Showing posts from March, 2007

Interesting Fact - Waste Disposal - Podcast

It is cheaper to ship waste from London to Shenzen in China than it is to send it by road from London to Manchester.

(The world has officially gone mad.)

Interesting Fact - Water

75 % of the earth is covered with water.

(Next time I'll come back as a dolphin.)

Interesting People # 76 - Frankie Laine

Frankie Laine set a marathon dance record of 3501 hours in 145 consecutive days in 1932.

(I'll bet he'd never dance with his wife though.)

Interesting Word # 53 - Ailurophilia

Ailurophilia is the "love of cats."(I am an ailurophiliac.)

Interesting Animals - The dog

The dog was one of the first animals domesticated by humans.

(Of course dogs think humans were one of the first animals domesticated by dogs.)

Interesting Animal - Dust Mites

The average duvet is home to 20,000 live dust mites.

(University of Worcester carried out tests on 10 duvets, a survey also revealed two-in-five Britons admitted to not washing duvets every six months. I'm just going to switch the washing machine on now.)

Interesting Fact - Water

The average water temperature of the UK's rivers and lakes is 5°C in winter, 18°C in summer.

(This could explain why it took me so long to learn to swim.)

Interesting Animals # 60 - Emperor penguin - Podcast

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The male Emperor penguin withstands the Antarctic cold for 60 days or more to protect his eggs, which he keeps on his feet, covered with a feathered flap. (During this entire time he doesn't eat a thing, in fact most daddy penguins lose about 25 pounds while they wait for their babies to hatch. Afterwards, they feed the chicks a special liquid, which they regurgitate from their throats. When the mother penguins return to care for the young, the fathers go to sea to eat and rest. Of course the average female mother does it the other way round. We put on pounds whilst we're pregnant, and then when the baby is born we go off to starve ourselves and work.)

Interesting Fact # 508 - Alcohol - Podcast

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The legal limit for flying a plane is 20mg of alcohol.

(I was shocked when I heard this. I would have presumed 0%. Next time I fly I'm taking a breathalyser with me.)

Interesting Food # 25 - Rhubarb

Harvesting rhubarb in candlelight is supposed to help preserve its flavour.

(Personally that is just a very good reason to harvest it in brilliant sunshine. Although the producers do swear it's much nicer than the kind of school dinner rhubarb that I remember.)


World Day for Water 2007

Interesting Invention - The Coffee Percolator

A Parisian metal smith named Laurens invented the first coffee percolator in around 1818 / 1819.

(However James H. Mason, of Franklin Massachusetts was issued the first U.S. patent for the coffee percolator in 1865.

I have never understood patent law.)

Interesting Fact - Coffee

Germany is the world's second largest consumer of coffee in terms of volume.

(People in Germany consume on average 16 pounds per person. Now I say "People in Germany" rather than "Germans" because I'm in Germany and I account for a considerable amount.)

Interesting Places # 48 - London

The are about 30,000 wild parakeets in London.

(When you first see one you might be forgiven for thinking someone had lost their pet, I mean how could they survive our British winters? But, parakeets originate from the Himalayan foothills, so winters in the UK are no problem for them. )

Interesting Fact # 506 - Money

There are 1.2 billion £20 notes in circulation.

(According to the Guardian web site this is the most forged denomination.)

Interesting People - Anna Jarvis

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK. But, Anna Jarvis is the woman who invented the modern American incarnation of Mother's Day, which falls on the second Sunday in May.

(She became so distressed by its commercialisation that she tried to copyright the date to protect her idea. She failed. In the US nowadays Mother’s Day is the third most important card giving day after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. )

Interesting Fact # 505 - Hospitals - Podcast

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In the UK 30 hospital trusts are making more than £1m each from their car parks.

(According to an Estates Return Information Collection's report, the top earners were Southampton University Hospitals at £2.41m and Cambridge University Hospitals, £2.26m. Overall, the NHS took £95m in charges but 74 trusts did not supply figures.)

Interesting Fact # 504 - Red Nose Day

This year Red Nose Day raised £40,236,142.

(It started 21 years ago and has now raised over £465m for charity since it began.)


Red Nose Day.

Interesting Fact # 503 - Lightbulbs

There are around 200 million incandescent, tungsten filament light bulbs sold each year in the UK.

(However, its days are numbered. There are plans to phase it out by 2011 in favour of energy-saving bulbs. Suffice to say I'm well ahead of them.)

Interesting Fact # 502 - Births

The Office for National Statistics' Social Trends reports that in Britain, 42.3 per cent of children are born out of wedlock.

(In 1994, the figure was 32 per cent, but in the early 1970s it was less than 10 per cent. The number exceeds 50 per cent in some parts of the UK, including Wales. Britain now has the fourth highest level of births outside marriage in Europe, after Sweden, Denmark and France.)

Interesting Fact # 501 - Atrraction

New York University researchers have found that to be found attractive, a woman should move in a feminine way by swaying her hips from side to side.

(It's not fair because I have a bad back, so I've got no chance.)

Interesting People - Terry Wogan

Radio presenter Sir Terry Wogan gets paid for presenting Children in Need - the only presenter to do so.

(He did say "I would quite happily do it for nothing." Go on then!)

Interesting Animals # 59 - The Tiger - Podcast

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According to the Guardian newspaper there are twice as many privately-owned tigers in the US as there are in the wild in the rest of the world.

(Of course they should feel lucky they're not lions. Rich Americans, Europeans and Japanese pay about £20,000 to kill a lion in Botswana. The government usually permits the shooting of about 50 lions a year by trophy hunters but decided to impose the ban in part because American shooters favour lions with thick manes for their walls, leading to a disproportionate killing of mature males.

The shortage of such beasts is now so great that hunters have been making use of a mane-extension service back in the US where fake hair is weaved in to give their trophies an extra flourish before they hang the heads. I bet that makes them feel so big and strong and tough.)

Interesting Fact # 500 - Accidents - Podcast

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According to a report in the Daily Mail officials at the Health and Safety Executive are just as prone to accidents as the rest of us. Staff there have been involved in 500 accidents in three years.

(One person slipped on a raisin of all things and another cut his head when he walked into a warning sign, which is priceless. I just wonder who investigates these accidents at the place that is supposed to investigate accidents. The Health and Safety, Health and Safety Executive?)

Interesting Fact # 499 - Money

The average German household spends €2,358 a month.

(That's why I can't really afford to live here.)

Interesting Fact - Inventions

The first patent granted to a woman was in 1637.

(Amye Everard became the first women in England to be granted a patent for her "preparation for a tincture of saffron". I think the patent has run out now, but you can never be too sure.)

Interesting Place # 47 - Berlin

Berlin is €61,000,000 000 in debt.

(Who lends that much money to a city? It means that each resident owes 18,262 Euros. So, if they don't pay it back will they send the bailiffs in?)

Interesting People # 73 - James Bond

In China, James Bond is known as Lingling Qi - 007.

(The names Qi, Linling Qi.)

Interesting Fact # 497 - Billionaires

There are 946 billionaires in the world .

(They have a total of $3.5 trillion (£1.82 trillion). Good old Bill Gates held the top spot for the 13th year running with a piggy bank of $56bn. But of course non of them are actually worth this.)

Interesting Fact # 496 - Baby weight - Podcast

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Babies in Germany are getting bigger.

(20 years ago the average birth weight of a baby was 3,500 grams. Today it is nearly 4,000 grams. It's thought that genes play a factor, but also the better nutrition of the birth mother. A similar thing is happening in the UK and unfortunately the effect has been more surgery for mothers. Caesareans increased last year to a rate of nearly one in four of all births in Britain, up from one in 33 in the 1950s.)

Interesting Word - Jaywalking

The term "jaywalking", which means crossing the road or walking along the street without regard for approaching traffic, came from the US slang "jay", a term popular in the early 20th Century which means a rustic newcomer unfamiliar with city ways.

(It is not actually illegal to jaywalk in the UK, but if you do you are violating the Highway Code and you are liable for any resulting accident.)

Interesting Places # 46 - Newcastle

Newcastle is the noisiest place in England.

(A report by Professor Deepak Prasher, of the Ear Institute, said it topped a traffic noise table with 80.4 decibels, said to be the equivalent of a loud alarm clock constantly ringing in a person's ear.)

Interesting Fact # 495 - The law

According to the Guardian Newspaper Incest is not illegal in France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium or Portugal.