Weird Britannia!

Time to point our telescopes of weirdness at "the old country", methinks.

Speaking of old, recent research carried out by the University of Michigan has revealed that US seniors are smarter than their UK counterparts. The study, lead in the US by Kenneth Langa, measured the recall abilities of over 8000 elderly Americans and over 5000 elderly Brits, and found that the yanks scored 1.4 more on the memory tests, out of a possible 24. Langa suggests that part of the difference was due to higher average levels of education and income in the US group, and higher levels of depression in the UK sample, but points out that nothing is certain at the moment. "It's like a view from 30,000 feet" said Langa (New Scientist).

And it's not just British brains that are shrinking, the UK's sheep are getting smaller as well. Because of a trend towards milder weather believed to be due to climate change, Sheep on the Outer Hebridean island of Soay are getting smaller at the rate of 100g/year, say researchers from Imperial College, London. Though it might seem that warmer winters and a greater abundance of food might make for bigger sheep, Tim Coulson, the professor leading the study, points out that fewer weaker and smaller lambs will die over winter, bringing down the average size (Telegraph).

Now, in some good news, UK campaigners have won a second victory in a three-year battle... to bring back a chocolate bar. The "Wispa Bar", made by European confectioners Cadbury, was introduced in 1995 along with a caramel laced version called the "Wispa Gold", only for both to be discontinued in 2003. This prompted some die-hard fans of the bubbly chocolate bar to start a petition to have it go into production again, resulting in a "limited edition" run of the original Wispa last year. When the 40 million bars produced sold out in just 18 weeks, Cadbury decided to relaunch the brand. Not satisfied with just one bar, campaigners have kept up the pressure, causing Cadbury to start producing Wispa Golds "for a limited period," as before. However to some commentators, this latest move looks more like slick PR than grassroots victory (Sky News).

Some things, however, are the same whatever side of the Atlantic you are on. Stupid emergency calls, for instance, like the woman who rang for the police to come and help her recapture an escaped hamster (Daily Mirror).

At least if you annoy the British police you know what sort of court you'll end up in, but civil claims are a whole new can of worms. Since 2007, Muslim groups have used a UK law called the "Arbitration Act" to quite legally operate courts of sharia law throughout the country. These courts can arbitrate civil matters and hand down legally binding decisions as long as both parties agree to use them and the decision does not conflict with the law of the Crown. However a report from legal activist group "Civitas" claims that there are also over 80 irregular sharia courts in operation, courts who regularly decide on matters such as child custody or polygamous marriages without regard for anything except Islamic tradition (Asian News).

But even England's own church can't keep out of trouble it seems. A recent report from Amnesty International has pointed out that the Church of England is a major shareholder in numerous companies that utilise sweatshop labour, undermine human rights or pollute the environment (Ekklesia).

And finally, because it continues the religious theme and the country has a 'u' and a 'k' in it, a new game show in Turkey sees the major faiths of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity compete to draw some or all of a group atheists to their religion. Should any of the 10 strong band of non-believers actually convert, they'll win an all-expenses paid trip to the holy sites of their chosen religion plus, one presumes, eternal salvation and a place in heaven if they happen to have chosen right. The imam, rabbi, monk and priest receive nothing for their success except a new convert, and the bragging rights of course (BBC News).

(Image from, for all your anglophile needs.)
     Posted By: Dumbfounded - Fri Jul 03, 2009
     Category: Animals | Food | Candy | Law | Judges | Nature | Weather | Political Correctness | Religion | Products

Smarter Americans: The same article also points out that UK seniors have a lower incidence of almost all chronic diseases, so perhaps it's simply just that all the stupid Americans have died off before getting old?
Posted by Dumbfounded on 07/03/09 at 01:01 PM
Brits vs Yanks

Cadbury Note to CEO: If customers are clambering for product jerk up the price and sell the stuff!

Islamic Courts I'd like to refer y'all to Australia's PM on this subject. Blend in or get out.

Church Gasp! A religious group engaged in immoral behavior? 10 Hail Mary's, 2 Our Father's and an extra 1M$ in the poor box.

Turkey This rabbi, priest, and reverend were enjoying a meal at a bistro in Rome when...... Oh! That bit about a TV show wasn't a joke?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/03/09 at 01:13 PM
Oops! forgot to write my blurp about the Brits & Yanks. :red:
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/03/09 at 01:14 PM
don't screw with a persons prefered chocolate fix. it gets ugly rather quick!
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/04/09 at 12:49 AM
Patty, if you're a chocoholic and like dark (baker's) chocolate then you could do worse than to send me an e-mail so I can send you some of the world's best.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/04/09 at 04:31 AM
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