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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

This Week in Spurts

A Shot of Arts
A Shot of Arts

Now Get Your Filthy Paws Off Me, You Damn Dirty Ape Dept.Chimps Observed Making Their Own WeaponsBy Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer. Feb. 22 Chimpanzees living in the West African savannah have been observed fashioning deadly spears from sticks and using the hand-crafted tools to hunt small mammals-the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans. The multi-step spear-making practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees’ trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago. But How Does This Relate to ME? Dept.Today’s College Students Are More Narcissistic, Says StudyBy Helen Steele,Earthtimes.org Feb. 27   College students forming the current generation are more narcissistic than their predecessors, claims a study carried out by a San Diego State University psychologist. In the study published Tuesday, researchers led by the psychologist, Jean Twenge, say the prospects of a rising ego rush can lead to personal and social problems for the Millennial Generation. People with a blotted sense of self are found to be having less interest in intimate relations that bind people and in such circumstances, they can be aggressive and uncontrollable when they have to face rejection or insult.   Dept. of Kooky SpooksOuija Believe It? The Paranormal is Pretty MundaneBy Caitlin Moran, Timesonline.co.uk, Feb. 26 By and large, mankind’s beliefs about its own nature can be divided into three broad categories. We suspect that: 1) mankind is essentially good; 2) mankind is essentially evil; 3) mankind is essentially easily distracted, and has mucked it up a bit today but, hey-ho, tomorrow’s another day.  

Personally, I believe the third way to be closest to the essence of Man. Much as we have an admirably camp penchant for seeing things in dramatic extremes-it’s an epic STRUGGLE between SATAN and JESUS-on the whole, behind nearly every traumatic global incident is an anxious auxiliary office worker trying to hide an incorrect piece of paperwork in the back of a filing cabinet. The bigger picture is, more often than not, quite small. Given that this is the nature of the corporeal world, it’s heartening to discover that this may well be the nature of the metaphysical world, too. This month Princeton University will close its ESP (extrasensory perception) lab, after nearly 30 years of research into the paranormal. Set up in 1979 to investigate whether human consciousness could “interfere with sensitive computers and machinery,” the lab has cost a fairly reasonable $10 million, but concluded-after almost three decades-that its studies revealed only a small, yet statistically significant, effect in experiments. Richard Wise-man, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, summed up by saying that the lab’s work was interesting, “but ultimately difficult to make practical use of.”

(Editor’s note: I was born in 1979. Were I able to talk, I could have told them it was hooey right off the bat and pocketed the $10 mil. Drat.) No Good Turn Goes Unpunished Dept.Tax Man To Sandwich Shop Owner: ‘No Free Lunch’By Steve Minich News 8 WMTW (Portland, ME) PORTLAND, Maine — The owner of a string of sandwich shops in Maine has learned the hard way that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, free lunches wound up costing Loren Goodridge $2,500. Since 1992, when Goodridge bought his first Subway restaurant, he has allowed his employees a free meal of a sandwich, chips and a drink every shift they work. “A $5 meal on a daily basis really helps them out a lot,” he told News 8. However, it turned out all that goodwill was taxable. During a routine audit last month, Maine Revenue Services informed Goodridge that all those free meals at his 12 stores are subject to the state’s use tax. Goodridge said he couldn’t believe it. “I throw away bread every day that we don’t use, and I don’t pay tax on that,” he said. “But if I give it to my employees, I have to pay a use tax on that. It just doesn’t make sense.”