Showing posts from August, 2006

Interesting People # 63 - Walter Freese

The new chief executive of Ben and Jerry's is called Walt Freese.

(I mean you couldn't make it up could you? As soon as he sent in his CV he was guaranteed the job.)

Interesting Fact # 359 - Digital Photography

Thirty percent of people with digital cameras never print their pictures.

(I take lots of pictures - with over 2,000 on Flickr I can honestly say that I've printed out 5.)

Interesting Fact - Shoes

Shoe injuries are on the rise in the UK.

(Half a dozen women are admitted to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff during weekend evenings suffering from them.

The moral of this story is that drink and stilettos don't mix.)

Interesting Fact # 357 - Shakers

There are only four members of the Shaker religious sect left in the world.

(But judging by the number of Shaker style kitchens in the UK there must be some secret closet members.)

Source: BBC News

Interesting Places # 35 - Nedd Valley

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Until recently residents of the remote Nedd Valley in the Brecon Beacons had no mains electricity - the last community in England and Wales without it.

(Nedd Valley was known even to the locals as the "place time forgot". They survived on the unreliable power supplied by generators and the flickering light of candles and lamps. Almost three miles of power line was built over the hills from the village of Ystradfellte. Welcome to the 21st century guys!)

Interesting Animals - Fish - Podcast

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.

(Why? What on earth could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Interesting People # 62 - Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the UK) was presented with a Ferrari pedal car by the Italian finance minister.

(This was revealed by the register of ministerial gifts. All gifts received by a UK politician have to be declared. Seemingly he paid £190 to be able to keep it.)

Interesting Fact # 356 - Films

The average film running time is now two hours.

(See the right film though and it seems like minutes.)

Interesting Fact # 355 - Body Temperature

Once core body temperature reaches 42C, it starts to cook. The heat causes the proteins in each cell to irreversibly change.

(I told you all I was cooking!)

Interesting Places # 34 - Tokyo

Tokyo's subway has women-only carriages to protect female commuters from groping.

(What a shame that this is necessary.) :-(

Interesting People # 61 - Margaret Thatcher

According to Helmut Kohl's memoirs Margaret Thatcher "stamped her feet" in anger at the prospect of German reunification.

(I wonder if she said "I'll thcweem and thcweem until I'm thick" too?)

Interesting Number - 99

If you hear a Brit ask for a "99", they are ordering a special kind of ice cream. Usually sold from ice-cream vans, they should be made with soft, rather than scooped, ice cream, into which a chocolate Flake bar is inserted, typically at a 45-degree angle.

(In 1930 Cadbury started producing a smaller version of the standard Flake bar especially for ice creams. These were marketed under the name 99 Flake and sold loose in boxes rather than individually wrapped like the traditional Flake. Cadbury now also produces a ready made, wrapped ice cream cone, similar to a Cornetto, with a Flake already inserted, but it's not quite the same as getting one from an ice cream van.

And beware, much of the lower-priced ice cream sold in the UK, including that from some ice cream vans, has no milk or milk solids in it at all. Instead, it is made with vegetable oil. The thing to look out for is dairy ice cream, which must contain milk.)

Interesting Fact - The Human Body

There are 35 million digestive glands in the stomach.

(In fact, the stomach can secrete 2 to 3 litres of gastric fluid per day.  Your stomach is doing it right now.  Glug, glug, glug!)

Interesting Fact - Acting

When filming summer scenes in winter, actors suck on ice cubes just before the camera rolls - it cools their mouths so their breath doesn't condense in the cold air.

(Beats sucking on a lemon.)

Interesting People # 60 - Brian Cobby

Brian Cobby, the voice of the speaking clock in the UK, was also the man behind Thunderbirds' "5,4,3,2,1 Thunderbirds are Go".

(The telephone number of the speaking clock in the UK is 0871 789 3642.)

Interesting Fact # 351 - British Bathrooms

British bathrooms usually have two taps instead of one because, historically, British plumbing provides hot and cold water at different pressures, meaning mixer taps are more difficult to fit.

(That's why British people always look for the plug in hotel basins.)

Interesting Fact - UK Postcodes

The postcode with the highest income in the country is KT19, for West Ewell, near Epsom in Surrey.

(In America they have zip codes and in the UK we have post codes, because we post things, we don't zip things - apart from the obvious that is. As for KT19 - I've Never lived there for some reason.)

Interesting Fact # 349 - Nerve Cells

Nerve cells can grow along bundles of a special fibre similar to spider silk, the comes from silk worms, which have been modified to give the fibres special properties that help cells to bind it acts as a scaffold on which nerve cells can grow.

(There's hope for my nerves yet then.)

Interesting Animals - Horses - Podcast

Albino horses have to use sun lotion to prevent their skin blistering in hot weather.

(Now you'd think that wouldn't be a problem in the UK, but you'd be wrong: During a heatwave (yes we get heatwaves), a police horse, called Sunny, got through 10 bottles of factor 50 sun cream a week, and that was just to protect his back, hips and nose. It's an expensive business, but a kind chemist donated five gallons of sun lotion to keep Sunny safe in the sun.

In fact any pets with white fur can get sunburnt. It is important to put sun cream on any parts that might catch the sun - the tips of the ears are especially important, as these can burn easily.)

Interesting Fact # 348 - Telephones

In the UK forty-eight percent of the population is ex-directory. This means their name and phone number does not appear in the phone book.

(I am going ex-directory too - just to cut down on the number of people trying to sell me stuff I don't want.)

Listen to the weekly round up below:-

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Interesting Fact # 347 - Health

People added uranium ore to their water jugs in the 1920s as it was thought to improve health. Radium-brand toothpaste, condoms and shoe polish were sold too. The word was indicative of quality, much as "platinum" is today.

(They used to smoke to calm their nerves too.)

Interesting Words # 45 - Coulrophobia

Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns.

Interesting Fact # 346 - Lightning

Half of lightning deaths occur after the thunderstorm has passed.

(Now I've got to remain terrified for how long?)

Interesting Fact # 345 - Electricity

In the 1970s a typical British home would only have had 17 objects requiring power such as electricity.

(Things like: television, vacuum cleaner, electric bar heater, hi-fi system, hairdryer, electric kettle, washing machine, iron, electric blanket, radio, sewing machine, cooker, cassette player, fridge, DIY appliances, toaster, occasional lamps. And of course there would only be one TV. Unimaginable.)

Interesting Animals - The Wooly Mammoth

Mammoths, previously thought to be dark-haired, were also blond and possibly ginger, suggest researchers after analysing 43,000-year-old bones.

(I wonder if they told each other blond jokes.)

Interesting Fact # 344 - Speed Eating

Speed-eating contests date from 1916 and started among US immigrants who would down hot-dogs to prove their patriotism.

Personally I can think of less dangerous and disgusting ways of doing so, waving a flag for example.

Seemingly Coney Island hosts the world-famous hot dog-eating contest. Competitors have to eat as many hot dogs as they can in 12 minutes.

So who are the champion speed eaters? Well the winner for the last five years has been Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi from Japan, he holds the world record for speed-eating 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. He also holds the world record for eating 57 cow brains in 15 minutes. You have to wonder if he's never heard of BSE.

Another big player (if you'll excuse the pun) in the world of competitive eating is Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas. She is a Korean-American, who incredibly weighs just seven stone. She currently holds over 25 world records for speed-eating. These include: 161 buffalo wings in 12 minutes, 80 chicken…

Interesting Fact # 343 - British Class

Thirty-six percent of builders regard themselves as middle-class and 30 percent of bank managers say they are working-class.

(I regard myself as having no class at all.)

Listen to this week's facts below:-

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Interesting Fact # 342 - Mortgages

In the UK mortgage borrowing now accounts for 42% of take-home salary.

(The total mortgage debt in the UK has passed £1 trillion for the first time.)

Interesting Animals - Ants

Ants judge distance by counting their steps, suggest researchers from Switzerland and Germany.

(One step, two step, three step, four... Five step, six step, seven step, more...)

Interesting People # 59 - Shakespeare

About 750 copies of Shakespeare's First Folio, which set down 18 plays for the first time, were printed 1623 - some 230 survive.

(One was recently sold for £2,808,000. Start checking your attics.)

Interesting Fact # 341 Flying the flag

In the UK it's illegal to fly a national flag without permission from a local council - unless it is flown from a vertical flagpole.

Arrest that dog! )