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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 Date - 25th December - Interesting Christmas Fact

In the 17th century, in Boston USA, the Puritan PTB banned Christmas for over two decades: from 1659 until 1681.

(It was illegal to observe Christmas by taking the day off from work, feasting or celebrating in any other way, and anyone caught doing so was fined five shillings, which was a lot of money back then.

The ban was finally lifted in 1681, but many Puritans continued to rally against the holiday, some would even march through the streets on Christmas Eve shouting, "No Christmas! No Christmas!"  

In 1870, Ulysses S. Grant was the first president to declare Christmas a national holiday, but even then some schools stayed open on Christmas day until as late as 1870, with harsh punishments for any children who bunked off.

I knew that Cromwell banned Christmas in the UK in the 1640s, but seemingly 8 countries have done so, and not just in the past. It is currently banned in 3 other countries, and "discouraged" in several others.  Suffice to say I'd better not go to any of them over Christmas.)

Sources: Irish Central   |  Metro 


Interesting Animal - Jack

Jack, a Yorkshire Terrier, is the oldest living dog in Britain.

(At 117 years old (in dog years), he still looks like a puppy.  He will be the eighth-oldest dog of all time if his age can be proven to Guinness World Records.

There are different formulas for calculating dog years. Alot of people multiply by 7, but dogs are mature by the age of 2, so some calculate it by allowing 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after that.

According to: http://www.onlineconversion.com/dogyears.htm, Laika is a mere 57, but according to http://www.pedigree.com/all-things-dog/dog-age-calculator/ she is 70 years old. Guess which one she prefers?)
Source

Interesting Fact - The Class System

A while ago we posted about the new class system in the UK.  Well they're at it again. This fits in nicely with Saturday's Business English session where we mentioned demographics.

The LSE have worked out which class you belong to by Income, Education, Work, Likes, Address, and Who You Talk To.

(The precariat, or precarious proletariat - Make up 15% of the country with an annual income of £8,253.  They have a low level education, are unemployed or work as cleaners / cashiers, with no cultural interests.  They live outside the South East of the country, and seemingly only talk to each other.

The traditional working class -  Make up 14% of the country, with an annual income of  £13,305. Few have a degree of any kind, they work as secretaries, lorry drivers and electricians, and have a moderate interest in music and art. They live in Scotland and Wales, and talk to other traditional working class people.

Emergents - Emergent service workers - Make up 19% of the country, with an annual income of £21,048. They have arts degrees, work as chefs, in care, or as nursing assistants, and are interested in pop, sort and social networks. They live in cities and large university towns, and talk to lower social groups and ethnic minorities.
   
New affluent workers -  Make up 15% of the country, with an annual income of £29,252. Few have a degree of any kind, work as sales engineers, and are interested in gigs and social media. They live in the Midlands and the North, and talk to lower social groups.

Technical middle class - Make up 6% of the country, with an annual income of £37,428. They have a science degree, and work as pilots and pharmacists, but have no time for art.  They live in the South East and suburbs, and talk to other experts.

Established middle class - Make up 25% of the country, with an annual income of £47,184. They will have been to university, and tend to work as town planners, police and midwives, with an interest in highbrow and newer pop.  They live in the suburbs and rural areas, talk to the elite, each other and the "lower groups".

The Elite - Make up 6% of the country, with an annual income of £89,082.  They will have been to Oxbridge or LSE, and work as chief executives, bankers and dentists, with an interest in classical music, jazz and art. They live in London and the Home Counties, and they talk to each other.

Of course the elite went to the LSE! It all makes sense now.)

Interesting Fact - Drink - Christmas Fact


According to a survey run by Hotel chain Travelodge, the average British family will have their first alcoholic drink on Christmas Day at 9:05am.

(Grown ups start the day with a drink at 9:05am, followed by breakfast at 9:19am. Yes, booze before breakfast. Usually disguised as a Bucks Fizz.

Well, we do say, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.")

Interesting Words - Cupcake / Sissy etc.

According to guidelines drawn up by, of all things, the Institute of Physics the following words and phrases should be avoided to prevent sexism.

Sissy
Don't be a girl
Man up
Cupcake


(Senior teachers will be appointed ‘gender champions’, in a bid to eliminate gender stereotyping.

I would suggest they add, "grow a pair" and "you throw like a girl" to that list.

In all seriousness, the idea is that schools should find strategies to get more girls to study so-called ‘male’ subjects such as economics and physics at GCSE and A-level, while boys should be encouraged to take more ‘female’ subjects including English literature, foreign languages and psychology.

Hang on! Male subjects and female subjects - now that is sexist. The Department for Education obviously has a lot of time on its hands, and a slightly worrying regard for physicists.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Shopping

Supermarket shoppers in the UK are being wished a Merry Christmas - by self-service checkouts.

(Supermarket chain Tesco has introduced a festive message to customers so that when their payment has been accepted they hear a jovial “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!"

I hope they've programmed it to ignore anyone who has bought painkillers. What if they've bought condoms!)

Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to a survey run by Age Partnership, to find out what key lifestyle changes can best improve your mood, women are made happier by getting a dog or cat, while men’s positivity is boosted by joining a club or buying a new car.

(For Brits over 55 a pub lunch was viewed as an easy way of improving your mood.

The three most affordable options were eating out once a month, going on a monthly organised day trip and being in a club.

The three least affordable lifestyle changes are getting a conservatory, buying a new car or buying a campervan – all of which are impossible to afford on the state pension alone, and if money were no object, the most effective happiness promoter for the over-55s would be to go on holiday.)

Source

Interesting Fact - Money

According to the Royal Mail in the UK, a letter to Mars would require 18,416 first-class stamps.

(Royal Mail contacted NASA after 5-year-old Oliver Giddings asked the Royal Mail how much it would cost to post a letter to the red planet. The answer came back with a cost of £11,602.25  US$18,003.40.

Of course Royal Mail then added the £2.25 (US$3.40) to send the letter from Britain to NASA in Florida.)

Interesting People - Santa Claus - Christmas Fact

Don't let your kids read this...

The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten announced the death of Santa in their obituary section.

(Seemingly, Santa died  at the age of 227, on 3rd December in Nordkapp, Norways’s northernmost point. The funeral will be held at North Pole Chapel on 28th December.

They have apologised for "an internal error", but I guess we will find out on Christmas morning.)

Interesting Number - 29

A survey conducted by life insurance provider Beagle Street, revealed that young Brits don't feel "adult" until they have reached the age of 29.

(Although legally you are regarded as an adult at 18 in the UK, seemingly the average young Brit believes it is another 11 years until they actually reach adulthood. The reasons excuses they give are living at home, playing computer games, watching children's films and a reluctance to settle for a "real job".

The top 10 signs of being and adult were considered to be:
  1. Buying your first home (64 per cent) 
  2. Becoming a parent (63 per cent) 
  3. Getting married (52 per cent) 
  4. Paying into a pension (29 per cent) 
  5. Becoming house proud (22 per cent) 
  6. Taking out life insurance (21 per cent) 
  7. Looking forward to a night in (21 per cent) 
  8. Doing DIY (18 per cent) 
  9. Hosting dinner parties (18 per cent) 
  10. Having a joint bank account (17 per cent)
The top 10 reasons excuses for not feeling like an adult were considered to be:
  1. Relying on parents (42 per cent agree)
  2. Living at home longer (36 per cent)
  3. Playing computer games (31 per cent)
  4. Watching children’s movies (30 per cent)
  5. Watching cartoons (29 per cent)
  6. Fear of growing up and taking responsibility (28 per cent)
  7. Not wanting a real or a 9-5 job (22 per cent)
  8. Desire to travel and see the world (20 per cent)
  9. Idolising juvenile role model adults (20 per cent)
  10. A lack of real life education (19 per cent)
Fair enough guys and gals, if you want to be kidults get out of the pub, hand in your drivers licence, and get back to school.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - IT

According to research by the UK communications regulator Ofcom, the fairy lights on your Christmas tree can slow down your WiFi.

(The research also revealed that nearly 6 million homes and offices in the UK have underperforming Wi-Fi, and it's not just fairy lights that can affect speeds: other electronic devices, including lamps, speakers, TVs and monitors can, and I believe a wet dog walking through the room will also block the signal.

I often get told that WiFi is fine for our online sessions, but now I feel justified in my statement to people, use a broadband cable.)

Today

3rd December - The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)

Interesting Christmas Facts - Christmas Presents

According to website LatestinBeauty.com, 1 in 3 three women are disappointed when they open the present from their partner on Christmas Day.

(25% of men were branded “clueless” when it came to buying gifts, and 50% of women admitted they were unlikely to get their dream present as their partners had good intentions but were hopeless at getting it right.

The worst gifts ever received were:-

a Shewee (A reusable plastic contraption for those caught short while out and about.)
a fishing rod
cellulite cream
intimate bodywash
a windscreen wash kit (Spot who went to the all night garage.)
a fossil
a dustpan and brush
a chainsaw
weighing scales
a high visibility jacket for dog walking
a lurid green jumper with an embroidered alien

In reality most women’s wish lists are fairly straightforward: a designer handbag, a romantic break or a watch were amongst the longed for items.

Hubby gave me a Swiss Army knife once, but I asked him to.)