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Showing posts from March, 2009

Interesting Fact - Daylight Saving Time

In the US Arizona does not observe daylight saving time.

(Temperatures in and around Phoenix and Tucson are hotter than any other large U.S. metropolitan area during the summer, resulting in more power usage from air conditioning units and evaporative coolers in homes and businesses. An extra hour of sunlight while people are active would cause people to run their cooling systems longer, thereby using more energy (however, the large Navajo Indian Reservation, which extends from Arizona into two adjacent states, does). It must be very confusing.)

Interesting Fact - Satellites

According to NASA, around 6,000 satellites have been sent into space since the Soviet Union launched the first man-made orbiter, Sputnik 1, in 1957.

(Only 3,000 of them remain in operation. So if anyone has a rag and bone spacecraft, there's a killing to be made up there. There's brass in muck tha knows.)

Interesting Fact # 1036 - Worst Song

The worst song of all time (as voted for by a panel of music writers) is going to be re-released, 25 years after it appropriately hit number 2.

(It's called Agadoo, and it's by Black Lace. Just to remind people how awful it is, here are the lyrics and the song:-

Ag-a-doo-doo-doo, push pineapple, shake the tree,
Aga-doo-doo-doo, push pineapple, grind coffee,
To the left, to the right, jump up and down and to the knees,
Come and dance every night, sing with a hula melody.

I met a hula mistress somewhere in Waikiki,
Well she was sellin' pineapple, playin' ukulele,
And when I went to the girl, come on and teach me to sway,
She laughed and whispered to me, yes come tonight to the bay.

The lovely beach, in the sky the moon of Kauai,
Around calypso sarong we'll all be singin' this song.

Ag-a-doo-doo-doo, push pineapple, shake the tree,
Aga-doo-doo-doo, push pineapple, grind coffee,
To the left, to the right, jump up and down and to the knees,
Come and dance every night, sing with a…

Interesting Fact - Couch Potato

According to statistics from French media ratings agency, 2008 was the year of the one-minute hike in the couch potato syndrome. They found that in 80 territories worldwide people spent more time than ever glued to the goggle box.

(Not surprisingly sport, particularly football, remained the firm TV favourite, followed by fiction. Perhaps we should try living more, and spectating less.)

Interesting Fact - American Life

According to the "Video Consumer Mapping" study, adult Americans spend an average of more than eight hours a day in front of screens, be it televisions, computer monitors, cellphones or other devices.

(It found that people aged 45 to 54 averaged the most daily screen time at just over nine-and-a-half hours! Something to look forward to then.)

Interesting People # 124 - Ludwig Van Beethoven

Tests carried out in 2006 show that Beethoven died of severe lead poisoning.

(He had suffered ill health much of his life and visited many doctors in search of a cure. He wrote a letter to a friend before he died urging researchers to examine his body, so that other people would not have to suffer as he did.)

Interesting Fact # 1033 - Internet Spying - Podcast

According to an online study by Yasni, a social search engine, over 70% of parents snoop on their children's online activities.

(In a study in the USA, online security firm Garlik found that around 25% of parents secretly logged into their child’s social network page, and 26% had set up their own social network page to spy on their kids! You really do not know who you're dealing with on the net.)

Fact # 1032 - Executions

According to a report by Amnesty International a total of 2,390 people were put to death in 25 countries in 2008.

(Five states: China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States -- accounted for 93 percent of the executions.

China: 1,718 people
Iran: 346 people
Saudi Arabia: at least 102 people
United States: 37 people - Texas accounted for roughly half.
Pakistan: at least 36 people.

Belarus is the last country in Europe and the former Soviet Union that is still carrying out executions.)

Interesting Fact # 1031 - British Politics

Under the current rules, British MPs can claim an Additional Costs Allowance of up to £24,000 a year.

(It goes to MPs from outside inner London to cover the cost of staying away from their main home when carrying out parliamentary duties. It's crazy, many people earn a lot less than this and work thousands of miles away from home.)

!Note - They've offered to give up this allowance, in exchange for a £40,000 pay rise! These guys are so out of touch!

Interesting Fact # 1030 - Welsh

According to the AFP (Agence France-Presse) Welsh is spoken by 600,000 people.

(Not 600,001 or 599,999 - 600,000. They counted.)

Source Here

Interesting People # 123 - Phyllis Pearsal

Phyllis Pearsal created the London A to Z.

(Seemingly she came up with the idea when she got lost on the way to a party in 1935. Of course we have navigation systems now, but believe me, you still can't beat an A to Z to find your way round London.)

Interesting Fact # 1029 - Stolen Books

According to an article in The Guardian the 10 most stolen books in the UK are:-
The London A-ZLonely Planet EuropeLenny McLean: The Guv'norTintin and AsterixHarry PotterAbbie Hoffman: Steal This BookSpider-manYolanda Celbridge: The Taming of TrudiWall and Piece by BanksyMoleskin Diaries

Today

Is the first day of spring.

Interesting Fact # 1028 - Books

According to a report in The Times, an estimated 100 million books are stolen from bookshops in the UK every year.

(This means there's a black market in books worth about £750 million.)

Interesting Fact - Clogs

According to Paul Nijhuis, the owner of the Nijhuis clog factory in the small eastern town of Beltrum, the Netherlands, around 350,000 pairs of working clogs are manufactured in the Netherlands every year.


(Clogs (klompen) have been around for over 800 years. They are usually made of wood from poplar or willow trees. The Nijhuis clog factory claims to produce 90 percent of the world's "klompen".)

Interesting Fact # 1026 - European Union - podcast

EU leaders have been banned from using the terms 'Miss' and 'Mrs', 'Fraulein' and 'Frau', 'Mademoiselle' and 'Madam', 'Senorita' and 'Senora' for fear of causing offence to female MEPs (members of the European Parliament).

(Instead female MEPs are to be addressed by their full names only. Surely the term female "members" is more offensive.)

Interesting Fact # 1027 - Old Age

According to a report in the Daily Mail, old age begins at 27.

(Scientists at the University of Virginia found that our mental abilities peak at the age of 22 and start to decline from the age of 27. Perhaps they tested readers of the Daily Mail, once you start reading that paper, your cognitive abilities have already started to deteriorate.)

Interesting Word # 87 - Pandiculation

Pandiculation is the act of yawning and stretching at the same time.

(If you want to show off your vocabulary to your friends, next time you yawn, stretch at the same time and say: "Sorry for that bit of pandiculation.").

Interesting Fact # 1026 - Finance

$2trn (That's two trillion dollars) of the combined worth of planet Earth's billionaires has disappeared over the past year.

(Across the globe, the number of those who can boast a fortune of over a thousand million US dollars has shrivelled from 1,125 to 793. The 10 biggest dollar-losers between them have this year lost more than the annual GDP (gross domestic product) of Ireland. Of course for those of us who are struggling to hold onto our jobs, or our houses, this is barely on our radar.)

Interesting Fact # 1025 - Obesity

In the last five years, fire crews in England have received over 1,700 calls to help move obese patients.

(Essex had the most calls at 390. It's not easy to move any human being, believe me, so they even have a 22 stone dummy to practise on. What a crazy world we live in.)

Today

Flags are flying at half-mast across Germany after a teenage gunman killed 15 people.

Interesting Words # 86 - Polydactyl

Being a "polydactyl" means you were born with additional digits (toes or fingers).

(Famous polydactyls include Anne Boleyn and cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers. I'd love to have 12 fingers, I'd be able to type that much faster.)

Interesting Food # 47 - Crisps

According to research by Mintel, cheese and onion flavour crisps have replaced ready salted as the UK's favourite crisps.

(The good news is that in spite of the stupid range of 'new' flavours suggested by the public, such as chilli and chocolate, builder's breakfast, onion bhaji and even Cajun squirrel, the great British public still goes for traditional flavours, like this - onion powder, lactose, whey powder, milk powder, flavour enhancers (monosodium glutamate, disodium 5 - ribonucleotide), flavourings???, cheese powder!!!, soyabean oil, colours ( paprika extract, annatto, mustard derivatives), oh and salt..)

Today

Is National no smoking day in the UK.

Interesting Fact - Insurance

The tongue of the chief coffee taster for a worldwide chain of coffee shops has been insured for £10m ($13.95m).

(I knew you could insure most things, but this is a bit tasteless.)

Interesting Fact # 1023 - Barbie

In her virtual life Barbie has had 108 careers.

(She's been an Olympic athlete, a Marine Corps sergeant, a dentist, an aerobics instructor, an astronaut and a rock star to name but a few. That's what you have to do in a recession though - be flexible.)

Today

Is Barbie's 50th birthday.

(I wonder when they'll bring out post menopausal Barbie.)

Interesting Fact # 1022 - Liberation - Podcast

According to the Vatican the washing machine has done more for women’s liberation than the contraceptive pill or being allowed to go to work without having to ask for their husband's permission.

(This is according to a recent article in recognition of International Women's Day in the official Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano. The article is entitled, “The washing machine and the emancipation of women: put in the powder, close the lid and relax”.

The title of the article is taken from the Washy Talky, a bilingual-talking washing-machine, which was launched in India seven years ago. It guides the user of the washing machine through the complete wash process by voice instructions in English and Hindi.

As for women's liberation, there's one thing it definitely wasn't driven by - the church.)

Today

Today is International Women's Day.

Interesting Fact # 1021 - Working

According to a survey by "workingmum.co.uk" 74% of mums feel guilty for leaving their children to go to work.

(The trouble is many stay at home mums feel guilty because they are not going out to work. It's a lose lose situation.)

Interesting Word - Malapropism

A malapropism is the "inappropriate" use of a word. It is derived from the French phrase mal à propos (literally "ill-suited").

(It's also called a Dogberryism or acyrologia. Basically if you substitute an incorrect word for a word with a similar sound, you've made a malapropism, for example: "I resemble that remark", instead of "I resent that remark". If you want to see it in action, just read Sheridan's 1775 play 'The Rivals', and in particular the character Mrs. Malaprop.)

Interesting Place # 96 - Brazil

In 2008, 75 people died as a result of lightning strikes in Brazil.

(According to the National Institute of Space Research, there are on average more than 50 million lightning strikes in Brazil each year.)

Today

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Interesting Fact # 1020 - Internet Security

According to a poll by high-tech lobby group BITKOM, 19 percent of computer users had not installed an anti-virus programme and 45 percent had no firewall to prevent unauthorised access.

(With the growing armies of viruses, worms and Trojan out there, people need to be savvier when it comes to protecting their computer systems. After all you wouldn't leave your wallet unattended. The day of the nerdy kid unleashing a mischievous virus are over, these days hardened criminals are in on the act, and they are after your money.)

Interesting Animal # 91 - Wild Boar

According to the NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland), up to 8,000 boars live in the German capital Berlin.

(In 2007 there was a huge surge in the wild boar population of 320% and this has probably meant more boar getting bored with country life and moving into the suburbs. I've just been researching a potential trip to Berlin, and I think I'll be taking a spear or two with me.)

Today

Insurance company AIG reported a loss of $61.7bn (£43bn).

This is the largest quarterly loss in corporate history. Overshadowing the recent largest loss announced by RBS. AIG have already received $150bn in financial support from the US government. Imagine how many hospitals and schools that would fund.

Interesting Fact # 1019 - The Indispensable Internet

According to a survey carried out by German broadband association Bitkom, around 84 percent of German twenty-somethings (19-29 year olds) said they would rather do without their current partner or an automobile than give up their Internet connection.

(Living without a mobile phone was also unthinkable for 97 percent. I would quite happily give up my mobile phone, but I would think twice about giving up my net.)

Interesting Fact # 1018 - Films

Aberystwyth, is going to screen the classic Monty Python movie "Life of Brian".

(I can hear all the Annoying Mouses out there going "Well that's not interesting". But it is, because 30 years ago this Welsh town banned the film. No one thought to revoke the ban because few people realised it still stood, and now there'll be a one-off screening for charity at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. It should be a good night as Michael Palin and Terry Jones are expected to attend.)

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