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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 - Zombies

One for +Aladdin Pasha here:-

According to online magazine Foreign Policy, the Pentagon has plans in place in case of a zombie apocalypse.

(I had to check the date on this report, to make sure it wasn't early April, but apparently the US Defense Department has plans, in an unclassified document called "CONOP 8888", with instructions of what to do if zombies attack and the armed forces have to eradicate flesh-eating walkers in order to "preserve the sanctity of human life" among all the "non-zombie humans."

The plans even look at the different kinds of zombie adversaries one might find:

  • vegetarian zombies 
  • evil magic zombies
  • chicken zombies
  • zombies that come from outer space
  • zombies created by bio-engineers
  • humans who have been invaded by a pathogen that turns them into zombies
Nice to know you've got our backs guys.  I'm still not certain this isn't some April 1st spillover.)


Interesting Fact - Taxis

According to the Licenced Taxi Driver Association, over 10,000 mobile phones are left behind in taxis in
London every month.


(Of course, with the introduction of PAYM network, the mobile phone payment system adopted by nine of the biggest banks in the UK, you'll be paying for your taxi with your phone, so you're less likely to forget it.)

Interesting Food - Water

A businessman meeting a client in a London hotel (The Wellesley in Knightsbridge) was charged £75.00 for 3 bottles of water (yes water).

(The water, San Pellegrino, which usually costs about 60p a bottle, actually costs a profit mongering £5.50 per bottle in this particular tourist trap, and there was also a service charge of £8.33, but if you can do mental arithmetic, you'll see that that still doesn't add up: It would have been £24.83. Which is bad enough. But no, the Wellesley, seemingly owned by Arab Investments´ City and Country Hotels, has a minimum charge of £25 per person for anyone using its bar after 4pm. They should remember that the blessings of water come with human responsibility for its proper use.

Is there anything he can do? No.  That's why when you are eating out in the UK, it's important to check the prices on the menu and ask if there is any cover / service charge. Of course at a business meeting, you don't want to be seen to be niggardly, so check in advance.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I hope that in this case, it isn't true.  They don't allow pets, so I wouldn't go there anyway.)

Interesting People - Famous Couples

For everyone in today's drama session on Second Life:-

Barack and Michelle Obama
Bill and Melinda Gates
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

They all met at work.

Jeff and Pat?  :)

Interesting Fact - Weddings

According to a survey carried out by wedding website confetti.co.uk, Four fifths of British couples getting married this year will ask for cash instead of presents.

(The reason that most of them don't want to create a wedding list, with the traditional toaster, or cutlery, is they have lived together and so already have the essentials.

The problem is, asking for cash is an awkward thing to do, as unlike some cultures, in the UK there is no tradition of giving cash to the happy couple, and in the UK we hate talking about money.  However, according to the Guardian newspaper, those who feel awkward asking for cold hard cash, are increasingly using poetry to do it for them, with verses like:-

"If you were thinking of giving a gift to help us on our way
A gift of money in a card would really make our day!"

Of course some lovely couples, who feel they have everything they need, ask people to give money to their favourite charity. (You know who you are.)

Maybe when you send out the invitations, you should just send an invoice.)

Interesting Fact - Employment

Supermarket chain Tesco is the UK's largest private employer.


(They employ around 330,000 people in 3,146 stores.

Of course the coal industry used to employ over 1 million people in 1908, and that figure is down to about 6,000 today.)

Interesting Fact - Holidays

Are you heading off on your summer hols? Well be warned, in a survey carried out by One Poll, shows that in the UK holiday rows start in the car after just 22 minutes.

(The top 3 causes of rows starting are:-

  • What music to play*
  • Children distracting the driver
  • Squabbles over who sits where
5% of rows.were caused by family members passing gas in an enclosed space.

15% of people had been in family rows so bad on car trips that they abandoned their holiday plans and went back home.)

*Just play a bit of Cliff:-


Interesting Animal - Dogs

Dogs are capable of feeling jealous.

(For a long time, scientists have argued that emotions like jealousy and guilt require a sophisticated understanding of the self and of other's social goals and desires, and are therefore the province of humans only, but it now it looks as if what every dog owner has known all along, could be scientifically proven .

Christine R. Harris and Caroline Prouvost of the University of California, have adapted an experiment, initially designed for babies, where dog owners were asked to interact with different object, one of them being a stuffed toy dog; the researchers found that the dogs were much more likely to show jealousy: aggression – snapping, getting between the owner and the object, and pushing the object away – for the stuffed dog.

Laika would like to do the same to my computer.)
 

Source

Today

23rd July is Hot Dog Day and Ice Cream Day.

Hot dog and ice cream, how healthy.



Interesting Food - Tea

According to the advertising watchdog in the UK, pyramid shaped tea bags do actually make a better cuppa than round ones.

(Following an advertising complaint from round baggers Tetley (my favourite cuppa), they concluded that the pyramid shape did allow the tea to move more freely, releasing more taste. The tests showed that the infusion of tea, at 40 seconds and two minutes into the brewing process, was greater when using a pyramid teabag than when using a round teabag.

IMHO what really matters is what tea is inside. I don't like PG because it has an orange colour. Hubby calls it monkey tea, but i'm sure there are people who prefer it. My mum would mock anyone who used a tea bag, but surely it's simply a matter of personal taste.)

Interesting Animals - Elephants

According to a study carried out at the  University of Tokyo, compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 1,948.
(That's more than twice the number of olfactory genes in domestic dogs and five times more than in humans.
The following animals were tested in the battle of the schnozes:-
  1. Elephant - 1948
  2. Rat - 1207
  3. Cow - 1196
  4. Mouse - 1130
  5. Horse - 1066
  6. Dog - 811
  7. Guinea Pig - 796
  8. Rabbit - 768
  9. Human - 396
  10. Chimpanzee - 380
  11. Marmoset - 366
  12. Macaque - 309
  13. Orang-utan - 296
So, why don't we use sniffer elephants or even sniffer rats?)

Source - The Wright Stuff

Interesting Fact - Crime

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the level of recorded crime in England and Wales has fallen to a 34-year low.

(The figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated there were 7.3 million crimes in the year 2013/14, 14% fewer than during the previous year and the lowest since 1981.

Does this mean there's less crime, or people just aren't bothering to report it, because they never get solved? (See previous fact))

Interesting Fact - Crime

According to data from 28 police forces in England and Wales, 50% of crimes reported to police are unsolved.

(The shocking figures also show that nearly three quarters of cases of theft, criminal damage and arson cases this year were classed as "investigation complete, no suspect identified".

This doesn't surprise me in the least.  When we lived in Bristol, we were burgled 4 times, and no one was ever caught, even though the thieves left a knife covered in oily marks that were obviously finger prints.  After that we bought a burglar alarm.)


Interesting Food - Caviar

There are around 16 types of caviar.

Original photo by geishaboy500 - CC
(The four main types of caviar are Beluga, Sterlet, Osetra, and Sevruga.

According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the most expensive caviar, and indeed the world's most expensive food is 'Almas', from the Iranian Beluga fish - 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) of this 'black gold' can be sold for £20,000 (then $34,500). Almas is produced from the eggs of a rare albino sturgeon between 60-100 years old, which swims in the southern Caspian Sea where there is apparently less pollution.

It's still only fish eggs, aka roe.)

Today

18th July

Nelson Mandela Day

National Caviar Day


Interesting Facts - Comics

Marvel have announced their next "Thor" character will be female and the next Captain America will be black.

(The times are indeed a changing, but I did notice the images of the female Thor on the web had unfeasibly large boobs, so they're not changing that much.)


Interesting Place - Cornwall

Imagine this, you have a blood clot and you're being rushed to hospital, then the ambulance stops and you realise it's to pick up a couple of hitchhikers. Well, that's exactly what happened to  60 year old Glenn Buscombe.

(He was in the vehicle when it picked up a pair of hitchhikers, and dropped them in the next town before taking him to A&E in Plymouth.

Unsurprisingly one of the hitchhikers was a woman in a skimpy skirt.)

Interesting Fact - TV

The votes are in and Britain's favourite BBC children's character of all time is Shaun the Sheep.


(Postman Pat came second and Sooty and Sweep third.

The past winners were:-

1950s - Sooty and Sweep.
1960s - The Magic Roundabout
1970s - Paddington Bear (still my favourite, along with Winnie the Pooh)
1980s - Postman Pat (not forgetting his cat)
1990s - Bob the Builder (but he couldn't fix this vote)
)

Today

July 15th 2014 is National Tapioca Pudding Day.  Eew!

It's also St Swithin's Day, so let's hope it doesn't rain.

Interesting Words - Shakespeare

Health researchers are blaming Shakespeare for promoting a negative attitudes towards imperfect skin.

(Seemingly the language used in his plays has helped cause social stigmas linked to skin conditions. 

A research paper from dermatologists [PDF] in Nottingham, Leicester and Derby "Shakespeare may be to blame for the negative connotations of skin disease".  They mentioned phrases such as "Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle",  "a pox upon him" and "patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks".

The fact is, Shakespeare used language in a creative way: Take what is probably the best (worst) insult ever written, from King Lear:-
"A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.
It makes you wonder if he's to blame for negative attitudes towards dogs too.) 

Interesting Place - China - World Cup Fact

The World Cup will soon be over, and Chinese doctors are probably relieved.

(During the World Cup they spotted a new ailment striking people across the country. World Cup syndrome. 

Symptoms were listlessness, tiredness and insomnia, thought to have been induced by the times that football games were broadcast from Brazil. 

In Chengdu city authorities opened a World Cup syndrome clinic, and doctors were on standby 24 hours a day for the duration of the World Cup.

One poor guy was knocked for six when Suarez did his thing, and had to limit himself to one match every two days. I don't blame him, the late nights were getting to me too, so I simply recorded the matches I wanted to watch, and played them on fast forward at a reasonable hour.)

Interesting People - Dr Thomas Curwen

The idiom used to describe something that's really boring is "It's like watching paint dry", and you might think you have the most boring job in the world. Think again; Dr Thomas Curwen's is exactly that.  
(He has worked for a major paint company in Twyford, England, for the past four years watching the changing colour of paint as it dries – both on walls and up close through a microscope.

He says it is fascinating.  He needs to get out more.)

Interesting Fact - TV

According to research from The Medical Research Council (MRC) hours spent watching TV or playing computer games each day does not harm young children's social development.

(Prof Hugh Perry said: "This important study suggests the relationship between TV and video games and health is complex and influenced by many other social and environmental factors."

I bet it doesn't give you square eyes either. Mother!)

Source - The BBC (Where else?)

Interesting People - Mick Jagger - World Cup Fact

Allegedly Mick Jagger has a reputation for jinxing every football team he supports.

(He is now being blamed for Brazil's devastating 7:1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and has been dubbed in Brazil "Pe Frio", which translates literally as Cold Feet, a Brazilian term for a jinx.

I think Brazil would be better served to look at how their team actually played.)

Today

10th July:-

Is don't step on a bee day.

It is also Beatles day (not beetles - The Beatles), who returned to Liverpool from their successful tour of America in 1964.

A million public sector workers are set to go on strike in the UK today.  If you are in the UK, I'd stay at home if I were you.

Interesting Fact - Health

According to Alzheimers Research UK, the estimated cost of caring for people with dementia in 2014 will be £23.6 billion.

(The number or people in the UK aged 60+ who will be living with dementia is projected to double over the next 25 years and to reach 2 million by 2050, which will cost an estimated £59.4 billion.

We can only hope current research will advance enough to prevent this silent plague.)


Interesting Fact - Money

According to insurance company Prudential, a British man will typically have earned £1 million by the age of 51 during his working life but a woman will have to wait until her 70th birthday to do the same.



(By the time the average worker has earned their first million they will have paid around £123,300 in tax and £93,200 in national insurance.

If I'm meant to have earned a million by the time I'm 70, I'd better get myself a better paid job.)

Interesting Fact - Nothing

According to psychologists at Virginia and Harvard Universities, people hate being left alone with nothing to do but think.


(People preferred a jolt of pain to being made to sit and think: two-thirds of men, and a quarter of women pressed a button to deliver a painful jolt during a 15-minute spell of solitude.

Allegedly, one man found thinking so uncomfortable that he opted to shock himself 190 times.  Either that, or he is a masochist.)

Interesting Fact - Facebook

According to Facebook's own figures only 31% of its employees are female.

(To be fair, Google, LinkedIn, and Yahoo have all reported similarly low figures.)

Interesting Fact - Warfare

According to Britain's MoD (Ministry of Defence) by 2024 armies will have been replaced by robots.

(They are already commonly used in reconnaissance and bomb-disposal, but their use in combat (without any human control mechanism) raises tricky questions.

The MoD argues that if a drone's control system takes appropriate account of the law on armed conflicts (basically military necessity, humanity, proportionality and the ability to distinguish between military targets and civilians), then an autonomous strike could meet legal norms.)

What a shame they haven't read the 3 laws of robotics:-

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Isaac Asimov

Interesting Fact - Greetings

According to a survey conducted by the job-finding website monster.co.uk, more than half of British managers say they can tell whether they want to employ a candidate for a job based on the strength of their handshake.

(8 out of 10 said the ability to maintain eye contact when talking to them was key. 6 in 10 said that small talk played a crucial role in their decision, and the same number said that dress sense was a deciding factor.

So, dress well, practise your handshake, maintain eye contact, brush up on your small talk, and the job is in the bag.)

Interesting Fact - Gender

When signing up to Facebook you now have 71 gender options.

(In addition people who select a custom gender will now have the ability to choose the pronoun they’d like to be referred to publicly — male (he/his), female (she/her) or neutral (they/their).

Here are the options (please don't ask me what they all mean, I have lived a sheltered life):-

Agender
Androgyne
Androgynes
Androgynous
Asexual
Bigender
Cis
Cis Female
Cis Male
Cis Man
Cis Woman
Cisgender
Cisgender Female
Cisgender Male
Cisgender Man
Cisgender Woman
Female to Male
FTM
Female to male trans man
Female to male transgender man
Female to male transsexual man
Gender Fluid
Gender neutral
Gender Nonconforming
Gender Questioning
Gender Variant
Genderqueer
Hermaphrodite
Intersex
Intersex man
Intersex person
Intersex woman
Male to Female
Male to female trans woman
Male to female transgender woman
Male to female transsexual woman
MTF
M2F
Man
Neither
Neutrois
Non-binary
Other
Pangender
Polygender
Trans
Trans Female
Trans Male
Trans Man
Trans Person
Trans*Female
Trans*Male
Trans*Man
Trans*Person
Trans*Woman
T* man
T* woman
Transexual
Transexual Female
Transexual Male
Transexual Man
Transexual Person
Transexual Woman
Transgender Female
Transgender Person
Transmasculine
Two* person
Two-spirit
Woman



Interesting Fact - Sport

The caber, used in the Highland sport tossing the caber, is typically 19' 6" long (5.94 m) tall and weighs 175 pounds (79 kg).

(The caber is not thrown, it is tossed, and it's not distance that matters, it's all about style. The "tosser"  rests the caber against his shoulder and lifts it vertically off the ground. The objective is to toss the caber in such a way that it turns end over end in the air and lands with the lower end pointing towards the tosser in a relative twelve o'clock position.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest caber ever tossed was 25 feet long and weighed 280 pounds. I wonder what they call the guy who tossed that one.)

Interesting Place - Bissoe

You've probably never heard of Bissoe, I know I hadn't (it's in Cornwall), but, they have a brand new bus shelter. Why is that interesting? Well, because there hasn't been a bus service since 2008.

(This isn't a case of mad councillors, squandering public money though.  The shelter was built for free by a local concrete company, who noticed the old one was looking rather shabby. The production manager, Simon Lucas, said "We are aware there are no buses coming here at the moment but we'd like to hope that the new shelter might encourage them to come back." He added, ""There's no real focal point to the village when people come here, so we thought this would mark it out."

If you build it, Mr Lucas, they will come. I think it should be featured in Visit Cornwall.)