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Interesting Fact - Small Talk

According to a documentary by Channel 4,  when they go to the pub together men are more likely to talk about their children and relationshi...

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Christmas Cards

According to card manufacturer Clintons, Father Christmas now appears on 5.6 per cent fewer cards than before.

(Their research also found that the appearance of robins on festive cards has declined by 23.4 per cent in 10 years, but the snowman has increased in popularity by 17.1 per cent.

Images of snowflakes also rose by 14.3 per cent and Christmas trees have become more common, appearing on 7.3 per cent more cards. 

Glitter now appears on 34.7 per cent more cards than a decade ago.

Despite the changes, traditional designs are still popular, such as Victorian street scenes, holly bushes, bells and stars.

Personally I prefer hand made cards.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

I'll be honest, when I first heard of the poo bus, I thought of this guy:-



However, this is actually about a bus that runs on gas generated through the treatment of sewage (real poo), and food waste that is unfit for human consumption.

The Bio-Bus (Foto: GENeco)
(A renewable and sustainable source of fuel, the bus can travel up to 300km on a full tank of gas generated at the Bristol sewage treatment works – a plant run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water.

Personally, I love the idea, and the humour of the advertising on the bus itself.)


Interesting Fact - Health and Safety

According to research commissioned by home insurance company More Than, the biggest hazard in the home is ... children.

(By the age of 10 the average child in the UK will have caused more than £2,000 worth of damage around the house.

The most common things kids do to destroy the house are:-

1. Drawing on walls
2. Permanent stains on the carpet
3. Breaking plates and crockery
4. Damaging furniture
5. Footprints/handprints on surfaces
6. Scratching upholstery
7. Blocking the toilet
8. Accidentally smashing a window
9. Scratching walls with bikes
10. Blocking the kitchen/bathroom sink
11. Breaking beds by jumping on them
12. Staining kitchen surfaces
13. Breaking door handles
14. Pulling up carpets
15. Splashing paint on everything
16. Gluing things to furniture and walls
17. Breaking the banister to the stairs
18. Breaking the TV
19. Setting things on fire
20. Putting toys in the microwave

I'll always remember when a friend of mine found that her son had put a sandwich in the video player. He thought he was posting it. Bless. Kerching!)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Santa Claus

According to card company Clintons, Santa Claus has lost over 2 stone in the last decade.

(They analysed 20 years of archived cards and found that depictions of Father Christmas on Christmas cards had become slimmer. "He’s not as fat and round as he once was,” said a spokesperson, putting it down to increased health consciousness.

I bet Rudolph and co. are pleased.  Some enterprising person is bound to bring out a mince pies and sherry diet book. )



Interesting Place - Grenoble

The French city of Grenoble is going to ban all advertising hoardings by next year.

(They will scrap 326 advertising hoardings, including 64 large billboards by April 2015. The mayor has promised to replace the signs and billboards with trees and community noticeboards.

They will be the first city in Europe to do so, although the French village, Forcalquier, implemented a similar ban back in 2009.)

Interesting Fact - Wealth

According to a report, commissioned by property company CBRE, people who play organised sport tend to be £500,000 better off than people who don't.

(Experts say that organised sports such as cycling , football, rugby, etc. can boost a person's annual salary significantly due to the skills they gain from participating in group activities, which over an average 47-year career could amount to a significant boost of £522,000 in wages.

Of course, you could argue that people who earn a lot have more disposable income to play sport.  That said, I wonder if disorganised canoeing counts.)

Interesting Fact - Fathers

We were talking about maternity and paternity / maternal and paternal in today's session, so this little factlet is very fitting.

According to a survey carried out by the Family Matters Institute, 12% of fathers in the UK aspire to be like Homer Simpson.

A good role-model?
(The following "father figures" were most popular:-

David Beckham - 21%
Jamie Oliver - 14%
Homer Simpson - 12%
Prince William - 9%
David Walliams - 7%
Simon Cowell - 5%
David Cameron - 4%
Wayne Rooney - 1%

The typical, modern UK dad was described as a food-loving, health-conscious, house proud family man, but their choices of role models leaves a lot to be desired.  For goodness sake! David Cameron left his 8 year-old daughter in the pub!)

Interesting Fact - Maternity Leave

We will be talking about maternity and paternity leave in the LEN Drama session on Monday, so here's a little interesting fact:-

Almost half of women in the UK (43%) are likely to return to work sooner than they would like after having their baby.

(The main reason was money worries, but according to the NCT (the largest UK parents charity), 47% said it was due to concerns over job security.

Overall 4% of those surveyed said they took less than two weeks maternity leave, even though they are entitled to much longer.)

Interesting Fact - Communication

According to The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's "Minimum Income Standard" report, it is no longer considered essential in the UK for a family to have a landline telephone.
Creative Commons Image CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

(People are now able to rely on mobiles, however, for the first time internet access is counted as an essential for all groups including pensioners.

The internet has been an essential for me since 1999.) 

Interesting Fact - Cost of Living in the UK

According to a study compiled for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, couples with two children  now need just under £40,600 between them to afford a decent lifestyle.

(The biggest problem is, the actual cost of living in the UK has risen five times as much as earnings since before the recession.

So, £40,600 is enough to provide ordinary food, clothes, and leisure activities, for a small family, as well as items judged necessary to survive in modern Britain, without extravagance.)

Interesting Fact - Age

90 is the new 70 (For women).


According to experts women can now expect to live 4 scores years and 10, instead of the biblical 3 score years and 10.


(The latest official life expectancy projections for England and Wales now show that in a growing number of areas it is already the norm for people to live until they are almost 90, and that trend is set to grow, and although women still outlive men overall, it seems men are catching up; in the last 4 years the life expectancy gap between men and women has narrowed by 10 per cent.

So, it's good news all round. As long as you've got your health.)

Interesting Fact - Money - Christmas Fact

What price friendship? Well £6,800 actually.

(According to a survey by the Post Office UK adults have spent on average £158 on gifts for their closest friend in the last year. Around £62 is spent on Christmas presents and £47 on birthday gifts, which over a lifetime adds up to £6,800, and one in seven people will fork out more than £100 on a friend’s Christmas present.

When a best friend has children, the costs become even higher, adding an additional £53 annually.

The survey doesn't mention regifting. (Giving a present you've received to someone else. I always give people permission to do this.) ) 

Interesting Facts - Dinner Time

According to a study conducted by the Department for Education, the traditional family meal appears to be making a comeback in the UK.

(In the study, 52% of children said they had shared a meal with their parents six times in the last week compared with 42 per cent in 2004.

Now, I wonder if they sat at the table, or ate in front of the TV.)



Interesting Fact - Clothing

Australian presenter Karl Stefanovic, who co-presents Channel Nine’s Today show with Lisa Wilkinson, has been wearing the same blue suit – day in, day out, for a year.

(He did it to make a point about the ways in which his female colleagues are judged. “No one has noticed,” he said.

His co-presenter, Lisa Wilkinson, gave the Andrew Olle media lecture in which she talked about the expectations placed on women in public life. “Today’s media landscape, particularly for women, is one now so focused on the glossy and the glamorous, it often eclipses and undermines everything else,” she told the audience. “When you’re a woman doing breakfast TV, you quickly learn the sad truth that what you wear can sometimes generate a bigger reaction than even any political interview you ever do.” She recounted a reader’s letter in which a viewer told her to “get some style” before reading her reply to that letter: “Please include suggested colours, sleeve lengths, skirt shapes, your preference for prints, fabrics, weights, jackets versus blouse et cetera,” she wrote back. Wilkinson also stipulated some conditions for the clothes her unsolicited would-be stylist could select: they had to be comfortable, not too revealing, generously cut to fit both her bust as well as her petite frame, and they they couldn’t clash with her co-presenter’s ties or the couch. In the audience, Stefanovic laughed and applauded – and an idea was born. He began wearing the same blue suit that same week, and after a month of doing so, told his co-host of his experiment. They waited for the viewer letters – and the sirens from the fashion police – complaining about his overworked suit, of course, but none came.


Thankfully Mr Stefanovic did get his suit cleaned from time to time.)

View from 28:35:-

Interesting Fact - British Teenagers

According to a study by the Department for Education, British teens are going out less and shunning cigarettes and alcohol to stay at home on their computers.

(The so called 'Laptop generation' of teenagers are now more likely to be surfing the web and playing games than hanging out in the park.

13-year-olds today are more 'sober and responsible' than 10 years ago. Only 32 per cent had tried alcohol compared with 52 per cent in 2004, and it's the rise of social media sites such as Facebook that is thought to be behind the change.
They are probably more sober and responsible than I am too.)


Interesting Fact - Armed Forces

Australia, Germany and Canada all allow women to take on close-combat ground roles in the armed forces.

(It looks as if women will be allowed to take on combat roles for the first time in the UK soon.)

Interesting Fact - Lies

According to a survey conducted by Confused.com, the average Brit lies about 10 times a week, 91 per cent have told a lie.

(The most common lies were regarding vices:-

41% - the price of an item they had bought

25% - how much they drink

23% - eating habits, News.com.au reported

16% - past relationships

15% - where they were the previous night

14% - who they were with the night before

Matt Lloyd, head of life insurance at Confused.com, said that little white lies are part and parcel of daily life.

I'm glad he's not my husband.  Regarding the 9% who say they have never told a lie...)


Interesting Fact - Transport

According to car website HonestJohn, nine out of ten new cars are sold without a full-size spare wheels as standard.

(About 25% of cars are sold with thinner ‘space-saver’ wheels, which allow you to travel at a limited speed for a short distance, to get yourself to a garage. Others have ‘run-flats’, reinforced tyres that allow you to continue on with a puncture for a limited time.

Almost half of new cars are sold without any spare wheel at all, they are simply equipped with a repair kit: basically some sealant and an air pump that you use to temporarily fix the tyre.

Q. Why are they doing this?

A. Money.

Not providing a spare wheel can easily save manufacturers around £100 per car.

Cheapskates!)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact

According to a study conducted by the Royal Statistical Society, in the UK we are starting to think of Christmas as early as 19th August.

(Internet searches for terms such as “Santa Claus”, “elf” and “presents” start clogging up bandwidth almost three months earlier than in 2007.

We've all gone mad!)

Interesting Fact - The Poppy

888,246 poppies have been planted by volunteers at the Tower of London, and an estimated 4 million people have visited the installation, Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, since the first ceramic poppy was placed on 5 August.

Taken by Stu Smith CC by ND 2.0

(The exhibition was the brainchild of Derbyshire-based ceramic artist Paul Cummins. It was set up to commemorate the 100 years since the beginning of the First World War with each poppy representing each British and Commonwealth death during the conflict.

The day after Armistice Day, a team of 8,000 volunteers will begin dismantling the poppies, and a nationwide tour will see smaller installations set up temporarily across the UK. It is expected that the last poppy will be taken away down from the Tower of London in three weeks’ time.)



More information on the significance of the poppy (opens in a new window):-


Interesting Food - Tea

Professor Andrea Sella from University College London says the smooth surface of a china cup or mug makes tea taste better, as it keeps the natural tannins in the tea from sticking to the side.


(Professor Sella said, "You want a smooth, impervious surface, you don’t want the cup to bind the tannins." He added that the clink of a spoon on bone china, and the association of things like drinking tea with your grandmother, added a psychological aspect to the pleasure of a good brew.

If you think it doesn't matter what you drink tea out of, I'm sure you will agree on one thing, steer clear of disposable cups.)

Interesting Fact - Stupidity

US scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska, might have found the answer as to what causes unspeakable stupidity - a virus.

 
(The algae virus, which has never been found in healthy people,was discovered to affect cognitive functions such as visual processing and spatial awareness.

I wonder if there is a cure.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to the Halifax bank, the average Brit believes they have £1.61 lurking down the back of their sofa.

(This means home owners are sitting on more than £40 million in loose change.  And that's not the only place you'll find a few pennies lying around: Two-thirds of people admit to regularly finding loose coins in pockets, bags and cars, but desk drawers usually contain the largest amount of cash. On average, people believe they have £17.69 just lying around the UK.

Can you guess what I'm going to do now?)

Interesting Fact - Entering the UK

Anyone who has been sentenced to more than 4 years in prison overseas is barred from entering the UK.

(You are not allowed to enter the US if you have been convicted of 2 or more offences, or you have been convicted of / admitted to committing acts of moral turpitude.

I guess I'd better be a good girl whilst I'm in Germany, or they might not let me go home.)

Interesting Fact - School Uniforms (aka The Wrong Trousers)

Over the last 2 days, the Hanson Academy in Bradford, West Yorkshire, has sent 215 pupils home for not adhering to school uniform rules.



(The school wants pupils to dress in a blazer, smart shoes, trousers, and shirt with a correctly-tied tie, they also need to wear an id badge on a lanyard around their necks (I wonder if they have risk assessed that).

The infringements included - wearing hoop earrings, the wrong kind of trousers / jackets, no tie, no id, dyed hair...

Please feel free to join any of our Virtual World English sessions and dress as you like, as long as you're dressed.)

Ineresting Fact - Fireworks

Three handheld sparklers produce as much heat as a blowtorch.



(No surprises their, I have the holes in my clothes to prove it.)

Interesting People - John McArthur

For three months, John McArthur has spent two hours each weekday morning parading outside LAMH Recycle in Motherwell, Scotland, wearing a placard reading: “Say no to slave labour”.

(Why? Well, after the organisation "let him go" from a temporary job, he was ordered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to work for the same firm for six months without pay, in order to continue receiving unemployment benefit.

Welcome to Britain 2014.)


Interesting Place - Britain's Riskiest Road

According to the Road Safety Foundation, a 12-mile stretch of the A285 between Chichester and Petworth is UK's most dangerous road.

(Seemingly the number of crashes has increased by 16% over the last 5 years.

Road safety is a big problem in the UK; in the last five years serious crashes cost of £1.9 billion on motorways, £8.4 billion on primary A-roads and £5.9 billion on non-primary A-roads.)

Interesting Fact - Information

According to research conducted by Mindjet and One Poll, the average British office worker wastes two weeks a year searching for misplaced information.

We all lose things from time to time:-

Interesting Food - Whisky

Japan 1 : Scotland 0 - A Japanese single malt has been named the best whisky in the world.

(In a shock to Scottish distilleries the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 as a drink of “near incredible genius”, awarding it 97.5 marks out of 100 in the 2015 World Whisky Bible.

To add insult to injury Scottish malts failed to make the top five drams.

Having tasted about 1,000 whiskies, Mr Murray said "Hic" - No, sorry, he actually said Scottish distilleries were in danger of churning out drab or mediocre malts and that it was time for “a little dose of humility” from the northern whisky makers so they could “realise something is missing.”)