This week in Five Lessons Learnt, our funny news round-up: how to make a fortune from potatoes, why you should choose your Twitter handle with care and where to find a river of money…
1. How to make £1,000 a week from potatoes
Entrepreneur Adrian Nantchev has come up with a smashing business plan – personalised potatoes. He writes messages on baby Maris Peers and posts them out for up to £5.99 each, and his unusual sideline business became so successful that he’s given up his job as a computer games tester to post potatoes full time.
Adrian claims to have raised £12,000 since setting up the business 12 weeks ago. He puts the success of his business down to the element of surprise, and now has plans to open an office and recruit a team to help him personalise his potatoes.
What do you reckon – would you rather receive a potato in the post that yet another Christmas card, or has the world gone mad?
2. Where to find a river of money
Austrian police are baffled by the discovery of a river of money floating down the Danube river. More than 100,000 euros in 100 and 50 euro notes were spotted in the river by a young man who jumped into the Danube to retrieve it.
Onlookers alerted the police, mistaking the jump for a suicide attempt, and there is now an ongoing debate as to who found the money and who it therefore belongs to (in Austria, anyone who hands cash to the police has a right to receive 5-10% of the total and could be entitled the full amount if the owner doesn’t come forward.
But the real question is how the money got there in the first place, and investigators are stumped. No witnesses have come forward, and no criminal activity involving a sum of money has been reported. A festive gesture of goodwill, maybe?
3. How to get out of eating Brussels sprouts
Already dreading your obligatory Christmas day sprouts? Take inspiration from the genius child who came up with a plan to get out of eating his greens – smuggling them into school and palming them off on the other kids.
The yet-to-be-outed culprit from Cambridgeshire has been taking the cooked veg into school and hiding them in his classmates’ backpacks. And despite the school’s best attempts, they’ve as yet been unable to identify the child responsible.
The school are less than impressed by the situation, but parents have rallied round to congratulate the child for his imaginative plan. One father told the press he thought the kid should get “a medal and a job for MI5”. Or at least let off from eating Brussels sprouts come Christmas…
4. Choose your Twitter name carefully
Or you could end up like the long-suffering John Lewis, who owns the @johnlewis handle on Twitter and spends a considerable chunk of his time redirecting his followers to the department store’s account @johnlewisretail.
Thanks to his calm demeanour and willingness to help wayward shoppers, John’s helpful replies have earned him the title of “the most polite and patient man on the internet”. And the department store also expressed their thanks this year by sending him his very own telescope reminiscent of this year’s Christmas ad.
Naturally, John politely expressed his thanks in a tweet to John Lewis. If everyone on the internet was like John, it would be a much better place. If a bit less interesting.
5. Barbie’s going undercover
Spies have found a new way to snoop into suspects’ homes – through children’s toys. New internet-connected toys like Hello Barbie would be permitted targets for security services under the proposed ‘Snooper’s Charter’, which would allow spies to hack into smart devices.
In theory, the Snooper’s Charter would allow spies to access suspects’ phones and other devices – and critics have pointed out that in practice, this could apply to a whole range of objects as our world and homes become “smarter”.
Hello Barbie is the world’s first “interactive smart toy”, and there are a number of connected other toys on the market. All of these, as well as smart TVs and fridges, would be accessible under the proposed law. So you were right to be freaked out by china dolls all along…
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