Showing posts from June, 2005

Interesting Food - Cheese

There are more than 700 different cheeses being made in Britain today.

(I am slowly working my way through them all. Here's a guide to some of the best known British cheeses.)

Interesting Place - Britain

By country of birth, there were approximately 100,000 more Germans than Bangladeshis living in England and Wales, according to the 2001 census.

(Which is absolutely fine, because I am living in Germany, so it kind of balances out.)

Interesting Food - Biscuits

The 71 million packets of biscuits sold annually by United Biscuits, owner of McVitie's, generate 127.8 tonnes of crumbs.

(Half of them seem to end up in my bed!)

Interesting Fact - Shopping

According to BBC Two's TV series 'The Apprentice' on an average Saturday, 35,000 people will shop in Harrods.

(I'm afraid I am the sort of person who buys a toothbrush just to get a Harrod's carrier bag.)

Interesting Places - China

According to the Economist newspaper the 88-storey Shanghai Grand Hyatt Hotel in China, has the world's longest laundry chute.

(The hotel is located on the 53rd to 88th floors of the Jin Mao Building which is the worlds 3rd tallest building, but the laundry chute runs down the full length of the tower to the basement, and incorporates buffers to slow down the laundry during its descent. Weeeeeh!)

Interesting People - Royal Family

The Royal Family cost British tax payers £36.7m last year, equivalent to 61p per taxpayer, figures show.

(At least the Queen pays a bit back every year. But, I am soooo glad I pay my taxes in Germany.)

Interesting Fact - Sneezing

About twenty-five percent of the population sneeze when they are exposed to light.

(This means I am in that 25%! Lucky me! Atchoo!)

Interesting Fact - Speed of Light

Scientists have been measuring the speed of light for three centuries, and they have it down to an accuracy of half a foot per second. The speed of light is 186, 282.3959 miles per second.

Which reminds me of the Monty Python song:-

Whenever life gets you down Mrs Brown,
And things seem hard or tough.
And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite enough...

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day.
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by…

Interesting Animals - Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are not from Guinea and they are not members of the pig family.

(The Latin name for guinea pig is cavia porcellus, which looks suspiciously like “cave pig, but they are actually a kind of rodent like a mouse, rat, beaver, porcupine or hamster.

Many years ago guinea pigs only lived in South America. The local people used them for food. Traders visiting South America returned with them and they have since spread all over the world as pets.)

Interesting Fact - Music

The Crazy Frog is the first ringtone to enter the singles chart.

(Ringtones in the British pop charts? We are all doomed!)

Interesting Fact - Newspapers

Only 36% of the world's newspapers are tabloid.

(The rest are what is called broad sheet. A tabloid newspaper has pages that are half the size of a standard newspaper. Tabloid newspapers are typically dominated by headlines, photographs, and sensational stories. Broadsheet newspapers are are newspapers with a large page format and they are regarded as more serious and less sensationalist than tabloids. But let's face it, pretty soon all newspapers will be online anyway.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

Traffic wardens walk about 15 miles a day.

(Ha ha! Serves them right!)

Interesting People - Tim Henman

Tim Henman has a tennis court at his new home in Oxfordshire which he has never used.

(Why would he? It would be like me reading English Grammar Books for relaxation - Ooops! I do!)

Interesting Fact - Plants

Leylandii can grow up to a metre a year.

(Leylandii, a fast-growing conifer variety that has been called the scourge of suburbia, is now subject to anti-social behaviour laws in the UK. A few years ago the government estimated there could be up to 17,000 unresolved neighbour disputes over high hedges. Under the new powers, local authorities will be able to intervene in leylandii, and other high hedge, disputes. Officials will have the power to order hedges to be cut back, to a maximum of two metres high.)

Interesting Food - Ketchup

The average speed of Heinz tomato ketchup leaving the bottle is 25 miles per year.

(That's about the average speed at which I get up in the morning.)

Interesting Words - OK okay

The first word spoken on the moon was "okay".

(What was the last word spoken?)

Interesting Fact - Money

Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries.

(This is based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs.)

Interesting Food - Tea

The world's most expensive tea bag was made by Boodles jewellers to celebrate PG Tips' 75th birthday.

(The tea bag was valued at £7,500 and took three months to make. It was hand-crafted using 280 diamonds.

Pete Harbour a spokesman for PG Tips said: "As it's our 75th birthday, we wanted to do something special to remind people just how much they love the great British cup of tea."

The tea bag was made to be part of a prize draw to raise money for Manchester Children's Hospitals, a charity chosen by workers at the PG Tips factory in Trafford Park, Manchester.)

Interesting Places - Colombia

Two-thirds of the world's kidnappings occur in Colombia.

(Nice to know that fact. Another destination to cross off my 'must visit' list.)

Interesting Words - Checkmate

The word "checkmate" in chess is widely thought to come from the Persian phrase "shah mat," which means "the king is dead."

(Jan Newton has investigated this in an interesting essay called The Real Meaning of Shah Mat or the Lesson of the Commode.)

Interesting Fact - Health

While 7 men in 100 have some form of colour blindness, only 1 woman in 1,000 suffers from it.

(And here was me thinking that all men were colour blind!)

Interesting Animals - Dolphins - Podcast

Female bottlenose dolphins are taught by their mothers to use marine sponges to look for food.

(They break marine sponges off the seafloor and wear them over their snouts to probe into the seafloor for fish. Does this make them spongers?)

Interesting Animal - The Mosquito

At one 'feeding', a mosquito can absorb one and a half times its own weight in blood.

(Thank goodness they are only small!)

Interesting Fact - Champagne

If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne, it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom.

(Go on try it - it's great. Like one of those lava lamps from the 70s.)

Interesting Place - Japan

Japan is the largest exporter of frog's legs.

(Now I was very surprised to read this. What I want to know is where do they export them to?)

Interesting Words - To Lynch

William Lynch, a 19th century American planter, in an attempt to bring law and order to the wild wild west, set up unofficial courts to try suspected criminals. The unfortunate victims of these courts were usually sentenced to death and summarily executed and "Lynch’s law" soon passed into the language as the verb ‘to lynch’.

Interesting Places - Democracy

Compulsory voting exists in the following countries:- Argentina Australia Belgium BoliviaBrazil Chile Costa Rica Cyprus Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt Fiji Greece Guatemala Honduras Italy Liechtenstein Luxembourg Mexico Nauru Paraguay Peru Philippines Singapore Thailand Turkey Uruguay

Interesting Fact - Voting

You can be imprisoned for not voting in Fiji, Chile and Egypt.

(At least in theory.)

Interesting Places - The UK

Only 61.3 percent of people eligible to vote actually voted in the 2005 UK general election.

(The rest were washing their hair.)