It’s time to round up our favourite alternative news stories of the week in Five Lessons Learnt – from the funny and unusual to the just plain weird.
This week has taught us not to use iPhones in a proposal, how to win a free trip around the world, why size doesn’t matter and that Christmas really does come around earlier every year (like we didn’t know that already!) Read on for the scoop…
1. How to get a free trip around the world
Yes, really – generous Canadian Jordan Axani is giving away a free round-the-world plan ticket. There’s just one catch – you must be a Canadian called Elizabeth Gallagher.
Jordan broke up with his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth earlier this year, but the pair had already bought tickets to travel the world – and Jordan is determined not to let the now-spare ticket go to waste. So he’s taken to the internet to find a Canadian with the same name as his ex who can use the ticket.
The trip runs from the 21st December to the 8th of January and includes stops in Milan, Prague, Paris, Bangkok and New Delhi. Jordan said he’s not looking for a new girlfriend, and doesn’t mind whether the new Elizabeth Gallagher spends time with him on their trip. Apparently, he’s already received a number of replies. Bon voyage!
For the destinations that would be top of our list on a trip round the world, click here.
2. Don’t propose with iPhones
A hapless romantic was left red-faced this week after proposing to his girlfriend inside a giant heart – formed out of 99 iPhones. The Chinese programmer spent more than £50,000 (17 times the average Chinese worker’s salary) on the Apple gadgets before carefully arranging them in the shape of a heart. He even had enough left over to buy his girlfriend a bunch of flowers (and, we can only hope, an engagement ring?!)
Now, we have to admit we’re not entirely sure what the significance of the 99 iPhones was – and clearly, neither was his girlfriend, who turned him down in front of a crowd of friends and colleagues, who kindly uploaded the photographic evidence to social network Weibo. Oh well, you know where to go if you want to get your hands on a cheap iPhone…
For better smartphone uses that won’t leave you red-faced or heartbroken, check out our favourite trading apps and gadgets.
3. Christmas starts earlier every year
We’ve yet to put away our Halloween costumes and already we’re being bombarded with Christmas festivities from every angle: the Coca Cola advert’s on the TV, Starbucks have started selling their red cup Christmas coffees, and shops are packed (and tirelessly playing Christmas tunes). No, you’re not going crazy – the Christmas madness really does start earlier every year.
A study of internet searches by the Royal Statistical Society has shown that people started thinking about the festive season as early as August this year – almost 3 months earlier than in 2007. The study, which analysed search terms such as ‘elf’, ‘presents’ and ‘Santa Claus’ found that in 2007 we did not turn our minds to Christmas until the 11th November, while this year, it was as early as August 25th.
Call us Bah Humbug, but we say put down those Christmas jumpers and step away from the mulled wine – they’ll still be there on the 1st December.
4. Always let Donald Duck cross the road
Motorists in Fort Lee, New Jersey learned this the hard way when they were slapped with a $230 fine for failing to stop to let the Disney character (who happened to be a disguised policeman) cross the road. The officer dressed up as Donald Duck to catch out motorists who refused to stop for pedestrians.
One driver is contesting the fine, arguing that the sight of the giant duck scared her, and that that is why she neglected to stop. Karen Haigh told Eyewitness News: “It scared me. I’m a woman. This huge duck scared me.” Erm, good luck with that one. And in the meantime, if you spot any Disney characters, it’s probably best to let them across the road.
If you’re in need of a new car (to stop for Donald Duck in, obviously) check out our guide to the best cars of 2014.
5. Size doesn’t matter
What’s a few feet between friends? Not a lot, apparently. An unlikely friendship formed this week between an epic-ly proportioned pair – Sultan Kosen, the world’s tallest man, and Chandra Dangi, the world’s smallest.
The two met this week at a celebration of Guinness World Records Day and the 60th anniversary of the Guinness World Record Book. And despite their 7ft height difference (Chandra is just 1ft 7in tall to Sultan’s impressive 8ft 3in) the pair hit it off, and plan to stay in touch.
Sultan said “Even though I am tall and he is short, we have had similar struggles throughout our lives and when I look into Chandra’s eyes, I can tell he is a good man”. He plans to invite Chandra to visit him at home in Turkey, and hopes he will come. Well, they do say opposites attract…
We’re getting in on the Guinness World Records Day celebrations too: for impressive (and some just plain odd) records, check out our Weird World Records here.