Are you a person who walks around with a catchy song repeating in your head? Scientists have pinpointed top 20 most memorable and recognizable ear-worms of the past 70 years. And who is the winner?
It’s “Wannabe” by British girl band Spice Girls. Song released in overwhelming time of 90’s pop music. Even though it turned 18 this year, ‘Wannabe” is still held as the best selling single by a female group in the world!
The reason of this list is actually pretty scientific. Researchers said that the Museum of science and industry in Manchester , England, had 1200 participants play four different theme games to recognize songs. Players took 2,29 seconds to identify the number one “Wannabe”, beating up the number two song by 0,0019 of a second.
The second place took “Mambo no.5″ song by Lou Bega, following by two other American bands and Swedish Abba.
- Published in Entertainment
Raised by firefighters from the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center, a flag telegraphed both anguish and resolve. Planted atop a mountain on Iwo Jima, another piece of national cloth came to symbolize collective perseverance and conquest.
Around the globe, flags—some of nations, others of affiliation—have wrapped spectators at soccer matches and participants in protest marches, flown over revolutions and holy wars, adorned advertisements and marked lunar landings. But even to people gazing up at the same flag, it can mean very different things. And, experts say, there may be nowhere else in the world where flags stir more intense feelings than in the United States.
That was proven again after a massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, touched off fevered criticism of the Confederate flag, with politicians who had long tiptoed around questions about its meaning suddenly calling for it to be removed from the statehouse grounds.
The man police charged with the attack, Dylann Roof, posted photos online showing him burning a U.S. flag and holding a Confederate flag, along with a manifesto laying out hatred of minorities. In another photo, he wore a jacket bearing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia.
“Flags are, by their nature, emotion-charged emblems, and that’s especially the case in the U.S.,” said John Hartvigsen, president of the North American Vexillological Association, a group of scholars dedicated to the study of flags. “What does the flag mean? Well, who’s looking at it? And that’s the whole issue with the Confederate flag.”
The notion of flags as potent symbols is hardly new or exclusively American. Roman legions carried banners into battle. In Nazi Germany, the flag emblazoned with a swastika came to embody an ideology now so loathed that modern-day Germany bars it display. In Iraq and Syria, masked members of the Islamic State group have seized control of cities under their own black-and-white banner.
But in the U.S., particularly since the Civil War, when soldiers leading troops into battle were shot out from under the banners they carried, flags have come to embody ideology and stir passions in ways that have few modern international equivalents, experts say.
“We are unique in the extent and depth of our worship of the flag. There’s no nation on earth like us,” said Rick Shenkman, associate history professor at George Mason University and editor of the History News Network.
Marc Leepson, author of “Flag: An American Biography,” agreed. “We don’t have a monarch or a state religion,” he said. “In some ways, the flag is a substitute.”
Leepson recalled that when he was writing his book, he solicited online comments from people around the world on how they regarded their nations’ flags. The response, he said, was almost unanimous. “They said, ‘We love our flag but nothing like you Americans do.’ …. People are as patriotic as Americans are. They just don’t have this deep emotional attachment.”
But often that attachment seems to overlook the ambiguity of flags’ meaning.
“The thing about the flag is that it’s not language. People use language to invest it with meaning but because it’s not language itself, it’s for everybody to say what they think it means,” said Carolyn Marvin, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag.”
Leepson points out the many ways the Stars and Stripes are honored: The annual celebration of Flag Day (June 14), the Pledge of Allegiance recited daily by schoolchildren, the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in so many venues, including countless Fourth of July celebrations.
Yet, during the 1960s, the same flag was burned by Vietnam War protesters to signal their disagreement with U.S. foreign policy. And it’s that same flag, going back more than a century, that has been used on commercial packaging of products like whiskey.
“You’re not going to drive around England and see Union Jacks (the United Kingdom’s flag) displayed around car dealerships,” Leepson said. “That’s an American thing.”
The Confederate flag, too, has its own long history of widely differing interpretation.
Over the decades, it has been adopted by some as a symbol of Southern heritage, even as others decried it as an emblem of slavery and hate. Marvin calls it as an “undigested piece of American history.”
“It is a totem and a memorial to the Confederate soldier. It’s a cloth testament to their service and to their descendants. When it’s attacked as a symbol, that’s essentially seen as a condemnation of their families and themselves,” said John Coski, author of “The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem.”
Many have come to embrace it as a symbol of rebelliousness and a kind of good ol’ boy mentality portrayed in “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the former TV series. Reruns of the 1980s action comedy, whose lead characters drive a car with a Confederate flag on its roof, were pulled this week by the TV Land network. Others regard the flag as a stark reminder of Jim Crow. But Coski, a historian at the American Civil War Museum, said it is too powerful to simply disappear.
“There are still people who are dedicated to it and devoted to it,” he said. “In these controversies, when one side pushes to remove something, the other side always pushes back.”
The passions that both the U.S. and Confederate flags arouse in Americans contrast with the place of flags overseas.
In Japan, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, concerned about the national flag’s lack of prominence, this year issued a directive strongly encouraging the country’s universities to fly it. But the flag’s long-ago association with the country’s wartime imperialism leaves some uncomfortable.
In Romania, demonstrations in 1989 that presaged the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu saw protesters assert independence by cutting holes in a national flag to remove its Communist insignia.
But in the U.S., where immigration has created a population of widely disparate backgrounds, flags have lasting and far-reaching currency.
Flags can “act as communal ‘umbrellas’ under which people with vastly different views can gather and unite — whether physically or in spirit — without having to explore the different meanings that the flag in question might have for each of them,” Richard Jenkins, a retired professor at England’s University of Sheffield and co-editor of “Flag, Nation and Symbolism in Europe and America,” said in an email.
That was evident in the proliferation of American flags in every corner of the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist bombing.
But Hartvigsen, the flag scholar, said flags’ power — to unite or divide — is only as great as the significance people assign to them. That is at least as true today, he said, as 101 years ago when U.S. Interior Secretary Franklin Lane delivered a speech, describing a “conversation” with a living Stars and Stripes.
“I am no more than what you believe me to be and I am all that you believe I can be,” the flag said, according to Lane. “I am what you make me; nothing more.”
- Published in Galleries
LONDON — It was not what Derek Nash expected to find in his 5-year-old’s school bag: A bill demanding a “no-show fee” for another child’s birthday party.
Nash said the bill from another parent sought 15.95 pounds ($24.00) because his son Alex had not attended the party at a ski centre in Plymouth, southwest England.
Nash told the BBC on Monday he had initially accepted the party invitation, but later realized Alex was supposed to visit his grandparents that day. He said he did not have contact details to let the other family know.
The birthday boy’s mother, Julie Lawrence, told the BBC that her contact details were on the party invitation.
Nash says Lawrence has threatened him with small claims court but he has no plans so far to pay.
- Published in National Post
Millions of revellers converged on the beaches of Brazil, the streets of Seoul, South Korea, and New York’s Times Square to say good riddance to a turbulent 2014 marred by terror woes and Ebola outbreaks.
Worldwide people gathered to remember those lost in 2014 and offer blessings for the new year. But as always, the common thread for the major celebrations in congested downtowns and public squares was fireworks – and tons of them.
In Dubai, fireworks surrounded the world’s tallest building, the 2,722-foot Burj Khalifa, which flashed with colored lights and images of the country’s leaders as organizers went for a Guinness World Record for the largest LED-illuminated facade.
Sydney’s famed Opera House provided a stunning background for a trademark glittery celebration replete with a tropical-style fireworks display featuring gold and silver palm tree pyrotechnic effects.
And in New York partiers eager to claim spots to ring in 2015 in Times Square arrived hours early, enduring freezing temperatures and a scarcity of restrooms before the glittering ball drop at midnight at the Crossroads of the World.
- Published in National Post
You’ve probably never heard of Chris Kamara, unless you’re familiar with obscure English footballers.
Kamara had a career that spanned 20 years in England, playing with clubs like Portsmouth, Swindon Town, Stoke City and Leeds United, after which he briefly tried his hand at managing.
Fortunately for everyone, he abandoned all that to work as a soccer broadcaster, where he has become well known for his on-air gaffes and excitable nature. Kamara (@chris_kammy) is so popular he has 1.3 million Twitter followers, many familiar with his on-air description that Tottenhan’s players were “fighting like beavers” in a match against Arsenal.
With that, we present you with SkySports’ Top 5 Unbelievable Chris Kamara Moments of 2014. To try and describe them for you here would not do Kamara justice.
- Published in National Post
The British Royal Family headed to Sandringham Church in Norfolk, England yesterday for the traditional family carol service and celebration. This year, as never before, coats and hats were the order of the day, fashion wise. It must be said that the fascinator-style hat, a small oval or round-shaped felt creation, perched on the side of the head has now become standard issue for British royals at church services. It is a style of hat almost never seen on anyone else. Far be it from us to criticize but it could be time for somebody to break out a Fedora. Our money would be on one of Prince Andrew’s daughters, possibly Beatrice, for this. Her ankle boots yesterday were almost too hight for rural Norfolk itself, never mind the royal churchyard. Anyway, everyone looked extremely chic, if a little safe. Next year, how about Harry in a trilby?
The Royal Family were joined by The Middleton family and the Queen’s children and grandchildren were in attendance, though the Duchess of Cambridge confessed to a bystander that Prince George had been left at home thanks to his current noisy phase and the Duchess of Cornwall was resting a bad back. They’re just like the rest of us!
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