Thursday, 07 June 2012

The Daily: June 7

We scour the news so you don't have to.

Written by Jen Neal

York Minster goes mowing
Before hosting a fundraising dinner for 600 people, York Minster wardens had the cathedral’s nave carpeted in 16,000 square feet of grass. The turf, known as Wow!Grass!, is specially grown in felt made of recycled British textiles rather than soil so it can be rolled up and moved about without creating any mess. The money raised from the dinner will go towards the restoration of the cathedral, to conserve the historic fabric of the Minster. The grass has been used previously to created a rugby pitch at The Grosvenor Hotel, London and a temporary village green in Trafalgar Square.

Sci-Fi legend Bradbury dies
Ray Bradbury, celebrated writer of Fahrenheit 415, has passed away aged 91. Born in Illinois in August 1920, he settled with his family in California in 1934. He left high school to sell papers and would spend his days in UCLA’s Powell Library, reading and hiring a typewriter to practise writing. He made his first professional sale in 1941 when he was paid $15 for a story called Pendulum. Bradbury was a man heralded for his vision of the future: he forsaw bluetooth ear pieces, for example, calling them ‘ear thimbles’. And yet he preferred to maintain old ways, referring to the internet as a waste of time, never learning to drive, and continuing to use a typewriter to produce his works.

Good news for endangered animals
Two Amur leopards have been born in an animal sanctuary in Kent. The species is the rarest big cat in the world, with fewer than 35 remaining in the wild and 100 in captivity. Head keeper of the Wildlife Heirtage Foundation has said “It is such an important event.” In other animal news, the water vole has fought back from the brink of extinction. Prevalent during the time of Kenneth Grahame (author of Wind in the Willows) they significantly decreased in number due to pollution, habitat destruction and predators. Happily the vole once again has positive numbers in Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

First transvestite portrait
The National Gallery has acquired the first portrait of a male transvestite in women’s clothing. The portrait, painted by artist Thomas Stewart in 1792, shows Britain’s first celebrated cross-dressing man, Chevalier d’Eon. The portrait was thought lost since 1926 but since its discovery by gallery owner Philip Mould, it has been put on display. The man in question lived in London as a man from 1762 until 1776 and then returned, as a woman, in 1785, remaining thus until he died in 1810. Having been a solider, champion fencer and diplomat as a man, he was a famous figure in his day.

Worrying impacting women's brains
It might not come as a surprise, but scientists have now claimed that worrying will negatively impact your ability to perform simple tasks. A study in the US has concluded that those suffering from anxiety had distracting thoughts that kept them from performing properly. Although woman in the study listed themselves as bigger worriers, they performed the same as the men in the tests, with researchers discovering that women tend to work harder. However, as the tests became more difficult, the anxious women worsened. The identification of this could potentially help with the treatment of anxiety, which afflicts 1 in 6 people in the UK.

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