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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 - Sleep

According to researchers at the University of Surrey, lack of sleep can have a potentially profound effect on the internal workings of the human body.

(Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function have all been linked to substandard sleep, and areas such as the immune system and how the human body responds to damage and stress were affected.

I think I'll go back to bed.)

Source

Interesting Place - The South of England

The only legal cannabis farm is in an understandably, undisclosed location somewhere in the South of England.

(GW Pharmaceuticals is preparing to enlarge its clandestine marijuana plantation, because it wants to ramp up production of Sativex, its recently licensed cannabis-based drug for multiple sclerosis, which has potential in the treatment of pain in cancer patients too.

Or you could just bake some nice "special" brownies.")

Interesting Place - Leicester

A load of old bones found under a council car park in Leicestershire, belonged to King Richard III.

(Archeologists, from the University of Leicester, have confirmed that DNA evidence proves the discovery of the body of Richard, who was slain at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.)

Update - The University of Leicester, which led the project to find and exhume Richard, was given permission to reinter the king's remains at the cathedral in Leicester, which is close to Bosworth in central England, but descendants of the monarch, who was the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty, are seeking a legal challenge to have his body laid to rest instead in York, the northern English city with which he had close links during his life.


They should be grateful Laika didn't find them, or they really would be - history.


Interesting Fact - Gambling

There is no chance of winning the top prize on a £2 scratch-card on sale in the UK.

(Why can't you win?  Well because all the top £100,000 prizes have already been won. So you would think that they would be removed from sale, but according to Camelot, who run the lottery in the UK, the Gambling Commission says that retailers can continue to sell the stock they have activated for sale.

About 12 million of the cards were printed with the odds of scooping the jackpot standing at almost 2.5 million-to-one, and now those odds are a big fat 0.)

Interesting Animal - Cats

The UK’s first-ever cat café will be opened in London.

( The café will provide a place where cat lovers can stroke cats while drinking their coffee. What makes it even more unusual is that members of the public donated over £100,000 to make one cat lover’s dreams a reality.

I guess no one will be able to complain if they find a hair in their soup though.)

Interesting Food - Chewing Gum

According to research from Cardiff University in Wales, chewing gum is good for the brain.

(Chewing boosts thinking and alertness and reaction times among chewers are up to 10 per cent faster.

Volunteers carried out tasks while chewing and not chewing gum as their brains were scanned to see which areas were active. During the 30-minute tests participants pressed a button with their right or left thumb in response to the direction of an arrow on a screen. Men and women who were not chewing took 545 milliseconds to react, compared with 493 milliseconds among the chewers. The brain regions most active during chewing were those involved with movement and attention.

The act of chewing leads to the production of higher levels of insulin, which stimulates areas of the brain.

That's something to chew on, and it might explain why I used to chew my pen at school.  I was improving my ability to concentrate.)


Source

Interesting Fact - Work

In the 1930s economist John Maynard Keynes estimated that by this century, we'd be earning enough money to meet our needs by working just 15 hours a week.

(
For many ages to come the old Adam will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day, only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines. But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter – to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!  Essays in Persuasion, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1963, pp. 358-373.

What went wrong Mr Keynes?

Maybe it's our "wants" that are the problem, and not our "needs".)

Interesting Fact - Children

According to a government chief adviser, British children as old as three are unable to walk because they spend so long in front of the telly.

(They don't call it the electronic babysitter for nothing.)


Interesting Fact - Oil

Venezuala provides Cuba with an astounding 115,000 barrels of oil each day—gratis.

(Yes, nada, nix, nothing to pay. The idea is that Cuban doctors provide medical care for Venezuela's poor in return.  I hope they get really excellent health car.  

As you know, I give lots of time away for free, but it's my time.  Nice that Mr Chavez gives away things other people worked for.)


Update - Since President Hugo Chavez's death, Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles says he would stop trading oil to Cuba for such services as it does not benefit Venezuala.

Interesting Fact - Obesity


According to statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions, in the year up until April 2012, over 7,000 people in the UK claimed sickness benefit because they are too fat to work.

(In 2012 it cost taxpayers around £30 million a year.  Which might seem a lot, but it's just a drop in the ocean when weighed against the total bill for obesity, which costs the taxpayer more than £5 billion a year, in benefits, expensive healthcare, equipment and carers.)

Interesting Fact - Tax

According to HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) 850,000 Brits have been fined £100 each for filing their self assessment tax return late.


( 9.6m people did file their tax return on time this year, but penalties can still apply if a mistake was made, and people can be fined even if there was no tax to pay or if any tax due has been paid.

Wait!  It doesn't stop there: Anyone who has still not filed a return and paid all the tax due faces further fines of £10 a day after the end of April. After another three months there is a further penalty of 5pc of the tax due, with a minimum of £300 – a penalty that is repeated after a further nine months.


That's a nice little earner.)

Interesting Fact - Texting

According to a report the Halifax Insurance Digital Home Index, over 50% of people in the UK text or email friends and family in the next room.

(I did it once, and that was for a joke. Since then I just do what I always did and yell through the door.)

Interesting Fact - Interviews

According to scientists at the University of Roehampton men put under pressure performed better when they were scratching, lip biting and touching their face because it seemed to relax them.

(But this doesn't work for women. The author of the study, Professor Changiz Mohiyeddini, said:
"It seems that men have an effective behavioural strategy – fidgeting - to combat their nervousness, but for women, the same behaviour actually makes things much worse."

It's been so long since I was at an interview I can't really comment on whether I fidget or not, but I have the sneaking suspicion that I go tharn.) 

Interesting Fact - Romance Online

Now that Valentine's Day is over for another year, here's a cautionary warning.  Over the past year in the UK, over £24 million pounds has been conned out of people in what is being called, romance fraud,

(The UK's National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has recorded in excess of more than 1,000 victims being conned out of around £21,600 each.  This can often involve the person's life savings.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said “As more of us bring our personal lives into the virtual world, it’s crucial that people are extra vigilant about the information they share. Sometimes we need to use our heads ahead of our hearts to ensure we don’t fall victim to romance fraud."
Here is a check-list of things to watch out for:-

  • The new love of your life looks like a supermodel in the pictures they send you.
  • They ask you lots of questions about yourself but don’t tell you much about themselves.
  • They quickly start calling you by a pet name or use endearing terms such as ‘darling’.
  • They want to communicate with you through instant messaging and texts, rather than through the dating website or chat room where you met.
  • They don’t answer basic questions about where they live and work.
  • They start asking you to send them money.
There are some genuinely nice people out there, but there are also a lot of tricksters, so be vigilant, and look after each other.)

Interesting Fact - St Valentine

St Valentine was buried somewhere along the Via Flaminia on February 14th.

(Allegedly his relics are at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland. They were donated to the church in the 19th century by Pope Gregory XVI from their previous location in the cemetery of St. Hippolytus in Rome.

How romantic!)




Interesting Animal - Sea Slug

Chromodoris reticulata, a species of sea slug which is found in the Pacific Ocean, is able to detach, re-grow and then re-use its penis.

(They are not the only creatures known to lose their male organs after sex; orb weaving spiders do it, as does a sea creature called the periwinkle and land slugs belonging to the genus Ariolimax. However the researchers believe that Chromodoris reticulata is the first creature known that can re-grow its appendage, and it is this ability that has surprised scientists. Surprised! There's an understatement.)

Interesting Fact - Books

According to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Telegraph, the most borrowed book from the House of Commons library in 2012 was How to be an MP, by Paul Flynn.

(The complete list is:-

  1. How to be an MP, by Paul Flynn.
  2. How Parliament Works, by Robert Rogers
  3. The new few, or a very British Oligarchy, by Ferdinand Mount
  4. Losing small wars: British military failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, by Frank Ledwidge
  5. Erskine May’s treastise on the law, privileges, proceedings and usage of Parliament, edited by Malcolm Jack
  6. Years of Lyndon Johnson, vol 4, by Robert Caro
  7. Outside in, by Peter Hain
  8. A Journey, by Tony Blair
  9. Chavs, by Owen Jones
  10. Back from the brink, by Alistair Darling
But the winning book had only been borrowed 19 times, I personally think that says more about our MPs than anything else.)

Interesting Fact - Facebook

Facebook is being sued over the "Like" button.

(The claim for unspecified royalties, has been issued in federal court in Virginia, saying that FB uses technology developed by Jos Van Der Meer over a decade ago.

Mr Van Der Meer allegedly started something called Surfbook, described in the lawsuit as a "social diary", before his death in 2004. In 1998 he was granted two patents: one describing a way of logging content from third party websites in the diary, apparently similar to Facebook's Like button, and the other a more general description of the diary.

I wonder if we will all have to pay for the number of times we have clicked that little thumbs up?)

Interesting Fact - Volcanoes

Life on Earth could be at threat from a catastrophic "supervolcano".

(Two massive piles of rock, the size of continents, are crashing together as they shift at the bottom of Earth's mantle, 1,800 miles (2,900km) beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Seismologists believe is due to erupt in between 100 and 200 million years' time.  Phew!)

Interesting Fact - Women

According to a "power list" compiled by BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour, the Queen is Britain’s most powerful woman.

(The top five movers and shakers were: home secretary Theresa May, Santander boss Ana Botin, Supreme Court judge Baroness Brenda Hale and businesswoman Elisabeth Murdoch.

You can read the full list of 100 women here:-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qlvb/features/power-list

I am proud to say, I didn't make the list.  I am not a mover and shaker, more a nudger and poker.)

Interesting Fact - Technology

According to Cisco, mobile internet devices 'will outnumber humans by the end of this year'.

(Seemingly the growth in the use of smartphones and tablets will see more than 7bn – the world's current population – in use.  Growth in Asia, the Pacific and Africa is driving this phenomenal increase. The downside is the existing internet infrastructure is coming under increasing strain.)

Interesting Place - Scotland

If Scotland votes to break away from the UK, it will have to sign around 14,000 treaties.

(According to "experts", Scotland would become a "new state" and would therefore need to rejoin thousands of international agreements and bodies, which means membership of the UN, the EU, NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation would all have to be renegotiated.

I bet the lawyers are rubbing their hands in glee.)

Interesting Words - Banned Words

A school in Middlesborough, in the UK, has drawn up a list of banned words and phrases.

(The head teacher, Carol Walker, has drawn up the list to promote standard English in order to improve the job chances of the pupils at the school.

Here's the list and the suggested alternatives:-

I done that. - I have done that. / I did that.
I seen that. - I have seen that. / I saw that.
Yous - You lot come her.
I dunno - I don't know.
It's nowt - It's nothing
Letta / Butta etc. - letter - butter etc.
Your - Your late should be you're late.
Werk / shert etc - work / shirt etc.
E was sat there - He was sitting there.
Dropping the "th" - "School finishes at free fifteen," should be, "School finishes at three fifteen."
Gizit ere - Please give it to me. or Please give me the ...

Yes, as anyone who visits my sessions regularly knows, some people in the UK really do talk like this.)

Interesting Fact - Technology

“Rex” – the world’s most complete bionic man cost a million dollars to make. (He consists of a prosthetic face, hips, knees, feet and hands, all of which are commercially available. Other off-the-shelf items include an artificial retina, cochlea and heart.

The robotics team Shadow, who built Rex, believe they can now replicate about two-thirds of the human body. They said, “There are some vital organs missing, like the stomach, but 60 to 70 per cent of a human has effectively been rebuilt.”)


Interesting Fact - Buildings out of Moon Dust

A firm of architects, Fosters and Partners, have revealed designs for constructing a building on the Moon.

(Following collaboration between a number of organisations including the European Space Agency, the idea is that an inflatable structure would be transported from Earth, then covered with a shell built by 3D printers. The 3D printers would use a material already on the surface of the moon - moon dust aka regolith.

Moon-base Alpha, here we come!)

Source: BBC News

Interesting Fact - World Record

To date, the largest bubblegum bubble ever blown was 23-inches in diameter.

(The bubble blown by Susan Montgomery Williams of Fresno, California in 1996 holds the Guinness World Record.

People have been trying to break her record ever since:-


)

Interesting Inventions - Bubblegum


Bubblegum was invented by Walter Diemer in 1928.

(He worked as an accountant at the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, but he experimented on new gum recipes in his spare time. Eventually he hit on a formula that was less sticky than regular chewing gum, and stretched more easily.

He used a pink dye for his new gum because pink was the only colour available at the Fleer Chewing Gum Company. (Bubblegum pink is still the standard colour for bubble gum, and a shade in its own right.)

Samples of the new gum sold out in a single day and Fleer Chewing Gum Company, realising they had a hit on their hands, marketed the new gum as "Dubble Bubble."

He even taught salespeople how to blow bubbles so that they in turn could teach customers.

Now that's the kind of company training I'd love to take part in.)

Source: Wikipedia)