Welcome to our 4th edition! We wanted to squeeze one more in before the end of the year.

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We thought you’d like this one!

A holy sweet treat

The originals of this treat are in the 13th Century CE as wrapped unleavened bread in Italy, “calisone” in medieval latin. In France, at the end of the great plague of 1630, there was a celebration mass held where the priest replaced the usual bread Host for the blessed cakes and the Archbishop distributes “calissons” to the crowd, hoping it would guard against disease. Local artisans have made it a distinctive product of fruity almond paste with icing now synonymous with the French city of Aix-en-Provence.

[Perfectly Provence]

Sans Forgetica – harder to read means easier to remember?

A new font developed at RMIT with the idea that the distortion of letters makes the brain work harder and thus retain in the memory. “It is specifically designed for very very small highlights” such as key words and phrases, as overuse would reduce its efficacy. It is currently available as a free download for people to experiment with:


Nothing rotten about this state of Denmark!

Harald Blåtand was the first King of Denmark in the 10th Century. Apparently, his skills of negotiation were so good that he could bring people together to negotiate non-violently and even united then Denmark and Norway under one rule! He is reported as having a rotten tooth hence his nickname “Harald Blue Tooth”. Jim Kardash, one of the founders of Bluetooth wireless technology thought it was a great name for the new technology, and hence the logo includes Nordic H and B letters.


A weighty decision!

In November 2018, metric units were re-defined. The official standard was a block of platinum-iridium – the official kilogram prototype or “Big K” – but the problem with a physical object is that every time it is moved or handled molecules will rub off. So the new standard is called the Planck Constant, which is how much energy is released in light when atoms move around. Also updated are the Kelvin, ampere (unit of electrical current), and mole (measure of atoms). It’s not going to make a difference for the setting for your air-conditioner, or even how much you weigh after holiday feasting – but for calculating the weight of the solar system, that little adjustment will have big results!


Tefal, the atomic bomb and the engineer’s wife

Polytetrafluoroethylene was invented in 1938 by a scientist at Dupont de Nemours American chemical company. It was intended be used, amongst other applications, as sealant for atomic bombs so that gaskets and linings which could resist the bomb’s corrosive nature. However in 1954, a French engineer Marc Gregoire experimented with it to reduce friction on fishing rods, until his wife persuades him to investigate its use for non-stick pans (and created the Tefal company).


A new World Christmas

Until turkeys were brought back from Mexico, goose was the traditional Xmas fare. After a report that of how succulent and delicious they were, King Ferdiand II of Aragon ordered a mating pair, kept under guard so the crew on ship would not eat them! For a while, turkeys were kept as prestige rare birds to be seen rather than eaten and commemorated in frescos and other artworks. It then because an elite food, when Catherine de’Medici has a feast of 70 turkeys, and it became so popular that the dish became restricted by the sumptuary laws in Venice – but this just increased its popularity!

[History Today]

Scanning the shops?

Our brain is constantly scanning the world around us – a shop for he perfect present, a carpark for that vacant spot, or maybe evaluating the world around us for safety, convenience or looking for that friend you are meeting for lunch! The centre of our eye gives the best focus with the periphery tending to be less sharp. Our eyes are in constant motion, but our brain helps filter the eye movements (saccades) from so we perceive a constant visual input (fixation) for the subject of our attention. Likewise, Inattentional Blindness is when people miss obvious events – which is why it’s important to put away your mobile phone when you’re driving!

[The Conversation]

Study Tour Killer: Assumptions (3 of 8)

Trying pack too much into the itinerary – some teachers try to pack in as much as they would do if travelling themselves. You want to get the most you can from a trip of course! As all teachers know, herding students or cats is pretty similar, plus it’s easier to push yourself to “go a bit further” than a whole group of teenagers. That means that some hard choices might be necessary in terms of how much you can see on a daily basis. Extra time needs to be scheduled in for transport, walking, and pretty much every activity – and you don’t want the stress of trying to keep everyone on an overly tight schedule!

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