Five Lessons Learnt This Week

The most important lessons learnt this week include why you should never steal someone’s parking space (or bad things will happen), why you should really print off some of the 100,000 photos lurking in your computer’s hard drive, and what the F1 cars of the future will look like…

1. What happens when you steal someone’s parking space

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 10.36.51You’ve probably experienced the annoyance of somebody else swooping into a parking space before you get a chance. Or maybe you’re more likely to be on the other side and face the wrath of a fellow driver whose space you’ve unwittingly pinched.

In this hilarious example, a driver from Boston got revenge on a parking space ‘thief’ when he arrived home at midnight to find that someone had already parked in his spot. A spot that he had spent ‘a significant amount of time’ shovelling after a snow storm, and even left a bookshelf in as a ‘marker’.

According to the 26-year-old driver, the local Mayor had announced that if you spend time shovelling a spot, the parking space is yours for 24 hours. So he took drastic action – and returned the snow to its rightful space, burying the badly parked car. He was kind enough to leave the passenger door clear in case emergency access was required, though.

2. How to get to Mars

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 14.23.19Controversial research project Mars One has revealed its top 100 candidates, selected from 200,000 applicants in a bid to get a seat on a voyage to Mars. The 100 chosen will go on to further tests before the finalists are chosen – and the winners will be sent on a one-way trip to Mars.

24 candidates will be selected to make up six crew of four, and Mars One hopes to send the crews into space one at a time every two years from 2024 with the aim of starting a colony there. But its far from a safe mission – in fact, critics are calling the competition “a challenge to die on Mars”. Only half of all unmanned missions to Mars are successful, and the journey alone will take seven long months. Plus, a recent study has shown that if the first voyagers are successful, they will be likely to survive just 68 days.

But the 100 finalists are undeterred – from scientists and academics to those who just want to get involved in the ultimate adventure. One candidate admits her mum didn’t want her to sign up as she knew she’d be successful and she’d never see her again – but Alison Rigby, from East London, says that she feels a responsibility to inspire a future generation and that’s more important to her than staying at home to keep her mum happy.

What do you think? Would you sign up?

If Mars is a bit too far, go to one of these top travel spots for traders instead. 

 3. Always check your sources

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 14.36.39Best-selling author John Green (he wrote the book behind last year’s hit movie’The Fault in Our Stars’) was left red-faced this week after discovering he’d been selling posters with a quote he’d written on them… except the only problem was, it wasn’t actually his quote.

The quote “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met” was attributed to John’s novel ‘Paper Towns’, and sounded so much like his writing that even John didn’t notice he’d never written it. But it turns out the quote was actually written by teenager Melody Truong, who was aware that her quote was being mis-sourced but didn’t think she could do anything about it – until a friend posted to Reddit about the mishap and Green owned up.

Instead of trying to get away with his mistake (which he probably would have) Green posted an apologetic video and will be paying royalties to Truong retrospectively for the mis-sold posters. Top marks for honesty…

For more great writing, check out our LFX Book Club for all the trading reads you’ll ever need. 

4. Why you need to print your photos

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 14.50.29Google’s vice-president has spoken out this week to warn us all that unless we stop being lazy and start printing some of those digital photographs lurking in our hard drives, records of the 21st century could be lost forever. He believes that our over-reliance on digital technology could transform the 21st century into a new Dark Age, with future historians unable to find out what life was like for mankind at the turn of the millennium.

Dr Vinton Cerf claims that we are “nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole”, with a lack of written records meaning that our achievements and memories could be lost to future generations. He adds that information is already being lost because they had been stored using older technology, and that we cannot possibly know what information will be of importance in the future.

Scientists are working on a solution to prevent a new Dark Age called digital vellum – a concept involving digital snapshots of data and storing information on how it was made. But in the meantime, get yourself down to Boots and print off any photos you want to be preserved for future generations (you can leave your selfies on your phones, though).

But don’t turn your back on digital completely – check out these cool new tech and apps for traders

5. What future F1 cars will be made from

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 15.00.16Spider silk may be about to lose its title as the strongest known natural material after scientists discovered that limpet teeth may be stronger. The snail-like sea creatures need high-strength teeth to allow them to hold on to rock surfaces and peel of algae to eat, and scientists have found the secret to their strength – a hard mineral called goethite.

The mineral forms in limpets as they grow and creates a structure so strong that engineers believe it could be copied and used in racing cars, yachts and aircrafts. Goethite is currently being tested through atomic force microscopy (basically, pulling the material apart all the way down to atom level) to find out if it can give spider silk a run for its money as the strongest natural substance on earth.

Supercar made of limpet teeth, anyone?

They’re not made from limpet teeth (yet) but here are our favourite cars of 2015 so far