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Stunning tulip fields that look like a giant pack of crayons

(AFP)

HOLLAND: A vast patchwork of kaleidoscopic colour, Holland's tulip fields are clearly nothing to be sneezed at.

From the air it looks as though a giant toddler armed with a box of super-sized crayons has been let loose on the Dutch countryside... if the lines weren't quite so perfect.

The vibrant blues, reds, pinks and yellows sprawl as far as the eye can see in Lisse, western Netherlands, where farmers hope to make huge profits selling them to florists and supermarkets around the world.

Tens of thousands of tourists have flocked to catch a glimpse of these spectacular quilted farmlands in all their technicolour glory.

Many flower-gazers are so excited by the views that they have parked caravans along the bulbfields in a bid to soak up every last hue.

More than three billion tulips are grown each year and two-thirds of the vibrant blooms are exported, mostly to the US and Germany.

The tulip season begins in March and lasts until August with several shows held across the country, but the flowers are undoubtedly at their most spectacular at this time of year.

The cultivation of flower bulbs began more than 400 years ago and today Holland produces more than nine billion bulbs every year, of which two thirds are exported overseas.

Evenly distributed, this number would allow for almost two flower bulbs for every person on the planet.
 
Teachers advised not to become Facebook friends with pupils

(AFP)

LONDON: Teachers have been told not to add their pupils as Facebook friends amid renewed warning to keep their personal and private lives separate.

An internet security expert told the National Union of Teachers conference that pupils are increasingly ridiculing and humiliating teachers on the social networking site, reports Daily Mail.

School heads and governors are also using the site to screen potential candidates.

Many teachers have already been humiliated by unwise use of Facebook.

Teachers were also warned about new site Formspring which lets users leave comments anonymously.

American pupil Alexis Pilkington was bullied on the site before killing herself in Long Island last year.

The National Union of Teachers has recently issued guidance that simple acts such as posting holiday pictures on social networking sites can come back to haunt them.

Scorpion Butch T chili - world's hottest pepper?

(AP)

Sydney: Beware, Naga Viper. Your reign as the world's hottest chili pepper may be coming to a close.

A group of Australians is seeking world record status for a new variety of chili, a bright red pepper so potent that processing it for eating requires gas masks and protective chemical warfare-like clothing.

The "Trinidad Scorpion Butch T" chili, a mere 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, comes it at a fiery 1.46 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) per chili, according to testing by Melbourne firm EML Chemical == taking it well past the Naga Viper British Chili, the current Guinness record-holder at 1.38 million SHU.

By comparison, a jalapeno pepper contains anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.

"I had hallucinations, I had to lie down, I couldn't walk for 20 minutes, dizzy," said Marcel de Wit, one of a group of men who developed and grew the incendiary vegetable, about eating a raw Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.

"This chili was so severe. I will never, ever do it again, I can tell you that."

Processing the chili, first harvested earlier this year at Morisett, a town nearly 89 kilometres (55 miles) north of Sydney, requires the utmost care.

Pickers wear gloves and take care to not let the plant touch any part of their skin due to the burning sensation that would result.

People involved in boiling the minced chili into puree for putting in sauces wear chemical masks and protective clothing to avoid the fumes.

De Wit, who claims one of his favourite breakfasts is a peanut-butter sandwich with a bit of chili, says that despite his mania for spice, heat isn't everything.

"It's the flavour that's first and the heat that's second," he said, describing the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili as really tasty.

"It was like eating a fruit salad that's on fire," he added.

Decoded: Why women chop off hair after break-up

(AGENCY)

New Delhi: Most young women these days cut their hair after a break-up to announce their "break-free" image. But the drastic makeover can turn either way - a head-turner or a complete drab.

Some Hollywood celebrities too have changed their hairstyle - both for good and bad after their break-up.

While singer Miley Cyrus had a new hairdo and hair colour a few months after the breakup with Nick Jonas in 2007 and the change looked refreshing, Britney Spears at the same time went bald after her break-up with Keven Federline in 2007, which did not enhance her looks one bit.

Though there is no rule book to understand the psyche behind this move, experts say men generally like women with long hair, and hence after the break-up, the best way to hurt their ex is by chopping off the long tresses.

"Generally, men like women with long hair, so if that is the case, after a break-up a change in hair style is a way of saying 'I am no longer going to consider my hair that important as you wanted them to be. So, as you are off from my life, they are off too," relationship expert Kamal Khurana said.

But there is another side of the coin too.

It may also be that a woman wants to get a makeover and look more confident, sexy and wants to get over the break-up, hence she goes for a hair-cut.

"Sometimes it is purely because one wants a change. A haircut that changes one's look, appearance, is refreshing," said psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh.

Welcome electronic glasses; Bid adieu to bifocal frames

(AGENCY)

They may look like an ordinary pair of spectacles, but these glasses are at the forefront of a revolution in eyewear.

Part of a new line of electronic eye glasses called emPower, they allow bifocal wearers to switch between different prescription settings for reading and more distant viewing.

emPower spectacles contain the world's first electronic focusing lenses.

The lenses contain a thin layer of liquid crystal that changes its alignment when prompted, thereby changing the strength of focus.

People who wear bifocal glasses know all about how the distorted view they get when looking downwards at the ground.

All the emPower wearer needs to do is tilt his head downward or manually touch the frame and the reading prescription is activated - and vice versa.

emPower manufacturer PixelOptics promises the new glasses will be 'fabricated in all prescriptions... and will be available in numerous high-fashion styles, shapes, sizes and colours'.

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