Flying Python of 2013
In January 2013, a Qantas airline flight had a dramatic “snakes on a plane’’ episode when a three-metre python joined passengers on an early morning flight to Papua, New Guinea.
20 minutes into a 6.15am flight from Cairns to Port Moresby, a woman pointed outside the plane and told cabin crew: ‘’There’s a snake on the wing … There’s its head and if you look closely you can see a fraction of its body.’’ The president of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Paul Cousins, said it appeared the snake had initially crawled up inside the landing bay, housed itself in there, and then crawled into the trailing ledge flap assembly.
After the plane took off and the flaps moved back, the snake was probably shaken by the noise and vibration. Once it moved, it was caught in the wind.
Selfie is word of the year
On November 19, 2013, Oxford Dictionaries announced selfie as their international Word of the Year 2013. The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. A Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors revealed that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language increased by 17,000 per cent in the one-year period since November 2012.
oxford dictionary blog
Tattoos to be preserved
A Dutch entrepreneur has set up a business to preserve the tattoos of the dead.
“Everyone spends their lives in search of immortality and this is a simple way to get a piece of it,” Peter van der Helm, the tattoo shop owner behind the concept, said in an interview. About 30 clients of the “Walls and Skin” tattoo parlor, which is tucked away in a canal house in the Dutch capital, have donated their skin to the company in a will and each paid a few hundred euros. When they die, a pathologist will remove the tattoo and freeze or package it.
It will then be sent to a laboratory outside the Netherlands, where a 12-week procedure extracts water and replaces it with silicone, leaving a rubbery substance.
What to expect in 2014:
With a new Star Wars movie, another Bond adventure, The Avengers 2 and Batman vs Superman all pencilled in for 2015, is already being touted as one of the biggest ever in the world of film.
Until then, though, there is still plenty to get one’s teeth into - so long as the prospect of yet more remakes, reboots, sequels and comic book movies doesn’t put those teeth on edge.
Robocop is back in February with a new suit and a new star and The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman - but with the same zero tolerance approach to Detroit law enforcement.
In March, another familiar crime-fighter: Marvel’s Captain America is back for a second helping of solo action in a film that sees Chris Evans’s shield-wielding hero share the screen with a certain Robert Redford.
NoViolet Bulawayo for Man Booker Prize: NoViolet Bulawayo (pictured), winner of the Caine Prize in 2011, has become the first black African woman ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her shortlisted novel, We Need New Names, opens with the short story ‘Hitting Budapest,’ that won her the Caine Prize in 2011. Applications for the 2014 Caine Prize are now open. The Prize is awarded to a short story by an African writer published in English, whether in Africa or elsewhere. An “African writer” is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or whose parents are African. The award is made in July each year, the deadline for submissions being January31. Works must have been first published between February 1, 2009 and the closing date. For the first time the Caine Prize will award £500 (about 2 million) to each short listed writer.
Who will break the one million barrier?
For the first time in more than 20 years, no album sold more than a million copies last year. Will anyone be able to buck the trend this year?
The music industry certainly hopes so - and it is lining up releases from several artistes who have broken the one-million-barrier before, from Ed Sheeran to Adele.
“Adele sounds even better than before,” said her co-writer, and OneRepublic front man, Ryan Tedder in October. “I love where she’s at.”
Sheeran, who got six platinum discs for his debut, started work on the follow-up immediately after wrapping up a US tour with Taylor Swift in November.
Elsewhere, Lady Gaga (pictured) is threatening a “part two” to her undercooked ArtPop project; while Gary Barlow says he’s stepping off the X-Factor treadmill to start work on a new Take That album in January.
Scottish singer Paolo Nutini is back in the spring with his third album, Caustic Love. The follow-up to 2009’s Sunny Side Up (1.7m sales in the UK) it was recorded in the US and is heavily influenced by 70s Stax soul.