It’s time for our weekly round-up of the funniest and weirdest news stories from around the world in Five Lessons Learnt This Week.
This week has taught us that you can ensure your wedding day is rain-free, how to check the likelihood of your plane crashing, why you can’t call your daughter Nutella and how to get rid of the January blues…
1. How to control the weather
The Great British weather is a constant threat to outdoor activities, even in the height of summer. So travel company Oliver’s Travels have come up with a solution – they can guarantee a sunny day for your special event. Oliver’s Travels, who organise luxury destination weddings, have introduced a unique ‘cloud busting’ service to ensure blue skies and sunshine for their high-end customers.
The staff, who are highly-specialised meteorologists and pilots, fly a light aircraft just above the clouds, sprinkling them with silver particles which cause the clouds to burst and vanish in time for your big day. If you want the science bit: the silver particles are actually silver iodide crystals, which freeze water droplets so that they grow in size and eventually fall out of the sky. The technique, known as cloud seeding, was developed in 1940s Russia in order to prevent the weather from disturbing Soviet rallies, and is already used to prevent fog at airports and boost snowfall at ski resorts.
And now it can be used to guarantee clear skies on your wedding day, but it’ll cost you. Oliver’s Travels charge £100,000 for the premium service, which was reportedly used in 2011 for Wills & Kate’s wedding, as well as at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony in 2008. Apparently, Steve Hilton (David Cameron’s former Director of Strategy) considered buying in cloud seeding technology to extend the British summer, arguing that the improved climate would make Brits happier and more productive – but the idea was dismissed as crazy by his colleagues. Shame.
For (hopefully) more reliable weather, head to one of these top travel spots for traders.
2. You can’t call your child Nutella
A French court banned parents from calling their baby girl Nutella (after the popular chocolate and hazelnut spread) on the grounds that it would make her a target for ridicule. After her parents failed to turn up to the court hearing last Monday, the judge ordered that she be called Ella instead.
Ella’s parents chose the name Nutella because they said the hazelnut spread was everything they wanted their daughter to be: popular, The judge said it would be “contrary to the child’s interests to be called Nutella, a name that could only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts”. Which is fair enough, really. We love Nutella, but we wouldn’t want to be named after it.
French parents are usually entitled to choose whatever name they like for their child, but local prosecutors can report what they deem to be unsuitable names to a family court. The courts have also banned a French couple from calling their daughter Fraise (Strawberry), again on the grounds that the name would cause the child to be teased.
Maybe this story will stop the trend for crazy names from ‘spreading’…
3. How to shake off the January blues
In a giant ball pool, apparently. A ‘playground for adults’ has been built in London to give stressed out workers somewhere to relax – a ball pool filled with 80,000 white balls. The ball pit was set up by creative agency Pearlfisher as an exhibition called ‘Jump In!’ in their London gallery, and will be available from 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday, until the 13th February.
The idea behind the exhibition is to provide a “seasonal creative recharge” for overworked employees who need a break from reality. It’s all about letting your childlike, creative side – and it’s not just good for stress levels. For every visitor that tries out the ball pit, Pearlfisher will donate £1 to charity. So that’s two reasons to feel better.
30 people can be admitted at a time – so if it’s been a rough week, round up your colleagues and get the weekend off to a good start.
For more ways to unwind, check out our tips on how top business and trading pros relax.
4. There’s a polar bear on the loose
And it’s rampaging around London. The wild animal has been spotted on the Tube, enjoying the view at Hampstead Heath and walking across the Millennium Bridge. There’s just one thing… it’s not real.
The 8ft polar bear was constructed by 18 prop specialists and took two months to design and build. Two puppeteers from the West End show War Horse were responsible for controlling the bear’s movements to make sure it looked as lifelike as possible.
Why? As a promotional campaign for Sky Atlantic’s new “Artic-noir” series Fortitude, a thriller set in a town with thousands of polar bears. The bear is no longer wandering the streets of London, so you can breathe a sigh of relief (though we’re a little disappointed we didn’t bump into him on the Tube).
For more things to see in London, check out our A-Z of the UK capital.
5. How to find out if your plane’s going to crash
It seems there’s an app for almost everything these days. And this week proved that, as a new app was launched that claims to predict the likelihood of a plane crashing. The app is called ‘Am I going down?’ and was developed to help those with a fear of flying by showing them that the statistical probability of their aircraft running into trouble is as low as one in nine million.
The app ranks different airlines according to their safety records and the amount of time since an airline’s last fatal accident, giving readers the chance of their aircraft crashing and telling them how many times they’d have to take the same flight before they could expect it to go down. For example, a one in 9,283,062 chance of crashing means that the plane will go down once every 25,433 years, supposing you took the same flight every day.
What do you think? Would this kind of rational thought help to calm any nervous fliers among you? Or would you rather not dwell too much on the possibility of crashing however low the probability?
If this app doesn’t take your fancy, we’ve picked out all the best travel gadgets for traders here.