Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S

Magic Wand

Men drained by bed sharing

Scientists in Austria say sharing a bed with someone temporarily reduces men's brain power.

When men spend the night with someone their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day.

According to the New Scientist study, women who share a bed fare better because they sleep more deeply.

Professor Gerhard Kloesch and colleagues at the University of Vienna studied eight unmarried, childless couples in their 20s.


I'm Prepared To Give My Life For This Or Any Country (Satire)

As a true patriot, I would gladly die in battle defending my homeland. I love my country more than my own life. But I would also be more than willing to give my last breath in the name of, say, Mexico, Panama, Japan, or the Czech Republic. The most honorable thing a man can do is lay down his life for his country. Or another country. The important thing is that it's a country.


Shaping Public Opinion: Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?

With humanity coming up fast on 2012, publishers are helping readers gear up and count down to this mysterious -some even call it apocalyptic - date that ancient Mayan societies were anticipating thousands of years ago.

Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. A fourth is due this fall. Each arrives in the wake of the 2006 success of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, which has been selling thousands of copies a month since its release in May and counts more than 40,000 in print. The books also build on popular interest in the Maya, fueled in part by Mel Gibson's December 2006 film about Mayan civilization, Apocalpyto.

Authors disagree about what humankind should expect on Dec. 21, 2012, when the Maya's "Long Count" calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era.

Magic Wand

Woman who stole gnomes faces jail

A woman who went out at night to steal garden gnomes is facing a jail sentence.

Karen Stenhouse, 37, crept into gardens within a 20-mile radius of her home and then sold the gnomes at car boot sales and street markets.

The mother-of-three was caught by an 11-day undercover operation that led police to a horde of garden ornaments, including 30 gnomes, complete with fishing rods and wheelbarrows.


Dog Performs 'Heimlich' on Choking Owner

CALVERT, Md. - Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman's chest. The dog's owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life.


The fires of Hell are real and eternal, Pope warns

Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said.

Addressing a parish gathering in a northern suburb of Rome, Benedict XVI said that in the modern world many people, including some believers, had forgotten that if they failed to "admit blame and promise to sin no more", they risked "eternal damnation - the Inferno".

Hell "really exists and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more", he said.

The Pope, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was head of Catholic doctrine, noted that "forgiveness of sins" for those who repent was a cornerstone of Christian belief. He recalled that Jesus had forgiven the "woman taken in adultery" and prevented her from being stoned to death, observing: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."


Stay-away fathers shamed by pizza

Child support authorities in the US are hoping to track down stay-away fathers who refuse to pay child maintenance by posting their details on pizza boxes.

Pizza restaurants in one Ohio county have begun plastering their delivery boxes with posters shaming the 10 "most wanted" absentee fathers.

Three pizzerias have so far signed up to the scheme, which has successfully identified one reluctant debtor.

US child support agencies are owed more than $100bn (£51bn) in back payments.

Magic Wand

Vietnam man sleepless for 27 years, but still healthy

Another extreme case of insomnia has come to light in Vietnam. This time it is a 49-year-old man who has not slept in 27 years but remains healthy.

Nguyen Van Kha, a tiller, chicken farmer, and carpenter, tells Thanh Nien he has never slept since 1979 when he was a soldier in an artillery division.

One day, closing his eyes had begun to cause a burning sensation. But he did not dare report to his seniors fearing discharge


NY Bus Converted Into Oven for Matzos

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. - The first hint that something was amiss came in the middle of the night when the neighbor called to report a smell of smoke. Police investigated and found the blaze, but it wasn't your typical fire.


Latte-a-day scandal: Mormons object to angelic java T-shirt

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah - For a coffee shop, T-shirts of a Mormon angel with java flowing into his trumpet are selling well. But they don't have the blessing of religious leaders.

The shirts have upset the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only is Moroni a revered figure - Mormons believe he appeared to church founder Joseph Smith - but LDS members are discouraged from drinking coffee.