Looking hot in trousers

In the 1930s, attempts to control ragwort - an agricultural weed - resulted in an outbreak of exploding trousers in New Zealand. Farmers had been spraying the ragwort with sodium chlorate, a government recommended weedkiller and some inadvertently ended up on their clothes. Sodium chlorate is a strong oxidising agent and reacted with the organic fibres (such as wool and cotton) of the clothes. The reports mostly had farmers trousers either smouldering and bursting into flame, particularly when exposed to heat or naked flames or hanging on a washing line starting to smoke. But there were also several reports of trousers actually exploding while farmers were wearing them, causing severe burns.

Pimp my car

When the information on the dashboard doesn't matter. Photo / Supplied
When the information on the dashboard doesn't matter. Photo / Supplied

Scary stories

Earlier this year our cat lovingly ran into the house, writes Dee From Tauranga. It jumped on the bed and dumped a mouse on the duvet cover. I couldnt find the mouse anywhere ... until 3am when I could feel the top sheet wriggling around. The damn thing had burrowed under the duvet ... and yes I did scream a few unprintable words when I realised what my husband and I were sharing the bed with.

Untranslatable words

Some languages are better than others at allowing us to express ourselves - German, in particular, has a great range of compound words that articulate what other languages struggle to express.

Lebensmude (Life-tired):

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We believe ourselves to be firmly attached to life, but a lot of our behaviour attests to something more interesting and troubling; an occasional longing to give up our hold on existence. It is deeply useful to have this word to hand on gloomy days when it feels as if nothing will ever work out.

Backpfeifengesicht (Slapping-face):

A face that is begging to be slapped. Generosity towards others is key, but the German language is bracing and frank enough to acknowledge that there are also moments when it is simply more honest to admit that we have come face-to-face with a dickhead.

Luftschloss (Air-castle):

Literally, a castle in the air or a dream that is unattainable - a word that suggests that German culture is deeply indulgent about big dreams, but also gently realistic about how hard it can be to fulfil them.

Pet lols

These are the other finalists in the Pet Comedy Photo Awards.

Video Pick

A group called The Flying Frenchies try to walk a tightrope between two hot air balloons...(I can't look!)...


Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at ana.samways@nzherald.co.nz