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3 different ski lifts and how they can cause hurt and disappointment

3 different ski lifts and how they can cause hurt and disappointment

Do you have some warm clothes and a reckless disregard for your own safety? If so, why not try skiing? Warm clothes optional! The 2012/13 ski season is about to come to an end, but there’s still time to book a last minute weekend of throwing yourself down a snowy mountain. Before you can ski down a hill, you first have to get to the top. The descent may be fun, but the trip up is often so miserable that the activity as a whole provides the skier with no net happiness benefit. Here’s a look at three different types of ski lift and the ways in which they can cause hurt and disappointment…

The rural Welsh town of Gaiman… in Argentina

The rural Welsh town of Gaiman… in Argentina

Hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi! Or, if you aren’t from Wales or the town of Gaiman, Argentina – happy St David’s Day! For amazingly, this Argentine town’s mother tongue is Welsh! Just how a Welsh-speaking town, complete with Welsh identity and architecture, managed to emerge in a country where Spanish is the official language is pretty fascinating, or “diddorol”, as the Welsh/Gaimanions may say.

Theobroma cacao: The chocolate tree

Theobroma cacao: The chocolate tree

Most trees have a pretty good reputation already, down to their part in converting carbon dioxide into lovely, life-giving oxygen. But I don’t think any other tree could possibly have a better reputation than the Theobroma cacao… especially not in our office! After all, it’s the tree that gives us chocolate!

Strange currencies from around the world

Strange currencies from around the world

Foreign money’s a funny thing. I’ve recently returned from Iceland, where I had to hand over hundreds and hundreds of krona just for a small bottle of orange Fanta. On the plus side, however, I was for the first time in my life able to claim I had “several grand” in my wallet… My experience with the Icelandic krona inspired me to research other, far more unusual currencies, so here are some of my favourite finds.

Century egg: A Chinese delicacy you probably wouldn't want to try

Century egg: A Chinese delicacy you probably wouldn't want to try

I’ve recently taken up baking, and one of the first things you’re supposed to learn when using eggs is how to tell whether or not they’re still edible or ripe for a chucking. Just drop them in a bowl of water and, if they float, they’ve gone off. But if they sink straight to the bottom, crack those bad boys (eggs) open and get mixing! This isn’t quite how it works with the Chinese delicacy that is century egg, however…

Illa de la Discòrdia: Barcelona's discordant 'apple'

Illa de la Discòrdia: Barcelona's discordant 'apple'

You’re probably wondering why I’ve put “apple” in quote marks like that… Well, it’s because Illa de la Discòrdia is not actually an apple at all. It’s actually a block of buildings in Barcelona’s Eixample District. A pretty unusual block, as it happens… Still confused about the “apple” bit? Don’t worry – I’ll come to it.

Attacus atlas: The world's largest moth

Attacus atlas: The world's largest moth

If you ask me, moths get a bad rap. Butterflies get all the attention and adoration, and moths get… well, trapped in the bathroom, usually. However, if you were to walk into your bathroom and discover an atlas moth hanging around on your shower curtain, I think you’d definitely give it some attention…

Chinese New Year: The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

Chinese New Year: The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

Happy new year! No, this isn’t a post that we forgot to publish early last month; I’m talking about the Chinese New Year, which was yesterday. You might have seen lots of colourful costumes, dancing dragons and fireworks on the news. Or, if you’ve got a Chinatown nearby you, just round the corner. According to the Chinese calendar, we’re no longer in the year of the Dragon. We’re now in the year of the Snake. But why are the animals in the order they’re in? Well, gather round and I’ll tell you…