In this week’s Five Lessons Learnt, find out why there’s a house floating on the Thames, why Google are in a spot of bother, how buying flip flops can boost an economy and exactly what it costs to buy happiness…
1. Why there’s a house floating on the Thames
Early morning commuters were mystified when they spotted a strange-looking object floating down the River Thames earlier this week – a bright blue house, to be precise.
The unconventional looking boat turned out to be the latest listing by property rental company Airbnb and is a fully functional house with two bedrooms, a working bathroom and even a garden complete with real grass, a doghouse (so be on your best behaviour) and an apple tree.
On its maiden voyage, the 70-tonne house held community events and overnight stays before opening its doors to a lucky competition winner and three guests, who enjoyed an overnight stay, spa treatments from on-demand app PRIV and a private dining experience from Michelin chef Robert Ortiz. Would you fancy spending the night in a floating house?
It’s not the only unusual-looking boat to take to the seas – for something a little bit more extravagant, check out Yacht Island Design, whose Monaco, spaceship and tropical island inspired yachts were the subject of this week’s Littlefish Loves.
2. What happiness costs
The old adage says “you can’t put a price on happiness”, but that hasn’t stopped researchers from cash back site Quidco from giving it a shot. The study found that the average person would need a mere £7.6 million to literally buy happiness.
The study put a price on everything from jobs to relationships to determine how much money would compensate for the loss of something priceless. Probably somewhat worryingly, the average adult would need a smaller hand out to leave their other half (£1.3m) than to leave their job (£1.4m) – and 22% wouldn’t tell their partner if they won a significant windfall.
It’s clear that happiness has a different price for different folks, too – 1 in 10 of the people surveyed said they’d need AT LEAST £50 million to put a permanent smile on their face, while a more modest 1 in 10 said less than £250,000 would do the trick. So how much money would you need to be happy forever?
3. Why Google are in trouble
Google found themselves in hot water this week after it emerged that typing racist slurs into Google Maps led users to the White House. The search engine apologised after it found that both Google Maps UK and Google Maps US showed Barack Obama’s home if a racist term we’re not going to repeat here was entered into the search bar.
It’s unclear how the mishap happened, and whether it was the decision of someone at Google or mischief by a hacker. Google Maps has fallen victim to hackers and vandals in the past after opening up the maps to edits by the public in the Map Maker tool, when someone used the tool to draw an Android urinating on a Apple in Pakistan. Google disabled the Map Maker tool in response. What action they’ll take to redeem themselves from the White House incident remains to be seen, though they’ve confirmed that their teams are working to correct the issue.
4. You can cross-stitch a bank card faster than getting one from the bank
Disgruntled Santander customer used an unusual prop in his social media battle against his bank this week – a cross-stitched bank card. Keith Clark faced a wait of more than 20 days for a replacement bank card after his was closed, and decided to sew a replica in protest at his long wait.
He then took to the bank’s Facebook page to explain that after being disappointed at the length of the wait he faced, he decided to see how long it would take for him to make a bank card and post it to Santander. If the card manages to make it there in less than 20 days, he argues, he cannot understand how his card has taken so long to reach him.
To our knowledge, Keith is still waiting for his replacement card. But at least he’s got a new hobby to keep him busy while he waits.
Not a cross-stitching fan? Keep busy this summer with the Best Events of Summer 2015 instead. From festivals to sporting events, they’re all here…
5. Everyone’s holiday shopping
The recent pound leaps have been explained by economists as a result of Brits stocking up on swim shorts and flip flops ready for their summer jollies – and it’s a sign that the US economy is on the up, with retail sales figures showing that consumer spending climbed three times faster in April than analysts anticipated.
Experts say the jump was caused by holidaymakers hitting the high street to prepare for the holiday season, as sales of clothes shot up by 5.2pc in April, the biggest rise in four years. A chief economist as currency firm World First said that the leap was “a likely reaction to a week or so of good weather in April or shoppers buying shorts and flip-flops before a cheap week in Europe”.
Are you kitted out for your summer holidays yet?
If you’ve still to book your jollies, take a look at the Best Travel Spots for Traders in 2015 for inspiration. Bon voyage!