Smart & Curious

A list of intriguing things

One: Tim Lomas has assembled untranslatable words from around the world—four hundred entries from sixty-two languages to be exact—that are “a veritable catalogue of life’s many joys.” Some examples: utepils (Norwegian, “a beer that is enjoyed outside . . . particularly on the first hot day of the year”), mbuki-mvuki (Swahili, “to shed clothes to dance uninhibited”), tarab (Arabic, “musically induced ecstasy or enchantment”), and gigil (Tagalog, “the irresistible urge to pinch/squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished”). Explore this wonderful database over at his website, or read about it in the New Yorker.


Two: Say hello to the “mooning” Mona Lisa—a life-size sculpture inspired by a painting by British artist Nick Walker. The ‘cheeky’ piece of art is currently on display in Bristol.


Three: Forget the oversized jewellery flaunted by present-day celebs. No one did bling like the Mughals! Watch historian William Dalrymple explain the wonders of two stunning pairs of diamond and emerald spectacles—currently on the block over at Sotheby’s.


Four: This IKEA offering is called Fältmal—and is essentially a “quillow”, i.e. a quilt-meets-pillow. Yes, this is peak “comfort fashion.”


Five: Japan-based Nissin Foods is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Cup Noodle instant soup by rolling out four flavors of ramen-flavoured carbonated drinks: basic Cup Noodle, a seafood-accented cream, curry-accented cola and a chili-tomato. We’re going to take a hard pass on this one. 


Six: The latest nail fashion trend combines serious self-defense with high-maintenance style. It’s called ‘stiletto nails’—and was everywhere on the Emmys red carpet (see gallery here). And it comes in all sorts of varieties


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