Roald Dahl was wrong


February 5th, 2014

So apparently Roald Dahl got it all wrong when he said the 501 seagulls lifted James and his giant peach – it would have actually taken 2.5 million.

So, some very sad and lonely scientist did the research. They calculated that each seagull would be able to lift just over two newtons, and that a total of 2,425,907 seagulls would actually be required to lift the peach off the ground.

But what bothers me is why? Why have you wasted so much time finding this out …

Dear scientists – please stop ruining my childhood favourites.

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Different cup, different taste


January 5th, 2014

European scientists say they have found further evidence that how you serve food and drink matters hugely in the perception of taste.

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford recruited 57 volunteers and asked them to taste hot chocolate served in plastic cups with four different colours — white, cream, red and orange, with white on the inside.

Previous research has found that yellow containers boost the perception of flavour of lemons in soft drinks; beverages with cold colours, like blue, seem more thirst-quenching than warm colours like red; and if drinks are pink, they are perceived as being more sugary.

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Another good reason to lose weight


December 5th, 2013

Overweight drivers listen up: Research shows fat people are propelled further forward during a collision because of their additional soft tissue, which prevents a seat-belt from tightening immediately against the pelvis.

Scientists now believe car design may have to change to protect overweight drivers. Analysis of US collision data found those who were most overweight - in the World Health Organization obesity category III - were 80% more likely to die in an accident than drivers of a healthy weight.

So does that mean an end to Maccy D’s drive-throughs then? ;-(

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Woman, you look like a man


November 5th, 2013

Originally high heels were worn by women so they could look more like men! And high heels don’t tend to be very comfortable. It is almost as though they just weren’t designed for walking in - and originally, they weren’t.

“The high heel was worn for centuries throughout the near east as a form of riding footwear,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

And worn ‘soley’ by men (ed: clever).

Although Europeans were first attracted to heels because the Persian connection gave them a macho air, a craze in women’s fashion for adopting elements of men’s dress meant their use soon spread to women and children.

“In the 1630s you had women cutting their hair, adding epaulettes to their outfits,” says Semmelhack. “They would smoke pipes, they would wear hats that were very masculine. And this is why women adopted the heel - it was in an effort to masculinise their outfits.”

And from that time on they were a female shoe …

Except for Dame Edna that is!

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Jaffa Cakes – House of Commons Favourite


October 5th, 2013

As we all know, the lovely Jaffa Cake is exempt from VAT – because it’s officially a cake and not a biscuit – and you can tell the difference by this simple method: a biscuit goes soft when it goes off and a cake goes hard!

Now we all know!

Well it turns out that our MPs love Jaffa Cakes more than any other cake. One imagines that Dave, Nick and Ed are all having competitions on their tea break to see how long they can dunk a Jaffa in their tea – John Prescott is not invited though! ;-)

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Late to bed? Bigger wedge!


September 5th, 2013

Research has found out recently that teenagers who stay awake later at night are more likely to be successful and richer in later life. Researchers looked at the habits and body clocks of the youths and determined whether they liked to stay up late or rise early.

Their school performance, problem solving, academic grades and major subjects were also examined in the study. Night owls performed better than early risers at inductive reasoning and demonstrated a greater capacity to think conceptually as well as analytically. These abilities have been linked to innovative thinking, more prestigious occupations and better incomes.

Larks, however, tended to do better in school - prompting researchers to theorise that evening types might be disadvantaged by morning school schedules.

Too late for us in the office, a perfect excuse for falling asleep in morning lessons.

Shame …

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School makes you tall!


August 5th, 2013

Researchers from the universities of Southern California, Harvard, and Beijing say it is the first time it has been shown that choices we make later in life, rather than in early childhood, can influence our height. Using data from a survey of 17,708 adults beginning at age 45, the researchers showed a number of new influences - including education - which determined how much we shrank. They showed that regardless of your maximum height, the loss of height over time is also an important indicator for other health issues as we age.

The study found that those who had lost more height were also much more likely to perform poorly on standard tests of cognitive health, such as short-term memory, ability to perform basic arithmetic and awareness of the date.

Urban dwellers had much less height loss than those in rural areas, and having completed primary school - rather than being illiterate - is associated with 0.9 cm less height shrinkage in men.

Completing high school meant a further 1 cm less in shrinkage.

For women, having completed primary school was the difference in 0.6 cm of shrinkage, compared to an average overall height decrease of 3.8 cm.

So,  mothers might have been better telling their kids to finish their homework as well as their greens to grow big and strong!

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Expensive rabbit


July 5th, 2013

UK rabbit Ralph is officially the biggest rabbit in the world - weighing in at almost 4 stone, Ralph is a big boy. He’s also a hungry bunny! His diet consists of: cabbage, broccoli, two types of sweetcorn, cucumber, carrots, dried watercress, apples, brown bread, cream crackers, swede and a helping of Weetabix.

Owner Pauline Grant now relies on help from her local community to help fund Ralph’s diet which now costs over £50.00 per week!

I need to check with our CEO but I don’t think we can lend to rabbits…hmmm?? It might amuse our call staff if you ask anyway.

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Top Gear Iran style


June 5th, 2013

Now this is cool and particularly because someone in the office actually knows someone who was involved in it! Top Gear is officially the most popular TV show in the world – see what we did there? (ed: rolling eyes). And obviously in non-English speaking countries the voices of James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson have to be dubbed.

Usually voice-over artists are by definition anonymous, however in Iran this is not the case. When Mozaffar Shafeie, an Iranian actor living in London, was in Kurdistan a few weeks ago, a whisper went round the party he was attending.

Soon enough a group of Kurdish teenage boys put the question directly. Shafeie, who does indeed have a close connection with the programme, replied: “Yes, I am Jeremy Clarkson.” Shafeie is the voice actor who dubs Jeremy Clarkson into Farsi, and this name sent the boys - and nearby onlookers - into a flurry of excited whoops and screams.

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Fake funerals


May 5th, 2013

No, it’s not the name of the latest ‘emo band’ – it’s actually a new idea that’s catching on all over China.

In March, 24 people held false funerals at the Shimenfeng Celebrity Culture Park in Wuhan, and the roaring trade can be put down to trainee undertaker Zeng, who came up with the idea.

When Zeng Jia held her own wake, despite the fact she was still alive, many thought it was morbid and self-obsessed. The service has two parts – a 20-minute memorial service and a 15-20 minute “life-death experience”, but it now turns out it wasn’t an unusual occurrence.

Riiiiight, OK then!

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