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Cooking fails: Ten things you should never try in the kitchen | Culture

All of us have burned a dish at one time, but that’s nothing to worry about. Sure, the recipe may not have turned out as planned and you’re stuck with some less-than-tasty overcooked meat, but next time you will be much better prepared. Making mistakes is an inherent part of cooking, and you always learn from your errors.

That said, it’s better to be aware of the most basic cooking mistakes so you can learn the lesson without having to go through the drama yourself. Because it’s true, there are some things that you should never try in the kitchen, such as making a cake in the shape of a fictional character, as seen in the photo above. To make sure you don’t end up with the same culinary disasters, we have put together a series of recommendations, with photographic illustrations, of what to avoid in the kitchen. We beg you to please not do the following.

1. Draw a face with a pastry bag, especially when you have no experience

Garfield cake gone wrong.
Garfield cake gone wrong.JENNIFERWILLOW (REDDIT)

Your children are going to give you ideas about cakes and desserts shaped like cute animals that turn out perfectly in the photos. In an effort to win their love and make sure they don’t send you to a nursing home when you’re old, you attempt the task. You have no experience in pastry, but that doesn’t stop you from getting out the pastry bag and trying to draw a design. It’s at this precise moment, however, that you realize that the lines are all wrong. As an example, take a look at the photo of the Garfield cake, which was shared by Reddit user JenniferWilllow. It looks like the famous cat has just taken MDMA. You can tell by looking at its pupils and the mouth that he obviously wasn’t given Whiskers.

2. Get overly creative with your cake-making design

Going out / coming home.
Going out / coming home.PLAUSIBLEABILITY (REDDIT)

Unless you’re some type of god, you don’t have unlimited power. We all have our shortcomings, and if confectionary is not one of your strengths, it’s best to avoid it. Because instead of an adorable dog with a pink ribbon, you could create a creature like the one used as the profile picture of Reddit user Plausible-Ability, which is crying out to be put down. Is it the Pokémon Onyx with evident stomach problems? Or Princess Leia after a big night out? It’s hard to know.

3. Go overboard with baking cookies

Making sure your cookies are spaced apart on the baking tray is key. And so is waiting for the dough to chill before putting it in the oven. If you don’t do this, you may suffer the same fate as the Twitter user Polymernai: you neatly place adorable bear-shaped cookies in rows and a few minutes later, it’s as though they were crammed together in a train at peak hour, packed together like sardines.

4. Take shortcuts when decorating a dessert

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!CHEEZYBOB (REDDIT)

Rushing in the kitchen is not allowed. If you try to save time by dumping icing on top of a multi-tiered dessert, instead of decorating each layer separately, you end up with a monstrosi-tree, like this one in a photo from Reddit user CheezyBob. For those of you familiar with cows, a certain image will come to mind. The result is about as appealing as a gin-and-tonic laced with ammonia.

5. Cover fruit in splotchy chocolate

At least they're a lot scarier that the original ones.
At least they’re a lot scarier that the original ones.SCOTTS_TOTTSS (REDDIT)

What’s more delicious than dipping strawberries in a melted chocolate fountain? Perhaps nothing, which is why Reddit user Scotts_Totts decided to have a go at home. The trouble is he covered the fruit in chocolate that had just come out of the microwave, without waiting for the sauce to cool down and form a bit of texture. And so of course, the chocolate covered the strawberries in uneven splodges, like a sofa blanket that may seem big, but actually only covers either the top or bottom half of your body. And that’s not to mention the crazed eyes or the mouth, which makes it look as though the strawberries need to go to the dentist.

6. Overdo it with the food coloring

Which one would you pick?
Which one would you pick?KARL TAPALES (GETTY) | KOSS624 (REDDIT)

There are people who like to use food coloring. That’s entirely respectable, but it’s important not to overdo it, as happened to Reddit user Kross623, who used an entire bottle of red food coloring when making banana bread. The end result, as seen in the above photo, is something that looks more akin to Darth Maul’s liver or a blood sample from a Lego doll, than something edible.

7. Decorate cookies before baking them

Christmas is beautiful | Hangover next day
Christmas is beautiful | Hangover next dayWIKIMEDIA | SARU

Cookie dough changes form, size and consistency as it is baked, which is why it’s recommended that you decorate them after they’ve come out of the oven. An EL PAÍS reader named Saru wrote to us to say that she and her friends decided to do the exact opposite. And in doing so they created cookies resembling Olaf’s cousin, if he lived in Chernobyl. It’s true they might look bad but taste good. But they’re still likely to frighten children.

8. Make pie faces

A rough night for the pie.
A rough night for the pie.HOUSE_OF_HORNETSX (REDDIT)

Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini knew how to perfectly sculpt the human face from a block of marble. Unless you are a distant cousin of one of these masters, trying to do the same thing with a pie is not a good idea. One example of what can go wrong comes from Reddit user House_of_Hornetsx, where the pie has the face of a beat-up boxer or a girl whose make-up has started to smudge after a long night on the town.

9. Forget the importance of color and texture

Who will be the first to take one...
Who will be the first to take one…MAXIMUSFROG (REDDIT)

It’s important to know what ingredients you are going to use and how the final dish will look. For whatever reason, the person who made the above dish forgot about the tone and consistency of mashed beans and dolloped spoonfuls of them onto the plate. So what was going to be some tasty nachos ended up looking like a kitty litter.

10. Let your imagination get out of hand

It’s great to see cooking fans who are so passionate that they are willing to experiment with their own recipes. They have mastered the stove, they have good technique, they know their ingredients and they let their creativity guide them. A good example is the avant-garde dish above, which we believe is meant to represent a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, when Davy Jones has a zoophilic moment with a chicken. Seriously, being creative is fantastic, but some things should never be done in the kitchen.

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The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

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— By Darren Wilson, Team

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Germany’s Real Estate Market Is Heading Towards Stagnation and Potential Reversal

By Cindy Porter

In a landscape marked by evolving economic forces, Germany’s real estate sector has recently grappled with formidable challenges. Over the past year, surging interest rates, cautious lending practices, and soaring inflation have prompted prospective buyers to reconsider homeownership, contributing to a resurgence of interest in the rental market. This shift has led some to speculate that the era of booming real estate growth might be waning.

However, amid these headwinds, whispers of a potential reversal of fortunes have started to circulate. Despite another interest rate hike by the European Central Bank (ECB), German property prices demonstrated unexpected resilience in the second quarter of 2023, stagnating rather than declining.

Notably, sales prices for flats exhibited only a marginal decline of 0.3% from April to June, as per the Greix real estate price index published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). In contrast, prices for detached and semi-detached homes surged by 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

“The German real estate market showed itself to be quite robust in the second quarter,” remarked IfW President Moritz Schularick. He highlighted the positive impact of the expectation that the ECB’s interest rate hikes may be tapering off, following significant price corrections in preceding months.

EY, in a recent study, offered a more optimistic projection for the construction sector, anticipating a rebound from months of turmoil in 2024. Despite challenges stemming from rising material costs, supply bottlenecks, and expensive credit, EY’s analysis suggests that the industry will find equilibrium as inflation recedes and policy interventions strive to meet housing construction targets. Consequently, construction prices, historically volatile, are expected to normalize, potentially setting the stage for a stabilization of construction volume.


In terms of property prices in the long run, a joint study by Postbank and the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) predicts a mixed outlook for the German housing market. Approximately half of the surveyed districts and cities, comprising 400 regions, are anticipated to experience around a two percent decline in real terms by 2035. Conversely, 43% of districts are projected to witness price increases.

Leading the pack in rising real estate prices is Potsdam, situated on the outskirts of Berlin in Brandenburg. The city’s property prices could soar by up to 2.71% annually by 2035, making it a growth frontrunner. Erding, near Munich, follows closely with projected annual growth of around 2.13%, while Leipzig in Saxony and Frankfurt am Main are also expected to experience healthy growth.

The map below offers insights into the projected property price development in Germany until 2035

All of the remaining top 10 – including Landshut, Munich and Augsburg – were all located in Bavaria.

The so-called ‘big seven’ cities are also poised for positive price trajectories. While Hamburg is predicted to experience the lowest growth at 0.29% per year, Munich is forecasted to lead the pack with an impressive 2.08% growth rate. Berlin is expected to achieve healthy growth at 1.24% per year.

Conversely, the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) analysis suggests that properties in regions with inadequate infrastructure and declining populations, particularly in the eastern states, could witness value depreciation over the next decade. This scenario is likely to manifest in numerous areas across Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Saarland.

Rural regions in eastern Germany, disconnected from major cities and outside the Berlin commuter belt, face the possibility of significant price declines, ranging from 1.5% to 4.3% annually.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

By Cindy Porter|THE VOICE OF EU🇪🇺

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