Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Always read the small print

p1030945Spotted outside Franki’s wine-bar in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, on a recent visit.

It pays to read the small print!p1030946

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I million births due to Erasmus programme

It’s been claimed that the educational exchange programme, Erasmus, has contributed to 1 million births since it began in 1987.

27% of participants met their future partners during their stay abroad and one third ended up with people of a different nationality.

I was on a Summer School in Lithuania with a group of them back in 2008 and they certainly knew how to enjoy themselves the students from Poland, Germany, Turkey, Czech Republic, Latvia, and some other EU countries.

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said it was a “touching little figure” that showed the scheme “creates a lot of positive things”. “It is a great encouragement to young people to go and live abroad and open up to all the opportunities that exist if you are willing,” Hansen added. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

P1020579And they still seem to be celebrating those inter-cultural experiences here in Vilnius, Lithuania.


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Urban knitting – looking after trees

We might not be doing a good job here in the UK protecting our ash trees but over in Lithuania they are doing their bit for trees in general.

In the capital city of Vilnius, which is generously endowed with trees, the locals have been showing their love for them.

This is not about tree hugging but knitting a woollen tree covering.

I’m not sure where the idea came from but it certainly brightens up the city.

And while it’s clearly just a decorative and artistic initiative in Lithuania in India tree decoration has a more serious purpose.

100 folk artists are painting scenes from Hindu epics onto trees to save the environment. They hope that the deeply religious community will hesitate to cut down the trees to avoid incurring the wrath of the deities painted on them.

Trees are scarce in the district of Behar due to population pressures – it is India’s second most populous state and one of its poorest. The artists work for free as there is no official funding and plan to paint around 1,000 trees to save them from the loggers’ chainsaws.

In the UK a community in Leicester is using “yarn bombing” to make the area seem safer. Woollen pom-poms have been strung from trees and tree warmers knitted by a guerilla knitting group.

Residents’ reactions are mixed and some are unconvinced it will deter crime preferring better street lighting.DSC_0085

The trend seems to be spreading in the UK. A friend of mine spotted these trees trying to keep warm in Upper Mill near Oldham recently.


Veggies be warned!

Tucking in to my fillet mignon at a great steak house in Vilnius, Lithuania, I overheard  a woman complaining to her partner that there were no vegetarian options on the menu.

His response? “Tough – this is the best steak house in town and we’re only here one night!”

There’d be no such misunderstandings here!