In the late 1960s, Johnny Cash sang the cautionary tale of a boy named Sue, who overcame years of belittling to finally confront his father over his gender-bending name. One would think that we’ve learnt a little since then, with deeply meaningful titles proudly displayed to all and sundry. Ahem, well. Maybe.

So, from Metallica to Armani, Lego or Chevrolet, there seems to be a unique moniker that suits every newborn child in 2009. Yes, this is a time of celebrities who are famous for nothing other than being famous – reflected by the dramatic spike in the number of newborn Americans named Paris earlier this decade. But surely, for every Moon Unit or Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, there must be some kind of applicable law somewhere that prevents such obscurities?

Whilst different cultures around the world continue to wrangle over who produces the best coffee, perhaps the most unusual and memorable solution to your early morning sleepiness originates from certain parts of Asia.

Standing out amongst the crowd with its unique method of production, civet coffee beans eventually land in your coffee cup having passed through the digestive system of the humble Asian palm civet. Also known as “weasel coffee,” this unusual cup of joe is slowly gathering popularity in the furthest corners of the globe, with beans exporting between 100 - 600 dollars per pound.

Everybody had one growing up, and if you didn’t you really missed out: Just imagine plummeting down an icy slope, hopelessly out of control. You try to turn through a near collision with a rogue pine tree but at these speeds all attempts of changing course are in vain. We are, of course, talking about the genuine snow racer.

Far beyond a simple sled, a snow racer is the pinnacle of downhill sledding equipment. Resembling a kids’ version of a snowmobile, the plastic-and-steel vehicle gives the illusion of manoeuvrability, but is near impossible to steer. An overwhelming majority of these little beasts are manufactured by their original innovator, the Swedish gardening and gaming equipment company Stiga. The name has become virtually synonymous with the product.

Similar in taste to western horseradish, Japanese wasabi is familiar to most as the spicy lime green paste that’s mixed with soy sauce to create a pungent dip in which to dunk sushi pieces or sashimi. Originally made from the grated roots of a plant native to the Far East, wasabi paste is nowadays mostly made from a powder and sold in a tube.

Besides the rich, pungent flavour, wasabi has proven antibacterial properties. Wasabi may reduce the risk of food poisoning which is why it has traditionally accompanied raw fish. It is also said to provide protection against tooth decay, to combat certain forms of cancer and to detoxify the liver.

One ofF Finland’s busiest highways, Highway 51, runs westwards for about 75 km from Helsinki to Karjaa. Also known as Länsiväylä, the double-lane stretch of road between Helsinki and Kivenlahti alone sees some 15,000-20,000 cars each weekday. It’s a prime example of the kind of unexpected problems community planning can lead to.

In mid-August this year a young woman lost her life on highway 51 near Kirkkonummi. Preparing to turn onto the highway from Tolsa, she was hit from behind by a larger vehicle and pushed into the path of oncoming traffic. This unfortunate news came as no surprise...