Showing posts from October, 2007

Interesting Fact # 664 - Halloween Fact # 3

In the UK, spending on Halloween rose ten-fold over five years.

(The money forked out for Halloween rose from £12m in 2001 to £120m in 2006.)

Interesting People - Dumbeldore

Harry Potter author JK Rowling revealed that one of her characters, Hogwarts school headmaster Albus Dumbledore, is gay.

(I can imagine that winning her even more fans amongst the far right Christian groups.)

Interesting Fact - Money

To date the Bank of England has never issued a £500,000 note. 

(However, if someone printed a fake £500,000 note it would not technically be a counterfeit, because to be counterfeit the money needs to be legal tender.  So, be warned, there's no such thing as a £500,000 note!)

Interesting Fact # 662 - IP Addresses

IP (Internet protocol) addresses will run out in 2010.

(Every device that goes online is allocated a unique IP address but the pool of numbers is finite and due to run out around 2010. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) urgently need to roll out the next generation of net addresses. The new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years. Well it seems like your typical IT project then.)

Interesting Animals # 66 - Dogs

Sniffer dogs can sniff out a termite.

(Of course I would prefer it if mine didn't.)

Interesting Fact - The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa isn't a canvas painting.

(She is actually painted on a wooden panel made of poplar.  She always looked a bit wooden to me.)

Interesting People - Sean Connery

According to The Daily Telegraph Sean Connery posed for life drawing classes in Edinburgh.

(If you don't know what a life drawing class is, it means he posed nude. I wonder how much he would be paid for that particular job nowadays.)

Interesting Word - Ai

An ai is a three-toed sloth from South America.

(It's also the two-letter word that clinched Paul Allan the title of national Scrabble champion.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to a poll by Office Angels, 44% of workers said colleagues coughing and sneezing put them off their work, while 58% said pointless meetings and silly questions were also a distraction.

(For the rest of us pointless meetings and silly questions are our work.)

Interesting Fact # 659 - Death

According to a poll by MORI, 25% of people claim to have the ability to talk with the dead.

(Personally, I think the dead have far more interesting things to do than stick around and talk to us.)

Interesting Fact - Holidays

According to a survey commissioned by Teletext Holidays, 9% of workers in the UK still have more than 20 days of annual leave to use up before the end of the year.

(Are they insane? Holidays are so important, they allow us to recharge our batteries and reduce stress, even the busiest of us become happier and more energetic during the holidays.)

Interesting Fact - Class in the UK

According to a survey by the Guardian newspaper 2% of people in the UK consider themselves upper class.

(Of 1,011 adults question in the phone poll, 53% said they were working class and 41% middle class.

Me? I've been told I have no class.)

Interesting Places # 62 - Austria

The Austrian army rents out personnel and machinery.

(Seemingly you rent a lieutenant for only €21.27 an hour.)

Interesting Fact # 656 - Tattoos

According to Mobil Deutschland 6,970,000 Germans have a tattoo somewhere on their body.

(This is in spite of the fact that only one in twelve German women find tattoos on men cool.)


The UK civil service lost 25 million child benefit records.

A Junior official from HMRC in Washington, Tyne and Wear, sends two CDs containing password-protected records to audit office in London through courier TNT, neither recorded nor registered. It goes missing. So what do they do? They send another one!

However the public is not told that their bank details, national insurance numbers, addresses and date of birth have been "mislaid" until 21st November. Now that's a scandal.

Interesting Fact # 655 - CO2

CO2 emissions from shipping are twice the level of aviation.

(Darn it! Now I'll have to cancel that world cruise I was planning.)

Interesting Fact # 654 - Atheism

Discrimination against atheists is allowed in employment law in Texas, according to the state's constitution.

(These have seemingly been nullified by federal laws, because the constitution of the United States expressly prohibits establishment of a state religion, but of course an atheist could just lie on their application form without fear of divine punishment.)

Interesting People # 54 - Robbie Williams

According to a lot of fan sites, Robbie Williams has 600 pairs of shoes at his Los Angeles home.

(There's a lot of speculation about how many of these are trainers. But I'd like to know who looked into his closet and who counted them? Of course the other question is does he think he's a millipede?)

Interesting Fact # 653 - Asterix

Asterix the Gaul was called Asterix by his creator Albert Uderzo so he would appear at the start of an encyclopaedia of comics.

(Although not hugely popular in the UK, some 325 million copies of the 33 Asterix comic albums have been sold worldwide, with translations into languages as diverse as Urdu, Arabic and even Latin.)

Interesting Fact - Human Body

Leeches are used as a treatment for hematoma auris, cauliflower ears.

(After a sharp blow, a large blood clot can develop under the skin and block the flow of blood to the cartilage, that gives the ear its peculiar cauliflower shape. The leeches suck out the fluid, but if the cartilage dies, the ear shrivels and becomes lumpy. So further treatment is required.)

Interesting Fact # 651 - World Record

43-year-old engineer Russell Byars skimmed his way into the Guinness Book of Records by skimming a stone (a game sometimes known as Ducks and Drakes) 51 times.

(According to the BBC you would need to throw the stone at a speed of at least 80 kmh!)

Interesting Food # 30 - Haggis and Pasties

According to a poll for British Food Fortnight, an annual event designed to excite and educate young people about British food, of 1,000 children in England aged between eight and 13, 54% did not know pasties came from Cornwall and 57% did not know haggis originated in Scotland.

(Of course the confusion may arise because they'd probably never even tasted haggis and that Devon and Cornwall keep arguing about who invented the pasty.)

Interesting Fact # 650 - Radiohead

Radiohead has decided to release their new album, Rainbows, on the web. Nothing new there, but you can download it from their official website and they will let you decide what to pay for the 10 mp3 files - that's right, you can decide to pay anything, from nothing to £100.

(A survey of music fans who downloaded Radiohead's new album found that 29% paid either nothing or just 1p. More than half gave up to £10.)

Interesting People # 53 - Michael Young

Michael Young, the founder of Which? magazine, also founded the Open University.

(In fact, according to his biography he founded or helped found a remarkable number of socially useful organisations, including the Consumers' Association, the National Consumer Council, and Language Line, a telephone-interpreting business.)

Interesting Fact # 649 - Literacy and Math Skills

According to a study by Learndirect people in the UK have to use maths skills up to 14 times daily and literacy skills 23 times a day.

(I'm sure I use my literacy skills more often than that. Maybe I need to keep a record.)

Interesting People # 52 - Hitler

According to the Times, Hitler received 1,000 letters a month of fan mail.

(Of course fan is short for fanatic, so....)

Interesting Fact # 648 - On the web

There were 61 billion web searches made in August.

(Google powered 37 billion, more than half and more than all the other major search engines combined.)

Interesting Words # 63 - Pond life

The term "pond life" or "pondlife" means a worthless or contemptible person or group.

(The US equivalent is 'pond scum'.)

Interesting Fact # 648 -

An NHS feedback body found that of 5,200 NHS patients asked, 6% had treated themselves at some point.

(DIY dentistry! People are literally pulling their own teeth. Now I feel quite queasy.)

Interesting Place # 61 - Iceland

In Iceland, 96% of women go to university.

(Which means 4% have better things to do with their lives.)

Interesting Fact # 647 - Travel

3% of UK workers travel at least three hours every day.

(Poor guys. I hope they enjoy travelling.)

Source: RAC Foundation

Interesting Facts - Video

Interesting Fact # 646 - Commuting

54% of all the cars in the UK are used for commuting.

(So start working at home and the UK's traffic problems are solved.)

Source: RAC Foundation