Showing posts from January, 2005

Interesting People - Royalty

King Henry III of France, Louis XVI of France and Napoleon all suffered from ailurophobia--fear of cats.

(What a bunch of pussies!)

Image Source - Wiki

Interesting Fact - Health

The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common foxglove plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. But the credit for introducing digitalis into the practice of medicine goes to William Withering from Shropshire.

Still used in heart medications, digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat.

Dr. Erasmus Darwin, Grandfather of Charles Darwin, employed digitalis to good effect and sought to immortalize it in the following verses:


Bolster'd with down, amid a thousand wants,
Pale Dropsy rears his bloated form, and pants;
"Quench me ye cool pellucid rills," he cries,
Wets his parch'd tongue and rolls his hollow eyes.
So bends tormented Tantalus to drink
While from his lips the refluent waters shrink;
Again the rising stream his bosom laves
And thirst consumes him mid circumfluent waves.

Interesting Fact - Toothbrush Hygiene

It has been recommended by dentists that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet (two meters) away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush!

(Note to self - must move toothbrush holder!)

Interesting Fact - Bagpipes

A set of bagpipes were originally made from the whole skin of a dead sheep.

(I am never going to buy any antique bagpipes!)

Interesting Fact - Statues

If a statue of a person on a horse shows the horse with both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all 4 legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

(These rules aren't always followed - they only really apply to traditional statues in Europe.)

Interesting Animals - Ducks

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

(Please don't rush out and do any ducknapping, Mythbusters (the TV show) debunked this. Using a bunch of expensive studio equipment, they found that yes, it does echo, but the quack so closely resembles the echo it envelopes it.)

Interesting People - Genghis Khan

In 1221 Genghis Khan killed 1,748,000 people at Nishapur in one hour.

(I don't think he did it alone though - let's face it all despots need help.)

Interesting Words - Ampersand

The ampersand (you know the squiggly one &) was once a letter of the English alphabet.

(I wonder how they pronounced it.)

Interesting People - Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, who invented calculus, had trouble with names to the point where he would forget his brothers' names.

(The principal reason for the common tendency to forget people's names is very simple - we usually don't pay enough attention when we hear them. But why are names so much harder than other things to remember? Or do they simply appear so, because we feel so bad when we forget a name?

Personal names are harder to remember than many other types of information, and the reason is simple - connection, or the lack of it. The main tenet of memory is that well-connected information is easy to remember. The more connections a piece of information has, the more likely you are to find it. But what connections does a name have with a person? For the most part, names are arbitrary.

Because the information itself isn't meaningful, you have to make a special effort to create a meaningful connection for it.

So, there's hope for me yet!)

Interesting Food - Cheese

You can make edible cheese from the milk of 24 different mammals.

(Well I know of 3; cows, goats and sheep. But I really don't want to think about the others. Eeeew!)

Interesting Animals - Ferrets

The pet ferret was domesticated more than 500 years before the house cat.

(Don't tell my cat! He would be most offended.)

Interesting Words - Top of the mornin'

The correct response to the Irish greeting, "Top of the mornin' to you," is "And the rest of the day to yourself."

(Is that Irish for "Go away and leave me alone"?)

Interesting Fact - Rainbows

f you can see a rainbow you must have your back to the sun.

(Some people say that the rainbow isn't really there, that it's only an effect the light makes with the raindrops in the sky...the raindrops work as a prism and create a rainbow when the light shines through. I like to thing that it's to remind us that we can't have everything.)

Interesting Inventions - Toilet Paper

Toilet paper was invented in 1857.

(I wonder what they used before that?)

Interesting Fact - The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris has 1792 steps.

(I was glad to find this warning, I'll take the lift thank you.)

Interesting Places - France

France has the highest per capita consumption of cheese.

(The second largest consumers of cheese in the world are the Italians.)

Interesting People - George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver invented peanut butter.

(He didn't patent peanut butter as he believed food products were all gifts from God. I wasn't sure whether this should be filed under people, inventions or food!)

Interesting Inventions - The doorbell

The electric doorbell was invented by Joseph Henry in 1831.

(I guess there were no:-

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Isabell who?
Isabell a ding-dong.

... jokes before then.)

Interesting People - Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon with his left foot first.

(Was it a case of best foot forward?)

Interesting People - Mark Twain

Mark Twain's book Tom Sawyer (1876) was the first novel ever to be written on a typewriter.

(Depressingly one day kids are going to ask "What's a typewriter?")

Interesting Places - Maine

Maine, USA, is the toothpick capital of the world.

Edited 2010 - Maine was the toothpick capital of the world.

(Unfortunately the last toothpick factory in Maine closed and now, boxes of toothpicks bearing the Forster brand name—which is still believed to have some value by its present owner, Alltrista Consumer Products Company, a division of the conglomerate Jarden, bear in small letters the leg­end “Made in China.”)

Interesting Places - Singapore

Singapore only has one train station.

(Transportation in Singapore is mainly road-based, so there's not much chance of letting the train take the strain.)

Interesting People Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock had no belly button.

(That's surely impossible. According to KidsHealth, which claims to be “the largest and most visited site on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children,” a belly button (or navel) is one of the very few features on the body that every single person in the world has. However, I have heard that because the umbilical cord is connected internally at birth, if a wall fails to close around it, you can be born without a bellybutton. As a result some people have never had a bellybutton, but he probably lost his during surgery (he was obese). The rumour persists, and I like to think it's true.)

Interesting Food - The cabbage

The largest cabbage ever recorded weighed 144 pounds.

(That's a lot of coleslaw!)

Interesting Food - The Pumpkin

Edited -

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's largest pumpkin weighed 666.32 kg (1,469 lb) at the Pennsylvania Giant Pumpkin Growers Association Weigh-off, on October 1, 2005.

(Now I know why my mum used to call me her little pumpkin.)

Interesting Fact - The Earth

Earth is the only planet not named after a pagan God.

(Well maybe it is and we just don't know it. Mars is the Roman god of war, so wouldn't it be nice if Earth were the Goddess of peace? )

Interesting People - Walt Disney

Walt Disney was afraid of mice.

(Maybe Mickey was an attempt for him to confront his fears?)

Interesting Invention - The flushing toilet

The inventor of the flushing toilet was Thomas Crapper.

(His name might be a clue to where the word "crap" came from.)

Interesting Fact - Venus - Podcast

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

(Does that mean water goes down the plughole a different way too?)


Interesting Fact - Paper Folding - Podcast

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than 7 times!

(Sad to say I tried it- and it's true, in fact I struggled with the seventh fold.

Seemingly high school student Britney Gallivan, successfully folded a piece of paper 12 times by folding the paper in a single direction, I tried this and couldn't do it.  She also folded gold foil more than 7 times while rotating the folding 90 degrees after each fold, but let's face it, gold foil is not paper.

Go on - have a go, and let me know how you get on.)