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Let it snow, please, say European ski resorts as 2023 begins with winter heatwave


Image of the week: Snow no show

The ski resort cable cars glide over disconcertingly green slopes, winter holidaymakers carry the skis that should be on their feet through brown meadows and signs warn skiers not to veer off the track – though given there’s not a speck of snow to be seen on either side of some tracks, there’s little chance of that.

Europe has started the year in the grip of that lesser spotted phenomenon – a winter heatwave – with Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania all recording their highest ever January temperatures and the unseasonal warmth obliging ski resorts in the northern Alps and French Pyrenees to temporarily close.

While Austria and Italy are suffering less than France and Switzerland, thin snow coverage has been blamed by the Austrian press for a rise in accidents – in part, because inadequate snowfall leaves more icy patches exposed.

For would-be skiers determined to slalom down an appropriately white mountain, the advice this season is to book somewhere high-altitude that will less likely need artificial snow top-ups to stay open.

In numbers: Useful subtraction

10,000

Previously scheduled recurring meetings that ecommerce company Shopify has deleted from employee calendars in a move its chief operating officer Kaz Nejatian described as a “useful subtraction” intended to free up time.

76,500

Hours that these recurring meetings – all of which involved three or more people – would have taken up. A “two-week cooling-off period” has been imposed before any of them can be added back on to calendars. Why not opt for four weeks and see out January meeting-free?

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6

Large meetings that involve 50 people or more at Shopify will be limited to a six-hour window on Thursdays, according to Nejatian, who suggested in a memo that “no one joined Shopify to sit in meetings”. Wednesdays, meanwhile, will be entirely meeting-free in a move expected to boost employee morale.

Getting to know: Robert Garcia

Californian Democrat and new congressman Robert Garcia is a huge Superman fan – so much so that when swearing to bear truth, faith and allegiance to the US constitution, he has decided to hold a photograph of his late parents, his citizenship certificate and a copy of the first Superman comic, published in the summer of 1939.

Former Long Beach mayor Garcia (45), who describes himself as a “comic book nerd”, was born in Peru and emigrated to the US at the age of five, meaning he shares an immigrant status with the Krypton-hailing man of steel. According to his spokeswoman, he learned to read and write in English by reading Superman comics and found it “especially exciting” to be able to borrow the rare copy from the Library of Congress.

Indeed, the copy’s rarity means it has a considerable price tag attached: last year, another copy of Superman No. 1 went under the hammer for $5.3 million (€5 million), making it the most expensive comic ever sold. Sounds like a story for the Daily Planet.

The list: Kitchen tech latest

If you think just having a matching kettle and toaster and a washing machine that doesn’t leak is honestly fancy enough, the latest developments in kitchen technology may not be for you. But what’s out there?

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1. Moody fridges: LG Electronics has devised a smart fridge with LED door panels that change colour on your command. The MoodUP fridge has 22 top panel colour options, 19 lower panel options and pre-set themes such as “healing” and “pop”.

2. Refrigerator-TVs: Forget washer-dryers, the “in” kitchen combo is a fridge on which you can also watch actual television channels, as per Samsung’s Bespoke fridge – in the US and South Korea, anyway.

3. Smart food mixers: The scales will fall from your eyes when you realise that these days food mixers come with in-built weighing scales.

4. Live-streaming ovens: Samsung is going all out to enable influencers by suggesting that its new Bespoke AI oven, which features an internal camera, is “great for content creators and avid chefs” who want to live-stream their cooking on social media. Thanks Samsung. Thanks a lot.

5. Disco enhancement: LG’s MoodUP fridges can also flash in time to the beat of music streamed to its built-in Bluetooth speaker, lending new support to the theory that the cool continent at any house party is the one that sets up shop in the kitchen.



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