Spilt icecream

PICTURE: Keith Syvinski/www.freeimages.com

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has reportedly banned the use of sarcasm directed against him or his regime. Reports claim that officials have warned citizens they should steer clear of “internal hostile behaviour” by uttering phrases such as “this is all America’s fault” which alludes to Mr Kim’s blaming of the US for anything that goes wrong in the country. “This habit of the central authorities of blaming the wrong country when a problem’s cause obviously lies elsewhere has led citizens to mock the party,” a source told Radio Free Asia. Other banned phrases apparently include “a fool who cannot see the outside world”, a reference to Mr Kim first uttered after he didn’t attend commemorations marking the end of World War II in Russia and China.

• A US study has indicated the ubiquitous ‘five second rule’ - which means you can still eat food picked up from the floor if it’s been there for less than five seconds – may have to be abolished by finding food is contaminated instantly by bacteria when it hits the floor. Professor Donald Schaffner, one of the researchers located at Rutgers in New Jersey, said the findings, published in an American Society for Microbiology's journal, showed the five second rule is a "significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food”. “Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously.” And while contamination occurs from the moment food hits the floor, the findings also showed that the longer food is left on the floor, the worse the contamination becomes. Test subjects include water, bread with and without butter, and gummy candy (sticky lollies) which were dropped on a variety of surfaces including stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet. Watermelon was the most contaminated, the candy the least.

A “mosquito device” which emits an irritating high-pitched sound and which a New Zealand library employed in a bid to deter youthful loiterers has been turned off after criticism. The Papanui Library in Christchurch reportedly installed the device, which can apparently only be heard by people under the age of 25, to deter large groups of young people loitering near the front door and initimating library users back in 2014. But after the move came under criticism by members of the public and rights activities, the library has reportedly decided to shelve the device.

Sagrada Familia

PICTURE: Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0


Meanwhile, this week’s odd church is the Gothic masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Designed by the late Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, the still unfinished Roman Catholic church is an extravagantly ornate building upon which work began as far back as the 1880s. The extraordinary church, which Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a ‘minor basilica’ in 2010, is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. For more on the church, see www.sagradafamilia.org.