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How to survive a hangover in different countries

If you enjoy traveling and drinking, you probably have suffered – or will at some point suffer – a debilitating hangover in a foreign country. Hangovers do not discriminate on the basis of race or creed: it matters not whether you are drinking Napa Valley merlot, delicious Belgian microbrews or Vietnamese rice wine (although the latter will almost certainly give you the worst headache). Hangovers are all the more painful for being completely self-inflicted.

While throbbing headaches and delicate stomachs are universal, the ways in which different cultures talk about hangovers and try to fix them varies considerably. Bearing in mind comedian Robert Benchley’s sage advice – that the only cure for a real hangover is death – experts at language learning app Babbel, put together a short guide to help you express your pain, and do something about it regardless of where you are.


What to say

Ich habe einen Kater. The Germans get a Kater (tomcat) after a big night. The expression probably came from Katarrh, a flu-like symptom. Katzenjammer, roughly “caterwauling”, is fun, but rarely used.

What to do

You’ll certainly need a Katerfrühstück (hangover breakfast) to deal with the pain. It might well include Rollmops, pickled herrings with gherkin and onions. Electrolytes are very important. If you subscribe to the “hair of the dog” theory, then try a Konterbier (counter-beer).


What to say

Tá póitín orm” is modern Irish for talking about your hangover (literally “there is a small drinking-bout on me”), which shouldn’t (or maybe should) be confused with poitín, an Irish beverage that was most likely responsible for your discomfort in the first place. “Brown bottle flu”, “in Lego™” (i.e. in bits) and “an inexplicable headache” (no one does irony quite like the Irish) are also good. You can even refer to it as “Irish flu”, but perhaps it’s best not to do that in Ireland. Unless you’re Irish.

What to do

You can follow the Irish proverb, “leigheas na póite a hól arís” (“the cure for a hangover is to drink again”), but, if you’re not a “hair of the dog” type, a full Irish breakfast is the way to go. Bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, mushrooms, fried tomato, fried eggs, baked beans and of course soda bread. You can combine it with a quick dip in the Atlantic to really kick-start that heart attack.


What to say

У меня похмелье (U menya pokhmel’e): a Russian hangover, pokhmel’e, is literally “after being drunk”. Mind you, many Russians claim that if you drink vodka the right way – neat – you won’t get a hangover. Сушняк (Sooshnyak) is that feeling when your mouth’s as dry as a desert.

What to do

This requires some preparation. Get dried black or rye bread and soak it in sugar and yeast until it forms a mildly alcoholic beverage called kvas. Drink and/or throw up and enjoy! If that doesn’t do the trick, try mixing brine and tomato juice, or simply head to the sauna for a bout of self-flagellation with birch branches.


What to say

J’ai la gueule de bois – “I’ve got a wooden gob (mouth)”. Typically happens when you “drink like a hole”, boire comme un trou. If you ever find yourself in this situation, tell your tormentor j’ai les dents du fond qui baignent – literally “my back teeth are soaking”, also used when you’ve had too much food – and they may take pity on you.

What to do

Cassoulet or onion soup are recommended. Having French friends (who are not hungover) willing to cook these delicacies for you is a plus.


What to say

Ho i postumi della sbornia. A hangover is postumi della sbornia, “the after-death of drunkenness”. Not that you’ll ever hear an Italian say this—not that Italians get drunk, mind you (or at least they never appear to be drunk).

What to do

Get a double espresso into you and hit the road.


What to say

Estoy crudo… Did you wake up feeling a bit cruda, (“raw”), this morning? Other Central American countries use goma (“rubber”), and if you head south to Colombia you can describe your hangover as “having a guava tree”, tengo guayabo.

What to do

Give your stomach a bit of a challenge with a Mexican shrimp and shellfish salad. A combination of lime, onions and cilantro, vuelva a la vida, will indeed bring you back to life.


What to say

二日酔いしてる!(Futsuka-yoi shiteru!). The Japanese consider a hangover to be futsuka-yoi, “two-days drunk”. If sake and karaoke were involved, you may require additional Japanese drinking phrases.

What to do

You will be advised to eat umeboshi. These are salty pickled plums, so extreme that they are sometimes soaked in green tea. An energy drink (or three) – good for rehydration – and miso soup might also be on the menu.



The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

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How to do well in multiple choice tests (probably)

Exam time is fast approaching and a ridiculous proportion of pupils’ lives will be directed by an apparently random process of multiple choice questions. Of course, the easiest way to ace any test, multiple choice or not, is to do the revision, but even the best-prepared can come unstuck on occasion, so here’s some tips for those moments when you’re just not sure…

And keep in mind that these are far from foolproof…


If it’s a true/false question, favour ‘true’

You’d think that a true/false question would be 50-50, but at least one sampling test has shown that ‘true’ was the answer 56% of the time. A fact is easier to remember than an invented lie so those who devise tests are looking what you know, rather than your knowledge of what is unlikely. They will veer, perhaps unconsciously, to the ‘easier’ way of asking you to confirm something.


Answers will skip a pattern

Whether it is true/false or A/B/C/D multiple choice, the answers will alternate more than would be the case in a genuinely random pattern. So a ‘false’ answer is disproportionately more likely to be followed by ‘true’, or a multiple choice letter (D, perhaps) is unlikely to be the answer twice in a row. So, if you’re pretty certain on one answer but guessing the next, you’ll be better off choosing a different answer than the previous known response.


See also: Why parents and teachers should let students fail


Choose the longest answer

The longest answer on multiple-choice tests can often be the one. The right answer has to be indisputably correct so sometimes that means some qualifying language, not required by the wrong answer.  If one choice is noticeably longer than its counterparts, it’s likely to be the one you need.


Avoid the outliers

The examiner’s goal is to hide the right answer by offering up credible alternatives. If the choices are (A) Red roses; (B) stick insects; (C) runner beans; (D) basil. So, ask which doesn’t belong  – stick insects, obviously, as the only non-plant. Three distractions of the same type is unlikely. Of the two remaining answers, two are edible, one isn’t. So roses can be eliminated as an outlier. Of the two left, it’s noticeable that all the answers are two words, apart from basil. So, in that way, basil is an outlier. Which leaves runner beans as the answer.

Now, remember, these are only tips and knowledge is the best way to pass any multiple choice. But at some point, you’ll be stumped, so put some tactics into your guesswork. Good luck…


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Video: How language learning may be simpler than you think

We’ve talked before about how we should all set aside a little time to improve ourselves, and language learning is one of the best ways to do that. And for more reasons than you might think.

Now, many of us may look to find the easiest option and learn the languages that are easiest to succeed in, or at least avoid the hardest…

But it might all be a little simpler than we think. These characters in this TEDx video may not be the most charismatic, but they took on the ambitious challenge of learning four foreign languages in a year, while many of us struggle with just one, ever. The secret to success as it turns out is simpler than you think. This is worth a watch if you harbour the forlorn hope of being fluent, one day…

Scott Young is a blogger, speaker and author. He previously spoke at TEDx EastsidePrep about his project “The MIT Challenge” to self-test MIT’s undergraduate computer science curriculum in one year, using their freely available information. His most recent project was with Vat Jaiswal, traveling to four countries, learning languages, with the goal of not speaking English for an entire year. He writes about learning and self-education at his website.

Vat Jaiswal is a graduate student, aspiring architect and filmmaker. His most recent project was with Scott Young on The Year Without English, where he traveled through Spain, Brazil, China, Taiwan and Korea creating four short documentaries on language learning and cultural immersion. His website seems to have collapsed through not renewing his domain, but you can follow him on Twitter.

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Health Work

Learning to look up again – controlling your smartphone addiction

Why do our mobile virtual homes take precedence over our real physical homes? Does our obsessive behaviour make us less interactive and engaging with real people? Are we becoming less human and morphing into ‘smombies’ (smartphone zombies)? And if so, what can we do about it to break our habits, change our behaviour and instead of spending our time looking down bathed in the reflective glare of our 5 inch screens learn to look up again?

Ross Sleight has been involved in digital media for over 20 years. He’s founded four award-winning digital agencies, was a founder of Virgin Games and today is the Chief Strategy Officer for Somo – an accelerator that delivers rapid, actionable innovation for its global clients. Here he explores both the personal and social impact of our addictive smartphone use.

Can you really ban smartphones from schools (and is it a good idea anyway) ?

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WizeNoze heads for the UK after closing £1m funding round

Wizenoze, the Dutch startup which curates age-appropriate and understandable content for children, has announced it has just closed a funding round for just over £1m to fuel its bid for the UK market.

The cash injection, worth €1.3m, brings the total raised by the company to €3.1m. The biggest contributor in the latest round was the Dutch government with a loan from its Innovation Credit fund, with the remainder made up by informal investors. Currently, more than 80% of the Dutch primary schools have access to Wizenoze’s technology.

WizeNoze will use this funding to launch a new safe search solution for children in the UK.

In announcing the move, Diane Janknegt, founder and CEO of WizeNoze said:

“This will help hugely with our push into the UK schools market. We think there is a real need to create a new method for safeguarded internet search. That’s why we have built a vast repository of curated content collection, so that children’s online work will not be disturbed or distracted by the commercial messages, or worse, by inappropriate or disturbing content”.

Based in Amsterdam, WizeNoze aims to make information on the internet easier to find and understand for children, by building technology which curates and delivers reliable, appropriate and age relevant content at a child’s specific reading level.  

The company has also recently announced a partnership with the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) for a white label search solution for schools. In announcing that link, John Jackson, CEO of the LGfL said:

“Giving children access to safe, relevant and suitable content is a need expressed by many schools… Instead of filtering out all inappropriate content, Wizenoze will help us give them access to reliable information, matching the individual reading level of a child”.

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A delightful way to teach kids about computers and coding

Computer code is the next universal language, and its syntax will be limited only by the imaginations of the next generation of programmers. The problem with that idea is that coding education is failing to fire imaginations on a big enough scale. You can even teach them about video production to see if they want to do that in their future. It can open up many new opportunities.

First of all you should begin by purchasing an adequate computer such as 8202-E4D and then start the learning process. Linda Liukas is helping to educate problem-solving kids, encouraging them to see computers not as mechanical, boring and complicated but as colorful, expressive machines meant to be tinkered with. In that way, she is teaching them that coding is not an end in itself, but it is a means by which people can express their creativity.

In this Ted talk, she invites us to imagine a world where the Ada Lovelaces of tomorrow grow up to be optimistic and brave about technology and use it to create a new world that is wonderful, whimsical and a tiny bit weird.

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WizeNoze agrees curated search pilot project with London Grid For Learning

WizeNoze, a startup company aiming to curate age-appropriate safe and understandable content for school children, is to launch a white-label search solution in partnership with The London Grid for Learning (LGfL).

The project is amongst the first of its kind to offer a new method for safeguarded internet search. LGfL’s education-technology community will give their schools access to a curated content collection of trusted websites which give a large bank of suitable and reliable informational content. The search results will be matched to the Key Stages of the children in order to maximise understanding, giving children and teenagers access to trusted, safe and readable information.

The project is a response to concerns about the availability of inappropriate content to school children – A new study from researchers at the University of Oxford casts serious doubt on the effectiveness of internet filtering, suggesting that, while parents are reassured by adding filtering to their domestic gadgets, both the suppliers and consumers of inappropriate content can easily find ways around it. This can lead to children accessing content which can frighten and shock them, but even those seeking information for homework projects can often find sites of dubious educational value.

“Giving children access to safe, relevant and suitable content is a need expressed by many schools. Currently we are piloting a solution, developed by the startup WizeNoze, that is exactly doing this. Instead of filtering out all inappropriate content, we give them access to reliable information, matching the individual reading level of a child” said John Jackson, CEO of the LGfL.

“By using a curated content collection with millions of pages to search information, children will not be disturbed or distracted by ‘noise’ of commercial websites, or worse, by disturbing content”, says Diane Janknegt, Founder and CEO of WizeNoze. “Using our content collection can save children lots of time searching through irrelevant or manipulated search results, which are of more value to advertisers than to the child. And ab

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Education Health

Bullying may be decreasing in US schools

The study was confined to one large school district in the state of Maryland. But among the students there, bullying in person or online decreased between 2005 and 2014, researchers found.

“It gives us some idea that what we’re doing continues to work,” said senior author Catherine Bradshaw, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

People should not take the results to mean bullying is no longer a significant concern, she told Reuters Health.

“It continues to be a concern for students who continue to be a part of it,” she said.

Writing May 1st in the journal Pediatrics, she and her colleagues note that bullying has received a lot of media attention over the past decade – and as a result, many people may believe it’s on the rise.

Past research suggests bullying among school-age children is decreasing, they add, but that research was often flawed. For example, some studies did not use a standardized definition of bullying; other studies only analyzed people who were victimized or only elementary, middle or high school students.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed survey responses collected between 2005 and 2014 from 246,306 fourth- through 12th-graders at 109 schools in Maryland.

The survey defined bullying the same way the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta does. The definition includes “actions like threatening, teasing, name-calling, ignoring, rumor-spreading, sending hurtful emails and text messages, and leaving someone out on purpose.”

Among other questions, the survey asked students if they’d been bullied or if they had bullied someone else at least twice in the last month.

Rates of bullying ranged from about 13 percent to about 29 percent. Rates of being a bully ranged from 7 percent to about 21 percent.

Over the 10-year study period, being bullied, being a bully and witnessing bullying became less common. There were also decreases in the rates of student reports of being pushed, threatened, cyberbullied and having rumors spread about them.

Rates of students reporting feeling safe at school increased over the 10 years, too.

“In the more recent years, that’s where we’ve seen a steeper decline in the data,” said Bradshaw.

While the study can’t say why bullying rates decreased over the decade or why the decrease was steeper in recent years, the researchers suggest it may be due to increasing number of anti-bullying policies and an increase in evidence-based anti-bullying policies.

All states now have laws that address bullying, the researchers write.

Can playground design help curb bullying?

The most successful anti-bullying programs are typically science based, intensive, involve the whole school and engage students, teachers and parents, according to Stephen Leff and Dr. Chris Feudtner, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

“These programs often try to build skills in youth problem-solving abilities, empathy, perspective-taking, and how to be a positive bystander,” Leff and Feudtner write in an editorial accompanying the new study.

14 ways you can tackle cyberbullying

They add that the new data is encouraging, but “we need to sustain our focus to continue the decrease of bullying and victimization in schools across the nation.”

Bradshaw said the nation’s foot must be kept on the gas in order to make progress on decreasing rates of bullying.

“We wan to build momentum and not lose any traction,” she said.

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Social media can lead to obesity and loneliness (and how can we escape it)

Social media was supposed to connect us all but instead it’s making us lonely, disconnected and depressed. It’s a worldwide epidemic and an unnoticed addiction. But social media can play a major role in relationship building if we use it right. Galya Westler wants to launch a movement for global recovery from social media addiction.

Galya Westler  is a technology visionary and entrepreneur. Her latest startup is Plazus Builder – an online tool for building mini social apps that connect people.

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Why mathematics classes need a makeover

Today’s mathematics curriculum is teaching students to expect – and excel at – paint-by-numbers classwork. A result of measuring schools by success and statistics, rather than by a wider view of the approach and skills they are delivering.

This can have the effect of robbing kids of a skill more important than ‘merely’ solving mathematics problems: formulating them.

In this video, filmed at TEDxNYED, Dan Meyer shows classroom-tested math exercises that prompt students to stop and think. And thereby learn and understand.

Ted Talks on education are two-a-penny, but this one is certainly worth a look:



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