News » Curious Times

January 19, 2005



Just in time to give you that last justification for breaking all your New Year's resolutions comes a book written by two doctors out of Germany called The Joy of Laziness: How to Slow Down and Live Longer. They claim that their research proves that every person has a limited amount of life energy and that it is the speed at which this energy is used up which determines how long peoplr will live. Co-authors Dr. Peter Axt and Dr. Michaela Axt-Gadermann are both reformed long-distance runners, now claiming that high-energy activities actually accelerate the aging process and make the body more susceptible to illness. "A more relaxed way of life is important for your health," said Dr Axt-Gadermann, adding, "Laziness is also important for a healthy immune system." The authors also claim that laughing is healthier than running (because laughter releases serotonin into your body) and laziness is good for the brain (because exercise and stress releases cortisol into your body, which can damage brain cells). The book also concludes that early risers are more prone to stress and that people who sleep in longer live longer because they are conserving their life energy. Not surprisingly, the book has gotten a great review from the editor of a magazine called The Idler, who says, "I firmly believe that we do not need to do half as much exercise as people think and it is very important to just lie down and do nothing sometimes." (The Telegraph)


You wouldn't know it from watching TV (or from reading this column), but according to an article from Fox News, life on Earth is actually better than it has ever been and getting better every year. Get this: The world is less violent (there were 19 major armed conflicts in 2003, down from 44 in 1995, and 15,000 deaths caused by war, down from 700,000 in 1951); the world is freer (58 percent of the world's population lives under a fully democratic system, the highest percentage in human history); the world has less poverty (per capita incomes in developing countries have more than doubled since 1975); the world is healthier (between 1960 and 2000, life expectancy in developing countries increased from 46 to 63 years, while mortality rates for children under five have been cut in half); and American kids are better off, with juvenile violent crime in America halved since 1995, weapons in schools at a 10-year low and high school dropout rates at a 35-year low. Cheers! (Fox News)


If you're a homicidal sociopath in need of a part-time job, Colombia has offered to richly reward anyone who can help them get rid of Marxist rebels hiding in their jungles and mountains. The government recently put bounties on the heads of the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, including a $2 million top prize for Manuel "Sureshot" Marulanda, commander of the 17,000-strong fighting force. Apparently the rewards needed to be posted in order to attract the world's bounty hunters back to Colombia, as most are trying to cash in on a $25 million bag of loot offered by the American government in exchange for Osama bin Laden's head. (Reuters)


Proving that you can have anything you want if you're willing to pay for it, a new company in California is offering to rent out midgets to liven up your next party. "Think about the best party you've ever been to," begins their pitch, "wouldn't it have been better if there was a midget there?' Well, that's highly debatable, but if you answered "Hell, yes!" you can head over to to get yours. "Rent-a-Midget is not a joke," the company assures us. "From Midget Strip Shows to Christmas Cookie Servers or Office Pranks, has the right little person for any occasion."


In an effort to stem the tide of "corrupt capitalist ideas" into North Korea, the government has stepped up a campaign to encourage men to keep their hair cut short. Besides the obvious corruption created by having long-haired freaks running around in open society, the government went on to create a hysterical scientific rationalization for their new clampdown, warning young men that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition," which robs the brain of energy. (BBC)

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