1984 - The world's worst industrial disaster took place when 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from the Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant in the city of Bhopal, India. More than 500,000 people were exposed to the toxic gases, with the symptoms bearing all the hallmarks of cyanide poisoning.
The first official death toll was 2,259. A more probable figure is that 8,000 people died within two weeks. It is estimated that around 20,000 people have died from gas-related diseases since the disaster.
Mathematicians from the University of Limmerick are working out a mathematical formula for the perfect cup of coffee.
(They have found that size does matter, and flavour is linked to the coffee grain's surface are. The method of extraction describes the movement of the coffee from its solid form as a bean into its liquid form when it dissolves into hot water, and they have found that small grains give a more bitter taste, whilst large grains result in a weak brew.
Earlier in 2016 some chemists got together to create this video:-
Reactions goes on a quest for better coffee through chemistry.
1926 - The American Olympic athlete, Gertrude Ederle, became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. It took her 14 hours, 39 minutes to swim the 56 kilometers from France to England. She held the record for 35 years.
1945 - The world's first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. An estimated 140,000 people were killed by the bomb and its aftermath.
According to a report by Sainsbury's bank, daughters are more expensive than sons.
(This isn't due to any costs of getting married, dowries etc., it's purely on the basis of raising the children.
Girls cost thousands of pounds more than boys to bring up 0 to 5 boys cost £5,475 a year, and girls £5,7676 to 13 boys cost £6,414 a year, and girls £7,79414 to 18 boys cost £7,172 a year, and girls £7,747
The biggest issue is that clothing costs more for girls, so I would say from the ages 0 to 13, it's the parent's fault. Pink stuff probably costs more than blue stuff.)
1969 – In Canada, the Official Languages Act was adopted making the French language equal to the English language throughout the Federal government.
1978 – The Solomon Islands became independent from the United Kingdom.
2005 - Four bombs were set off on the London public transport system during the morning rush hour, killing 56 people, and injuring 700. It was the deadliest single act of terrorism in the UK since the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, which killed 270 people. A group called "Al Qaeda in Europe" claimed responsibility for the attacks.
2006 – The Western Black Rhinoceros, the rarest of the Black Rhino subspecies, was declared extinct by the World Conservation Union, due to poaching.
The Chilcot report into the Iraq war cost £10,375,000.00. It consists of 12-volumes containing 2.6 million words.
(The inquiry was launched on 30 July 2009, to cover the period of 2001 to the end of July 2009. Over 100 witnesses were called.
The findings of the report were that British military action was not the last resort, that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence that was never challenged, and that the overall severity of the threat posed by Iraq, particularly the existence of weapons of mass destruction, was grossly overstated, and presented with a certainty that was not justified.)
The whole report can be downloaded here: http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/
The nation remembers those who died and were injured at the Somme during the First World War.
At 7:28 am The Lochnagar mine, which had been placed under the German lines, was detonated, creating the largest man-made mine crater created in the First World War. At 7:30am a whilstle was blown and hundreds of soldiers "went over the top" in what is now called Zero Hour, only to be mown down by machine gun fire. No one seems to know how many German soldiers were killed in the explosion.
By the end of the day thousands had died, and the Battle of the Somme continued for 141 days, at the end of which an estimated million soldiers were killed and wounded. The bodies of 72,000 men were never recovered.
Christina Estrada, a former model, is claiming nearly £200million in her divorce from Sheikh Walid Juffali, a Saudi multi-billionaire.
(In a divorce settlement case that has more twists and turns than a game of snakes and ladders, he actually tried to prevent her claim in the British courts on the grounds that he was entitled to legal immunity because of his diplomatic status as permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the Caribbean island of St Lucia, she is demanding such a huge sum as it "reflects the standard of living she enjoyed during her marriage to the Sheikh".
She is trying to justify her rather large claim for the following expenses:-
£55million for a new London home with annual
staff costs of £335,558, which would cover a live-in butler,
housekeeper, chauffeur, a nanny for the London home together with two
cleaners, a chef, a reserve nanny and an office manager. £4.4million for a second house at Henley.
£2.1million annual tra…
An advert for Nurofen painkillers, has been banned in the UK for falsely claiming it targets specific types of pain.
(The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints about TV adverts that suggested that Nurofen could target back pain. In one ad which showed a woman experiencing back pain, a voiceover said: “Just a single dose of Nurofen Joint and Back provides you with constant targeted pain relief for up to eight hours.”
In an interesting use of language RB UK Commercial, which owns the Nurofen brand, said the advert did not state or imply specific pain could be targeted and that it was “disappointed” with the ruling. A spokesperson said: “Nurofen pain-specific products were introduced to provide easy navigation of pain-relief options for consumers experiencing a specific type of pain." Please note, they didn't use the word "targeted pain relief".
According to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, since the introduction of UK legislation in October 2015 that bans anyone from smoking in cars with children present, no fines have been issued.
(Of course this does not mean that people have suddenly stopped blowing smoke into their children's lungs, it simply means this is yet another unenforceable piece of legislation.)
Brits are spending more more than £900 million a year simply keeping our smartphones and tablets charged. (If that's not bad enough, we waste £134 million a year by overcharging them: According to research commissioned by insurance provider Row.co.uk, part of the problem is overcharging which happens when users plug in their devices overnight.
A massive nine in ten owners keep gadgets on permanent charge, often unaware that overcharging batteries can reduce their lifespan, and under certain conditions lithium-ion batteries can pose a safety hazard. The figures suggest that around 85,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved if people disconnected as soon as charging was complete.)
Average charging times:- Mobile Phone - 2 hours Laptop, with Express Charge - 2 hours Hand-held vacuum cleaner - 3.5 hours Mp3 player - 4 hours Digital Camera - 2 hours
According to the Professor Nigel Hunt at the Royal College of Surgeons, “cake culture” in the UK workplace is fuelling the obesity epidemic and contributing to poor dental health.
(As a healthy alternative they are suggesting that workers should bring fruit platters into the office instead of doughnuts, cookies and biscuits. He said, “Cake culture poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier - how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?”
I agree in principal, but I wouldn't want to be the one to bring a box of apples to work on my birthday, I don't want to be known as Lynney no friends.)
The term flip-flop is an onomatopoeiac word based on the sound made by the sandals when walking in them.
(Flip flops are no heel strap sandals, and although this style of sandal has been worn for centuries, the modern day flip flops have been worn in America and Britain since the 1970s. Sometimes the word is written flip-flops, and flipflops.
They are called thongs in Australia, jandals (originally a trademarked name derived from "Japanese sandals") in New Zealand, slops in South Africa, and tsinelas in the Philippines.)
According to research published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, fish can remember faces.
(By training archerfish with food pellets as a reward, with a random sequence of 44 faces, scientists were able to teach them to spit at a particular face, with an average accuracy of between 81 and 86 percent. A researcher Cait Newport said "Obviously the first takeaway is that they could do it. They were distinguishing something really complicated. This also shows that the fish have surprisingly good memories. It certainly challenges the whole idea of a fish with a 30-second memory."
Did she really use the word takeaway? I hope she hasn't trained her fish to recognise English.)
According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, author of The 24 Hour Wine Expert, any open bottle of wine – even a red – should be kept in the fridge.
(Seemingly the old adage of serving red wine at "room temperature" was coined before the advent of central heating. Nowadays room temperature tends to be too warm, and we are drinking tepid red wine. According to the experts, refrigerating lighter reds such as beaujolais and pinot noir brings out all their fresh fruit flavours, and full-bodied reds such as cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and malbec benefit from being served cooler (around 17 or 18°C).
Of course, it's unlikely we have any left in the bottle to store, but I'm going to try out this advice this weekend.)
In a survey that examines the good each country does for humanity as well as what it takes away, Britain has ranked 4th.
(The Good Country Index placed Sweden first, Denmark second, and the Netherlands third, but the UK came above France and Germany because Britain does more “good” and less harm than more than 150 countries around the world.
Britain came top for its global contribution to science and technology, thanks to the high number of journal exports, Nobel prizes and international publications it has produced, was ranked 2nd on its global contribution to health and wellbeing, but it scored poorly on international security and peace, coming 64th out of 163 countries.
Simon Anholt, who created the Good Country Index, said that while countries must serve the interests of their people it should not be at the expense of other populations. I think we could apply that to ourselves as individuals too.)
Maybe the title of this should be boring people, as Ms Scott, an English teacher, has been struck off the teaching register in Scotland for two years after pupils and parents complained about her “boring” lessons.
(She has been removed following a seven-day hearing in Edinburgh where it was reported that she had spent three lessons reading a novel to one class without allowing them to ask questions, set the same essay task - titled "what I did in activities week" - for several different year groups, and shown one class a clip of Jurassic Park before making them copy what she said about characterisation in relation to the film.
Pupils at the school dubbed the lessons the "puni class" due to the disproportionate number of punishment exercises handed out.
To be fair, her lesson plans sound very similar to the ones I had to sit through in English literature.)
!Note - if you are struck off you are removed, from a position of power or responsibility after having done so…
Dr Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who gave his name to the simple but dramatic procedure used to rescue people from choking, managed to save someone’s life using the technique himself for the first time since he invented it in 1974. (His technique, called the Heimlich manoeuvre, is used for dislodging food or objects caught in people’s throats, and has been credited with saving thousands of lives around the world: On noticing a fellow resident at the senior assisted living centre where he lives, choking on a piece of meat, Heimlich, a spritely 96-year-old, calmly stepped in.
After her brush with death, the resident in question, 87-year-old Patty Ris, wrote Dr Heimlich a note, saying: "God put me in the seat next to you.")
According to research carried out on the 2014 census study 48.8% of the population of England and Wales say they don't identify with any religion.
(The number of 'nones' is now above 50 per cent, almost double the figure of 25% recorded in the census just three years earlier. People defining themselves as Christian, including Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations, made up 43.8% of the population.
The Church of England expects congregations to continue to fall for another 30 years as the population ages and younger generations shun faith.
I just think they should put a reply on the census that says, "Mind your own business". )
After nearly 25 years, the Carry On film franchise is about to return to British cinema.
(The last film to be made was Carry On Columbus in 1992, it was the 31st film made. Carry on Films are part of British Culture, and they turned actors like Sid James, Kenneth Williams, and Dame Barbara Windsor into household characters.
In 2007 the line "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" was voted the funniest film one-liner: Kenneth Williams uttered the words as Julius Caesar in the 1964 romp Carry On Cleo.
Film company, Hereford Films, are behind the project, and the first 2 films in the pipeline are Carry On Doctors, followed by Carry On Campus.
Co-writer Tim Dawson paid respect to the previous writers of the Carry On series: "These films are a part of British culture and to be carrying on the legacy of Norman Hudis and Talbot Rothwell is a thrill and a responsibility. We intend to be sympathetic to the heritage whilst being unafraid to modernise the franch…
According to a story in the Daily Mail, primary school children in Dundee are having to sign a 17-clause contract before they can play football in the playground. (The 17 clauses are as follows:-
I will not deliberate foul tacklesI will not carry issues off the pitch to class or after schoolI will not argue an agreed out or an agreed foulI will not hog the ball (They actually wrote hogg here.) I will not name call or teaseI will not chant, use banter or wahoys!I will not gloat or boastI will not, if scorekeeping be a sore loser and will congratulate the other teamI will not elbow or shoulder bargeI will not deliberately chase on the pitch or swipe the ball from peopleI will not cheatI will keep up with my school workI will demonstrate sportsmanlike conduct and apologisingI will use timeouts for myself as individual players if neededI will use supportive and encouraging languageI will take turns in positionI will ensure teams are fair and no swapping
It goes on to say:-
A Norwegian city, Trondheim, has banned adverts that show semi-naked models, male or female, in public spaces.
(The new policy says: “No advertising that conveys a false image of the model/models’ appearance and contributes to a negative body image will be permitted. As a minimum, advertisements in which body shapes have been retouched should be marked as such.”
This is seemingly an attempt to reduce the impact such adverts could have on people with body image issues.
It reminds me of the "Beach Ready" controversy on London Underground.)
According to a survey conducted by uSwitch.com, 7 out of 10 Brits say they are middle-class, with a strong belief that middle-class people are more likely to be successful.
(Only 53% think their parents were white-collar workers, and 6 out of 10 say their grandparents were working class.
Fewer than a third of those who called themselves middle class were in a profession — such as lawyer or doctor, even though 3/4 of people believe being a professional is the top reason for being middle-class.
The poll also showed that less than a 1/3of us believe our parents’ class or family wealth determines our status, which is just as well in my case, I'd have to go back down t' mine.)
Search for "Class" if you want to learn more about the Class system in the UK.
Hundreds of parents in the UK are expected to keep their children out of school today in protest over too stressful tests.
(The first ever "kids' strike" in the UK is in protest at what parents claim is "over-testing" at the expense of children’s happiness.
Key Stage 1 testing (SATS) for six and seven-year-olds, have been made tougher this year in an attempt to drive up standards, but the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign, which is coordinating the kids’ strike, says that nearly 40,000 people have signed up in support of the action, and has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan calling for an "end to SATs now".
The letter says: "Please take a long, hard look at this.
"Do you want your legacy to be the confident cancellation of unneeded and unnecessary SATS, showing you are listening to your electorate and the teachers you claim to support ... or the overseeing of a shambolic testing regime desperately unwanted by millions of people to t…
The next English £5, £10 and £20 banknotes will be printed on plastic.
(The fiver will be issued first in September 2016, followed by the tenner, which will be issued in 2017, but the £20 note will have to wait until 2020.
Their appearance will change too. Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the £5 banknote, replacing Elizabeth Fry, Jane Austen will replace Charles Darwin on the £10 banknote, and artist J.M.W. Turner will feature on the £20 not, replacing economist Adam Smith. Nothing has been said about the £50 note, which features the engineers Matthew Boulton and James Watt.
Historical characters have only appeared on bank notes since 1970. Other people depicted on previous notes have been: Sir Edward Elgar (composer)Michael Faraday (scientist)Sir John Houblon (first Governor of the Bank of England)Sir Isaac Newton (scientist)Florence Nightingale (nursing)William Shakespeare (poet/playwright)George Stephenson (engineer)1st Duke of Wellington (general/statesman)Sir Christopher…
According to researchers from the Sao Jose Faculty of Medicine in Brazil, time goes by more quickly when you're over 50.
(In the study people were asked to close their eyes and mentally count the passing of 120 seconds. They all counted too quickly.
On average, men and women in the 15 to 29 age group counted down the 120 seconds in 115 seconds. In the 30 to 49 age group they took 96 seconds, but the over-50s took just 86 seconds. This meant the oldest group perceived time as passing 25 per cent more quickly than the youngest did.
The researchers believe it is possibly due to age-related changes in levels of brain chemicals involved in concentration and memory, both of which are involved in estimating the passage of time.
I think it's more likely that at 50+ you simply have more to do, and feel you have less time to do it in.)
William Shakespeare was probably born on April 23rd, and he died on this day in 1616, 400 years ago. It is also St George's Day in England, and according to the Arden Shakespeare Miscellany, St George is mentioned 16 times in his plays.
(The most famous mention is in Henry V: "Cry 'God' for Harry! England and Saint George!")
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nost…