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Showing posts from February, 2010

Interesting Place - Nepal

Each year in Nepal the youths in two villages in the south of the Himalayan country, Parsawa and Laxmipur, save up their choicest insults for a 10-day "cursing festival" that reaches its climax today.

(The insults range from, "Monkey face", "I hope your sons are as ugly as frogs," to more culturally relevant insults like, "I hope your buffaloes die of diarrhoea". They should be fine, as long as they don't post their insults on Facebook.)

Interesting Animal # 113 - Hippo vs Lion

In Africa, humans are more likely to be killed by the vegetarian hippopotamus than the meat-eating lion.

(Hippos weigh up to 8000 pounds and can gallop at 18 m.p.h. A healthy adult lion weighs around 550 lbs, but they can run at 50 mph. A hippo's canines measure up to 20 inches long, a lion's 3.1 inches.)

Interesting Word # 98 - Pigtails

Pigtails used to be known as queues.

(Pigtail meaning a "braid of hair" is from around 1753, when it was a fashion among soldiers and sailors to wear their hair tied behind their heads. Queue used to mean a braid of hair too, and only started to mean "stand in a line" from around 1927.)

Interesting Place - Indonesia

In Indonesia, seemingly it's against the law to insult someone on Facebook.

(A student, who shall remain nameless, referred to his marching band mentor as a "scoundrel" and "very greedy". He's ended up with a suspended six-month jail sentence - that's the student, not the greedy scoundrel. Just imagine if this law became popular in the UK or the US. Personally I think the student needed to be a bit wittier, and slightly more up to date. I like to read witty insults.)

Interesting Animal # 112 - Dogs

According to research from the University of California, small dogs may all originate from the Middle East.

(Seemingly a gene, IGF1, which is found in small dogs, is closely related to one found in Middle Eastern wolves. See, there's a bit of wolf in your chihuahua too.)

Interesting Fact # 1261 - The Internet in China

If you want to set up a website in China, you will have to submit identity cards and a photo of yourself, as well as meet regulators, before your domain name can be registered.

(In some ways it's similar in Germany, you can't register a .de domain unless you have a German bank account. That said, I guess I won't be setting up learnenglish.cn any time soon.)

Interesting Word # 97 - Haptephobia

Haptephobia is the fear of being touched.

(It comes from the Greek 'haphe' which means 'touch'. With the rise of hugging as a greeting it's becoming more obvious who suffers from this particular phobia. Group hug anyone?)

If you want to discuss hugging, kissing, shaking hands and other ways of greeting people, join the forum.

Interesting Place # 129 - Australia

Australia's wine exports amount to some 2.8 billion Australian dollars each year.

(Their main markets are the United States and Britain. Hic!)

Interesting Fact # 1260 - Wine - Podcast

According to Australian drinks giant Foster's, one quarter of Australia's grape vines need to be pulled up in order to reverse a damaging wine glut which is forcing growers to let their fruit wither on the vine.

(The Winemakers' Federation of Australia says the glut exceeds 100 million cases of wine. My friends and I are doing our best to reduce that.)

Interesting Fact # 1259 - Time

Russia, the world's largest country, currently has 11 time zones.

(The president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, who seems to be quite a sensible person, has proposed reducing the number, but he hasn't said how. It might make it easier for people to find me on iVisit.)

Interesting Fact # 1258 - Interesting Dates

In the UK the first sell-by dates went onto milk and cream products in the 1950s.

(Marks and Spencer started using them to give people confidence in the products in their chilled cabinets. People were used to finding milk and cream on their doorstep every morning, because it was traditionally delivered by the milkman.)

Source: The BBC

Interesting Animal - The Mosquito

The name mosquito is Spanish for “little fly”.

(I wonder what Spanish for "annoying little blood sucker" is?)

Interesting Fact # 1257 - The British

According to the Government's Food Standards Agency, your average Brit eats around 8.6g of salt per day.

(This amount is down from the 9.5g per day we noshed in 1990, but the recommended allowance for adults is 6g per day and for children just 2g. No wonder us Brits are so cheerful (see previous post))

Interesting Food - Salt

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According to scientists at the University of Iowa, salt can make you feel happier, but it also creates cravings comparable to drug addiction.

(So that packet of salted crisps is a double edged sword, it will make you feel better, but you might start hanging round street corners for your next fix of the white stuff. Actually the addictive qualities could go some way to explaining the popularity of Marmite.)

Interesting Fact - Valentine Fact - Valentine's Day Cards

According to an ICR survey, 81% of women and 64% of men will buy cards this Valentine's Day.

(I won't be among them, I always make mine.)

Interesting Fact # 1255 - Accents

According to Dr Kathleen Wermke of the University of Wurzburg, French babies cry with an accent.

(They think that babies pick up their parents' accents in the womb: German babies had a Teutonic style, and French babies a Gallic twang. Waah la la!)

Interesting Place # 128 - London

At peak times, 32,000 pedestrians cross London's Oxford Circus junction in one hour.

(If you just stand and watch it will make you dizzy.)

Interesting Animal # 110 - Sharks

When a shark is born its liver makes up 20% of its body mass.

(And they don't even drink!)

Interesting Fact # 1254 - Interesting Olympic Fact - Winter Olympic Funding

The British Winter Olympic team gets £6.5m in funding.

(It's not surprising the bobsled team have such embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions. To put this into perspective British athletes competing in the summer games in London in two years' time will receive more than £300m in funding!)

Interesting Food # 54 - Cupcakes

According to market researchers TNS, in 2009, people in the UK spent £37m on cupcakes.

(Cupcakes are small, light, sponges covered in icing or butter-cream and decorated with sugar hearts or sprinkles, or a pretty icing pattern. If you fancy making your loved one a special Valentine's day cupcake, check out this month's recipe.)

Interesting Fact - Theft

The skull of a legendary pirate called Klaus Störtebeker, has gone missing from Hamburg's History Museum.

(It's quite distinctive, as it has a spike jutting out of the top of it. So if anyone down the pub whispers "Wanna buy a skull", there is a reward of up to several thousand euros for information leading to its recovery. Honestly, some people will steal anything.)

Interesting Fact # 1252 - Asylum Seekers

An evangelical Christian family with five children were granted asylum in Tennessee this week after a judge ruled that their fundamental human rights were being violated back home.

(What makes this interesting is that "back home" was in Germany. The reason that the Romeike family applied for asylum is that they were unable to homeschool their children, as school attendance in Germany is mandatory. A US immigration judge said that Germany was violating their basic human rights. I'd like to know how the children feel.)

Interesting Fact - Human Rights

The Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,500-year-old clay cylinder covered with cuneiform lettering is thought to be the world's first declaration of human rights.

(The cylinder is from Persia, now known as Iran, and was ordered by the Persian king Cyrus following the conquest of Babylon. In Babylonian.  It states how every man, woman and child should be free to practise their culture and religion.)

Interesting Word # 96 - Girl

The word "Girl" once referred to a child of either sex.

(Boys were called knave girl, and girls were called gay girl. I'm not kidding, I couldn't possibly make this up. What really makes me happy is that the word "Boy" used to mean servant, or "rough, unruly person". You can see why it replaced "knave girl", can't you.)

Interesting Fact # 1250 - Mobile Phones

According to a study published in the journal New Media and Society boys much more use their mobile phones to play games, share photos and videos, listen to music and send e-mails much more than girls.

(Girls tend to use their phones primarily for talking and or text messaging, but the boys used their phones for talking and texting just as much as the girls, plus the gaming etc. Of course what the researchers didn't realise is the boys were phoning and texting their girlfriends.)

Interesting Fact # 1249 - The Internet

According to a study carried out at the University of Leeds in the UK, excessive internet use is associated with depression.

(The study, published in the journal Psychopathology, found that 1.2% of people surveyed could be classed as "internet addicts", and many of these were depressed. But they couldn't figure out if the depression was caused by excessive internet use, or if depressed people just use the internet a lot?)

Interesting Fact # 1248 - Apologising

A study, published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour, has concluded that apologies are better received when they are spoken into the right ear.

(Their explanation is that when people are angry, the right ear becomes more receptive to sound than the left. So, if you're not interested in someone's pathetic attempt at an apology, just stick your finger in your right ear.)

Interesting Fact # 1247 - Health

An independent study commissioned by the UK government has said that encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles just adds extra years of poor health to people's lives, causing misery and suffering.

(It reminds me of the joke:-

A man went to his doctor and asked, "So, if I give up smoking, and alcohol, exercise regularly and become a vegetarian, will I live forever?

"No," the doctor replied, "it will just feel like it.")

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