Showing posts from March, 2008

Interesting Fact # 764 - Vineyards

According to the Institut national de l'origine et de la qualite (INAO), the difference between vines within France's Champagne region and those just outside is 995,000 euros.

(If a vineyard falls on the wrong side of the "Champagne" divide, the land is worth 5,000 euros a hectare, but on the other side it's worth 1m euros. And all because people like bubbles.)

Interesting Fact - Pets in the UK

According to the Office of National Statistics, the weekly spend on pets in the UK ranks 37th, ahead of cosmetics, cakes and holidays in the UK.

(Fifty years before, in 1957, it ranked 49th. Of course my guys take this as a matter of course.)

Interesting Fact # 762 - Television

Forty years after colour TV was introduced to the UK there are still 34,700 people with black and white television licences.

(Of course this doesn't necessarily mean they don't have a colour TV.)

Interesting Places # 75 - Dubai

According to the organisers of the Conmex construction machinery exhibition, about 30,000 of the world's 125,000 construction cranes are currently operating in Dubai.

(When I first heard that they have 24 per cent of the world's cranes, I had thought they meant birds, because they've been nicknamed the national bird of Dubai. I think they would have looked prettier.)

Interesting Fact # 761 - Sand

According to the National Geographic up to one quarter of the sand on shorelines can be composed of plastic particles.

(U.K. researchers in Plymouth and Southampton, England, found that microscopic fragments of nylon, polyester, and seven other types of plastic are widespread in sediments around British shores. This is in addition to the washed up bottles, plastic bags and nappy liners that adorn our beaches after high tide.)

Interesting Food # 32 - Apples

According to trade association English Apples and Pears, Brits eat 75 apples on average each year, per person?

(If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, they must be very busy for 277 days a year.)

Interesting Fact # 760 - Flu

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 killed more than 20 million people worldwide.

(One fifth of the world's population was infected. The disease was first observed at Fort Riley, Kansas, United States, on March 4, 1918.)

Special - Nintendo facts video from YouTube

Interesting Date - Easter Fact - Podcast

In 1928 an act was passed in Parliament to fix "Easter Day" as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April. (It has never come into force though. So, in Britain Easter is taken to be the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the (northern hemisphere) spring equinox. Easy once you know how!)

Interesting Fact - Water

An average family of four could save more than 1000 Euros a year just by drinking water from the tap.

(Daily consumption of 1.5 litres a head costs about 10 Euros a year if it comes out of the tap, but the same amount of mineral water would cost around 1100 Euros.)

Interesting Fact # 758 - Senior Management

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According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 66% of British employees do not trust senior management.

(I'm surprised it's so low! That means 34% of British employees are trusting little souls.)

Interesting Places # 74 - Ireland

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According to the Guardian newspaper, around 98% of Ireland's schools are run by the Roman Catholic Church.

(The problem arises when in some areas 48 percent of students are non-Catholic, but when there are too many students to choose from, the church is entitled by law to prefer a Catholic one. This means that emergency schools have been set up to provide education to the children of incoming workers.)

Interesting Fact # 757 - The oldest tree in Europe

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The Fortingall Yew, an ancient yew tree in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland, is probably the oldest tree in Europe.

(Various estimates have put its age at between 2,000 and 5,000 years. Of course to find out how old it really is they'd have to chop it down and count the rings.)


Today is the day you are most likely to give up on your New Year's Resolution.
According to a survey by PruHealth, 78 days after New Year is "Death of the Diet Day".

Interesting Places - Latvia

Latvia has the highest cigarette tax in Europe, 80% of the price of cigarettes there is tax.

(The UK level is 77%. Lucky number 7.)

Interesting Fact # 756 - Beds

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According to a survey by the Sleep Council, many Brits check texts, surf the internet, or play games in bed.

(I wonder what kind of games they actually meant.)


Gold struck an all-time peak of $1,032.70 an ounce, four days after the yellow metal breached 1,000 dollars for the first time.

Interesting Fact # 755 - Prison pay

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According to Prison Service Order 4460, all prisoners in the UK who participate in purposeful activity must be paid.

(The current pay rate is not subject to the national minimum wage and the average pay is £9.60 for around a 32-hour week, which works out at around 30p an hour. Of course their bed and board is paid for.)

Interesting Fact - Bedtime

According to a survey by the Sleep Council, the average midweek bedtime in the UK is between 10pm and 11pm.

(For once I actually fit the "norm". If I'm not in bed by 11pm I turn into a pumpkin.)

Interesting People # 63 - Princess Eugenie

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Princess Eugenie's first name is pronounced YOO-jenny rather than yoo-JAY-nee.

(But if you do meet the royals, please don't shout out "Oi! You! Jenny!"

Interesting Animal - Fish

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, compared with 40 years ago the number of fish in the world's oceans has dropped by 30%.

(Unfortunately since 1973 the consumption of fish has doubled, probably not helped by Interesting Fact Number 421.)

Interesting Fact # 752 - iPods

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The world's most expensive iPod has gone up for sale at a charity auction in London. (Supposedly an iPod is a must-have item, and this bejewelled version has an estimated value of £20,000. The iDiamond shuffle (yes, they really called it that) is made of solid 18 carat white and pink gold and kitted out with 430 diamonds. Tasteful.)

Source ITN

Interesting Place - Mount Everest

In Nepal Mount Everest is actually called Sagarmatha.

(The Government of Nepal gave the mountain the official Nepali name of Sagarmatha in the 1960s, translated it means "Goddess of the Sky". The Chinese call it Qomolangma, and the Tibetan name is, Chomolungma. We English do like to rename things, and having tried to pronounce those names I can understand why.)

Interesting Fact # 751 - Cosmetic Surgery

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According to Datamonitor, the UK spends more on cosmetic surgery than Germany, France and Italy put together.

(£500m for nips, tucks and sucks in 2006. My spend for the last 10 years? £0m. My budget for the next 10 years? £0m.)

Interesting People # 62 - Charles Hamilton

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According to the Guinness Book of Records, Billy Bunter author, Charles Hamilton, is the world's most prolific published writer.

(William George Bunter, or Billy Bunter, is a fictional character, a fat boy with round spectacles that came to be known as "Billy Bunter spectacles". I know this because I had a pair at school, suffice to say they did not make me popular.)


International Women's Day

Interesting Fact # 750 - Landfill fire

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A fire at a landfill site in Mont Cuet, Guernsey has been smouldering for three years.

(But the world's longest burning fire, known as the Devil's oven, is in New Straitsville, Ohio. It started burning back in 1884, when some unhappy miners pushed a burning coal car, filled with timber, down the mine shaft. So basically, the one on Guernsey is rubbish.)

Interesting Place # 71 - Kosovo - Podcast

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A replica statue of liberty exists in Kosovo.

(Cool. Maybe we should all have one.)

Interesting Fact # 749 - Kidneys

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People can have four kidneys.

(Recently Latvian doctors found four kidneys instead of two in a student from the Yemen. I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I suppose it means you've got a couple of spares.)

Interesting People # 61 - Kirk Kerkorian

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According to Money Week it takes US investor Kirk Kerkorian just 3.1 seconds to make another $1,000.

(Click - that's another grand. Click - oh goody there goes another one. Kerching!)

Interesting Fact # 748 - Women

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Women on the Ivory Coast buy “bottom enhancing” injections for $2.

(Will women ever be happy with their bodies?)

Interesting Place - China and Canada

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's exports to China almost doubled between 2002 and 2006.

(Exports now stand at around Can $8 billion. But that is just a drop in the ocean, it actually makes up only 1.3% of China's total imports.)

Interesting Fact # 747 - Minimum Wage

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In the USA the federal minimum wage is $5.85 / hr.

(Some states have set a higher rate, but some have an even lower rate or no minimum wage at all. I do hope that any senators or public officials who set the minimum wage levels receive that wage.)

Interesting Places - Mount Everest

Mount Everest was named after a Welshman.

(Colonel Sir George Everest (1790 – 1866) was a British surveyor, geographer and Surveyor-General of India from 1830 to 1843. The mountain was named in his honour.)