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chinadaily.com.cn 2018-10-08 15:14


>Women most hard to live with
Wives, sisters and mothers are more likely to be the most difficult people in our lives, according to a survey of 1,100 respondents who described more than 12,000 relationships. Female family members were most often labeled as difficult because they're usually emotionally invested in relatives' lives. "The message here is that, with female relatives, it can be a two-sided thing," said Claude Fischer, a senior author of the study. "They may be the people you most depend on, but also the people who nag you the most. It's a testament to their deeper engagement in social ties."


The "super bananas" grown by D&T Farm in southwestern Japan retail for $6 each. [Photo/D&T Farm]

>Super banana's peel edible
If you've ever wanted to eat banana peel, Japan is the place for you. In Japanese, the unusual version of the fruit's being described as "Mongee" - the "super" banana. It looks just like any other banana, but it's supposed to be softer and sweeter - and its peel is edible. Even though they cost around $6 each, the special bananas have had no trouble attracting customers to the only place in the country where they're sold, the Tenmaya store in the southwestern city of Okayama. The technique used to create the Mongee banana is called "freeze thaw awakening." The process involves starting banana trees out in an environment that's nearly -27 C, then moving the trees with their still-ripening bananas to a more temperate climate of around -27 C - an environment banana trees typically grow in the entire time.



>Longer wait for pension
Those millennials who are aged around 20 will have to work to 71 before being receiving the state pension; those in their 30s must wait till 69, a report by the UK government Actuary's Department said. To cope with an ageing population, the Actuary's Department also said national insurance rates may have to rise by 5 percentage points to keep the pension pot in balance, adding £1,000 to the average worker's annual tax bill. Ministers announced last summer that the state pension age would rise to 68 from 2037 – a decade earlier than originally planned. But raising the age again would be controversial as it would force the young to work longer to fund the pensions of those who are already retired.



>Fungi concrete launched
A new self-healing fungi concrete, co-developed by researchers at Binghamton University and State University of New York, could help repair cracks in aging concrete permanently, and help save America's crumbling infrastructure. Congrui Jin, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Binghamton University, has researched concrete and found that the problem stems from the smallest of cracks. "Without proper treatment, cracks tend to progress further and eventually require costly repair," said Jin. So he worked with other professors and found an unusual way to heal concrete: a fungus called Trichoderma reesei. When this fungus is mixed with concrete, it originally lies dormant - until the first crack appears. "When cracking occurs, water and oxygen will find their way in. With enough water and oxygen, the dormant fungal spores will germinate, grow and precipitate calcium carbonate to heal the cracks," Jin explained.

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