>'Perseverance' named word of the year
Wheel tread marks are left in the soil of Jezero Crater on Mars, as NASA's Mars rover Perseverance drives on Martian surface for the first time, on March 4, 2021. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via REUTERS
Cambridge Dictionary's word of the year for 2021 has been revealed as "perseverance".
The word was inspired by NASA’s mission to Mars, as data showed that users across the globe searched for the word online more than 243,000 times throughout the year.
The dictionary found there was a surge in searches for the meaning of "perseverance" between Feb 18 and 24, after NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on Mars.
"Perseverance” is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as a "continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time".
Editors felt it was an appropriate word for the year, given the challenges of 2021.
People had shown the meaning of the word "in the face of challenges and disruption to our lives from Covid-19 and other problems".
>Sales of dogs and cats at pet shops banned
France will ban pet shops from selling dogs and cats from 2024 as part of efforts to prevent abandonment.
Under a new animal welfare law approved by the Senate on Thursday, licensed breeders and shelters will be among the few options for would-be owners.
Owners will also be required to sign a commitment certificate confirming their knowledge of the needs of the animals.
Purchases can be canceled within seven days.
The provisions are designed to prevent impulsive buying, which is a factor behind abandonment.
A pet food industry association says nearly 22 million dogs and cats are kept as pets in France. But according to animal welfare groups, 100,000 are abandoned every year.
>Major shifts in dating from COVID-19
The largest annual scientific study on single adults shows that COVID-19 has caused a dramatic shift in people's priorities when it comes to dating, sex and love.
Faculty from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University say some of the changes could last well beyond the pandemic.
Data from the 2021 study shows that 83% of singles want a partner who's emotionally mature.
Only 78% want someone physically attractive, compared to 90% in 2020.
That mindset change is also reflected in a drastic increase in those interested in marriage.
The number of singles who want a partner desiring marriage jumped from 58% two years ago to 76% this year—and men and younger adults are leading in this pattern.
With that focus on stability, casual sex has become a lower priority for singles than in the past, with more focusing on emotional connection.
>Housework promotes health in old age
Researchers have suggested tasks like dusting, scrubbing floors and washing the windows might help adults stay healthy into old age.
Writing in the journal BMJ Open, a Singapore-based team of researchers said regular physical activity “improves physical and mental health, mitigates the risks and effects of chronic diseases, and reduces falls, immobility, dependency and mortality among older adults”.
The study involved 249 participants aged 21-64 and 240 participants aged 65-90.
Sit-to-stand times were lower for older adults reporting higher amounts of heavy housework, while they were also assessed as being at lower risk of having a fall.
Cognitive scores and attention scores were 8% and 14% higher, respectively, for older adults doing high amounts of heavy housework – on average 131 minutes a week – compared with low levels.
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