Research decodes the ideal neighbour

Plus more of the wackiest stories making headlines this week in News You Can Lose.

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The perfect neighbour asks for no more than two favours a month, but invites you round for a meal at least six times a year, research has found.

In a list of 12 criteria for the ideal next-door neighbour, engaging in small talk that lasts less than four minutes and avoiding eye contact over the garden fence also score highly.

According to a survey of 1,000 homeowners by a British insurance company, anything more is considered "pushy and intrusive."

Asked to describe a dream neighbour, respondents wanted a house warming gift within three days of moving in, an agreement to babysit at least 10 times a year and an offer to watch the house when they are on holiday.

A spokesman for the company, More Than, said "House-to-house relations within even the smallest of neighbourhoods can range from disastrous to delightful."

Motor City Zombieland

Detroit's derelict neighbourhoods could become a zombie theme park under a new business venture.

The city's population has fallen by nearly half since the 1970s, with huge areas left abandoned.

Now an entrepreneur hopes to revive a derelict quarter with "Z World", which will employ actors to chase guests, forcing them to hide in abandoned homes and factories.

Reaction to the plan has been mixed. One Detroit blogger complained that the zombie park "sounds a lot like all that fun we had during the 1960s race riots."

But the businessman behind the project, Mark Siwak, insisted: "While zombies are great, the real neat thing about this project is the potential to inject some life into a forgotten neighbourhood"

Perfect to a fault

A schoolgirl who complained she should have been given a higher mark after scoring 99.95 per cent in a university entrance exam has been widely ridiculed after her family launched an appeal.

Sarah Hui Xin Wong, who attends a private school in Sydney, Australia, says she should been given 100 per cent, claiming discrimination and a wrist problem.

She claims the exam board failed to take account of her joint problem, saying "you want your disability to be sufficiently addressed with special examination provisions."

Wong, now 21, has just lost her appeal, but is still studying science and medicine at one of the country's best universities.

One newspaper columnist noted that, since she had achieved her goal, it's hardly a big deal and "the care factor here should be something around 00.05 per cent."

Crazy cat ladies

Women who have cats are more likely to develop mental health problems, a scientific study has discovered.

The cause is a common parasite in cat droppings which can cause toxoplasmosis, a brain disease linked with mental illness and even suicide.

The study, which examined 45,000 women in Denmark, found that those with cats were more likely to contract the disease.

Those infected were also one and a half time more likely to attempt suicide than those who were not.