THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE
A British thinktank has published a study called the Happy Planet Index, which ranks the countries of the world according to the well-being of their citizens. According to this study, the south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatupopulation 200,000is home to the happiest people on Earth. "People are generally happy here because they are very satisfied with very little," said Marke Lowen of Vanuatu Online. "This is not a consumer-driven society ... It's a place where you don't worry too much ... The only things we fear are cyclones or earthquakes." Also in the top five were the nations of Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Panama. The Happy Planet Index tracked life satisfaction, life expectancy and the environmental footprint of a nation's citizens to create its rankings, which explains why the world's most energy-hungry nations fared poorly. Canada (111) and the United States (150) didn't even crack the top 100, most of the European nations fell between 66th (Italy) and 129th place (France), while Japan came in at 95 and Russia a miserable 172nd. The five unhappiest countries on Earth are Ukraine, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, which came in dead last. (AFP)
I'M LOSING IT
Two McMorons who are now McMillionaires thanks to a massive £1.3 million ($2.4 million) lottery win in Britain claim they will be keeping their jobs at McDonald's. "It's an enjoyable job. They treat us really well," said Luke Pittard, 23. "Like the slogan says, 'We‚re Loving It.'" (BBC)
MY SPELL WORKED!
After over 100 years, Zimbabwe has finally repealed the Witchcraft Suppression Act, making it once again legal to practice your supernatural powers in that country without the fear of prosecution. The new law states that the government acknowledges that supernatural powers exist and grants those who have them the right to use them, but prohibits the use of magic in any way that could harm another person. (BBC)
THE MAGIC VAGINA
If you aren't familiar with James Randi yet, all you need to know is that the man offers a $1 million reward to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal abilities of any kind (check it out at Randi.org). Or course, Randi also changes the requirements whenever someone with actual powers claims the prize, but that's another story. The point of this blurb is that the latest challenger for the $1 million prize is a woman named Jennifer Dziura, who, writing at McSweeneys.net, proposes a scientific test of her ability to control men's minds with her vagina. In brief, her test involves two groups of men, one group within visual proximity of her vagina, and another group separated from her vagina by a leaden wall. She then asks the men to buy her a hamburger. "I predict that volunteers in visual proximity of my vagina will be at least 50 percent more likely to comply than those separated from my vagina by a leaden barrier," she boldly predicts, adding, "I have previously obtained a number of hamburgers in this manner."
YOU HAVE ONE "GET OUT OF WAL-MART FREE" CARD
Here's a handy tip for you petty criminals in the audience: Wal-Mart has changed its policy about prosecuting each and every shoplifter in their stores and will now let first-time thieves off the hook if they steal merchandise worth less than $25. According to internal documents obtained by The New York Times, the policy change was prompted due to the expense and manpower necessary to prosecute small-time crooks. "If I have somebody being paid $12 an hour processing a $5 theft, I have just lost money," said a Wal-Mart official, who explained that Wal-Mart wishes to focus on those responsible for the vast majority of theft: professional shoplifters and Wal-Mart employees.
HANDS OFF, CREEP
The newest invention designed to help women ward off psychos is a jacket that can give an 80,000-volt electric shock to stop an attacker. The No-Contact Jacket is similar to any ordinary coat, but has an inner lining of conductive fiber which, when activated by the wearer, can give a "nasty but non-lethal shock" to anyone who touches it. "It's kind of like sticking your finger in a wall socket," said one of the jacket's designers. Three prototypes of the "exo-electric armor" are currently being tested, and the designers hope to produce the first batch later this year for about $1,000 each, with plans to eventually mass produce the coat at a much lower price. (Wired)
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