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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...

Today

28th August

Bow Tie Day.

(Get the dicky bow out.)

Interesting Number - 285,000

According to a maths boffin, Peter Backus, roughly speaking Brits have a 1 in 285,000 chance of meeting their one true love.

(He came up with the figure when writing a research paper called "Why I Don't Have A Girlfriend." "An application of the Drake Equation to love in the U.K."

You can listen to him talking about his paper here:-

)

Interesting Food - Heart attack pie

A pie that's a whopping 800 calories, is being sold at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, just around the corner from the cardiac rehabilitation ward.

(The pie, dubbed 'a heart attack on a plate', includes a slice of bacon, a sausage, a black pudding and beans, topped with an egg. It is a third of a man's daily recommended calorie intake.

Stunningly hospital bosses have ignored calls for a ban on this whopping pie, insisting "other meals are available".

What next? The MacDonald's coronary care unit?)

Source: The Wright Stuff

Interesting Place - Aberdeen

According to a report by the EU's transcrime research centre,  Aberdeen, Scotland is a stronghold for the mafia; Italy’s deadly Camorra syndicate,

(I wonder what they will vote for in the referendum.)

Source

Interesting Fact - Recycling

Local Authorities in the UK will be able to hand out vouchers and loyalty cards to households that recycle their rubbish.

(England’s biggest council, Birmingham city council, is trialling the scheme by offering Nectar points to incentivise paper waste collections. Residents will receive 25 points every time paper recycling containers are put out for collection. The points can then be redeemed at a range of stores, including Argos, Homebase and Sainsbury’s.

I wonder if they can recycle their plastic loyalty card.)


Interesting Food - Hospital Food

NHS hospitals in the UK are going to be ranked on the quality of their food.


(I can see it now!  A GP recommends a patient goes into hospital, and the patient asks which one does the best lasagne.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to Government data, a single 11.7 minute trip to a GP costs the NHS £45.

(The 2013 Health and Social Care report from the Personal Social Services Research Unit states:

  • It costs £27 for a 7.1 minute telephone consultation with a GP.
  • Home visits from a GP lasting 23.4 minutes cost the NHS £114.
  • One prescription from your GP costs £41.35, including the cost of the drug.
  • A 15 minute appointment with your nurse in a GP practice costs £13.
Cheap at half the price. The NHS is one of the things Britain should be most proud of.)

Interesting Place - London

Oxford Street in London, one of London's most popular shopping destinations, has been listed by the the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs as one of the most “dangerous areas” for Emirati tourists in the capital.

(The warning comes after two separate attacks on Emirati tourists in London this year, but the list also includes Edgware Road, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Soho, Marble Arch and Piccadilly.

When I think of areas of London to avoid, these don't really come to mind, I'd say Westminster is the place where most major crimes take place.)


http://maps.met.police.uk/index.php?areacode=E09000033&crimetype=8




Today

21st August

Poet's Day

It’s all I have to bring today by Emily Dickinson
It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.

More poetry here:-

http://www.english-magazine.org/poetry-and-song/english-poetry

Interesting Animal - Mosquito

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, mosquitoes can only fly at between 1 to 1.5 miles an hour.


(Seemingly air is like treacle to them, due to their size.

I don't understand.  If they are so slow, how come they are so difficult to swat?)

Today

20th August

World Mosquito Day!

Bzzzzzzz....

Interesting Food - Eating on Holiday

According to a study carried out by CheapHolidayLand.com, British holidaymakers double their daily calorie intake in the first 24 hours of an all-inclusive break.


(Holidaymakers consumed on average 5,756 calories on the first day of all-inclusive trips.  Research found that binge eating amounts to twice recommended daily intake; enough fuel for them to run two marathons

The meals worked out at:-

Breakfast - 1,117 calories

A bowl of cereal (113 calories), full English breakfast (870), a glass of orange juice (112), cup of tea (22)

Mid-morning drinks - 240  calories
A glass of Sangria (150 calories), a glass of Coke (90)

Lunch - 1,260  calories
Burger and fries (770 calories), a side salad (17), a glass of Coke (90), one ice cream (230), one bottle of beer (153)

Afternoon snack - 425  calories

A packet of crisps (160 calories), a glass of orange juice (112), one bottle of beer (153)

Dinner - 2,191  calories
Starter – a bowl of soup and bread roll (403 calories),
Main - chicken, rice and side of salad (415), second plate – lamb, wedges and salad (413)
Two glasses of wine (246), a gin and tonic (143), a glass of sangria (150), a slice of cake (275), a fruit salad (146)

Evening drinks and snacks - 523  calories

Two mojitos (120 calories), one glass of sangria (150), one bottle of beer (153), a packet of peanuts (100)


TOTAL CALORIES CONSUMED: 5,756

Source

Interesting Fact - Ageing

Researchers at the University of Auckland, have found out that our personalities develop until well into our fifities.

(They discovered that your personality becomes most stable during middle age - but then begins to decline again. People tend to be most neurotic in their thirties, and honest and conscientious in their forties.

Our personalities keep developing until we are in our fifties, for example, people in their 30s, showed high levels of neuroticism, but by the time they reached their 50s that had been replaced by conscientiousness, openness and honesty-humility.

So there is hope for the seflie generation yet.)

Interesting Animals - Cats

A study carried out at Hiroshima University, showed that looking at cute animal pictures can actually improve a person's productivity at work.

(According to LiveScience.com, the paper, entitled The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus, concluded that cute animals doing supercute things is like seeing babies, and can boost productivity in tasks that require focus.

So, the next time your boss tells you off for giggling over Grumpy Cat, show him this.)

Interesting Food - Lager

According to research carried out at the Stockholm School of Economics, and published in a report calle, "Hide The Label, Hide The Difference", all lager tastes the same.

(Volunteers were given blind samples of Budvar, Heineken and Stella Artois but found they could not tell the difference.

The report says:-

"Our results suggest that brand loyalty in this market is likely to be driven largely by marketing and packaging, and not by the underlying sensory properties of the competing products."

This is actually good news for me, because I always suspected it, but thought maybe it was my taste buds that couldn't tell the difference between cheap and premium lagers.)

Interesting Place - The UK

According to the Local Government Association in the UK, they get some bizarre Freedom of Information requests.

(Here are the 10 weirdest received since freedom of information requests were introduced in 2000:-

1. What plans are in place to protect the town from a dragon attack? (Wigan Council)

2. Please list all the types of animals you have frozen since March 2012, including the type and quantity of each animal. (Cambridge City Council)

3. How many times has the council paid for the services of an exorcist, psychic or religious healer? Were the services performed on an adult, child, pet or building? (Rossendale Council)

4. Please can you let me know how many roundabouts are located within your council boundaries. (Leicestershire County Council)

5. What precautions, preparations, planning and costings have been undertaken in the case an asteroid crashes into Worthing, a meteorite landing in Worthing or solar activity disrupting electromagnetic fields? (Worthing Borough Council)

6. How many holes in privacy walls between cubicles have been found in public toilets and within council buildings in the last 10 years? (Rossendale Council)

7. How many bodies are there in mortuaries that have been unclaimed for 10 years? How long have these bodies been in the mortuary? How old were they when they died? Is it possible to have the names of these people? (Richmond Council)

8. How many people in the town have a licence to keep a tiger, lion, leopard, lynx or panther as a pet? (Scarborough Council)

9. How many requests were made to council-run historic public-access buildings (e.g. museums) requesting to bring a team of “ghost investigators” into the building? (Birmingham Council)

10. How many children in the care of the council have been micro-chipped? (Southend Council)


Interesting People - Maryam Mirzakhani

Mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani is the first woman to be awarded what is considered the most prestigious prize in math, the Fields medal.

(Ms Mirzakhani has been a professor at Stanford University since 2008, but she is also the first person to win this medal from the Middle East, as she was born and raised in Iran.

The Fields medal is considered to be the Nobel Prize for maths, because strangely there is no Nobel for mathematics.

All 52 previous winners of the award were men.)


Interesting Word - Sinister


The word sinister is usually associated with anything harmful or evil, but in heraldry it also means on, or towards the left-hand side.


(In late Middle English it developed the sense ‘malicious, underhand’, but it came from the French - sinistre or Latin sinister ‘left’.


Unfortunately left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative in many cultures.)

Today

13th August

International Left Handers Day.


Interesting Place - The Pack O' Cards

The Pack O' Cards is an inn in Devon.  It has 52 windows spread over 4 floors (think suits), each with 13 doors.

(According to locals, the inn was built during the 18th century with the proceeds of the winnings of a card game.

It even looks like a house of cards, with the four floors stacked on top of one another in a higgledy piggledy way.)




Photo by Ian Roberts

Interesting Fact - Work

According to career website, CareerCast.com, the people with the worst jobs in the US are newspaper reporters.

(The five worst jobs were:-

  • Oil-rig worker
  • Actor
  • Enlisted military personnel
  • Lumberjack
  • Newspaper reporter
The top five jobs were:-

  • Actuary
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Audiologist
  • Financial planner
Poor old Clark Kent.)


Interesting People - Peter Mark Roget,

Peter Mark Roget, was a British physician and lexicographer. He published the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Roget’s Thesaurus) in 1852.

(Seemingly he was a bit OCD, and was obsessed with list-making from an early age. His work on the thesaurus arose partly from his attempt to battle depression.

The students of the world salute you Mr Roget.)

Interesting Words - Rogeting (aka cheating)

A lecturer at Middlesex university has identified a new trend of ‘Rogeting’ among students. Trying to outwit plagiarism checking software they are using a thesaurus to find synonyms for words.

(They aren't as clever as they think, because they have come up with some really stupid results. The best of which are:-

sinister buttock (instead of left behind)
to tarry fore of the conflict (instead of stay ahead of the competition)
bequest mazes (instead of legacy networks)



Interesting Place - Abbey Road

The album Abbey Road was nearly called "Everest".

(This would have meant that one of the pop world's most iconic photos was nearly never taken, but the idea of schlepping up Everest for a photo shoot was abandoned, and on 8th August, 1969 the Fab Four walked out of No 3 Abbey Road, and whilst a policeman held up the traffic on Abbey Road, the photographer Iain Macmillan took photos as the band walked back and forth.

Since then quite a few people have reproduced that moment, but with no friendly policemen around, they are taking their lives in their hands.)

Interesting Fact / Animal - Selfies and Monkeys

Wikimedia, has refused a photographer’s repeated requests to stop distributing his most famous shot for free – because the photograph of a monkey was a selfie - the monkey pressed the shutter button and therefore should own the copyright.

( Gloucestershire-based photographer David Slater was in Indonesia in 2011 attempting to get the perfect image of a crested black macaque when one of the animals came up to investigate his equipment, hijacked his camera and took hundreds of selfies. One of those selfies is now famous.



Understandably Mr Slater is less than pleased. Probably because one of his best images, was taken by a monkey.

Copyright law, which is a minefield in itself, says that the person who takes a photograph owns the copyright (regardless of who owns the camera it was taken on). Of course monkeys aren't people - yet, but it's an interesting grey area.

BTW - if you can't take a better selfie than this one, please don't bother.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

London buses are no longer accepting cash payments for journeys*.

(There are different ways to pay the bus fare:

  • An Oyster card with pay as you go credit, Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass
  • A Visitor Oyster card
  • A contactless payment card to pay as you go
  • A Day Travelcard

In fact, according to the Payments Council, cash payments make up the majority of transactions in the UK - just.  Cash transactions account for 52%, but this is down from 58 per cent in 2009.

For now cash is still king, but with virtual wallets, and mobile payment systems, the march of a cashless society seems to be unstoppable.

Stop the world, I want to get off.)




*That said, legally, they are not allowed to refuse a cash payment.

Today

6th August

Fresh Breath Day

Interesting Fact - Christmas

There are 142 days to Christmas, but Selfridges have opened their Christmas department.

(Why have they opened so early?  To be the first of course.  Well sorry to disappoint you, but there's a Christmas shop in London that is open all year round.

I will now go and sack myself.)

Today

5th August is...

National underwear day and National oyster day.


Interesting People - John Parr

British soldier, Private John Henry Parr (19 July 1897 – 21 August 1914), is believed to be the first soldier of the Commonwealth killed by enemy action in the First World War.

(He is buried in the St Symphorien military cemetery, just southeast of Mons, in France, but his age on the gravestone is given as 20, because the army id not know his true age: 17.)

Interesting Animals - Parrots

During World War I, France allegedly tried using parrots on the Eiffel Tower as an early warning system for enemy aircraft.

(The experiment was abandoned because the parrots were very good at raising the alarm for approaching aircraft, but were unable to distinguish friend from foe, and they quickly grew bored.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to NHS records, 12 million GP appointments are missed in the UK each year.

(It costs £160 million a year, and who's to blame?  Young people.

A simple solution might be to text them a reminder.)

Interesting Food - Oysters

The old adage of don't eat an oyster in a month without an R in it is bunkum.

(It might have been true once, but nowadays we have refrigeration and farmed oysters. That said, they allegedly taste better in the cooler months.)