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Life, the universe and everything

india Updated: Dec 23, 2012 23:45 IST

Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? beware
London : Giving raves to family members is no longer acceptable. Neither is writers’ reviewing other writers. But showering five stars on a book you admittedly have not read is fine.

After several well-publicized cases involving writers buying or manipulating their reviews, Amazon is cracking down. Writers say thousands of reviews have been deleted from the shopping site in recent months.

Amazon has not said how many reviews it has killed, nor has it offered any public explanation. So its sweeping but hazy purge has generated an uproar about what it means to review in an era when everyone is an author and a reviewer. NYT

Bid to clone perfect Christmas trees
: German scientists are searching a way to clone the perfect Christmas tree. Scientists from the Berlin’s Humboldt University are planning to refine a method to clone popular Nordmann fir trees by 2016.

They are looking for a method to ensure that the sensitive saplings of the popular Nordmann fir species grow into impressive specimens. The fir is native to the Caucasus, but is often cultivated on massive plantations in Germany. PTI

New nerve cell in brain discovered
London: Scientists have identified a previously unknown group of nerve cells in the brain that regulate cardiovascular functions such as heart rhythm and blood pressure.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, in collaboration with colleagues in Germany and the Netherlands found that the nerve cells, also known as ‘neurons’, develop in the brain with the aid of thyroid hormone, which is produced in thyroid gland.

The study in mice found that thyroid hormone also affects the heart indirectly. “This discovery opens the possibility of a completely new way of combating cardiovascular disease,” said Jens Mittag of the Karolinska Institutet. PTI

Cheryl’s £50,000 watch to boyfriend
: Singer Cheryl Cole is reportedly spending £50,000 on a watch for her boyfriend Tre Holloway this Christmas. Cole wants to celebrate the festive season with the dancer, who she has been dating since summer, reported Daily Star.

“She wants to buy Tre an extravagant 50,000 pounds watch for Christmas to signify their time together. She has even joked she'd love to spend Christmas with Tre in bed,” a source said. PTI

Its official! Music has healing power
Washington: Though medical practitioners have been convinced of music’s health benefits for thousands of years, there had been little peer-reviewed research to back them up.

But recent studies are providing an empirical backbone for the anecdotal evidence. A 2012 scientific review collects information from a number of studies to support music's influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system. ANI