Counter Intelligence

Read this and you'll look smart and have something to talk about...

Read this and you'll look smart. You don't have to be intelligent to impress people -- you just have to fake it. Here's a daily list of fascinating articles that will wow your friends, surprise your co-workers and make you seem sharp at a cocktail party or over the lunch counter....

  • Scientists have built an island laboratory off the coast of Texas where they plan to study viruses such as Ebola, anthrax, typhus and the bubonic plague. The only problem: It's smack-dab in the middle of a Hurricane zone.
  • France is synonymous with wine, but many fear lawmakers will make it harder to drink and sell wine in France. The French government is eying several challenges to the country's laissez-faire approach to alcohol such as raising the drinking age and banning open-bar events at high schools.
  • In an exclusive auction that pulled in $1.18 million yesterday and was the first legal sale of ivory in nearly a decade, Namibia auctioned off 7 tons of elephant tusks to Chinese and Japanese buyers.
  • At the rate we're using the world's resources, we would need two planets by 2030 to sustain our lifestyle, a new report warns. The "ecological credit crunch" is far worse than its economic counterpart.
  • The preferred car of the mid-level apparatchiki and the envy of bureaucrats throughout Russia will no longer be produced. The manufacturer will halt mass production of the Volga saloon within two months.
  • Rolling out a new product? The best place is Japan. The worst is China. A new study claims to be the first global analysis of how newly launched products will fare in various countries.  The U.S. came in 6th.
  • A problem afflict offshore rigs could hold the answer to renewable energy. Small vortices created when ocean currents flow over the cables that hold drilling platforms in place and cause vibrations when they spin away cause moorings to break.  But what if that power could be harnessed?
  • Antonie Lavoisier, the French scientist, introduced the word "caloric" into the lexicon from the Latin word for "heat," which is "calorem." Full etymology here.
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