News Duccini, right, at the 75th anniversary celebrations of 'The Wizard of Oz'

Ruth Duccini was the last of the original female Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. Uncredited, Duccini, who was four feet tall, played one of 124 Munchkin townspeople in the 1939 classic. There is now only one surviving Munchkin, Jerry Maren.

Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York

Polar vortex: frost throwers, freezing urine, cracking trampolines

All 50 US states are below freezing as the polar vortex sworls around North America, shattering temperature records and causing a collective shudder across the continent.

US braced for record low temperatures as 'polar vortex' brings minus -51C wind chill

Extreme forecast in America with -31 Celsius in Fargo, North Dakota, -35 C in International Falls, Minnesota, and -26 C in Indianapolis and Chicago

Sex doesn't sell? This study into women's response to raunchy advertising starts wrong and gets worse

The conclusion that women use sex as a bargaining tool is wildly outdated

Serge Vorobyov said he used his last $1000 to fund the stunt

Man throws $1000 over shoppers to spread holiday cheer, gets arrested by police

Serge Vorobyov threw the cash from the top floor of a US mall on Black Friday as a choir sang ‘Let it Snow’

Happiness can be bought, apparently, but only to a point

Experts confirm that money does buy happiness – but only up to £22,100

It is widely accepted that money can’t buy you love. Now a new study has found that it can buy you happiness – but only up to a point.

Veteran Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, right, shone on his comeback game

American Football: Peterson helps Minnesota Vikings paint Wembley purple in win over Pittsburgh Steelers

Adopted home side for the week get off the mark with thrilling win in first of two London games this season

Kenya Shopping mall attack: ‘Deadly pipeline’ of US men leaving for Somalia to join al-Shabaab

Since 2007, 22 young men have left Minnesota, as well as two women

Nina Davuluri - the first Miss America winner from Indian background - dismisses barrage of racist abuse

Just minutes after the result racist comments began to appear on social networking sites

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by United Airlines

United Airlines sells 'free' $0 tickets on their website

Customers wait to find out if the airline will honour the purchased tickets after a glitch on their site

Last Night's Viewing: The Men Who Made Us Thin, BBC2 The Field of Blood, BBC1

In 1943, Louis Dublin, the chief actuary for US insurance giants Metropolitan Life, published a series of charts that changed the world. Dublin used data from four million policyholders to ascertain the optimal weight for long life. Overnight, more than half the population of America was reclassified as overweight. The Men Who Made Us Thin, Jacques Peretti's engaging follow-up to last year's The Man Who Made Us Fat, was full of such stories about the arbitrary nature of weight and the weight-loss industry.

Pirsig: A survival guide for the soul

Invisible Ink: No 173 - Robert M Pirsig

In the roll-call of student summer reading certain volumes stand out, including Desmond Morris's body language phenomenon The Naked Ape and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull. To those can be added a volume by Robert M Pirsig that snuggled its way into every hitchhiker's hand-crocheted body satchel. Unlike Bach, whose books were like being hit with a wiffle bat full of pot-pourri, Pirsig is the real deal. Born in 1928, this precocious university student was eventually expelled for studying too hard, after growing bewildered by the choice of multiple hypotheses in his chosen field, biochemistry. Overwhelmed by the limitations of science, he tackled Eastern philosophy instead, spending time in India before returning to a US college.

Walking while I work has been a big step forward

Yes, the head of an august science institution and senior BBC science journalist have almost fallen off it. Yes, it does tend to raise eyebrows when people see it in my office. But it is gratifying to hear that my treadmill desk is not only helping me to keep trim but also reducing my risk of diabetes.

Max Kampelman addresses a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing

Max M Kampelman: Diplomat who negotiated with the Soviet Union on nuclear arms reduction

He worked for Republicans and Democrats at the same time – a situation now unthinkable

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which philosopher (1889-1951) said: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent"?

Unilever sells Skippy peanut butter brand for $700m

Hormel Foods has agreed to acquire the US peanut butter brand Skippy from Anglo–Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever for $700m in cash, in an attempt to capitalise on rising overseas demand for the spread.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn