Showing posts from December, 2007

Interesting Fact # 707 - Transport

The House of Lords science and technology committee has suggested that a minimum distance between seats on airlines should be increased from 26 to 28.2 inches, providing space of about 30 inches.

(Currently if you want more leg room you have to pay for it, a new class of seat called "Premium economy" supposedly bridges the gap between the standard economy class and business class cabins. And they say class is dead.)

From Natasha

Interesting Fact # 706 - Auction

2 sheets from one of Mozart's greatest compositions has been sold at auction for £110,900.

(A mere £55,450 per sheet. What a bargain.)

Interesting Animal # 69 - Wasps

A giant wasps nest was removed from a house in Suffolk, it weighed 1.8 kgs!

(Just as long as the wasps weren't giants too.)

Interesting People # 60 - Daniel Craig

Bond star Daniel Craig is said to owe Dakota Blue Richards £200, his Golden Compass co-star,after starting a swear box on set.

(Serves him right, swearing on a kid's film set, whatever next.)

Interesting Fact # 705 - Driving

According to Government road safety figures 50% of male drivers in the UK, under the age of 21 crash in their first year of driving.

Interesting Christmas Facts # 26 - Working

According to a survey by the Post Office, 40% of the UK workforce will be working for some or all of the period between Boxing Day and the end of the year.

(Lots of them will be working for the Post Office of course.)

Interesting Christmas Fact # 25 - Santa Claus

For Dutch and Belgian children, Santa Claus lives in Spain and travels north by steam ship.

(In fact, Sinterklaas, as he's called there, turns up on December 5, with Zwarte Piet, his helper, and believe it or not a horse with no name. You just couldn't make it up, could you.)

Interesting Facts - Christmas Fact - Santa Claus

In an Internet poll of 4,000 children aged four to 12 by a children's Spanish television channel, Jetix, Spanish children think Santa Claus is "too fat".

(The poll revealed that 53% of them think Father Christmas is "too fat," and 59% believe he should eat better to lose weight, or go to the gym (19%.)

Many also think that his means of transport is outdated, as a sleigh is too slow for delivering presents.

(It's a magic sleigh you numskulls.)

Interesting Christmas Facts # 23 - Stollen

There is a Stollen Protection Agency in Dresden.

(If you don't believe me then check out:

Interesting Christmas Fact # 22 - Stollen

Dresden's bakers churn out more than two million Stollen cakes in various sizes each year.

(And I seem to be churning out 2 million Stollen facts this year.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - Stollen

Only Stollen produced in Dresden's 150 bakeries, many of them family-run, may be called Dresdner Stollen.

(And it's very, very, tasty.)

Interesting Christmas Fact # 20 - Stollen

The white oblong shape of a Stollen is supposed to symbolize the baby Jesus in swaddling.

(Well of course I already knew that. It's obvious when you think about it.)

Interesting Christmas Fact # 19 - Who stole the stollen?

Stollen, Germany's answer to Christmas cake, has always been associated with the city of Dresden. But according to the Spiegel the small town of Torgau, 75 kilometers northwest of Dresden, is now claiming it invented the cake 550 years ago, and it's launching its own Stollen to mark the occasion.

(Bread rolls at dawn methinks.)

Interesting Christmas Fact # 18 - Names for Father Christmas around the World

Belgium Pere Noel
Brazil Papai Noel
Chile Viejo Pascuero (“Old Man Christmas”)
China Dun Che Lao Ren (“Christmas Old Man”)
Netherlands Kerstman
Finland Joulupukki
France Pere Noel
Germany Weihnachtsmann (“Christmas Man”)
Hawaii Kanakaloka
Hungary Mikulas (St. Nicholas)
Italy Babbo Natale
Japan Hoteiosho (a god or priest who bears gifts)
Norway Julenissen (“Christmas gnome”)
Poland Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas)
Russia Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”)
Sweden Jultomten (“Christmas brownie”)
United Kingdom Father Christmas / Santa Claus
United States Father Christmas / Santa Claus

Interesting Fact # 704 - Fame

According to a survey for National Kid's Day the Queen and Harry Potter are more famous than God.

(The Almighty was at third place, Father Christmas was fourth, Simon Cowell fifth, Jesus sixth and England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson seventh.)

Interesting Fact # 703 - Getting Married

According to a survey for National Kids' Day, when they grow up 82% of UK children would like to get married.

(This compares with 76% in 2006 and 72% in 2005.)

Interesting Fact # 702 - The Law

Since April 2007 anyone convicted of a criminal offence in the UK has to pay a £15 "victims' surcharge".

(Sort of a tax on crime then.)

Interesting Fact # 701 - Wine

According to research by cheese maker Castello 56% of diners will not ask the wine waiter for advice in case he recommends something too expensive.

(The survey also revealed that many people suffer from "second cheapest wine syndrome" - rejecting the cheapest wine on the list to conceal their ignorance in front of waiters and friends.)

Interesting People # 59 - Mata Amritanandamayi

India's "hugging saint" Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma, has dispensed 26 million hugs - her helpers count each off with a clicker.

(That's a whole lot of hugging.)

Interesting Fact # 700 - Number Plates

The sale of personalised licence plates by HM Government has raised £1.2bn to date.

(Short plates that spell out names are the most popular.)

Interesting Fact # 699 - Extradition

No Briton has been extradited from Panama since an extradition treaty was signed 100 years ago.

(I guess we just don't want anyone.)

Interesting Places # 64 - Tower Hamlets

According to a report by the Centre for Cities, 47% of people of working age in the London borough of Tower Hamlets are unemployed.

(The Centre for Cities is an independent urban policy research unit, whose main aim is to "to help cities improve their economic performance". They are a registered charity if you would like to donate.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

The first ever number plate in the UK, A1, was issued in 1903.

(A guy called Earl Russell is said to have camped outside the vehicle registration office to get the prestigious plate.)

Interesting People # 58 - Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen is the first British monarch to have celebrated a diamond wedding anniversary.

(I think with the current state of affairs that record could stand for quite some time.)

Interesting Fact # 697 - Calories

Beer has fewer calories than a similar measure of wine, milk or fruit juice.

(There you go. The diet is back on track.)


Millions of homes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland turned off their lights for five minutes at 8 p.m.

Interesting Fact # 696 - British Police

Police are not allowed to strike.

(They were banned from striking in 1919, after walk-outs that year by officers in London and Liverpool.)


Alcides Moreno, tumbled some 500ft (150m) to the ground in New York and lived to tell the tale.

(Seemingly window cleaners who work on very tall buildings are trained to lie flat if their platform comes loose. I shall have to remember that next time I'm cleaning the windows, because in Germany you can't find a window cleaner for love nor money.)

Interesting Fact # 695 - British children

According to the CBBC Newsround programme, one in four British children don't count their father as immediate family.

(That's what happens when you spend most of your time at work, or down the pub dad.)

Interesting Fact - Sleep

In Japanese work culture, sleeping on the job is tolerated, as long as you remain upright and obey certain other rules. It's called inemuri.

(I shall try to explain this to my culturally illiterate boss if he ever catches me snoozing at my desk.)

Interesting Fact # 693 - Airline Routes

BBC South East has revealed that airlines deliberately fly longer routes over the Atlantic Ocean to avoid paying air traffic control charges.

(These routes are known as tango routes, and they can produce an extra three tonnes of carbon dioxide.)

Interesting Fact # 692 - Dementia

Experts have forecast that more than 1.7 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2051, costing billions of pounds each year.

(Currently 700,000 - or one person in every 88 in the UK - has dementia, incurring a total yearly cost of £17bn.)

Interesting People # 57 - Napoleon

A gold-encrusted sword used by Napoleon was sold at auction in France for 4.8m Euros (£3.3m).

(A love letter from Napoleon to his future wife, Josephine, fetched a meagre £276,000 at an auction in London. Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword?)

Interesting Fact # 691 - Salmon vs Jellyfish

Jellyfish 1 - Salmon 0.

(A mass of poisonous jellyfish devastated stocks of organic farmed salmon off the coast of Northern Ireland. Millions of purplish pelagia noctiluca, or mauve stingers, covered 10 miles square and 35 feet deep, they drifted over cages of salmon in Glenarm Bay and stung to death about 120,000 fish. Estimated damage to the organic farm was over £1 million. The jellyfish wiped out the company's mature harvest a month before Christmas, so, I hope you've already got some in the freezer.)