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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

  |   June 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Survey: Younger men less handy than dads

LONDON, June 15 (UPI) -- A British roadside assistance company said its poll suggests younger men are less capable with home and car maintenance than their fathers' generation.

GEM Motoring Assist said its poll of 2,000 British men indicates only 31 percent of men aged 18 to 30 are able to change the oil on their own cars, as opposed to 55 percent of men over the age of 45.

The survey also suggests only 46 percent of men in the younger age group know how to put up a shelf in their homes, compared to 74 percent of the older men.

The company said a quarter of the younger men said they have no problem calling their fathers for help with car troubles, while about a fifth said they would call their dads for advice on home maintenance jobs.

The only task in the survey where younger men had more knowledge than their older counterparts was when it came to baking a cake, with 46 percent of the 18 to 30-year-olds being handy in the kitchen and only 45 percent of the over-45-year-olds making the same claim.

"We're not sure whether this absence of knowledge is down to a lack of time, work commitments, or simply a disinterest in knowing more," a GEM spokesman said. "Certainly it seems more commonplace for men of today to rely on outside help for any household, gardening or car related tasks -- whether it be dad, tradesmen or other professionals. And perhaps it is better to ask for help rather than making things up and risking a costly repair job."

The company did not offer survey methodology or a margin of error.


Countries cooperate to return stolen bike

PALMER, Alaska, June 15 (UPI) -- An Alaska man's family said he was reunited with his stolen bicycle in Italy when police recovered it during a drug bust and looked him up on Facebook.

David Salmon of Palmer, Alaska, said his son, Erik, 21, was biking across Europe with some friends when his bicycle, panniers and clothes were stolen Wednesday from outside of a Pisa, Italy, cafe, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Friday.

Salmon said police in Tuscany busted a suspected drug house Thursday and recovered items including the Kona Sutra touring bike, which bore Erik's name and contained his passport. Police used Facebook to track down Erik Salmon's hometown and Palmer Public Safety Officers -- who said they had never fielded a call from Italian police before -- were able to give them the number of Salmon's family.

Davis Salmon said he put the police in contact with his son, who was then able to retrieve his stolen belongings from the police station.

"Whatever minutes and miles there are between us world citizens is now compressed to milliseconds and millimeters," David Salmon said.


Art thieves foiled by small getaway car

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 15 (UPI) -- Stockholm police said a pair of art thieves were foiled when they were unable to fit the stolen paintings into their small getaway car.

Police said the two men forced their way into the home of the victim, who is in his 60s, bound his hands and threatened him with a knife before fleeing with three valuable paintings by famous Swedish artists, the Swedish news agency TT reported Friday.

Witnesses told the Aftonbladet newspaper the robbers were foiled when they were unable to fit the pilfered art into their getaway car, a red Ford.

Police said one of the paintings was recovered in the road and the other two were found in a nearby dumpster.

The homeowner was shaken, but uninjured, police said.

Investigators are trying to track down the suspects.


Zoo celebrates walrus' 30th birthday

TACOMA, Wash., June 15 (UPI) -- A Washington state zoo is celebrating the 30th birthday of its prized walrus E.T. with three days of walrus-themed events.

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma said the birthday bash for E.T., taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will include talks about the marine mammal and his species, a human-powered flipper relay race, and the serving of a fishy birthday cake and fishsicle treats for the walruses, The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune reported Friday.

Zoo administrators said the 3,450-pound walrus, one of only 17 walruses in U.S. zoos and aquariums, has two girlfriends but has yet to become a father. They said he is helping them to understand the species' biology.

"We really want to understand reproductive biology better not only to enhance breeding here, but also at facilities in North America and worldwide," zoo general curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. "By studying the walruses here and changes in their bodies, it gives us a model to base studies on in the wild."

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