This week in Five Lessons Learnt: hungry mice, slow buses, traffic chaos, runaway gnomes and why chocolate makes you smarter…
1. Hungry mice cause traffic chaos in Brussels
Closures of key road tunnels are causing serious traffic congestion in Brussels, and the repeated closures are down to crumbling concrete in need of replacement. But plans to repair the tunnels have been held up… because the original plans have been munched by hungry rodents.
The plans for construction of the tunnels were stashed in pillars under a motorway bridge, for want of space elsewhere – and now that it’s time to put the plans into action, they’ve gone missing.
“The plans may have been eaten by mice,” the former head of the city’s infrastructure agency told city lawmakers on Wednesday. And we bet the dog ate your homework too…
2. London buses are pretty slow
Meanwhile in London, mice are swiftly overtaking public transport. Try to get around London on a bus and you’ll be going slower than donkeys, chickens and mice, data collected this week shows. Which is a creative way of saying really, really slowly.
Average bus speeds in London between January and November 2015 ranged between 8.1 and 9.2mph, but the slowest rush hour routes failed to exceed 4.6mph. A mouse can run at almost double that speed (8mph) while chickens are even faster at an average of 9mph.
And actually, the average walking pace is 3.1mph, so if you get a bit of a move on you can probably walk to work in less time that you’d spend on the bus. Time to dig out those trainers…
3. It’s not always better out than in
…as one man found out in Vienna this week, feeling the long arm of the law after letting out a loud belch in earshot of a passing police officer.
Barman Edin Mehic was enjoying a stroll in Vienna’s Prater park shortly after chowing down on a kebab when he let out a burp – and a passing policeman issued him with a fine for “offending public decency”.
Because nothing has really happened until it’s been posted on social media, Mehic took to Facebook to complain about the fine. In his post, Mehic claimed he asked the policeman why he wasn’t attending to more serious matters – and the well-meaning question went down about as well as the kebab.
Mehic plans to appeal against the fine and more than 100 people have agreed to attend a flash mob this Saturday at the sign of the crime to support him in his quest for justice. Strong winds are forecast.
4. Calling 999 is gnome joke
A gnome stopped traffic in Greater Manchester this week as motorway police received a number of calls from concerned motorists about a man wandering along the M60 with an oversized gnome in tow.
A number of passing driver mistook the giant gnome for a small child and, fearing for the little one’s safety, reported the incident to the police.
Traffic patrols were dispatched to junction 2 of the M60, where they confirmed the “small child” was actually just a gnome. They later posted a picture of the gnome on Twitter to show that it was “safe and well”.
Gnome-body was harmed, so all’s well that ends well.
5. Eating chocolate makes you smarter
And to round off this week’s alternative news update, we’ve got some good news for all of you. Scientists have finally done something useful this week (just kidding…) and proved that eating chocolate improves brain function.
Regardless of what else you eat, chocolate consumption is associated with improved cognitive performance regarding memory, organization and abstract reasoning, and regular intake of chocolate could even help prevent against normal age-related cognitive decline.
So if you need an excuse for the daily Creme Egg habit you’ve developed since the Christmas chocs ran out, look no further. Excuse us, we’re just off to stock up…
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