Because the world is an interesting place we have been collecting Interesting Facts about Interesting Places, Interesting People, Interesting Animals, Interesting Numbers, and Interesting Words.
(Double click any word for its definition.)
Australian Soap Neighbours is the most watched daytime TV show other than the BBC's One o'clock news.
(According to the Independent the BBC currently pays about £25000 per episode but Fremantle (the makers) are reportedly seeking more than £70000. So, now you know where your British TV licence money goes.)
Mary Anderson, from Alabama in the Southern United States, invented the swinging arm windscreen wiper.
(She patented her invention in 1905, and it became standard equipment by 1913. There was no electric motor and so the driver had to use one hand to move the lever, which nowadays would probably be illegal.)
The German village of Geschendorf, in Schleswig-Holstein, has won a fight to stop McDonald’s opening on its outskirts because it doesn’t sell sausages and sauerkraut.
(In 2008 the A1 will be joined to their village, but the mayor, Fritz Kock, 66, said, "We are quite happy with the local restaurant where we can get sausages and schnitzel," all nine local councillors supported the decision. You can add one English teacher to that.)
Around 430,000 cremations take place in Britain each year.
(There is a problem though - obesity. Standard coffins range from 16-20 inches, but, because of growing obesity coffins up to 40 inches are becoming increasingly common and crematoriums are having to widen their furnaces.)
According to Dr David Lewis, chocolate is better than a passionate kiss, causing a more intense and longer-lasting buzz, and doubling the heart rate.
(It is well known that chocolate contains phenylethylamine which can raise levels of endorphins, the pleasure-giving substances, in the brain. It also contains caffeine which has a stimulatory effect, which explains why chocolate can give people a buzz, and why people can become addicted to it. Dr Lewis said that allowing it to melt on your tongue could be the secret to maximising the buzz. Of course no one knows who paid for this research to be carried out. Hmmm I wonder!)
(The research showed that termites no longer merit belonging to a different order (Isoptera), but should be treated as a family of cockroaches. The study examined the DNA sequences of five genes in the creatures, and found that termites' closest relatives were a species of wood-eating cockroaches. I'm not sure if this will help you if your house is being eaten by termites.)
According to a study carried out by University of Cambridge, Denmark is the happiest country in Europe.
(Italy was found to be the unhappiest, Germany was 4th, and the UK was 9th out of 15. Worryingly, Britons were found to be getting unhappier, with falling trust in institutions, such as the police and government, to blame. They didn't say anything about Britons living in Germany though.)
Your stomache has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself.
(This overlying layer of mucus buffers your stomache from the acid. Damaging this protective layer can allow the stomach's acid and enzymes to come in contact with the underlying tissue. If this happens often enough, an ulcer develops.)
In the last 12 years, IBM has received 29,021 patents - more than any other company or individual in the world. In 2005 alone they received 2,974 U.S. patents
(IBM inventions and discoveries include the following: DRAM (dynamic random access memory) cells | Magnetic storage | The relational database | The RISC (reduced instruction set computer) chip architecture | Fractals | Superconductivity)
(Insects make up more than half of all living things on Earth, There are about 900,000 known insect species, three times as many as all other animal species together, and thousands of new ones are discovered each year.
powered by ODEO Political activists in the UK are banned from serving anything more than light refreshments, such as tea and biscuits, at meetings. Anything else is an offence called "treating" and punishable by a year in prison or an unlimited fine, under the the Representation of the People Act 1893.
(The "treating" rules were brought in to end the widespread bribery of voters in the 19C, when people would be plied with food and drink to gain their support. Well I'm afraid it would probably work with me. Two beers and I'm anyones.)
More than five million people in the UK currently have asthma, and one in 10 children is affected.
(During an asthma attack the lining of the airways becomes swollen, the airways produce a thick mucus, the muscles around the airways tighten and make the airways narrower and these changes in the airways block the flow of air, making it hard to breathe. I just can't think of anything funny to say.)
powered by ODEO The French TGV (train à grande vitesse), which reached 584km/h, took 10 miles to stop when the brakes were fully applied in test runs. (I do not want to be on that train in an emergency.)