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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 - Hangovers

According to a study, commissioned by the alcohol-free bar movement in London, hangovers hit you harder when you are 29 years old.

(The reason is that 29-year-olds think they can hit the bottle as they did when they were younger but end up with hangovers that last an average of 10 hours and 24 minutes instead of the usual 9 hours 45 minutes.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.)

Interesting Fact - Human Body - Teeth

According to an article published in the scientific journal, Cell Regeneration, scientists have grown teeth out of human urine.

(Stem cells have the potential to be grown into any type of tissue and other researchers have managed to grow teeth from gum cells, etc. but this team from China have found that human urine could be used as a source of stem cells.

It gives a whole new meaning to the term "potty mouth".)

Interesting Fact - Stress and Anxiety

Scientists from Heptares Therapeutics in Hertfordshire, are claiming to have identified the brain's 'misery molecule', which they have linked to stress and anxiety.

(The protein - named CRF1, not the misery molecule, could also be linked to depression, and there are hopes that this discovery will lead to new drugs able to block this and control stress, anxiety and depression.

I only have one problem with that. What if we have every reason to be stressed, anxious and depressed?)

Interesting Food - McPizza

McDonald's used to sell pizza in the 1990s.

(The McPizza, I kid you not, could be cooked in under 5 minutes.

Suffice to say it was a big McFlop.)

Don't believe me?





Interesting Fact - The UK Economy

According to forecasters, the newly arrived royal baby is expected to boost the UK economy by around 240m.

(The "boost" will be from people buying baby related memorobilia, and other sundry items. Even the royal family (who are more like a corporation every day, are getting in on the act.

Allegedly they are selling baby sleepsuits modelled on a guardsman's at palace shops run by the Royal Collection Trust, Prince Charles, the grandfather-to-be, is selling handmade baby shoes through a shop on his country estate Highgrove, while the mother-to-be's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, have added a range of baby goods to their party goods business.

Now there's a thought!  Maybe if we get her to push a few more out, we will be able to pay off the national debt. )

Interesting Fact - Marriage

According to a survey carried out by WeddingDays.com, almost 25% of women getting married in the UK plan on keeping their maiden name after marriage.

(This will probably mean a rise in the popularity of the salutation Ms, so I hope you know how to pronounce it.)

Today

26th July 2013 - Today is International Lumberjack Day.

Interesting Food - Eton Mess

2,000 commuters in London have been treated to the world's largest Eton Mess.

(Weighing in at 167kg (368lbs), they used 50kg of fresh British strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, plus a generous serving of double British cream. It was created as part of Tesco’s Love Every Mouthful campaign. Traditional Eton mess is a mix of cream, meringue, and fresh berries - usually raspberries and / or strawberries.

If you haven't tried it, you should, it's delicious. But it is not healthy, in spite of all that fruit.)

Interesting Fact - The Law

With Britain sweltering in a heatwave, you might be surprised to learn that there is no legal maximum workplace temperature in the UK.

(Basically you work till you drop.)

Interesting Fact - The Royal Birth

On the birth of the newest royal baby it emerged that some people lost a lot of money because he was late.

(The Duchess was around 41 weeks pregnant when she actually gave birth - a week overdue.  The British press kindly labelled her waity Katy (just what an expectant mum wants to hear).

Many people in the UK who had had a punt on the baby arriving on time lost their bets, estimated at over £100,000, and British bookmakers reported a huge surge in royalty-related bets when the palace announced she had gone into labour.  They allegedly took over £1.2 million from people around the world, who were wagering on everything from the baby's sex, weight, name and even his (yes it was a boy) future career, which is a bit of a daft bet when you think about it.)

Best bit of news coverage?



Interesting Fact - Security

According to German security expert, Karten Nohl, an eighth of all SIM cards used in mobile phones around the world are at risk of fraud, theft, or being bugged.

(Once infected, hackers can remotely access the phone and send premium rate text messages, steal money and personal information, record calls, bug owners to track their location, and other naughty things.

They'll be lucky to find my phone switched on.)


Source

Interesting Word - Heatwave

A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessively hot weather.  In England and Wales, heatwave conditions are reached when the maximum daytime temperature and minimum night-time temperature rise above the threshold for a particular region.

(The length of time spent above the threshold determines the level.

Level 1: Normal summer conditions.
Level 2: 60% or higher risk that the temperature will be above the threshold levels for two days and the intervening night.
Level 3: Temperature above the threshold for the preceding day and night, with a 90% or higher chance that it will stay above the threshold in the following day.
Level 4: Anything above the other three levels.

Each of the first three levels is associated with a particular state of readiness and response by the social and health services, and Level 4 is associated with more widespread response.

The UK is currently set at Level 3.)

Today

19th July 2013 is National Feel Good Day in the UK.

It's a day you're meant to compliment each other, so may I say how well you are looking.  

Interesting Fact - The Weather

A health warning has been issued in the UK.

(Why? We're having a heatwave!

Health officials are warning people to take care after 4 people died in separate incidents.

Only in the UK.)


Interesting Fact - Punch and Judy

Chidren's puppet show Punch and Judy, has been accused of child abuse.

(Punch and Judy shows are still quite popular in the UK, and there are estimated to be between 100 and 150 Punch and Judy performers in England, but during a 30-minute performance recently, an audience member at the Saddleworth Summer Show remonstrated with the organisers that they were promoting child abuse.)


Source

Interesting Fact - The Retail Industry

It's not normally great news for the hard-working staff of a company if it's doing well, beyond the fact that they might get to keep their jobs, but for Sports Direct staff in the UK, there's an added "bonus" to the announcement from management that profits in 2013 are up 40%.

(Sports Direct staff are set to share a £135m bonus, which will net each one of them over £70,000.00.

Now, people who run their own business might think the company is insane to do this, but we have a saying in the UK "There's method in his / her madness". Since the scheme was introduced in 2009, the proportion of staff that leave the company each year has halved from 30 per cent to 15.5 per cent.)

Source

Interesting Fact - The Law

According to a report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary 1.2 million stop and search incidents take place every year in the UK.

(The problem is that more than a quarter of them are unlawful: Either the paperwork has been filled out improperly, or no clear reason given for the procedure.

Stop and search, is the term used for when a police officer stops you and asks you what you’re doing and why you’re in an area and/or where you’re going.

A police officer in the UK also has the power to stop and search you if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you’re carrying:
  • illegal drugs
  • a weapon
  • stolen property
  • something which could be used to commit a crime, e.g. a crowbar
The fact is, according to the same report, only 9% lead to an arrest, and that search-to-arrest ratio varies from 3% in Cumbria, to 7% the West Midlands, and 8% in Manchester and London, where most stop-and-
searches take place.

An even worse statistic is that black people are seven times more likely to be searched on the street than white people.)

Stop and search in the UK.

Interesting Place - The UK

There are more women only golf clubs in the UK than there are men only golf clubs.

(That said the Open 2013, which starts today, is being held at a men only golf club.  Muirfield golf club only allows women as "visitors" and even then they must be accompanied by a man.

The 2010 equality act allows for single sex private clubs, but the Open is the only major golfing event that uses men only clubs.

So, no birdies at the Open this year.)

Interesting Fact - Books

According to the website Goodreads the most abandoned book is The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling.

(The runners up for the not so prestigious award of being really putdownable were:-

Fifty Shades of Grey  by EL James
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
and surprisingly 
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The top five abandoned "classics" were:-

Catch 22
Heller’s satirical work, about the madness of the Second World War, introduced its title into the English language. The 1961 book follows the story of Joseph Yossarian, who flies bomber missions, and is convinced the military is trying to get him killed.  (Over 10m copies sold.)
The Lord of the Rings
The fantasy novel published in 1954 follows the epic journey of hobbits, dwarves, elves and other assorted creatures to destroy the Ring of Power.  It built a legion of fans and was turned into three blockbuster films.  (Over 150 million sold.)
Ulysses
The modernist work follows 18 episodes and was written over seven years. The tale of Leopold Bloom’s passage through Dublin caused controversy at the time of publication in the early 1920s but it has been hailed as one of the best English language novels of the 20th century.
Moby Dick
Dubbed one of the “Great American Novels,” the book follows Captain Ahab’s ill-fated pursuit of The Whale over 635 pages, told by sailor Ishmael. The 1851 work was met with indifference initially, but has gone on to achieve hallowed status in the American literary canon.
Atlas Shrugged
Rand’s tale of a dystopian America dogged by taxes and government regulations takes 1,168 pages to play out. It follows John Galt, whose theory is that if people stop seeking profit, the society will collapse. It is embraced by right wing America and has sold well since the financial crisis.

I have read (and enjoyed) 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Lord of the Rings (several times)
Moby Dick (I can understand people giving up)
Catch 22 (Brilliant book)

I have started and put down:-
Ulysses
Atlas Shrugged

I have never even picked up:-
Fifty Shades of Grey
Eat, Pray, Love (The film was good though)
)

Source

For  April. 

Interesting Fact - Education

According to government figures, only 30% of schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow the National Curriculum.

(All maintained schools in England are required to follow the National Curriculum, but academies and so called Free Schools are not required to follow it, they are required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which includes English, mathematics, science and religious education.

From September 2013 schools won't need to follow the national curriculum at all.

I'd love to know how much this faffing around has cost over the years, not just in investment, but in the number of people it has put off teaching and learning.  Quantify that Gove!)

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/secondary

Interesting Fact - Wimbledon Fact - Money

Tickets for the Men's Final at Wimbledon were changing hands for £71,000 a pair, over 165 times the face value!


(I was surprised to hear this, as I had been told you weren't allowed to resell tickets, but seemingly greedy ticket touting is still a problem at Wimbledon, as debenture holders are allowed to resell their seats, only 'ordinary' ticket holders are forbidden from doing so.

In finance a debenture is an unsecured loan certificate issued by a company, backed by general credit rather than by specified assets, but a large number of sporting organisations issue debentures to raise money.  Wimbledon Debentures are issued by The All England Club every five years to raise funds for capital expenditure. A similar program of debentures is also in place for No. 1 Court.

The Centre Court debentures cover periods of five years. Each Debenture Holder automatically receives one Centre Court ticket for every day of The Lawn Tennis Championships during the relevant period. Debenture Holders also receive a pass to the Centre Court Debenture Holders' Facilities Building and have the right to enter a ballot for a car parking space (available for an additional fee).

So, all the real tennis fans have to queue and wait, and hope to get a ticket, but those in the know can make a big fat profit.)


Depressing Fact - The UK

According to a study by MindFull, nearly a third of young people in the UK have contemplated or attempted suicide.

(Their research showed that 32% of young Britons have had suicidal thoughts, while a similar proportion (29%) of young adults deliberately harmed themselves as teenagers. And more than one in 10 (12%) felt a failure almost every day when they were under 16.

1 in 5 young people were depressed during childhood, with pressure from school work, fear of the future and lack of confidence all cited as factors.

The taboo over talking about mental health problems in the UK is preventing children from getting the help they need. The Mindull organisation is attempting to address some of the issues facing young people in the UK.)

I'm not going to plus one this, because it's just too - depressing.

Today

10th Jul 2013

Today is Don't Step on a Bee Day.

No not bidet!

Creative Commons - Source Wikepedia Media http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bidet_weiss.jpg













http://www.flickr.com/photos/your_teacher/2642331005/in/photolist-52uCX8-57tsxj-5b9qRi-6sMnDX-7s5vAD-8sNyA7-8aVLrb/
Bee day!

Interesting Places - The garden shed

We have a saying in the UK, "Every man needs a shed", and according to a survey carried out by Big Yellow Self Storage, men in the UK spend an average of 24 days a year in their shed.

(Psychologist Anjula Mutanda said: ‘It’s important for men to have a space where they can be alone and uninterrupted, tinker with their collections and indulge in hobbies.’  (Is that what you call it?)

We only have a small garden, so poor hubby doesn't have a shed. He has a whole cellar though.)

Interesting Fact - Wimbledon Fact

Well, if you hadn't already heard, Andy Murray won Wimbledon yesterday (7th July 2013). 

(If you have been following the British media, you might have the impression that he's the first Brit to win in 77 years, since Fred Perry's 1936 win at the All England Club, and the first Scot to win since Harold Mahony in 1896. Or is he?

Actually he's the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936. There have been quite a few British ladies that have been Wimbledon champions: Dorothy Round Little won in 1937, Angela Mortimer Barrett won in 1961 and Ann Haydon Jones won in 1969, and of course, British player Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

Well done ladies.  Your success has not been forgotten, and you will always be British winners.)

Interesting Fact - Storage

According to research by the company, Big Yellow Self Storage, most people stash away garden equipment in their shed.

(But some men, 7%, set up the shed with a snooker or pool table and 22% store musical instruments, 18% keep exercise equipment there, 17% use it to store bicycles and bike accessories, 13% set up a model railway, 10% have fishing gear,  and many stash comics, books and old gadgets away, and a massive 29% say the shed is where they keep their music collection.

If I told hubby to store his music collection in a shed, it would be divorce time.)

Interesting Fact - Stuff

According to research by Big Yellow Self Storage, the average man in the UK argues once a week with their partner about how much stuff they have and the amount of space it takes up.

(The answer may be to have less stuff, but as anyone knows from our recent ESL drama sessions, space is important.) 

Interesting People - Aneurin Bevan

Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was the son of a coal miner. He is often known as the father of the NHS.

(A lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people, in his book, In Place of Fear, he wrote:-

"The collective principle asserts that... no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means."

65 years on, his dream is still alive and provides an example of how a society can use public funds for the greater good - just.)

Today

Happy 65th birthday to the NHS (the National Health Service).


Interesting Fact - Energy

According to Ofgem, the electricity and gas regulator in the UK, at least £200 million worth of power is stolen annually.

(Of course the energy companies don't suffer, they simply add £7 to every householder’s bill to cover the cost, but what's more annoying is that over a third of the stolen energy is used to run illegal cannabis farms.  Cannabis factories typically use 12,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a month - 40 times more than the average home uses.

So all you pot smoking hippies out there who think you are saving the planet, think again.)

Source 

Interesting Fact - Girls Names

Keeping with the theme, according to Experian Marketing, 565,028 women in Britain are named Susan, which works out at 2.24 per cent of the female population.

(Anne, Margaret, Sarah and Catherine close behind. The study was carried out as part of the Share a Coke campaign in the UK, whereby Coke bottles will feature 250 of the most popular names in Great Britain.

Suffice to say Lynne doesn't feature, but that's okay, because I don't drink cola, I prefer beer. Now a "Share a beer campaign" that would be more like it.)

Interesting Fact - Boys Names

Following from yesterday's post about the rarest names in the UK, this one is about the most common names for men:-

(According to Experian Marketing Services 1 in every 20 men living in Britain have the first name John, that works out at a total of 4.87 per cent of the population, or 1,166,793 men. The next most popular names in order are David, Michael, Steven, James and Paul.  I wonder what happened to George and Ringo?)

Interesting Fact - Rare Names

According to Experian Marketing Services, there is only one person in Britain with the first name Zebedee.

(Now before you think this is just an unusual name, Zebedee was a children's character in the Magic Roundabout. So this is a cruel and unusual name to give to any child, who will be faced with the following for the rest of his (or god forbid - her) natural life:-





Even worse, there are three people out there called Yoda.)