This week in Five Lessons Learnt, a pancake-related international crisis, a glitch in the Matrix, how to erase memories, why winter makes us less productive and how to make your fortune selling fresh air…
1. Why Pancake Day caused an international crisis
So, we’re sure you all know Tuesday was Pancake Day (in fact, if you’re anything like us you’ll only just be recovering from a Nutella-induced sugar rush around now). But you may not have known that Shrove Tuesday 2016 almost caused an international crisis after the French were horrified to witness a British “pancake massacre”.
The trouble started when an English user posted a picture of a stack of crêpes a French colleague had brought to work for his co-workers to enjoy.
But instead of removing a pancake from the top of the stack, some hooligan decided to cut into the pile as if it was a cake. The picture went viral, sparking what can only be described as absolute outrage from French commenters, who described the transgression as “an act of war” and vowed to massacre the English in the upcoming Six Nations rugby battle by means of revenge.
Some people just don’t give a crêpe, do they? (Sorry. Couldn’t pass up that punning opportunity.)
2. Why winter makes you less productive
If winter makes you want to do nothing but curl up under your duvet and watch hours of Netflix, you’re not alone and it’s not just your imagination. Scientists have discovered that human brains actually work differently throughout the year, with attention and concentration reaching their peak in midsummer and slumping throughout the winter months.
The science behind it is that back in the caveman days, when food was scarce in the winter the brain would dial down unnecessary parts to preserve energy for running to find food. When food was plentiful and energy not such a precious resource, higher brain functions such as memory were given a boost.
The bad news is it’s almost spring, so this excuse won’t get you out of trouble for much longer. But at least you’ll know for next year…
3. Tube passengers spot ‘a glitch in the Matrix’
These two guys on the tube looking weirdly similar freaked out their fellow Tube passengers – and the rest of the world when someone snapped a picture of them that went viral. The pair were dressed similarly, look identical and were both looking down at their smartphones, causing witnesses to suspect a glitch in the Matrix…
Turns out though, the pair are actually identical twins who were both playing Pocket Morty’s on their smartphone. Phew. One of the twins took to social media to reassure the world, explaining that “I am one of the clones in that photo. I forget which one.” So you can relax knowing that we probably don’t live in a simulated reality. Although who can be sure…
4. How to make your fortune selling fresh air
Yep, some guy actually is making money by bottling and selling fresh air. Entrepreneur Leo De Watts, from Dorset, sells British countryside air for £80 a pop – and so far, he’s raked in £16,000 from doing so. Okay, so he’s not going to be retiring on it anytime soon, but it’s not a bad payday for doing essentially nothing.
Leo sends friends and relatives out into the countryside to bottle up fresh air, which he reckons sells best to the Chinese market due to pollution in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. He exports bottles from Dorset, Somerset, Wales, Wiltshire and Yorkshire to the Far East, and claims each area of Britain has its own unique aroma.
Leo describes his company as “the Louis Vuitton” of fresh air to justify his high price tag. And his is not the only company selling bottled fresh air – a firm in Canada also sells bottled Rocky Mountain air to China, but Leo’s company is the first provider of British fresh air.
Proof that you really can sell anything these days, as long as you can find a market.
5. How to (really) forgive & forget
If you’ve had an embarrassing moment you’d rather forget, or maybe you’re going through a tough break-up that would be made so much easier if you could erase some painful memories, then good news! In a slightly creepy development, scientists have discovered how to ‘delete’ a memory from your brain just like deleting a photograph from your smartphone.
A new documentary that premiered in the US this week showed how scientists can now manipulate memory, removing bad memories or changing the impression they have so that negative memories can actually become positive ones.
Creepy stuff. Watch the documentary preview in the video below to see more…
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