Dec
27
2011
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Why is it so much more expensive to live in a cold climate?

winter-railway-stationMany factors increase the cost of living in a cold climate. They make a big difference to the standard of living that is not always apparent from official statistics: Houses and workplaces must be heated during winter. It’s common for 10% of family income to be spent on fuel for heating. Buildings are more expensive [more…]

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Dec
22
2011
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Why are Christmas Cracker jokes so dreadful?

christmas-catWith each Christmas that passes, the jokes inside Christmas Crackers seem to get worse and worse. The groans around the festive feast become louder and louder. Why is this so? The person who selects jokes for Christmas Crackers has an unenviable task. They must select jokes that will enhance rather than destroy the festive gathering. [more…]

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Dec
17
2011
1

Are wildlife documentaries faked?

polar-bearIt caused some consternation when viewers discovered that the polar bear cubs in the BBC’s “Frozen Planet: Winter” documentary were filmed in an artificial den at a zoo. While showing a snow-covered arctic hill, David Attenborough narrated: “Beneath the snow, new lives are beginning”. The scene then showed a mother polar bear with her tiny [more…]

Dec
12
2011
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What's the difference between government debt and a government's deficit?

debt-spiralThe terms deficit and debt are sometimes used loosely by politicians. It may even be politically expedient to use the terms sloppily. If a government spends less than its income, the government is said to operating at (or “running”) a surplus. If a government spends more than it receives, it is running a deficit. If [more…]

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Dec
09
2011
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Did Queen Victoria's royal train have a dining car?

Breakfast cart for royal trainQueen Victoria travelled by train regularly. Even though she had her own royal train, luxuriously furnished, she never dined or breakfasted on the journey without stopping. The carriage she commissioned in 1869 included a small kitchen, but it was just for making tea and a few snacks prepared by a footman. There was no dining [more…]

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Dec
05
2011
2

What is the alternative history of the Leviathan's journey?

great-easternAlternative History is a literary genre which explores what might have happened if a historical event had turned out slightly differently. A small difference to a minor detail might produce a very different long-term outcome. Alternative History is usually considered a form of Science Fiction. Oliver Henkel, who has twice won the German Science Fiction [more…]

Dec
03
2011
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What are the different ways to prepare and eat an orange?

spiral</p>
<div style=An orange is not the easiest fruit to prepare and eat without making a mess, and many ways have been devised to go about it. Bite and peel Without a knife your options are limited. You need to remove the peel, and the easiest place to start is the stalk end. Bite off a little [more…]

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