Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
All staff in a Swiss bank have been told to wear more professional apparel. While women were told to wear flesh-coloured underwear and avoid flashy jewellery, men were asked to wear classic professional suits and avoid socks with cartoon motifs. UBS has ordered its staff in a 43-page dress code specifying in minute detail what staff members can and can’t wear, the Daily Mail reported. The women have been told to wear loose-fitting skirts and to avoid coloured artificial nails. Men have been told to choose ties with patterns that “match the bone structure of the face”.Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
A 44-year-old mother of three is the first truly fearless person, according to scientists. She's not afraid of snakes or spiders, films such as "The Blair Witch Project" or "The Shining", haunted houses or anything traditionally described as frightening. Her condition is the result of a very rare genetic disease that damaged a brain structure called the amygdala, which according to researchers plays a key role in making people feel afraid in threatening situations. For their report in the journal, researchers exposed her to scary situations — snakes, scenes from horror movies and the haunted house and observed her behaviour, asking her to rate her fear levels.Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
Whatever you think about using grating words, at the end of the day it's actually better not to say whatever, if you know what I mean. For the second consecutive year "whatever' topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language. Nearly 39 per cent of 1,020 Americans questioned in the survey deemed it the most irritating word, followed by "like" with 28 per cent and the phrase "you know what I mean' at 15 per cent. The phrase "to tell you the truth" and "actually" were also unnerving to many people. But for younger Americans, aged 18 to 29, "like" was the word that annoyed them most. Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
The TV game show Jeopardy! will pit man versus machine this winter in a competition that will show how successful scientists are in creating a computer that can mimic human intelligence. Two of the venerable game show’s most successful champions — Ken Jennings (above right) and Brad Rutter — will play two games against ‘Watson’, a computer program developed by IBM’s artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air February 14-16, the game show said. The winner gets a $1 million (Dh3.67 million) prize. Image Credit: Rex Features

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
British pop group Wham!'s 1984 hit single "Last Christmas" was voted most annoying Christmas song in a poll in Bulgaria, beating Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas," organisers said. A total of 28,110 Bulgarians said the Wham! hit was the song they least wanted to hear this year in the ballot on the campaign's website. "Every song gets disgusting when you hear it for the 172,395th time," one voter, Bambi, commented. "I think these songs are the reason for Christmas depressions and suicides," added another pollster, Yordan Stamenov.Image Credit: Supplied

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
A Qatari astronomer and scientists from the UK and US have discovered a new planet orbiting a distant star, Qatari newspapers reported. Qatar-1b, a ‘hot Jupiter’ is an addition to the growing list of planets orbiting distant stars, or exoplanets. The team has submitted their results to the journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “Qatar is proud to contribute to the search for planets around other stars,” said Dr Khalid Al Subai, leader of the Qatar exoplanet survey. “The discovery of Qatar-1b marks the beginning of a new era of collaborative astrophysics research between Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United States” he was quoted as saying by Gulf Times. Image Credit: Supplied

Offbeat news: Dec 13 - Dec 19, 2010
Stressed out South Korean men without time to date can now at least pretend they have a girlfriend, albeit on their smart phone. Launched on November 30 by Nabix, a South Korean developer, the iPhone application “Honey, it’s me!” is warming lonely hearts with the voice of “Mina”, a 20-something virtual woman. For $1.99 (Dh7.30), Mina will make video calls four times a day, showering subscribers with a message of bliss from 100 available. According to Nabix, the application was downloaded 80,000 times on the first day alone. Image Credit: Supplied



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