x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Italian fashion duo go a little bananas over a name

Plus a 10-storey treehouse, China's disturbingly comprehensive driving test and more of the strange and unusual News You Can Lose.

A tiny South African jewellery business has been forced to rebrand after the Italian fashion icons Dolce & Gabbana took umbrage at the Cape Town business's tongue-in-cheek name, Dolce and Banana. Lawyers for the Italian company produced a 300-page affidavit in the Cape High Court, accusing the South Africans of diluting Dolce & Gabbana's brand.

Dolce and Banana said it didn't have the resources to contest the claim and instead has begun using "... and Banana" for its line of jewellery made from natural materials. The website is still dolceandbanana.com, though.

As compensation, the company has the chance to reap a publicity windfall. They need merely to follow the example of The Blackball Hilton, a small hotel in a town on the wild west coast of New Zealand's South Island. Faced with a similar cease-and-desist letter from the hotel megacorporation's lawyers, they renamed it as Formerly The Blackball Hilton and never looked back.

 

Testy driving

How do you get out of a car that's plunged into water? How do you drive through a flock of sheep? Which way should you jump from a rolling vehicle? And how do you staunch bleeding from a major artery (possibly in someone who incorrectly guessed the answer to the previous question)?

These are all genuine questions from the written section of China's driving test. And for good reason: crowded roads and burgeoning car ownership in the world's most populous country mean that more than 62,000 people died on Chinese roads last year. On average, nearly one in every thousand drivers is involved in an accident causing injury or death each year.

Those who seek a licence are given 100 questions, selected at random by a computer, and have to get 90 right.

 

Tree house in the sky

Every kid dreams of a tree house, but few would have envisaged the one built in Tennessee by Horace Burgess, which now reaches 10 storeys into the sky - dwarfing the six trees on which it was nominally built. The structure was constructed over 11 years from mostly recovered materials and goes out as well as up, featuring more than 900 square metres of living space. This includes - as any good treehouse should - a spiral staircase, a choir loft and a basketball court.

 

Watery lesson

How else to end a night out in Canada than to jump in a shopping trolley with your buddies and go through an automatic car wash on the "typhoon" setting?

Three 20-year-olds were found by British Columbia police, who had been called to the Vancouver car wash around midnight after people heard screams.

The three aquanauts were in a state of undress and could be said to have dined not wisely but too well. They were given an official warning by the police, who probably deemed that by that stage, the trio had already learned a far more painful lesson than anything officialdom could come up with.

 

Blind faith in GPS

Three Japanese tourists on holiday in Australia opted to trust their car's GPS to direct them to Stradbroke Island, off the coast of Queensland.

The word "island" should have been a clue. The GPS recommended route included 14km across Moreton Bay but failed to suggest that this might best be done by ferry. They arrived at low tide and set off across the sand and mud flats. They got about 500 metres.

jhenzell@thenational.ae