Showing posts from June, 2009

Interesting Fact 1101 - Sleep

According to an article in the journal Sleep, missing out on a good night's sleep raises a woman's risk of heart disease.

(Sleeping less than 8 hours a night has been linked to heart problems, but the risk is higher for women than for men. Which seems a bit unfair, as it's usually the man's snoring that keeps a woman awake.)

Interesting Fact 1100 - Weather - Podcast

The Met Office in the UK has issued its first heatwave alert.

(It's the first time they have released a heat warning since the system was introduced a couple of years ago. Basically, it's to let frightened Brits know what that bright thing in the sky is.)

Interesting Fact - Sport - Wimbledon

According to a spokesperson for the All England Club, physical attractiveness is taken into consideration when deciding who gets to play centre court at Wimbledon.

(This only seems to apply to the ladies. In the men's tournament, five-times winner Roger Federer and British hope Andy Murray invariably play on Centre. But, after Federer left the court on Friday, the next match was Victoria Azarenka of Belarus against Romania's Sorana Cirstea. While both 19-year-olds have top form in the glamour department, Miss Cirstea was seeded 28 while Miss Azarenka, who won, is ranked and seeded eighth. That same day, second seed Serena Williams was relegated to the new No 2 Court for her win over Italian Roberta Vinci. On Wednesday, Centre delivered exactly that - the so-called Battle of the Babes between unseeded Gisela Dulko (world ranking 45) and unseeded Maria Sharapova (ranking 60). Then on Thursday, ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki defeated Russian Maria Kirilenko, 59 in the worl…

Interesting Place # 105 - Cuba and Britain

According to the think-tank Centre for Economics and Business Research some areas of Britain are becoming more dependent on state aid than Cuba.

(By next year around two out of every three pounds spent in the North East and Wales will come from the taxpayer and taxpayers' money will account for the majority of the economy in eight out of the 12 UK regions and two areas will be close to 70%. In Cuba it's a mere 60%. That's where the similarity ends though, in Cuba they get year round sunshine, and they know how to dance.)

Interesting Fact 1098 - Missiles

Britain's Trident missile has a range of more than 4,600 miles (7,400km).

(Allegedly they are accurate to within a few feet, but considering their destructive power is estimated as the equivalent of eight Hiroshimas I don't think they really need to be.)

Interesting Food # 47 - Salads

Some supermarket salads in the UK contain more fat and calories than a Big Mac!

(Research by consumer magazine Which? found that a Big Mac and medium fries contains 820 calories and 40g of fat, and an Atlantic prawn marie rose salad, that was tested from Morrisons, contained 855 calories and 66.3g of fat. A Big Mac on its own contains 490 calories and 24g of fat, and a chicken caesar pasta salad from Asdo contained 683 calories, and the fat content was 41.3g.

That is almost as much fat as 7 Cadbury's Creme Eggs!)

Interesting Fact # 1097 - Postmen

More than 13,000 red rubber bands are to be sent back to Royal Mail.

(It's part of a protest by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, because postmen in the UK keep littering the streets and people's front gardens with the red rubber bands that are used to hold mail together. Interestingly Deutsche Post seem to use the same bands, and we have the same problem. I'm going to start gathering them up for my own little protest.)

Interesting Fact - Shopping

According to retail research firm Experian, up to 35,000 shops could close in the UK this year.

(After surveying British town centres, they discovered that the high streets in Walkden - Greater Manchester, Harwich - Essex and Gateshead - Tyneside had the most vacant shops with almost 60% of retail premises standing empty. As the recession starts to really bite people have stopped shopping till they drop.)

Interesting Fact # 1095 - Milk

Dairy farmers in the UK lose money on every pint they produce.

(It costs the farmer around 61p to produce four pints, they only get paid around 58p by the processor, so the farmer loses 3p. The processor is paid £1.07 by the supermarkets who then sell it to customers for £1.45. Source: DairyCo)

Interesting Fact # 1094 - Milk - Podcast

98% of households in the UK buy milk.

(On average us Brits consume over two-and-a-half pints a week,each. We like a bit of the white stuff.)

Interesting Fact # 1093 - Protocol

When photographing a group of heads of state, protocol decrees that the host should stand in the centre at the front and next to him should be the longest-serving leaders.

(At the recent G20 summit, Gordon Brown, as host, stood front and centre, with the dignitaries radiating out from him in order of seniority and length of service, meaning the positions on either side of Brown were reserved for the heads of state who had been in harness the longest - President Luis "Lula" Ignacio de Silva of Brazil and Hu Jintao of China. As the new kid on the block, Barack Obama was shuffled slightly off centre.)

Source - The Guardian

Interesting Fact # 1092 - World Hunger

According to the UN, 1.02 billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger.

(The number of people suffering from hunger has increased by 100 million because of the global financial crisis, making it a record high - one-sixth of humanity.

Asia-Pacific: 642m
Sub-Saharan Africa: 265m
Latin America and Caribbean: 53m
Middle East and North Africa: 42m
Developed world: 15m
Source: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization)

Interesting Fact - Cloning

A 9/11 hero dog has been cloned.

(Five clones have been made of a search and rescue dog which helped locate people trapped in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks. Trakr, who died in April, won a competition to find the world's most "cloneworthy" dog, organized by California firm BioArts International -- the "Golden Clone Giveaway".

James Symington, a former Canadian police officer, and Trakr arrived at the site of the World Trade Center collapse, commonly referred to as Ground Zero, on September 12, 2001 and were one of the first K9 search and rescue teams on the scene.

After working nearly non-stop for 48 hours, Trakr located the last human survivor found in the rubble of the twin towers.

The five puppies; Trustt, Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu -- will go on to follow in Trakr's pawsteps.

Canine clones cost an average of $144,000 dollars each.)

Source: AFP

Interesting Fact # 1090 - Blogging Law

The High Court in the UK has ruled that Bloggers do not have the right to keep their identities secret.

(A judge ruled that bloggers had no "reasonable expectation" to anonymity because "blogging is essentially a public rather than a private activity". I can see the day when you have to prove your ID before you're allowed to get any web presence.)

Interesting Fact # 1089 - German Army

In 2007 German forces in Afghanistan consumed about 90,000 bottles of wine in addition to 1.7 million pints of beer.

(German soldiers have a beer ration of up to a litre a day, and wurst (sausage) for dinner. In contrast British and US bases have an alcohol ban.)

Source: The Times

Interesting Fact # 1088 - Climate Change

According to a UN report; "Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate", between 1990 and 2007, loss of life and property from weather-related disasters rose significantly.

(Floods were the biggest single cause and developing countries, led by China, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, suffered the biggest mortality in absolute terms, but in relation to population, the highest tolls were in Dominica, Vanuatu and Myanmar.)

Interesting Fact # 1087 - Health - Podcast

Researchers are claiming that having a curry once or twice a week could stave off Alzheimer's disease.

(Curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, which is used widely in Indian cuisine, is believed to prevent changes in the brain by blocking the spread of amyloid plaques - toxic protein deposits thought to play a key role in Alzheimer's. Of course the problem in the UK is the 10 pints of lager we drink to wash down the curry.)

Interesting Animal # 96 - Hummingbirds

Male hummingbirds can swoop faster than fighter jets.

(They reach speeds of almost 400 body lengths per second. And why do they do it? To impress the ladies of course.)

Interesting Fact # 1086 - Internet

A survey by the Washington-based Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the median age of a user of micro-blogging service Twitter is 31 years old as opposed to 27 for MySpace, 26 for Facebook and 40 for LinkedIn.

(Ha! I put on my MySpace account that I was 99 years old - so much for statistics!)

Interesting Fact # 1085 - Internet

According to a survey by the Washington-based Pew Internet and American Life Project 11% of Internet-connected US adults updated their status online using Twitter or another social network in December, nearly twice as many as in May, a survey released on Thursday said.

(My status online is usually online or offline. I don't need to update it.)

Interesting Fact # 1084 - Astronomy

Astronomers have worked out that there is a miniscule chance that Venus or Mars could collide with Earth.

(Luckily they also figured it won't happen for at least a billion years, although if you're reading this in a billion years time, that's probably not much comfort.)

PS - Joe Breezer was well ahead of them all:-

I'm lost in space
What a perfect place
Two worlds collide
Into the stars
I'm lost in space
Without a trace
Two worlds collide
Like Venus and Mars

Interesting Fact # 1083 - Human Body

The human body produces hydrogen peroxide.

(It is produced primarily in three places - the lung, gut and the thyroid gland. So, how come we're not all blonde?)

Interesting Animal # 95 - Spiders

Spider silk is stronger than steel.

(And it's very, very stretchy. The idea of stretchy building materials doesn't fill me with joy.)

Interesting Fact # 1082 - Smoking - Podcast

Researchers at the British Heart Foundation have calculated that smoking in the UK costs the NHS five times as much as previously thought.

(Treating disease directly caused by smoking produces medical bills of more than £5bn a year in the UK. Still not as much as the banks cost us though.)

Interesting Fact # 1081 - Twitter - Podcast

A team at Harvard have found that most people only ever "tweet on Twitter" once during their lifetime.(They also found that more than half of all people using Twitter update their page less than once every 74 days. In fact, 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content. I haven't had my Tweet yet, because I don't Twitter, I just wouldn't know what on earth to say.)

Interesting Fact - Worst Song Ever

The song voted the worst song ever "Agadoo" (sung by Black Lace) was written by French songwriters.

(Michel Delancray and Mya Symille recorded it as Agadou in French in1971, but the tune was based on a on a tune that apparently came from Morocco. Knowing it wasn't written by anyone in the UK makes me feel so much better.

These might be the original lyrics, but I'm not sure:-

A-ga-dou dou dou pouss' l'ananas et mouds l'café
A-ga-dou dou dou pouss' l'ananas et mouds l'café
Tap' la pomm' tap' la poir' pouss' l'ananas et mouds l'café
Tap' la pomm' tap' la poir' pouss' l'ananas et mouds l'café

L'an dernier à Tahiti une jolie vahiné
Avec son ukulélé m'a vraiment ukulélé
Ell' vendait de fort beaux fruits avec son ukulélé
Quand on les avait choisis y'avait plus qu'à les manger

A-ga-dou dou dou pouss' l'ananas et mouds l'café
A-ga-dou dou dou pouss' l'ana…

Interesting People # 130 - Neil Armstrong

According to a linguistic study Neil Armstrong missed out an "a" and didn't say "one small step for a man" when he set foot on the moon.

(I prefer the idea that he spoke for all of mankind, regardless of what he did or didn't mean to say. And I can still remember the sight of him taking that small step. Yes, I'm that old.)

Interesting Animal # 94 - Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devils are the world's largest carnivorous marsupial.

(Similar to hyenas, devils eat almost every part of an animal - bones, skin, skull, even teeth!)

Interesting Fact - Tea

People in the UK prefer to drink their tea at a temperature of 56-60°C.

(It's probably why we add cold milk to it and it is lucky, as adding cold milk makes it cool enough to reduce the risk of developing cancer of the oesophagus. According to research at the University of Tehran, drinking hot tea (65-69°C) is associated with twice the risk of developing oesophageal cancer, and drinking very hot tea (70°C or more) is associated with an eight-fold increased risk.

I'm glad I drink my tea with milk.)

Interesting Fact # 1078 - Blogging

In the United States, lawsuits against bloggers have been doubling every year since 2004.

(According to the Media Bloggers Association, around 15 million dollars have been made in judgments against them to date. Oh and don't think you can hide behind "Annonymous" the technology exists to find annoying mouse bloggers too.)