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Who should — and shouldn't — consider making variable annuities part of their retirement portfolio

Who should — and shouldn't — consider making variable annuities part of their retirement portfolio

Finance
When it comes to variable annuities, many financial pros offer a few words of advice: Use with caution.Indeed, as complex investments that are tricky to understand, variable annuities come with risks that sometimes can outweigh the expected rewards."The plain-vanilla ones aren't necessarily a bad deal if they're used the right way," said certified financial planner Colby Winslow, a senior wealth planner with WaterOak Advisors. "But sometimes the fees are so prohibitive that they don't justify using one."Nevertheless, advisors say that in some cases a variable annuity ends up being the best option for a portion of an investors' retirement money.In simple terms, these annuities are a type of investment that offers some income-stream guarantees in retirement. You give an insurance company you...
Why dogs are friendly – it's written in their genes

Why dogs are friendly – it's written in their genes

Science
Being friendly is in dogs' nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists.Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago.During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research.This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company."Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even)," said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University.The researchers studied the behaviour of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals' skills at problem-solving and ...
The boss of Qatar Airways ridicules American carriers for their aged flight attendants

The boss of Qatar Airways ridicules American carriers for their aged flight attendants

Finance
GULLIVER is rarely fazed by what happens below the line of his posts. Receiving the occasional shoeing from readers—sometimes insightful, sometimes not—goes with the job. And he has certainly found his views swayed by well-reasoned arguments he finds there.But he was truly gobsmacked at the discussion that ensued from a piece last year about the sexualisation of flight attendants. The post noted a few of the seedier airline hiring practices, such as asking potential recruits, some just 15, to take part in a bikini competition, or carriers refusing to employ married women. It then concluded with what seemed to be an uncontroversial suggestion: female cabin crew should be chosen for their abilities, not for their allure.It turns out that such woolly liberal thinking is merely the product of ...
Cave painting sites may have been chosen for their acoustics, scientists argue

Cave painting sites may have been chosen for their acoustics, scientists argue

Science
June 29 (UPI) -- New research suggests the sites of cave paintings created by Paleolithic peoples many have been chosen for their acoustic qualities.Such a connection would suggest cave paintings held a religious or spiritual significance and were the site of rituals featuring chants and music.Scientists found that "points of resonance" in three French caves correspond with the placement of cave paintings. The three sites produce strong low frequency resonances.While the correlation is intriguing, researchers say their analysis is speculative. The connection isn't conclusive."Many structures throughout history featured reverberant spaces because reverberant sound can be awe-inspiring," David Lubman, an acoustic scientist and fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, said in a news relea...
Watched chimps change their hunting habits

Watched chimps change their hunting habits

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceChimpanzees in Uganda may have changed their hunting strategy in response to being watched by scientists.While studying the animals, researchers documented very different hunting habits of two closely neighbouring chimp "tribes"."Sonso" chimps hunt in small groups for colobus monkeys, while those from the "Waibira" troop hunt solo and catch "whatever they can get their hands on".The findings show how sensitive chimp society is to human presence. They are published in the journal PLoS One, Biologists who have followed and studied these animals for years think that work may have disturbed the group hunting that seems key to chasing and catching colobus monkeys. Lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter, from the University of St Andrews, said the Waibi...