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Travel Cultures Language

Discoveries: Serenity in Cities

by Joyce McGreevy on October 10, 2016

The Culture of Urban Quiet

Marit Krogh's "Seated Girl with Headphones" in Oslo, Norway exemplifies the potential discoveries in urban peace and quiet (© Joyce McGreevy)

In Oslo, Norway, Marit Krogh’s “Seated Girl with Headphones” evokes sound and silence.
© Joyce McGreevy

Ah, the quest for urban tranquility. “No man should live where he can hear his neighbor’s dog bark.” That’s how ardent ruralist Nathaniel Macon admonished city dwellers.

Macon was born in the 1750s, when 3 percent of the world’s population lived in cities. He also said those words while active in what some consider a major source of annoying noise, the U.S. Congress.

A sign for Quiet Street in Bath, England is one of the more whimsical discoveries in the quest for urban peace and quiet (© Joyce McGreevy)

Finding quiet is easy in Bath, England.
© Joyce McGreevy

10 Fine-Feathered Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens

by Bruce Goldstone on March 31, 2014

Backyard hen and chickens, pets that can help you be happier. (Image © sherjaca/Shutterstock)

Here, chick chick chick. Come to my house!
© sherjaca/Shutterstock

Want to Be Happier? Go to the Birds!

Chances are, backyard chickens are kicking up dust in a yard near you. More and more people in urban and suburban areas are keeping these familiar yet exotic birds and smiling about it.

Could chickens help you be happier? Here’s a flock of ten reasons they just might.

Reason #1: Fresh Eggs Are Tasty

Philosophers can argue “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” until the cows come home, but for chicken keepers the answer’s clear: It’s the eggs.

Aha Moment Maker: Battle of the Bubbly

by OIC Staff on December 28, 2013

Waiter with drinks, illustrating the accidental discovery of champagne, an opportunity for readers to have their own aha moment

CHAMPAGNE, 1668—A Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon arrived at the Abbey of Hautvillers near Épernay. His tenure as the cellar master for the abbey’s prized wines began with a challenging assignment.

It seems that unexpected cold snaps in the fall when the wine was bottled had temporarily halted the fermentation of the wine. When temperatures warmed in the spring, the vintage began to ferment for a second time, producing excess carbon dioxide and giving the liquid inside a fizzy quality.

Not only was fizzy wine considered poor winemaking, but bottles in the cellar kept exploding. Dom Pierre Pérignon’s assignment was to correct the situation.

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