In a case of theoretical physics imitating art, 'embiggen', first coined by The Simpsons character Jebediah Springfield, has now been used in a paper on string theory by Stanford University's Shamit Kachru. In case you need a definition, it means 'to grow or expand'. Obviously.


Regret-free tattoos

The pain of removing that no-longer-hip tattoo could soon be a thing of the past, with the advent of ink-filled polymer capsules that can be injected under the skin, and later ruptured to disperse the ink.

Virtual gambling

Administrators of the booming virtual world Second Life have forbidden all casino games, in line with the US blanket ban on online gambling.

Zoo news

Credit: JEAN-LUC

Bear minimum

To feed the public's (and our) obsession with Knut, keepers at Berlin Zoo have announced that they are putting the cub on a diet. Bizarrely, the world's most famous polar bear was previously allowed to eat croissants, but not any more — he's looking quite chubby at around 60 kilograms.

3 good reasons...

...to have sex

According to research in this month's Archives of Sexual Behavior, there are a staggering 237 reasons why people might choose to mate. Here is a brief selection.

1 The most common: “I was attracted to the person.”

2 The prosaic: “It seemed like good exercise.”

3 And the refreshingly honest: “The opportunity presented itself.”

Sources: Scientific American, The Guardian, The Times, Der Spiegel, New York Times