Showing posts from October, 2006

Interesting Fact - Halloween Fact # 2

In Mexico, they celebrate El Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead starting on the evening of October 31. (It looks very similar to Halloween in its use of skeletons and ghoulishness, but without the vampires and pumpkins.)

Interesting Animals - Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes have a sweet tooth.

A Hebrew University team was able to devastate a local mosquito population by spraying acacia trees with a sugar solution spiked with an insecticide.

Source - BBC News

(I have a question though. Why did Noah let mosquitoes onto the ark?)

Interesting Fact - Barbie Murdered Lilli -

Barbie was based on a German doll called Lilli, Mattel (the owners of the Barbie brand) acquired the rights of the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 so the production of "Lilli" had to stop.

Source: Wiki

(According to M.G. Lord, the author of "Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll," Lilli -- "an eleven-and-a-half inch, platinum ponytailed" German doll was a toy for German men! She was based on a popular post-war cartoon character who first appeared in the West German tabloid Bild Zeitung in 1952. A professional floozy of the first order, Bild Zeitung's Lilli traded sex for money, delivered sassy comebacks to police officers, and sought the company of "balding, jowly fatcats". A German brochure from the 1950s said that Lilli (the doll) was "always discreet," while her complete wardrobe made her "the star of every bar."

It looks as if Barbie couldn't stand the competition. So, what's the sentence for dolli…

Interesting Fact # 405 - Getting egged - Podcast

Chucking raw eggs is often used as a form of protest or prank, but seemingly it is far from harmless.

A recent study at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital discovered that over a 14-month period, 13 people out of a total of 18,651, who attended an eye unit, had been the victim of an egg attack, many of these cases were clustered around Halloween, and 12 of the patients were men.

(Remember this was raw eggs, imagine the damage you could do with a hard-boiled egg!)

Listen to this week's round up here:-

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Interesting Fact # 404 - The rich list

The rich list as a whole is worth $1.25 trillion, compared with $1.13 trillion a year ago.

Source: Forbes

(I find it difficult enough to figure out how many zeros are in a billion, never mind a trillion.)

Interesting Fact # 403 - The rich list

For the first time, the richest 400 tycoons in the US all have a personal wealth of at least $1bn (£526m), Forbes magazine has reported.

(Is that a British billion, or a measly US billion? Even so, we have to rewrite the song, "Who wants to be a billionaire? I do!)

Interesting Fact # 402 - Turkish Law

It is a criminal offence in Turkey to insult Turkishness.

(Article 301 of Turkey's penal code allows up to three years in jail for "denigrating Turkish national identity". Just think, if they made it an offence to insult "Britishness", the Monty Python team would have been locked up years ago.)

Interesting Fact - Microchips

Out of ever 100 chips produced in the world, 20 come from Dresden.

(Yes, there are two AMD production facilities in Dresden. They call it "Silicon Saxony".)

Interesting Fact - Obesity in the UK

There are estimated to be 2 million overweight children, and 700,000 children, who are obese in the UK.

(If you look at the previous fact, this is not a surprise. Two simple words - "Fat camp".)

Interesting Fact # 399 - Pack a day habit - Podcast

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No, I'm not talking about smoking, I'm talking about eating crisps. Seemingly if you eat a pack of crisps a day, every year you are "drinking" almost five litres of cooking oil.

(A typical 35g bag of crisps contains about two-and-a-half teaspoons of oil. A larger 50g pack contains three-and-a-half and figures from Mintel show that we eat a tonne of crisps every three minutes in the UK.)

Interesting Fact # 398 - UK Law - Podcast

The age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10.

(Is it too young? Is it too old? I honestly don't know. The age of criminal responsibility in Saudi Arabia is 7 years old. That must be too young.)

Listen to this week's round up here:-

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Interesting Fact - VAT

The UK lost five times more money to VAT (Value Added Tax) cheats than any other EU country between June 2005 and June 2006.

(In fact the figures (if they are true are staggering:-


UK 12.6bn euros (£8.4bn)
Spain 2.6bn euros (£1.7bn)
Italy 2.3bn euros (£1.5bn)
Germany 1.9bn euros (£1.3bn)
France 1.5bn euros (£1bn)
Source: Eurocanet

I just can't think of anything funny to say.)

Interesting Fact # 396 - Voices

1 in 25 people hear voices in their head. In fact it's so common as to be normal.

(So if you don't hear voices in your head you have a problem. Oh and if your voice keeps telling you useless facts, you've been on this blog for too long.)

Interesting Fact - Shopping in the UK

Tescos supermarket takes 31p in every pound spent on food shopping in the UK.

(And they are spreading. Coming to a community near you. You have been warned!)

Interesting Fact # 394 - UK Wildlife

The Beastwatch UK survey recorded 5,931 apparent sightings of big cats, 332 of wild boars and 3,389 of sharks since 2000 - with figures expected to rise.

(Seemingly exotic animals roaming free are becoming an increasingly common sight in the UK. These figures are expected to rise as people who thought it was cool to keep an exotic pet find they are good at escaping or just get fed up of them and chuck them out.)

Interesting Fact # 393 - UK Law

There is an offence in the UK called "wanton and furious cycling".

(If convicted you face a fine of £200. It is basically to stop anyone injuring another whilst on private land and therefore outside the scope of normal road traffic law.)

Interesting Fact # 392 - Food for worms? - Podcast

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A restaurant in Johannesburg, Gramadoelas, gives diners the chance to see how South African food reflects the diversity of its people. The most stomach-turning option on the menu is Mopane worms.

(Seemingly this worm is a favourite among the Venda ethnic group clustered mostly in northern South Africa. It is thicker and hairier than most worms, as it is actually a caterpillar named after the tree it eats.

Allegedly it's an acquired taste (no surprises there) and according to those who have tried it the texture and taste resembles that of cardboard (I'll just take their word for it). Preparation: After its innards are squeezed out, the worms are boiled and sun-dried. Yum)

Interesting Fact - Germs

On 2.5cm2 of your office desk there are 20,961 germs compared with 49 on the same area of a typical toilet seat.

(The joy of WiFi is that I can ask you whether you are sitting at your desk now, or if are you surfing on the loo?)

Interesting People # 65 - Kenneth Grange

Kenneth Grange, the designer of the Inter City 125, also designed the Kenwood Chef mixer, the parking meter and redesigned the angle-poise lamp.

(Up until the parking meter I was all for him.)

Edited 24th Oct 2006 due to comment.

Interesting Fact # 390 - Human Settlement in Britain

There were seven unsuccessful attempts by early humans to settle in Britain, before the first successful attempt, 12,000 years ago.

(Could it possibly have been the weather that put them off?)

Interesting Fact - Obesity

According to the Institute of Medicine, by the year 2010, 1 in 5 children in the US will be obese.

(You can imagine the odd kid out at school - everyone will be shouting "Hey skinny!

Interesting Fact # 388 - Cancer

According to the WHO seven and a half million people worldwide died from cancer in 2005.

(Maybe this should be depressing fact # 1. Even more depressing is that More than 70 percent of these fatal cases were reported in low- and medium-income countries.)

Interesting Fact # 387 - The Human Brain

The medical name for the part of the brain associated with teenage sulking is "superior temporal sulcus".

(Another part of the brain is yet to be discovered "inferior temporal mardyarsus".)

Interesting Fact - School uniforms

It's estimated that in the UK parents pay 45 million pounds a year too much for school uniforms because of restrictions on suppliers.

(The Office of Fair Trading has called for the practice of buying uniforms from restricted suppliers to be scrapped after estimating that parents across the UK who have no choice of where they buy school uniforms are worse off by around £45 million per year. It has been estimated that compulsory school clothes and other items cost around 150 per cent more from "designated" retailers than they do in supermarkets.

Most children wouldn't mind, but school uniforms are designed to be ugly.)

Interesting Places - South Africa and Northern Ireland

Estate agent signs from Northern Ireland are being re-used as roofing tiles in South Africa.

(The question is, "How do they get there?")

Interesting Fact # 385 - World's fastest supercomputer

The world's fastest supercomputer will have its speed measured in "petaflops", which represent 1,000 trillion calculations per second.

(My dog does good petaflops.)

Interesting Fact # 384 - World's Population

According to the Population Reference Bureau in Washington DC by the year 2050 the population in Uganda will have risen 387% whilst the population in Bulgaria will have fallen by 34%.

(I wonder if they took into account all the British people looking for bargain homes in Bulgaria in those figures?)


The scientists at Improbable Research announced the winners of the 2006 Ig Nobel prizes.

Among this year's honorees are the following:

Orinthology: Ivan R. Schwab, for studying why woodpeckers don't get headaches.
Nutrition: Wasmia Al-Houty and Faten Al-Mussalam, for studying the eating preferences of dung beetles. Their study showed, for example, that dung beetles prefer horse dung to sheep dung, and prefer sheep dung to camel dung.
Mathematics: Physicist Dr. Piers Barnes and photographer Nic Svenson, for calculating the number of group photos needed to be reasonably sure of getting one photo with no one's eyes closed.
Medicine: A tie between Francis M. Fesmire and the team of Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan,and Arie Oliven, for their case reports titled "Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage."
Physics: Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, for examining why, when you bend spaghetti, it never breaks into just two pieces.
Chemistry: Antonio Mulet,…

Interesting People # 64 - Bob Dylan and Pam Ayres

Bob Dylan inspired Pam Ayres to write poetry.

(He should be ashamed of himself.)

Interesting Fact # 383 - German Reunification

German reunification has cost an estimated €1.5 trillion, according to the Free University of Berlin.

(Some of that money is ours. Yes, British expats pay towards the reunification too. Something that shocks some of our German colleagues, who say things like "But you are not German, why are you having to pay German reunification tax?)

Interesting Video # 1

The text was written by Donella Meadows (1941-2001) and was originally called the "State of the Village Report" this movie illustrates the thought provoking idea of how the world would look if there were only 100 people in it.

View the video here.

Interesting Fact # 382 - British Ale

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Twenty years ago, seven out of every 10 pints drunk in the UK were ale. Now, thanks to the rise of lager, stout and cider, the number is just three.

(Of course, I do my best to redress this situation every time I'm back in the UK.)