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Popular Elsewhere

15:14 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Discover magazine's readers are flocking to find out what is the worst mistake in the history of the human race. Here's a clue: it caused social and sexual inequality and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. The answer is a little unpredictable: agriculture.

Discover says archaeologists are now arguing hunter-gatherers may have got things right. In contrast, agriculture, far from being progress, may be the end of us. "We're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."

"Those greedy baby boomers" is the tone of a well read LA Times article. It says that 47 to 65-year-olds plan not to leave an inheritance.

It's not just because people are feeling the pinch either - the paper quotes a survey of millionaire "boomers" by investment firm US Trust which found only 49% said it was important to leave money to their children when they die. However, it points out some think their children will still get something "since nobody can synchronize their demise precisely to the emptying of their bank accounts".

It seems Slate readers are reading almost exclusively about the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How the subject is treated really does move across the spectrum - from a recounting of the events in cartoon form to Christopher Hitchens' account that the events made him reflect on his role as a "public intellectual".

Only one woman seems to pull Slate readers away from 9/11 and she goes by the name Rachel Held Evans. She is an evangelical blogger and attempting to live a whole year following all the Bible's instructions for women as precisely as possible. But the article says she has come up against criticism from within Christianity. This, she says, "goes to show at some level there's a fear of exposing what it means to follow the Bible literally".

A happy worker may seem a luxury in the current climate, says a widely emailed New York Times article, but it can be the difference which ensures a company's survival. That's because, the article says, lower job satisfaction foreshadows poorer bottom-line performance.

Writers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramerhave have been studying workers, and witnessed a trend in an unhappier workforce. They've gone as far as to call it a disengagement crisis. They explain when people don't care about their jobs or their employers, they don't show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers. And the writers have a price tag for their crisis too - a "staggering" $300bn (£186bn) in lost productivity annually".

And finally, the winner of the case study with an apt name goes to a popular Time article. Marqueta Bourgeois talks about her plight as homeless but middle class.

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