all have nightmares about has resurfaced. Well perhaps not, but an interesting discovery has been made in the Mississippi forests earlier this week. A gentleman named Peyton Lassiter found a footprint that was nine inches long and six inches wide at the toes. He also managed to find white-grey hairs on the footprint which did not match a bear. The fingerprints were clearly human or that of a primate. This discovery comes nine months after a six-foot ‘being’ was spotted running through the forest. The Delta Paranormal Research group are investigating the matter further to see whether the mythical creature is, in fact, alive.

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