You probably know that on the 31st of December 2019, the Chinese Government was made aware of the first case of coronavirus, now called Covid-19. The Chinese Authorities quickly reacted to the disease but its highly contagious form allowed it to spread quickly around the world, with the first cases outside of China appearing by mid-February in Italy, South Korea, Iran, United-States, France, Canada… At the time that I’m writing, almost 170,000 cases and 6,500 deaths have been confirmed and more and more countries have been locking down their frontier and asking their citizen to self-quarantine.
Tragic news about young athletes who suffer (often fatal) heart attacks seems to be more common nowadays. In fairly recent times we have heard about Papa Faty, the former Bidvest Wits player who passed away after collapsing during a football match in Swaziland on 25 April, as well as Fabrice Muamba, a 23-year-old British soccer player who suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup quarter final in March, 2012. There have been more footballers, marathon runners and other sports athletes who have also had similar experiences. So what is driving this new phenomenon? [Read more…]
Back in 2002, when the earliest versions of Shazam came out, it seemed like something of a digital miracle. Not only could the app access a huge database of music to refer to, but it was uncanny in its ability to recognise a scrap of music and tell you what it was and who it was by. As the app developer made progress with the software, so even poor recordings and cover versions of songs would be recognised. Of course, few people have not heard of Shazam these days or have any doubts over its reliability. However, the story does not end there. [Read more…]
So-called 420 marijuana celebrations have that slightly odd name simply because they occur on the 20th of April each year. The reasons why fans of cannabis consumption have coalesced around this particular date in Spring are shrouded in a bit of a haze which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise really, given the subject matter. That said, devotees of marijuana put on some great events around the globe these days to highlight the positive side of the drug. [Read more…]
It looks as if Belgium is all set to lower the VAT rate on bicycles and pedelecs (electric pedal cycles) down from 21% to a very reasonable 6%. That was the proposal from the Finance Commission who offered its unanimous support. But before this initiative can become law, there must be a further change in EU legislation which bodies such as the European Cycle Federation (ECF) have been strenuously lobbying to achieve. [Read more…]
Another new year, another round of resolutions that vanish before February appears … And a fresh crop of Nostradamus predictions for 2019 to keep us all happy. Or, more to the point, to remind us that, yes, this year too: “We’re all doomed!” Well, you’d better watch out, WW3 is now about to kick off. And oh, hold the front page, there’s a rogue asteroid on the way too. [Read more…]
When you see two humans looking virtually identical to one another, the first thought that enters your mind is that they must be psychic. I mean, what else would they be, if not connected by some amazing power that stretches across time and space? You’ve seen it in movies, normally cheesy science fiction ones, but surely this common perception holds some water, right?
Well, although there is no factual scientific evidence that twins have some sort of otherworldly mental connection, the stories are so common that it can almost be confirmed, without actually being scientifically proven. Some parents swear blind that their twins share some sort of psychic connection, with enough stories to put all but the biggest septic in their place. [Read more…]
New Year celebrations have been part of human culture almost since we started keeping track of time and date, and they are still a big deal. After all, who doesn’t feel better about going into the new annual cycle by celebrating it with gusto?
If you really want to give it your all on December 31st, why not pack your bags and jet off to one of the world’s best destinations for welcoming the New Year? If that sounds good to you, these are the places you should think about visiting. [Read more…]
Once banned around the world, the alcoholic beverage absinthe is now legally available in every country where alcohol is legal. A 1990s revival of the drink stirred up a great deal of excitement, but their first taste left many drinkers disappointed. Where were the green fairies?
It is popularly believed that the spirit distilled from neutral alcohol, herbs and spices can cause hallucinations. Its nickname of the Green Fairy may have something to do with it, but so may Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge. The scene in which Kylie Minogue appears briefly as a green otherworldly being no doubt replayed in the minds of many first-timers as they raised their glasses. [Read more…]
Natural disasters have always been an unfortunate fact of life, but their frequency and intensity seem to be getting worse. In the 2 months of August and September 2017 alone, hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria all claimed several lives and caused mass devastation.
So many other disasters occurred around the world, from Asia to Iraq, that new records were set. And following the recent tsunami in Indonesia, 2018 isn’t looking much better. With climate change and global warming behind most of the events, things are expected to continue getting worse. [Read more…]