Life and Style wRap: Textbook porn to Berlin Wall

MANILA, Philippines – Here are some Life Style stories you might have missed from the week of July 8 to 12.

Want to fry eggs on the hottest spot on earth? Please don’t.

NOT A KITCHEN. Maintenance personnel of Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada ask tourists not to fry their eggs on the groundNOT A KITCHEN. Maintenance personnel of Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada ask tourists not to fry their eggs on the ground

The expression “It’s so hot you can fry an egg” has been taken literally by visitors of Death Valley National Park – in most cases, to the detriment of the popular US landmark.

Tourists have been testing out the reputation of Death Valley as the world’s hottest spot by frying eggs on the ground.

“An employee’s posting of frying an egg in a pan in Death Valley was intended to demonstrate how hot it can get here, with the recommendation that if you do this, use a pan or tin foil and properly dispose of the contents,” the park said on its Facebook page.

But many tourists do not follow the recommendation. The park’s maintenance is kept busy cleaning up eggs cracked directly on the sidewalk. Egg cartons and shells have been found all over the landmark’s parking lot.

“This is your national park, please put trash in the garbage or recycle bins provided and don’t crack eggs on the sidewalks,” a notice said.

Death Valley, located in California and Nevada, will soon celebrate the 100th anniversary of its posting the world heat record – 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) – on July 10, 1913.

Italian mayor paints government offices to save town budget

PROACTIVE PAINT JOB. Local officials of a town in Italy repaint their offices themselves to save moneyPROACTIVE PAINT JOB. Local officials of a town in Italy repaint their offices themselves to save money

An Italian mayor and his council members are willing to do the dirty work to save their town’s budget. They’ve taken up paintbrushes to repaint their offices themselves.

Giovanni di Panegrazio – mayor of Avezzano, a small town in Italy – worked overtime and led his colleagues in chipping in for paint material.

“The idea spread quickly and all the employees contributed,” Gino di Cicco, who is in charge of the budget in Avezzano, told AFP.

Di Cicco added that they managed to save 10,000 euros (US$13,000). Almost all the offices have been repainted. As a reward for the officials’ hard work and sense of civic duty, local residents contributed food and drink.

Italy has been caught in a recession for the past two years. Many local governments are struggling with debt.

Photo exhibit of world’s tensest barriers up on Berlin Wall

Walls don’t solve problems.

This is the message of an exhibition of giant portraits of the world’s tensest borders posted along the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.

“Wall on Wall,” a project by German photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer, was installed on July 9. It features 36 panoramas taken in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Morocco, the DMZ, Iraq, the West Bank and the United States and Mexico border zone.

The Berlin Wall was also among the tensest barriers when it divided the German city for 28 years until it was toppled by a bloodless revolution in 1989.

“Walls are no solution for today’s major political problems and I think the Berlin Wall is the best proof of that,” Wiedenhoefer told reporters.

It took 5 years for the 47-year-old photographer to win permission from Berlin officials to install the open-air exhibit.

But the comparison he makes between some of the walls in his photos and the Berlin Wall has drawn criticism. The concrete barrier in Israel is seen as crucial to stop military attacks.

“It’s always a problem — in November I hung a portrait of the US wall in Mexico here and an American came by and shouted at me, ‘You can’t compare this.’ But for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a religious, national or economic conflict — the idea that you have a problem and you can solve it by building a wall has simply been obsolete since 1989.”

More than 200,000 people are expected to see the exhibition before it is dismantled on September 13.

‘Porn’ discovered in Indonesian elementary textbooks

X-RATED. Textbooks featuring a 'porn story' are pulled out from elementary schools in IndonesiaX-RATED. Textbooks featuring a ‘porn story’ are pulled out from elementary schools in Indonesia

Textbooks with “porn” used in Indonesian elementary schools were pulled out by the country’s education department, said an official on July 11.

The pullout came after outraged parents in the Muslim-majority country complained about a “porn story” they discovered in the Indonesian language reading book’s pages.

The story, entitled “The Shepherd Boy and Wolf Mother,” is about a man overcome with lust when he meets a woman prostituting herself to support her child who lives in a distant village.

“In the dimly lit place where women sell their bodies, his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down upon seeing the beauty of the woman,” read the story.

“She trembled in the arms of the man, and just like the flourescent lights in the room, she felt that she herself was on fire.”

The textbook is meant to be read by 11-year-old students.

But local authorities insist that the books were bought by the schools without approval from education chiefs.

“The book is not on the curriculum – the schools just asked parents to buy the books,” spokesman Arie Harsono told AFP.

“In such cases, they are supposed to seek permission from the education office first.”

An investigation showed that the text was lifted from a blog and reprinted in the textbooks, which were bought by schools in Bogor, a city on the outskirts of Jakarta, from street stalls for around US$3.

United States lags behind other wealthy nations in health

HEALTH WOES. A key factor in lower life expectancy in the US is bad eating habitsHEALTH WOES. A key factor in lower life expectancy in the US is bad eating habits

Despite a bigger health budget, the United States lags behind other wealthy nations in health and life expectancy, revealed research published on July 10.

The research studies 34 countries and includes estimates for death and disability from 291 diseases, conditions and injuries.

The US spends twice as much as France on its average health care per person – nearly US$8,000 per capita in 2009 – based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But France outstrips the US in life expectancy rankings, placing 9th in the world with an average age of 80.9 for both sexes. In contrast, the life expectancy for Americans is 78.2 years.

Japan still takes the number one spot with an average life expectancy of 82.6 years in 2010.

Poor diet was the top risk factor for mortality, followed by smoking, high blood sugar, physical inactivity and alcohol abuse.

Research showed that many Americans suffer from bad eating habits. Major food-related risks are diets low in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds; high in sodium, processed meats and trans fats.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, followed by lung cancer.

Diabetes rose to the 7th most common cause of death, up from its rank of 15 in 1990. Alzheimer’s disease also climbed up the list. It is now in 9th place from 32nd in 1990. – Rappler.com

Death Valley image from Shutterstock

Wall painting image from Shutterstock

Library setting with books image from Shutterstock

Medical concept image from Shutterstock