Toblerone Changes Shape, Outrage Ensues

Citing higher costs for “numerous ingredients”, Toblerone has decided to change the shape of its iconic triangle-array chocolate bars as opposed to raising prices.

“…we had to make a decision between changing the shape of the bar, and raising the price. We chose to change the shape to keep the product affordable for our customers, and it enables us to keep offering a great value product.”

However, while the choice of keeping the price is commendable, widening the “valley” on its recognized mighty peaks shape appears more tedious than simply shortening the bar. The change in shape shaves about 10 per cent of chocolate content in each bar. So this means the 170g Toblerone bar sold on British shops will be shrinked to 150g.

The “necessary” change was partly blamed to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union that caused spike in ingredients, although the brand tried to dismiss this theory. But it comes as British food retailers have faced rising prices for imported goods due to the drop in the value of the pound since the June vote.


It remains to be seen if such change will proceed given the public’s social media reaction, or it will make a U-turn just like what Gap did when its decision to change its brand typeface was met with mostly negative reaction.


How To Be Sure The Person You’re Going to Marry is the One for You

Recalling the song It’s Sad to Belong by England Dan & John Ford Coley, it is going be a sad moment when you realize you meet the ‘one’ while you are in a not-so-bad relationship. So the age-old question lingers, how can we be sure the person we will be marrying is the right one for us?

Taking a leaf from that wedding vow “for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,” relationships must endure in good and bad times. While courtship and early stages of a relationships are often in state of bliss, tough times will eventually show up, testing how a man and woman deal with each other as they ride the rough patches of being together.

Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley has a simple advise on how to test if the one you’re seeing now or planning to marry soon is the one for you.

In a Quora post, Mr Muller recommends the backpack test after it was proven effective when applied to his children.

The basic premise of his advice comes from the basic acknowledgement among partners that there are periods of “intense stress, non-romantic moments” that may last days or longer. This could be in the form of financial problem, discovery of an illness or simple annoyance in daily life.

“Maybe you arrive at midnight at the cabin you rented and you discover the key doesn’t work. How will you and your partner-to-be handle it? Will you work well together? Will your love continue despite the stress?” he asks.

He suggests partners to take a week-long backpack trip or something similar activity together. The experience may present exhilirating views where the couple enjoy taking photos, but there are also moments of stresss. For example, when the couple gets lost, gets caught in the rain unprepared, or suddenly runs out of money.


“Maybe it will be cold in the morning, and you (or your partner) will not want to get up to fetch and heat water. One time it snowed suddenly, and we couldn’t find a sheltered place to camp. Maybe one of you will develop a blister. Maybe one of you will feel that you would like to transfer some weight to the partner. Maybe you will get lost. Maybe a bear will steal your food. Maybe one or both of you will get very tired, and grumpy,” Mr Muller enumerates the list of possible stressful moments that test the couple’s character.

“Before you get married, you want to experience stress together, ideally over an extended time. A few days is minimal; a week is better; a two week trip is probably more than enough,” he said.

Mr Muller recalls taking such a trip with his wife-to-be, a good friend and his wife. He noticed that his friend did not treat his wife well.

“When her pack was uncomfortable, he told her to endure it until they got to a good rest spot. He didn’t help her in the cooking. He just didn’t seem to care. After that trip, I could never again think of him as a good friend,” he recalls.

A few years later, he learned his friend and his wife were divorced.


Superiscopio: Brazil Architect Builds Super Large Periscope From Shipping Containers

Cargotecture — an apt name for structures creatively made from cargo containers, has been the buzzword of late. Thanks to the transformation of decommissioned shipping containers and transforming them into things other than dwellings, the trend continues to catch on.

Brazilian architect Pedro Barata has transformed an old, retired shipping container into something that has not been done before: a 41-feet tall super large periscope that’s arguably the biggest in the world, built in a little over a month at a budget of $5,580, that allows viewers some long-distance peeping. Far ahead and its designated target is a view of Lagoa Santa, a maritime feature located in a town of the same name and obscured by natural and man-made features.

The oversized optical instrument has its top and bottom cut and its interior painted black and installed two large mirrors at 45 degree angle using a wooden framework and mimics like a milk carton package sittting upright. Initially planned to be removed, locals have became enamored with the lake-viewing apparatus that it is reportedly staying put as the town’s permanent fixture and attraction that could draw tourists.

Photo: Osvaldo Castro, Fabio Cansado


Why Listening to Music Can be Good for Health

Listening to your favorite songs when feeling low is one of the most common activities that people engage in. Music has that singular essence that takes away the stress and uplifts your mood in no time. Apart from making you feel good music has tremendous health benefits. A recent research from Austria proves that listening to music can help improve a person’s health in many ways

Here is how music contributes towards bettering the status of our health.

  1. Music improves a person’s workout: – Experts says that if a person listens to music while doing workout then it can increase their workout time and boost their mood.


  • Dr Robert Hampden did a survey on 12 men riding bicycles for 10 minutes when listening to music and then he did the same survey on following day when they were not listening to music.
  • The result of the survey was that the rider travelled 11 percent more when they were listening to music.

Choice of music: The reason for this difference is the high energy and tempo of the music. This is exactly the kind of music you should be hearing when doing a workout. Get your hands on those hip hop and dance numbers!

  1. Music helps in chronic back pain: – According to studies done by scientists it has been proven that nervous system and the limbic system reacts sensitively to music. The music works on that part of nervous system which is responsible for controlling the blood pressure, brain function and heartbeat which is known as Autonomic nervous system. Music also works on the limbic system which controls feelings and emotions.


  • In a research conducted by Austria’s General Hospital of Salzburg, 65 patients aged between 21 and 68 with chronic back pain after surgeries were divided into two groups.
  • One group received standard medical care and physiotherapy. The other group also listened to music and received visualization classes for 25 minutes every day for three weeks.
  • Results found that the group who listened to music and used imagery experienced better pain relief than the group who did not.

Choice of Music: Listen to classical music including those by Mozart and Beethoven as calm and slow music can help in relieving muscle pain.

  1. Memory loss: – Spoken languages do not work on people suffering from memory loss. People suffering from memory loss can remember their past by listening to music and recalling tunes or songs.


  • Researchers from Norway’s Sogn Og Fjordane College compared the effects of live, taped and no music on three different groups of people suffering from post traumatic amnesia – or memory loss.
  • Results showed that when patients listened to live or taped music, two thirds of them showed significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and enhanced orientation, compared to the group that didn’t listen to music.

Choice of Music: The music which is preferred for this purpose is the music of the patient’s choice.


9 Negative Effects of Smartphones on Your Health and Well-being

Yes, surely your smartphone keeps you updated with the news, take high-definition photos and videos, and saves you from boredom or getting out of place in addition to communicating conveniently with colleagues and family.

But while these benefits are often highlighted by smartphone ads, along with fashion appeal and bragging rights by owners of high-end models, smartphones have adverse impact on one’s health and well-being.

1. Germs
Restaurant menu, subway handrail and door knobs may be sterilized once in a while and it’s not like you’re playing with trash. But most smartphones must have touched so many types of surfaces, some of which may not be clean. And since we obviously touch our mobile phones and put them into our faces, an unclean phone could easily spread if cleanliness is not maintained. It helps to wipe down your phone regularly with sanitizing wipes to cut down spread of germs.

2. Productivity
Unless you are disciplined enough to focus on work and cut down on distractions, more likely than not, you’ll often be interrupted from work as chimes, ringtones and other notifications coming from your phone steal your attention. It takes time to get your focus back to your work so every urge to check your Facebook account, sports score updates, online game status or unfinished movies as means of distraction could significantly curtail your time to finish tasks. Worse this could prompt you to take extended hours at work — a sign of inefficiency.

3. Creativity
Occupying more time with checking social media, news and videos on your smartphone on the move leaves little time for your inner creativity to flourish as your mind is engaged with whatever you see on your smartphone.

4. Social disconnection
Being too focused on our smartphones can lead to feeling disconnected to people in our lives. Even families who gather together in one table may feel this when both parents and children are minding their own business with smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.

5. Posture and neck problems
Slouching over your phone for hours at a time can ruin your neck and hurt your back muscles. A study among young adults in the UK revealed that 84% of those tracked confessed to experiencing back pain during the last year, mainly caused by hunching over smartphones and other electronic devices.

6. Stress
Having your phone beside you keeps you updated but such constant availability can also cause stress. This is notable among people who are in high stress jobs that every phone ring ushers a tinge of anxiety. But it can also be a source of stress for everyone else. Imagine taking your Instagram photo while reclined in your seat by the beach while on vacation when you suddenly receive an email from a colleague who took over your role asking for help over a project update in the office.

7. Eye problem
Staring at your phone’s tiny text font on your messenger or a stream of tweets or a non-responsive site’s web page for extended period can lead to eyestrain, blurred vision and other eye problems.

8. Accidents
Worse, using your smartphone while walking or driving you could hurt more than just your eyes. With reduced peripheral vision, individuals could become more susceptible to accidents.

9. Sleep
A research conducted by Frontiers in Public Health showed that the type of light used in most smartphones can lead to sleep disruption. The disruption needs to stop that the London-based researcher urged manufacturers to install a ‘bed mode’ to better protect sleeping users, just like the the ‘airplane mode’ that disables phone functionalities that may disrup aircraft navigation system.


Say That Again? 21 Most Common Mispronounced Words

Many words in English vocabulary come from other languages, such as French (entrepreneur, squadron, croissant), Spanish (bonanza, cafeteria, cilantro), Arabic (apricot, nadir, safari), Hindi/Urdu (cheetah, khaki, mogul), German (dachshund, angst, bratwurst), and more. So some of these words don’t sound the same as they are read.

Getting the right pronounciation not only sends the right message, it also saves us from possible embarrassment.

  1. Almond: Ah-mund, (pronunciation of u as in sun). L is silent.
  2. Bury: Be-ri, the same as berry. And not Beu-ri or Burr-ri.
  3. Aisle: ail. S is silent.
  4. Dengue: Den-gee (pronunciation of ‘gee’ as in cheese).
  5. Dessert: Dizz-urt, (pronunciation of u as in sun).
  6. Schedule: Sked-jule in US English. Shed-yool in British English.
  7. Zebra: Zee-bra (ee as in tree) in US English. It can be Zeb-ra (pronunciation of Zeb as in egg) in British English.
  8. Niche: Nee-sh (Nee as in tree) in US English. Nitch (as in switch) in British English.
  9. Epitome: Ep-i-tummy.
  10. Genre: Zhon-ruh, (Zh is a sound as in vision, and ruh as in umbrella).
  11. Sour: Sower (as in power).
  12. Quinoa: Keen-wah.
  13. Porsche: Por-shuh.
  14. Foie gras: Fwa-gra.
  15. Chauvinism: Shoh-vuh-niz-uh-m.
  16. Coupon: Koo-pon (pon as in pawn).
  17. Gauge: Gayj.
  18. Corps: Core.
  19. Raspberry: Raz-ber-ee. P should be silent.
  20. Cocoa: Koh-koh.
  21. Plumber: Plume(r) with b silent.


Home Cooking Could Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015 research says if you eat more meals prepared at home than your favorite restaurant. The finding said people who ate about two home-made lunches or dinners each day – or about 11 to 14 meals a week – had a 13 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who ate less than six home-made lunches or dinners a week.

Researchers analysed data from nearly 58,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. None of the participants had diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at the beginning of the study. “The trend for eating meals in restaurants or as take-aways in the US has increased significantly over the last 50 years,” says Geng Zong, a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

“At the same time, type 2 diabetes rates have also increased.” In the study, researchers demonstrated that eating home-made meals was associated with less weight gain over eight years in these middle-aged and older health professionals.


Japanese Study: Public Transport Users Have Less Risk to Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity

Taking public transport such as bus or train to work every day may lead to lower risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. Although it has been well-chronicled that physically active lifestyle is linked to reduction of risk to diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, it is unclear whether these factors are affected by your daily commute.

A Japanese study compared bus/train commuters, walkers/bukers and drivers and adjusted for age, gender, smoking and other indicators. Compared to drivers, public transport users were 44 per cent less likely to be overweight; 27 per cent less likely to have high blood pressure; and 34 per cent less likely to have diabetes. This group even had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high weight than the group composed of who walk or bike.

One explanation could be that they walked farther to and from the train or bus station than walkers or bikers travelled to and from work. “If it takes longer than 20 minutes one-way to commute by walking or cycling, many people seem to take public transport or a car in urban areas of Japan,” says lead study author Hisako Tsuji, director of the Moriguchi City Health Examination Centre in Osaka. “People should consider taking public transport, as a part of daily, regular exercise,” Tsuji says.


How People Living Alone May Die Earlier

A study made by Queensland University of Technology found that people who live on their own are likely going to go on unhealthy diets.

Those with inadequate cooking skills, no partner to go shopping with or advise healthy lifestyle, as well as increase in price of food and lack of motivation to cook healthy ingredients are among the reasons why people living alone had unhealthy eating habits.

This is more pronounced for men living alone than women on their own.

Dr Katherine Hanna and Dr Peter Collins analysed 41 previous studies to investigate the link between living alone and food and nutrient intake.

“We found that people who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake and a lower consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish,” Dr Hanna says. “The number of individuals living alone in the developed world continues to increase and, in 2010, 23 per cent of households in Australia were one-person households.

A lack of motivation and enjoyment in cooking and/or eating alone often led to people preparing simple or ready-made meals lacking key nutrients. The absence of support or encouragement to comply with healthy eating guidelines and difficulty in managing portion control also influence diet.”


Expert Tips That Help Expats Overcome Homesickness

Traveling or relocating to a far place does not always go down well with many people especially if they cannot get over the thought of the fact that they will miss family, friends and home delicacies. Another reason why someone can miss home is when a job in some distant place come calling and there is no better option than to go.