Five Lessons Learnt This Week

Got that Friday feeling? If you’re struggling to concentrate on those charts, don’t worry. We’ve got your regular Friday afternoon distraction in the form of Five Lessons Learnt This Week.

This week, we’ve learnt what you can do with your tax holder now that tax discs are obsolete, why you shouldn’t try to float 1,000 miles in a bubble or squeeze under a bridge in a lorry, and how you can get on the property ladder for the price of an iPhone…

1. Don’t try to squeeze under a bridge

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 15.10.33
Image Credit: London Fire Brigade

A Halfords lorry found itself in a bit of pickle this week after getting stuck under a railway bridge in Beckenham. The London Fire Brigade were called to the scene to free the trapped lorry, and train services across the bridge had to be stopped while the incident was resolved.

Ironically (and hilariously) the lorry was printed with a “We Fit” logo – except, obviously, it didn’t. The irony of the situation wasn’t lost on Twitter users, who took to the social media platform to comment on the situation. Some of our favourite remarks include “Halfords We Fit lorry… doesn’t” (@roadcc) and “‘We Fit’, says Halford lorry. ‘No you don’t’, says bridge” (@NewsShopper). Even Halfords joined in on the joke, tweeting: “We Didn’t Fit… but thankfully no-one was hurt” (@Halfords_uk).

For a vehicle that won’t get stuck under railway bridges, check out our Best Cars of 2014

2. What to do with your tax disc holder

Image Credit: The Mirror
Image Credit: The Mirror

…now that tax discs are no more. Paper tax discs are now a thing of the past, so what on earth are we going to use their little plastic holders for now? Fortunately, The Mirror have come up with some ingenious suggestions to help us out.

First up, it turns out that the plastic holders are the perfect size to hold a tea bag or a chocolate biscuit in case you get peckish on your travels. It’s just a shame they can’t hold both at the same time, because what good is a cuppa without a biscuit to dunk?

Another idea is to use the tax disc holder to display useful messages to your fellow drivers. For example, if your parallel parking leaves a lot to be desired, maybe leaving an apology to acknowledge the fact that parking is not your forte will make other road users a little less angry.

The tax disc holder is also a useful place to pop tablets, powder compacts and any other useful bits you might need while you’re out and about. But our favourite use, especially with Halloween coming up, is to pop a scary photograph in it as a theft deterrent. Which unfortunate-looking relative will you choose?

3. Don’t try to float to Bermuda in a zorb

Image Credit: The Times
Image Credit: The Times

Erm, no, we’re not quite sure why you would, either. But just in case you were considering it, it didn’t go so well for Iranian Reza Baluchi, who had to be picked up by the US coast guard after attempting to float 1,033 miles from Florida to Bermuda in an inflatable bubble otherwise known as a ‘zorb’.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ‘zorbing’, it’s an outdoor activity involving running in a giant inflated ball, not unlike a hamster running on a wheel. It’s usually done on land, but clearly Baluchi decided he could walk on water, despite being warned by the coastguard that his proposed trip was somewhat treacherous.

The plan was to run the 1,033 miles around the Bermuda Triangle, stopping to cool off in the sea, catch fish and sleep in a hammock inside the inflatable bubble. But it turned out to be a little more exhausting than Baluchi anticipated, and he was forced to activate his locator beacon. Air crew successfully rescued Baluchi and his bubble from the middle of the sea, but we’d stick to zorbing on land (or not at all…) in future.

If you do fancy partaking in some outdoor activities, we’ve got some better ideas in our Top 10 Outdoor Activities to Try.

4. You could swap your iPhone for a house

Image Credit: Fox 2
Image Credit: Fox 2

Already bored of your new iPhone 6? You’re in luck – head to Detroit, and you could swap it for a three-bedroomed house. The detached, two-storey property has been on the market for months, but even after lowering the price to $2,000 the desperate homeowner has been unable to flog it.

The owner, who lives in Austria and has never visited the property, paid £25,000 for the house four years ago, hoping to resell quickly and cash in. But he was out of luck, as the Michigan city’s economy took a turn for the worse and house prices plummeted.

The house has been empty since 2010 and has accrued taxes of $4,000, which the new owner would need to pay. It also needs major work and repairs. So in order to shift the property, the owner has dropped his $2,000 asking price and instead will settle for a new iPhone 6 or a 32GB iPad – and is willing to negotiate.

If you decide not to swap your smartphone, check out our guide to Mobile Trading Gadgets for the best apps to get your phone trading ready on-the-go. 

5. Chimpanzees have rights

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 10.41.48Or they might soon, anyway. In the next few weeks, a court will decide whether chimpanzee Tommy and his fellow chimps should be entitled to legal personhood.

Tommy is an ex-circus performer who lives in a shed and spends his days watching cartoons and nature programmes on TV. His (aptly named) lawyer, Mr. Wise, believes that this is “no life for a human” – seemingly ignoring the fact that his client is not, in fact, human. The lawyer and president of animal advocacy group the Nonhuman Rights Project is tackling the first court case of its kind in an attempt to change animals’ legal rights.

He argues that chimps are self-determined, self-aware, highly intelligent and emotionally complex – and therefore fit the legal profile of a ‘person’, and, as such, should have claim to the same legal rights. If his claim is successful, Tommy will be released from his shed and dragged away from his TV set to live among other chimps in a sanctuary in Florida.

If Tommy wins his case, it could have implications for other intelligent animals including dolphins, elephants and orcas. You have to wonder where they’re going to draw the line, though…