April Fool’s Day Special - Two-for-one flights, edible pizza packaging, Scotland’s independence oddities and, Google’s photo-bombing extension…

April 4th, 2014 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

We’ll kick off our round-up of April Fool’s Day jokes with mention of travel company Student Flights which proposed saving money (and yet travelling in style) by sharing a top-to-tail business class seat-come-bed seat with someone. “Get up close and personal with your business class buddy for a budget friendly chance to experience the bells and whistles at the pointy end of the plane,” says their website in a promo advertised on Facebook. There’s a link to register your interest at which time you’re informed you’ve been the subject of a hoax.

In the UK, pizza company Domino’s unveiled plans for a new edible pizza box. Known appropriately as Edibox and made out of pizza crust, it was described as “a world first in ’snackaging’ innovation”.

Scotland’s independence was also the subject of some wit in the UK. The Daily Telegraph unveiled plans to put First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond’s face in profile on Scottish £1 coins next year while The Guardian reported drivers would be required to drive on the right side of the road in Scotland should independence occur.

• Among the many pranks pulled by Google was to launch Google+ Auto Awesome a ‘photo-bombing’ feature which aims to bring a little celebrity to your photos. Simply upload your selfies and they’ll add in the celebrity. David Hasselhoff was the initial celebrity offered with the hope that he’ll make your photo more “hoffsome”.

Ukrainian town to join UK?; sticky tape selfies; and, the world’s toughest golf hole…

March 26th, 2014 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

Ukraine might seem to have its share of problems at the moment but that hasn’t stopped residents of one city reportedly starting a “tongue-in-cheek” referendum to join Britain. The town of Donetsk in the eastern part of the country was founded by a Welshman, John Hughes, in 1869 when he opened coal mines and a steel plant there and was originally known as Yuzovka (after the name the founder was given by locals, John Yuz). There are reports that about 7000 people have supported the proposal which was aired via Twitter recently.

Fancy using sticky tape to hold your face in a weird position and then taking a selfie to post online? Thousands apparently like the idea with a new Sellotape Selfies page on Facebook attracting scores of examples and (at last count) 169,000 followers. The page was reportedly started by British student Lizzie Durley who says she was inspired by Jim Carrey who taped up his face in the movie Yes Man.

If you’ve ever played golf then chances are you’ve come across a hole that’s got the best of you. But they’ve got nothing on this one. The “Extreme 19th” hole at the Legend Golf Course in South Africa, this par 3 hole is located 400 metres down a cliff from the tee and is the world’s longest par 3 at 391 yards. The hole can only be reached by helicopter (and yes, it has been parred).

A plan to shoot space junk; head-butting walnuts; and, sarcastic Vikings..

March 12th, 2014 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

Astronomers at a new Australian National University-based centre have reportedly come up with a plan to ensure a collision like that depicted in the film Gravity doesn’t occur in space - shooting space junk out of the sky using earth-bound lasers. According to the experts, shooting the space junk - some of the estimated 300,000 plus pieces orbiting the earth - would slow the debris and cause it to fall toward earth where it would burn up as it enters the atmosphere. But the use of lasers to shoot the junk out of the sky may be some way off - scientists at the new Co-operative Research Centre for Space Environment Management will initially concentrate on developing technology to track and predict the orbits of space junk.

A Pakistan man has set a new world record for cracking the most walnuts with his head. Martial arts expert Mohammad Rashid reportedly cracked 155 nuts in a minute at the Punjab Youth Festival in Lahore, shattering the previous record of just 44.

Sick of sarcasm? Blame the Vikings. It was they who first brought sarcasm to the shores of the UK, according to the Danish ambassador to Britain, Claus Grube. He’s reportedly told London’s Telegraph that “sarcasm, irony and understatement are part of the ‘common heritage’” shared by the two countries and says both countries use sarcasm and irony in a way that is quite distinct. “For example if you use that in France and Germany it will often be taken literally, and the humour lost,” says Mr Grube.

A Star Wars tapestry; the frustration of vending machines; and, the Big Mango mystery…

February 26th, 2014 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

• It’s a Bayeux Tapestry for the 21st century - London-based Star Wars fan and artist Aled Lewis has recreated the entire six movie storyline in a 10 metre long, hand-stitched tapestry. ‘The Coruscant Tapestry’, which depicts scenes from the movies and quotes from the films written around the border in the fictional language of Aurebesh, is currently on show at a gallery in Los Angeles and has an asking price of $US12,000.

It’s one of life’s great frustrations (and certainly what might derisively be called a “First World Problem”) - you put some coins in a vending machine eagerly anticipating the chocolate bar that is about to fall into the catcher when it gets stuck. No bar for you. One man in the US, however, didn’t take it sitting down (well, actually he was sitting down but…) - he used a forklift to shake loose his bar (and a couple of bonus as well.) Hopefully it was worth it - he reportedly ended up getting fired for inappropriate use of the machinery.

We like ‘big’ things in Australia: there’s the Big Pineapple, the Big Banana and the Big Lobster but most recently it’s the Big Mango in the northern Queensland town of Bowen that’s been making headlines. The 10 metre high, seven tonne mango disappeared overnight a few days ago in what some immediately suspected was a publicity stunt - and it turned out they were right with the mango reportedly “borrowed” by fast food chain Nandos. For more head to Facebook or YouTube.

Worst Christmas gifts; animals and Santa suits; lifting up Madrid’s spirits; and, “video cards” a new trend?…

December 21st, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

We’ve already touched on some weird Christmas-related news, but here’s some more in our StrangeSights Christmas special…

A list of the worst Christmas gifts given by employers to their employees has reportedly been compiled by UK firm Argos for Business. Among those gifts which made the list – out-of-date Easter eggs, five extra minutes on the tea break, a cup of soup and a packet of seeds for planting.

There’s just something about animals and Santa suits. Not only is there a range of costumes available this Christmas for your pet to dress in – you can see some of them here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/24/the-most-adorable-animal_n_397526.html – in South Korea, a zoo has reportedly got into the spirit by dressing up its penguins in Santa and Christmas tree costumes.

Around 6,000 Santa’s took part in a mini-marathon through the streets of Madrid earlier this month in a bid to raise the spirits of the Spanish who have been badly effected by a recession. The event was reportedly organised by a department store which donated one euro for every entrant to a charity which buys Christmas gifts for impoverished children around the world.

The BBC has compiled a series of “video cards” in what it suggests could be a future trend. One of them, which has gone viral on the internet, features a family of four from North Carolina dressed in green and red pajamas and rapping to lyrics which talk about, among other things, dad’s recent vasectomy. To take a look, head to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-25452738

Having your virtual cake and eating it; world record Christmas lights; and, buying dinosaurs…

November 27th, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

Looking to see your virtual cake and taste it? Researchers at the National University of Singapore have reportedly developed a digital taste simulator that can fool your tastebuds into thinking they are tasting food. The device, which is inserted into the mouth and wired to a computer via a ‘control centre’, delivers electric currents to stimulate your tastebuds into thinking they are tasting salty, bitter, sour or sweet foods. The researchers have said they’re currently working on the possibility of reworking the technology to resemble a lollypop.

A family from Canberra, Australia, has reclaimed a Guinness world record for having the most Christmas lights on their house. The Richards family, who first set the record in 2011 before it was awarded to a house in the US a year later, have surpassed all previous efforts by placing 502,165 bulbs on their house - well above their previous record of 331,038. They’re reportedly hoping the decorations will help them raise funds for SIDS & Kids ACT. The lights can be seen at 3 Tennyson Crescent, Forrest, from 1st to 26th December.

Always wanted your own dinosaur? You may have missed your chance. The skeleton of the 17 metre long Diplodocus longus went under the hammer in Sussex in the UK this week, selling for £400,000. Nicknamed ‘Misty’, the female skeleton was found in a private quarry in the US and is relatively intact. The skeleton was purchased by an as yet unnamed institution which auction officials reportedly said would be placing it on public display.

Roadkill on the menu?; park (and kiss); misspelling Jesus; and a friendlier image for a prison…

October 16th, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

• While nations, including Australia, continue to talk about the possible uses of roadkill (Tasmanians have recently been talking about the possibilities of ‘recycling’ it), in the UK, the new president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has suggested eating it. BBC broadcaster Miranda Krestovnikoff - who recently had a dinner party featuring rat, badger and fox all found dead on the road - has reportedly said it would be a good idea to encourage eating roadkill. “It is a chance to get connected to what you eat,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “We’re obsessed by sell-by dates and things like that. But roadkill can be eaten very hygienically. People are too squeamish.”

An Italian town has introduced a new ‘park and kiss’ lane for people bidding their special other farewell to reduce traffic congestion outside a train station. The town of Padova in the country’s north came up with the idea after a survey found kissing couples were delaying cars. The park and kiss lane reportedly has a time limit of 15 minutes.

The Vatican has reportedly withdrawn thousands of papal medals after a rather bad spelling mistake was uncovered. An inscription in Latin, which runs around the edge of the medals and is Pope Francis’ personal motto, had spelt the name of Christ as Lesus, not Jesus.

Prisons are generally known as tough, forbidding sort of places but authorities at Japan’s Asahikawa Prison are trying to soften that image. They’ve reportedly introduced a cuddly mascot known as Katakkuri-chan in a bid to help people understand that prison’s aren’t just a place to lock people up but also play a role in rehabilitating them. The mascot wears the uniform of a prison warden and comes in male and female versions.

Ig Nobels celebrate science’s ‘great quests’; a one-way trip to Mars; and, ‘Up’ revisited…

September 16th, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

It’s that time of year again when all things scientific - and, in many cases, humorous - are celebrated at the annual Ig Nobel awards. Among the winners at this year’s awards - which were handed down last week - are the minds behind a project which found that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely it will stand up soon; scientists who discovered that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond but only if those people and that pond were on the moon; and a team who assessed the effect of listening to opera on heart transplant patients who are mice. President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus won the Peace Prize “for making it illegal to applaud in public” along with the the Belarus State Police, “for arresting a one-armed man for applauding”. For the complete list of winners, check out the Ig Nobel website.

More than 200,000 people from 140 countries have applied to take a one-way trip to Mars with a quarter of the applicants Americans. Mars One, a non-profit foundation which is looking for would-be Martians to take the trip, hopes to establish the first permanent human settlement there in 2023. While the highest proportion of people who applied during the five month application window come from the US, 10 per cent were from India, six per cent from China, five per cent from Brazil and four per cent from the UK. Only one per cent of applicants came from Australia. See www.mars-one.com. Meanwhile, a group of six researchers recently spent four months living in a dome in Hawaii exploring what sort of meals astronauts might eat on Mars and deep space missions. The good news was that chocolate featured prominently. The bad news? So did Spam.

Ever since the movie Up hit our screens back in 2009, people have wondered what it would really be like to travel by balloon (and we’re not talking the big hot air kind but the smaller, helium filled kind). One intrepid explorer, Jonathan Trappe, recently took off from the US state of Maine in a yellow rowboat held aloft by 370 helium filled giant balloons. His aim was to reach continental Europe but sadly it was not to be, with Mr Trappe reportedly forced to land his craft in Newfoundland, Canada.

Of a dogs’ fail; sleep-driving in NZ; and, changing rooms…

August 14th, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

It apparently wasn’t the most successful of world record attempts. The UK’s Kennel Club brought 635 dogs together to set a new record for getting the most number of dogs to stay at the one time but the rules that dogs had to sit or lie still for two minutes proved too much with 34 of the animals disqualified. The record remains at 627, set by the RSPCA in 2005.

A New Zealand woman reportedly drove almost 300 kilometres while asleep at the wheel of her car. She even apparently sent text messages while doing so. Having driven from Hamilton through Auckland to the town of Mount Maunganui, she was eventually found still at the wheel sleeping, parked in the driveway of a house where she once lived.

• Remember the guy from The Netherlands who turned his brother’s bedroom into that of a girl’s - painting it pink and adorning it with girly toys - while he was on holiday (all because his brother had tinkered with his Facebook page)? Well, Tobias Mathijen has struck again (supposedly without cause), this time tilting the entire room - still painted pink - 90 degrees in feat of workmanship which took two days to accomplish. Hard to top that.

Wake up - or we’ll shred your cash; innovative sheds; and, cat hats…

June 22nd, 2013 by www.sightmagazine.com.au

Want to make sure you get up in the morning? US man Rich Olson has come up with alarm clock that shreds your cash if you don’t get up and turn it off. The banknotes sit in the top of the contraption and will be shredded soon after the alarm goes off. Now that is incentive. You can see the YouTube video here.

The UK are once again looking for their annual ‘Shed of the Year’ and the entries have revealed sheds resembling everything from pirate ships to trams and the Tardis from Dr Who as well as pubs. Almost 14,000 people voted in the competition and while finalists have been announced, you’ll have to wait until July to see which shed wins. In the meantime head to www.readersheds.co.uk for a gallery of the sheds.

Looking to give your domesticated moggy a little more ‘omph’? Bring out the lion in them by giving them a luxurious golden mane. The feline headpieces, created by US designer Yumiko Landers, come in a range of colours, include ears and are attached under the chin. The ‘hats’ are being sold online via Etsy (dogs will be pleased to know there’s a range also available for them).