Lessons in the "2011" Category

Going underground on London Underground

Most people who visit London tend to try out the London Underground. Going on the tube is an experience in its own right. It is part of the exciting London experience when seeing the sights. Oyster cards are a popular way to get around.

London Underground first opened on January 10th 1863 with the opening of the Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon. Originally, there were many companies who each built separate lines. It was only in 1902 that a Charles Yerkes bought most of the lines, putting them under one company. Over the years the network grew into what it is today.

Londoners and tourists alike all use the famous Underground map to get about the city. Created in 1931, Harry Beck’s Tube map is a classic map design of non geographical layout and colour coded lines. Many other transport lines around the world copied the idea. Compared to the real map it simplified how to get around the capital quickly.

Category: London / The Underground / Underground Stations

VW Camper Van tent set to be a hit this summer

A tent that looks like a VW Camper Van is set to be a hit at camping sites and music festivals this summer. The life size replica of the original VW Camper Van has been officially licensed by the German car manufacturer for the first time. The pop up tents each contain two zip-separated double sized rooms and provides enough sleeping space for four to five people.

The tent, which is available in red, blue or yellow cost £299.99 (€340), which is a tad cheaper than the real VW Camper Van that can still sell for up to £25,000 (€28,000). It measures 398cm long, 187cm high and 155cm deep, so it’s easy for most people to stand up in. The fabric roof and sides have a high waterproofing rating, ensuring it will provide an effective shelter if the summer festival season is a washout.

Category: VW Camper Vans / Tents / Camping

Salsa dancing in Cuba draws in foreign tourists

It’s the weekend and in Cuba at Havana’s Las Canitas nightclub young and old burn up their energy on the dance floor. Salsa is hot in Havana. Dancers twirl to the latest salsa hits. In fact, Cubans pride themselves on their intricate, hip-swivelling moves. They can usually tell the difference between locals and foreigners simply by the way they move on the dance floor.

A Cuban woman shouts: “See, look at him. He needs to move his hips more.” Another she sees: “Wow, he’s got tremendous feeling.” Adding, “He could definitely be Cuban.” Cuba might be famous for its cigars, late 1950s American cars and Fidel Castro but it’s its salsa that tourists are keen to experience when they visit the island today.

The tropical music has over the last 15 years taken Europe by storm, with salsa clubs and dance studios in high demand, especially in Luxembourg, the UK, Germany and Japan. When it comes to travel many of these salsa students have still got salsa on their mind. Where better to head than Cuba in order to try it?

Category: Places to Visit / Cuba / Salsa

Economic impact of E. coli on the agricultural industry

‘Fear’ is what is stopping the sales of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables right across Europe following the recent E. coli scare in Germany. The result has had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of farmers across Europe, especially those in Spain. Tens of thousands of tons of fruit and vegetables have had to be destroyed, especially cucumbers, as it was originally thought the E. coli outbreak originated from Spanish cucumbers.

The economic impact has seen a meltdown in the Spanish agricultural industry. Most of the harvest has had to be destroyed or simply ploughed back into the soil. Tests have been ongoing in Germany to establish exactly where and from what the deadly outbreak of E. coli started. The result was that people suddenly stopped buying Spanish vegetables, especially cucumbers. Spanish farmers have demonstrated, demanding compensation from the EU.

Category: Economic / Business / Agriculture

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s?

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s? That is the question. Well, would you? I ask it, as I took my 87-year-old mother to McDonald’s recently. What an eye opener that was! Why? Because it was her first visit to a McDonald’s in about 40 years! It will probably be her last! She is slightly disabled and I push her around in a wheelchair.

This particular McDonald’s was in Asda, a British supermarket, on the edge of Norwich, England. It was a late lunch, around 3.30pm. We thought Asda’s might have their own restaurant. Horror! There was only a McDonald’s. We decided to try it, as we were on a tight schedule, with little time to hunt elsewhere for lunch.

Category: Food / Restaurants / McDonald’s

NFE General Knowledge Quiz - June 2011

Score 10 points for every correct answer – Score 5 points if half right! Play a JOKER in one round and get DOUBLE points in that round. Show it before you start the round. There are 12 rounds with 6 questions in each round.

Topics include:

  1. Music
  2. Geography General
  3. The World Today
  4. Sport
  5. World history
  6. Europe
  7. Famous People
  8. Pot luck
  9. UK
  10. Geography USA
  11. Authors / books / plays
  12. Film

Category: Quiz / General knowledge / English

New York’s new generation of yellow taxis

New York’s famous yellow taxis are set to change. New York City has picked the Nissan minivan to be its next cab. The Japanese car company Nissan Motors has won the contract to provide the next generation of New York taxis. The deal was announced recently by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It is estimated to be worth US$1bn (€692m).

The design will be based on Nissan’s NV200 minivan model. Nissan beat US carmaker Ford Motor and Turkish manufacturer Karsan Otomotiv for the 10 year contract, which will be phased in starting in 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged the Nissan NV200’s boxy form evokes suburbia, but said the yellow paint would give it the iconic New York touch.

The vehicle features an overhead window to offer views of city skyscrapers, and charging stations for mobile phones and laptops. The car will also feature satellite navigation, so passengers leaving the main Manhattan corridors will not have to contend with drivers who do not know their way around.

Category: New York / Transport / Yellow Taxis

Cable car to span River Thames in London

London is to get a spectacular cable car system across the River Thames, which will ferry spectators between two of the London 2012 Olympic venues, the cities transport authority Transport for London (TfL) said recently. Gondolas will glide 300ft (91.44 meters) above the water suspended from cables anchored to giant towers, giving commuters and tourists stunning views of the city.

The scheme will connect the Greenwich Peninsula, home of the O2 Arena, to the Royal Victoria Dock on the north bank, where the ExCeL exhibition centre is. During the Olympics, the O2 Arena will host artistic gymnastics, trampoline and the basketball finals, while the ExCeL will host boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

Up to 2,500 people per hour will be able to make the 1.1km (two thirds of a mile), five-minute journey across the Thames in one of 34 gondola cabins that each will hold a maximum of 10 passengers. That is the equivalent of about 40 London buses.

Category: London / Cable Car / Olympics

The campaign to clean up dog poo

Today’s theme is about dog poo. I mean, there is nothing worse than stepping on some freshly deposited dog poo, is there? Call it what you like; dog fouling, shit, poop, waste or dog crap, it is very annoying when you put your foot in it. Oh, shite…!

Why don’t the owners pick it up and put it in a dog bin? Yes, some people do. They scrape it up using a plastic glove and plastic bag then pop it into a doggie bin. Others walk their dogs, let their dogs crap on the grass then casually walk away as if nothing has happened, leaving the dog faeces to harden.

When challenged the owners simply deny it was their dog that did it. Later some small child might run on the grass. They could pick up a disease from it. This makes some people’s blood boil, to the point where they decide to take action against the dog owners. Some might leave a note on a spike in the dog poo.

Others like Louise Willows recently got so fed up with dog mess in Crouch End, London that she decided to do something about it. She removed the dog mess then left a drawing of a cup cake in a yellow cup in chalk. She also wrote ‘Dog owners please clear up your mess children walk here’. Ironically, she is facing charges for doing this and she had to wash the chalk off!

Category: Environment / Dogs / Dog Poo

Rare earth metals shortage

Look at your mobile phone, Blackberry or low energy light bulb. Now ask yourself what is inside it? Yes, it is made with different components. The technology is great. But what are the components made with?

The chances are some of them are made with rare earth metals. Where do these rare earth metals come from? The answer is probably China. Certainly 95% of the world’s rare earth metals are currently mined there. So why should you worry about it?

Simple, if China stops the exports of these rare earth metals then your mobile phone can’t be built, as it needs certain components made with these rare earth metals to build a part of it. As it goes, China has decided to slash exports of these rare earth metals that have left the West scrabbling for alternative sources.

Category: Technology / Economic / Business