News Roundup 377

According to a story in The Times, researchers have found that we will discover the meaning of life, but we will have to wait until we are 60 first.

The research carried out at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that the presence of and search for meaning in life are important for health and well-being, and that 60 is when the presence of meaning in life peaks and the actual search for the meaning of life was at its lowest point. This might have been true in the past, when we were able to retire at 60, and had time to think a bit more, but I doubt it will be true any longer. Nowadays most people are worried about ever being able to retire. Maybe that is the meaning of life – you will retire on the day you die.


There is a heart-warming story in the Daily Express, about a group of 14 year-old school boys who pushed a stranded 90 year-old man home on his mobility scooter. The scooter had an empty battery, and on seeing the 90 year-old struggling with it, the boys offered to “give him a push”. They pushed him for over a mile to his home, in Poole Dorset. The man offered them a fiver each, but they refused.

It is so heartening to hear of acts of kindness like this, especially from young people, who so often get a bad rep. I hope Santa is generous to them this year.


According to a story in The Sunday Times, it looks like we are calling time on being able to read the time. Traditional clock faces are a mystery to Generation Z, who are more used to digital clocks on smartphones and tablets, than analogue clock faces. Among 18-24 year olds 22% cannot work out the time when presented with an analogue clock.
In their defence, that means that 78% can, but among 55+ year olds, the figure is 96% who can, and only 4% who can’t.

Of course I imagine a similar thing was discussed when clocks replaced sun dials. But if you are worried, just pop along to the time vocabulary section of the web site, and brush up on this pretty basic skill.


If you take part in our Exercise Challenge, you might approve of this story. The Daily Mirror reports that scientists at Loughborough University  have found that PACE (physical activity calorie equivalent) labelling on junk food,  would cut, on average, 200 calories from daily diets.

In the face of an ever-worsening obesity epidemic in the UK, they recommend labelling with information about how long you need to exercise to burn it off.

  • For example: The 229 calories in a small bar of milk chocolate would require about 42 minutes of walking or 22 minutes of running to burn off.
  • A shop bought chicken and bacon sandwich with 445 calories would show 1 hour 22 minutes for walking and 42 minutes for running.
  • A packet of crisps equates to 31 minutes of walking or 16 minutes of running. And a blueberry muffin comes in at 48 minutes of walking and 25 minutes of running.
  • A sugary fizzy drink containing 138 calories would carry a logo saying this equates to 26 minutes of walking or a 13-minute run.

I wonder how much exercise it takes to burn off a gummy bear.


If you wonder whether the world is getting crazier, you need to go no further than Miami, where the Art Basel Miami contemporary art exhibition was displaying a banana, taped to the wall with gaffer tape (duck tape). The “artwork” was by Italian-born artist Maurizio Cattelan. (Remember that golden toilet?) Titled “Comedian”, it was for sale for $120,000.00. The artist claimed that he worked on Comedian for a year, before deciding on exactly how to let the banana “manifest itself”. (In earlier conceptions, it was made of resin, before the sculptor realised “a banana is supposed to be a banana”.) The gallery explained that the angle of the tape and shape of the fruit were “carefully considered”.
Now, you may ask yourself, who would pay 120,000 dollars for a banana. Well two people actually did, and a third was being sold for 150,000. However, the story doesn’t end there. Queue 45-year-old performance artist David Datuna.

What did he do? He ate the banana.

Why did he do it? He was hungry.

He filmed his escapade and posted the video to his Instagram account, where he wrote the following:-

“Warhol put banana on a canvas,” Datuna says with his Georgian accent. “Cattelan takes a real banana and puts it on the wall. David took banana from the wall and ate it!”

Datuna called his performance piece “Hungry Artist”.


Sources:

  • Deutsche Welle
  • The Times
  • The Daily Mirror
  • The Sunday Times
  • The Daily Express
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I am a director of the Learn English Network. A non-profit organisation registered in the UK dedicated to helping people learning English and people who teach English online.

Learn English 2020