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CHRISTMAS

Facebook trumps sex for Google-happy Swedes

Pancakes, pop heartthrob Justin Bieber, and plain old questions about the time of day, kept Swedes busy on Google in 2011, Google Sweden said on Wednesday in presenting its trend lists for the most searched for topics of the year in Sweden.

Facebook trumps sex for Google-happy Swedes
Spencer F Haltaway/Flickr; Wikimedia (File)

”Because these lists are based on so much info, it gives a rather good picture of what Swedes were interested in finding out more about in 2011,” Google Sweden CEO Stina Honkamaa told The Local.

Just like last year, the top five searches in Sweden were Facebook, YouTube, Aftonbladet (daily), the market site blocket.se, and Hotmail.

According to Google Sweden head analyst Jonas Wallentin, 2011 was also characterized by information searches, which were often centred around some news event.

The Arab spring, the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the death of Osama bin Laden and the Anders Behring Breivik massacre in Norway made a lot of Swedes turn to Google in search of more information.

Otherwise, Swedish celebs seem to be ousting the international stars when Swedes start googling, with singer Eric Saade knocking even child wonder Justin Bieber off the number one spot from last year.

Despite showing a growing interest in the LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) Swedes also donned aprons and headed for the baking table.

”In 2011 Swedes seem to have discovered the LCHF diet. At the same time more sweet stuff is being baked then ever before – cupcakes and macarons are climbing on the lists and we order pre-packed grocery bags like never before,” said Wallentin.

The quickest growing searches of food on google were characterized by sugar explosions such as pancakes (1), apple pie (2), cupcakes (3), macarons (4) and rhubarb pie (5).

Martin Johansson, one of the founders of cupcake caterers Cupcake Sthlm, said that he was aware of the trend towards sweet things, and cupcakes in particular.

“There was certainly a peak in the cupcake trend in Sweden in 2011. We have seen a massive interest in our services since we started in August last year,” Johansson told The Local.

At the same time, however, the search words ‘LCHF’ and ‘LCHF recipes’ are number one and two respectively on the ”Quickest growing food trends” list, with ”LCHF breakfast” coming in at number six.

“We’ve seen a ‘small explosion’ this year. Swedes want to be healthy, to lose weight and to feel better. From being something dieticians talked about, we’ve seen it turn into something ordinary people talk about over lunch or dinner – and search for on the internet,” LCHF dietician Elif Schmidt told The Local.

The pre-packed grocery bag, predicted by HUI Research (formerly the Swedish Retail Institute) to be the 2011 Christmas present of the year, also featured high up on the list.

Food and celebs aside, Google also looked at the questions Swedes ask when they search.

The ”What…” list was topped by ”What time is it?” at number one, followed by ”What does my name mean?”, ”What’s for dinner?” ”What week is it?” and the more philosophical ”What is love?” at number five.

In tenth place came ”What should I do?”.

According to Google, the company don’t censor the lists, which made it even more surprising that ”Sex”, which would be expected to rank high, didn’t quite make it into the top ten in 2011, coming in at place 11.

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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