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Interesting Fact - The equals sign

The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equa...

Interesting Fact - Transport

Ruthless traffic wardens in Tewksbury have been ticketing cars.

(Why ruthless?  Well the motorists had been stranded in recent flooding, and when they returned to their stranded vehicles they found penalty notices stuck to their windscreens. Now you know why your average Brit hates traffic wardens.)

Interesting Food - Cheese

Some cheeses are saltier than a bag of crisps

(According to a report by Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), Alarming levels of salt in cheese are contributing to an epidemic of high blood pressure responsible for strokes, heart attacks and thousands of early deaths a year. Death by cheese? I can think of worse ways to go.)

Interesting Place - New York

For over 36 hours in New York City, no-one was shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed.

(In fact it seems that crime has been on the decline in New York City since the 1990s. On a sadder note, the crime freeze began after 22:25 on Sunday 25th November, when a man was shot in the head, and continued until another man was shot at 11:20 on Tuesday 27th November.)

Interesting Fact - Law

In the UK,  when you get engaged, any engagement ring belongs to the person it was given to, even if the marriage doesn't take place.

(Believe it or not, this is written in law - The Law Reform Act of 1970 says:-

"The gift of an engagement ring shall be presumed to be an absolute gift, this presumption may be rebutted by proving that the ring was given on the condition that it should be returned if the marriage did not take place for any reason."

But let's face it, who's going to put that in writing before proposing?)

Interesting Fact - Buttons

Have you ever wondered why men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?

(Me neither, but when I read the reason, I thought, "Now that's interesting".

Seemingly when buttons were first used they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left.  However, wealthy women were dressed by maids, and so dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. That is where women's buttons have remained ever since.

Now where's my maid?)

Interesting Word - No

The average toddler hears the word "no" about 400 times a day.

(The problem is that it loses its power. )

I don't know about you, but I can listen to this "no" all day:-




Interesting Fact - Children

Children who are eligible for free school meals are nearly 4 times more likely to receive a permanent exclusion and around 3 times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion than children who are not eligible for free school meals

(In other words, children from poor families struggle.  I wonder why the current government is so hell bent on creating more poor families?)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

If I say to you someone is "milking", it would usually mean that someone is getting milk from an animal like a cow. At a push "milking it" ca mean trying top get the maximum profit from a situation. But this month "milking" has a new meaning, thanks to the wonderful webby thingy.

(The latest craze to sweep the internet "milking" can go alongside planking as a pointless exercise, albeit in this case less dangerous. The craze, started by 5 students at Newcastle University, involves pouring milk over your head in a public place without showing any emotion and then walking away. The video 'Milking Newcastle' went viral and had over 300,000 views within 5 days.

When I found the video, I was surprised to say the least. It's an odd thing to do, but relatively harmless in the great scheme of things, but of course everyone has an opinion: So far the video has amassed 632,566 views 2,825 likes and  1,189 dislikes.

I will just say that it is a bit of an insult to the cows who produce the milk.  Yes, I am an old fart, by all means make up your own mind:-


)

Interesting Fact - Typewriters

The last typewriter to be made in Britain has come off production line - and gone straight into the Science Museum in London.

(The last typewriter, manufactured by Brother's in Wrexham, has been sent to the Science Museum to be displayed as an artefact. The saddest thing is this ends nearly 30 years of production at the company's plant, which has produced 5.9 million typewriters since it first opened in 1985.

I learnt to type on a sit up and beg typewriter. Yes, I am that old.)

Interesting Number - Money

The 2014 to 2020 budget for the EU will be between 143 billion euros and 151 billion euros ($182.5 billion to $192.8 billion) per year. 

(It sounds like a lot, but it's only about 1 percent of the CEO (common economic output).  Over seven years this adds up to over 1 trillion euros, but according to German MEP Jutta Haug Germany alone will spend about 2.2 trillion euros over the same seven years.

Too many noughts!)

Interesting Fact - Education

According to the Department for Education in the UK, during 2010/11 5,080 children were permanently excluded from state-funded primary, state-funded secondary and all special schools in 2010/11.


(The permanent exclusion rate for boys was approximately 3 times higher than that for girls. The fixed period exclusion rate for boys was almost 3 times higher than that for girls.

In addition 
there were 271,980 fixed period exclusions from state-funded secondary schools, 37,790 fixed period exclusions from state-funded primary schools and 14,340 fixed period exclusions from special schools.

I have nothing funny to say about this.  I've got my serious head on.)

Source

Interesting Fact - Holidays

A new space company called Golden Spike is planning to offer private trips to the moon before 2020.

(The company is run by former Nasa bosses and will use rocket technology that has already been developed. The cost?  A cool £871million!)

Interesting Fact - Education

Students are paying hundreds of pounds to have essays written for them.

(Seemingly they pay essay farming firms to write their essays for them and it's hard to spot.  I would just say one thing to anyone who is considering this.  If at some point in the future you make something of yourself, do you really think you will be able to hide what you did?  Just look at this news story, and then get your pen and paper out.

http://www.npr.org/2012/11/24/165790164/a-wave-of-plagiarism-cases-strikes-german-politics)

Interesting Fact - Exams


According to a report published by Renaissance Learning, pupils in the UK struggle to understand GCSE exam papers.

(Their reading skills are so poor at the end of secondary education due to a lack of time spent practising how to read.  This is so sad.)

Source

Interesting Number - Money

There are 12 net contributors and 15 net recipients within the EU.

(Net contributors receive less money from EU funds than they pay into the joint coffers. 

Net recipients receive more grants and benefits than they pay. 

The largest net contributors include Germany (at 9 billion euros), France (6.4 billion), Italy (5.9 billion), Great Britain (5.6 billion) and the Netherlands (2.2 billion). 

The leading net recipients are Poland (11 billion), Greece (4.6 billion), Hungary (4.4 billion), Spain (2.9 billion), and Portugal (2.9 billion). 

Calculating that for each individual EU citizen, however, the picture looks different: Danes pay the most into EU coffers at 150 euros each, while Hungary receives the biggest payout - 442 euros per capita in aid money from Brussels.)

Interesting Place - Germany

According to figures released by the German Statistics Office, Germany has a higher level of poverty than the Czech Republic.

(In spite of being one of the richest countries in Europe, the number of people living in poverty in Germany rose from 19.7 percent in 2010 to 19.9 percent in 2011, about 16 million people in all.  The main thing to blame is Harz IV.)

Interesting Fact - Post

Over half of all post delivered in the UK is junk mail.

(It's terrible!  Every morning people excitedly sort through all the letters that land on their doormat only to find that it's either bills, scam competitions or advertising.)

Interesting Animal - Puffins

A baby puffin is called a puffling.

(That was just too cute not to share.) 

Interesting Date - Remembrance Day

Thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook observed the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday by not tweeting.


(A campaign was run by the Royal British Legion to involve social media in the act of respect for the fallen. Called Thunderclap, people authorised their Twitter and Facebook accounts to send the tweet or message that read: 'I'll be remembering the fallen at 11 o'clock #2MinuteSilence #LestWeForget at 9am on Sunday November 11.)

Interesting Fact - Rubber Bands

Rubber bands last longer if they're kept in the fridge.

(When a rubber band is in the fridge it relaxes the polymers, but you should let it warm up before trying to use it. If you have ever found a rubber band in the drawer that snapped in two when you tried to use it, this could be a useful fact.)

Interesting Place - Wales

Job seekers in Wales are being given free spray tans and beauty treatments to help them get a job.

(The treatments are being offered by charity organisation The Well-Being And Training Academy in Aberdare, Wales.)

Interesting Fact - Water


According to research carried out at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge  has found that dehydration can affect the way teenagers' brains function.

(School pupils taking exams  could benefit from drinking a glass of water beforehand, as being dehydrated is enough to effect the neural activity in key parts of their brains which, as a result, have to work harder to achieve the same tasks. I fear I might be constantly dehydrated.)

Interesting Fact - Elections

Seemingly Barack Obama is only the fifth President of the US to be re-elected with over 50% of the vote.

(Of course that's only about 25% of the actual population of the US, because in spite of over $6 billion being spent on campaigning only an estimated 126 million Americans actually bothered to vote. That's an overall turnout rate of about 57.5%. ) 

Today

Interesting Number - 52

If you want to do something that no human has ever done before, shuffle a pack of cards.

(When you shuffle a normal pack of 52 playing cards, the number of possible permutations is ‘52 factorial’ otherwise known as 52! or 52 shriek.

This works out as 52 times 51 times 50 ... all the way down to one, which gives you the sum of  
80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000.)

Source: QI

Interesting Fact - Music

The singles chart in the UK began in 1952, which makes it 60 years old.

(To commemorate this, an A list of records that have sold more than a million copies has been compiled by the Official Charts Company, a total of 123 records. The top seller is Elton John's double A-side Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind, which was released in the aftermath of the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales and sold 4.9m copies in the UK.

123rd place and just scraping past the million mark, is When We Collide by X-Factor winner of two years ago Matt Cardle.

Interesting Fact - Tax

Apple paid less than 2% tax on profit made outside the United States last year.

(They paid $713m (£445m) in overseas corporation tax on foreign profits of $36.87bn (£23bn) in the year to the end of September. That translates as a tax rate of 1.9%, compared to a headline corporation tax rate of 35% in the US and 24% in the UK.  Executives from Google, Amazon and Starbucks will be hauled before the Commons public accounts committee in the UK on Monday 5th November 2012.  They will be asked to explain why they pay so little tax to the exchequer. Analysis by the Guardian found that Google, Amazon, Starbucks and Facebook have paid just £30m in tax over the past four years despite generating more than £3.1bn in sales.)

Interesting Fact - Maths

Maths really can make your brain ache.

(Researchers from the University of Chicago have discovered that fear of maths can activate regions of the brain linked with the experience of physical pain.

In fact, the higher a person’s anxiety the more it increases activity in regions of their brain associated with visceral threat detection, and often the experience of pain itself.

If I'm honest, German grammar has the same effect on me.)

Source

Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to a British couple, Harry and Floss Lucas, who have been married for over 70 years, the secret to a happy marriage is to argue every day.

(The bickering pensioners claim they have notched up around 25,550 quarrels since they got married in October 1942., but they also say they always kiss and make up before they go to bed.  I don't think this would work for me as I hate confrontation.)

Source

This month

In the UK November is being rebranded as Movember.

Men across Britain are growing moustaches in order to raise awareness, and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Interesting Food - Halloween Fact - The Pumpkin

Pumpkins are related to cucumbers.

(Pumpkins are a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers. OK, so maybe they're like a second cousin, but they are still related.)