Showing posts from 2010

Interesting Fact - Music

According to Pollstar, seven out of 10 of music's biggest earners with the highest-grossing tours in 2010 had an average age of over 40.

(And the winners are:-

1. Bon Jovi, Gross ticket sales (2010): $201.1m; Average age: 52.8

2. AC/DC, Sales: $177m; Average age: 58.4

3. U2, Sales: $160.9m; Average age: 49.5

4. Lady Gaga, Sales: $133.6m; Average age: 24

5. Metallica, Sales: $110.1m; Average age: 47

6. Michael Bublé, Sales: $104.2m; Average age: 35

7. Walking with Dinosaurs, Sales: $104.1m; Average age: Prehistoric

8. Sir Paul McCartney, Sales: $93m; Average age: 68

9. The Eagles, Sales: $92.3m; Average age: 62.75

10. Roger Waters, Sales: $89.5m; Average age: 67)

At 24, Lady Gaga is the youngest artist to feature in the poll, grossing $133.6m, but she had to work harder for her money, performing 138 shows compared with 80 for Bon Jovi and just 32 for U2.)

Source: The Independent

Interesting Fact - The Human Body

The hyoid bone is the only bone in the human body not connected to any other.

(Located in the throat it is sometimes called the 'Adams' apple' and it allows us to speak.  It helps to support your tongue and raise your larynx whenever you talk and swallow. The term "Adam's Apple" is derived from Adam having eaten the forbidden fruit in the Bible's account of the lives of Adam and Eve.)

Interesting Animal - Frogs

The world’s largest frog is nearly as big as a house-cat.

(It's called the Goliath frog. Does that mean there's a David frog too?)

Interesting Place - The Equator

You would weigh less at the Equator!

(But not much less! While standing at the equator you are further away from the bulk of Earth’s mass than at the poles which results in less than a pound! But it's a pretty instant diet.)

Interesting Fact - Olympic Fact - Olympic Medals

An Olympic gold medal is almost 99% silver.

(It seems a bit of a cheat really, I'm sure it's against the trade descriptions act.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Presents

According to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management, if you were to buy every item mentioned in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," you would have to fork out nearly $100,000.

(Trying to buy the 364 items repeated in all the song's verses — from 12 drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree — would cost $96,824, an increase of 10.8 percent over 2009.  That's inflation for you.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Toys

According to Google the top 12 toys for Christmas 2010 are:
City Airport, Lego UKFireman Sam Deluxe Fire Station PlayersetFur real Go Go Walking Pup, HasbroJet Pack Buzz Lightyear, Mattel UKKidizoom VideoCam, VTechMonopoly Revolution, HasbroMoon Dough Barn, Spinmaster Toys UKNerf N Strike Stampede ECS, HasbroPaper Jamz Guitar, Wow Wee EuropePumpaloons, Drumond ParkSylvanian Families Caravan, FlairZhu Zhu Grooming Salon, Character OptionsThis was like reading gobbledygook to me.  What on earth are Pumpaloons?!)

Interesting Food - Truffles

Truffle producers in France claim that one in three of all the truffles sold in France is stolen.

(The problem is the high price some daft people are willing to pay for this highly-prized delicacy; between €800 (£680) and €1,000 a kilo. A crime wave of truffle rustling, the armed theft of cash from truffle traders, the theft of "truffle trees", and even the rustling of champion truffle-sniffing dogs, has now cost one man his life, as a young farmer in the Rhône valley has been arrested on possible murder charges after shooting dead a man whom he suspected of raiding his "truffle groves" in the middle of the night. The victim was carrying only a truffle-digging trowel. So, truffles are off the menu (not that they were ever on it) in our house this Christmas. I'll stick to the chocolate variety.)

Interesting Invention - Frost Free Glass

A timely invention has been announced in Germany, a car windscreen that doesn't allow ice to form on it.

(Developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Technology (IST) in Braunschweig, in north-central Germany, the windscreen prevents ice forming even at temperatures as low as minus 18° C. There's only one problem, the thin coating of indium tin oxide applied to the window, can interfere with radio and mobile phone reception. I wonder what everyone will do with those extra minutes on a frosty morning?)

Interesting invention - The Umbrella

The umbrella was invented to block the sun, not the rain.

(It is also called a parasol, brolly, rainshade, sunshade, gamp or bumbershoot. The last one should be pronounced very carefully.)

Interesting Fact - Art

The full name of world famous artist Pablo Picasso is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisma Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso.

(I wonder how long it took for his parents to think them up?!  xx)

Interesting Fact - The Brain

According to research carried out at University College London, the human brain only matures fully when you are middle aged.

(In the research scans showed that the prefrontal cortex – the area just behind the forehead – continues to change shape into the 30s and 40s.  The prefrontal cortex is a key area of the brain and is often thought said to be key to what makes us human.  It is said to be involved with decision making, social interaction and many other personality traits.  Which goes to prove my "teenagers are another species" theory.)

Interesting Animal - Elephants

Elephants can't jump.

Interesting Fact - The Human Body

The human body creates 2.4 million red blood cells every second.

(Good job we don't have to count them; or bank them!)

Interesting fact - 10-gallon hat

A 10-gallon hat barely holds 6 pints. 

(I'm really disappointed!)

Interesting Place - China

When citizens of Lychun, China said they were having a long lunch they were not kidding, assembling a dining table that stretch 6,000 feet.

(1,860 tables were used in order to seat some 10,000 diners.  The lengthy lunch was not long enough to secure a world record however, with the biggest ever banquet stretching some 12,000ft.  I wouldn't want to be a waiter there! )

Interesting Fact - ET

Census bosses in Serbia have included a new section for extraterrestrials to declare their presence in an upcoming population questionnaire.

(Space visitors will be able to list themselves as ETs/aliens but will not have to give details of their sex, religion or ethnicity, confirmed the country’s Statistical Office.
Would you tick the alien box?

Interesting Fact - Volcanoes

The name "volcano" has its origin from the name of Vulcan, a god of fire in Roman mythology.

(So Trekkies were here before.  xx)

Interesting Fact - Aging

According to research published in Science, you'll age slightly faster standing on a staircase than you do on the floor below.

(It's all because of the time-slowing effects of acceleration and gravity which have been demonstrated in experiments that compare real clocks on Earth's surface with timepieces in high-flying spacecraft and satellites, such as ones used for global positioning systems and these effects are measurable here on Earth. Seemingly the pull of gravity on an object increases closer to the centre of mass, so an object on the Earth's surface actually experiences a slightly stronger pull than one floating in the atmosphere. Now I know why all those rich people live in penthouse suites, they're trying to live forever.)

Interesting Animal - Turtles

Green sea turtles can swim 559 miles (900km) in a month.

(The green sea turtle can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. If you're wondering what a green sea turtle looks like, in the 2003 Pixar animated film Finding Nemo, the character called Crush is a green turtle.)

Interesting Fact - Ikea

The factory that makes Ikea's Billy bookcases knocks out 15 of them every minute.

( So by the time you have read this message, there'll be another 15 Billy bookcases in the world.)

Interesting People - Susan Travers

British born Susan Travers is the only woman who ever served in the French Foreign Legion.

(She also received the Legion d'Honneur, the Medaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre. I'm not sure if she ever had to roll under tanks.)

Interesting Fact - English Education

In what was a dark day for education in England, politicians (who as a whole benefited from a free education) voted by 323 to 302 to raise the cap on annual tuition fees at English universities.

(Taking effect in 2012, the basic level of fees will now climb to 6,000 pounds (9,460 dollars, 7,140 euros), with an upper limit of 9,000 pounds. The current cap is 3,290 pounds. In the United Kingdom, doctors wishing to become GPs (general practitioners / doctor to you and me) attend an undergraduate course of five to six years (or a graduate course of four to six years, leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB/BS). This means that your average GP will owe between 36,000 and 54,000 by the time they leave university.)

Interesting Place - Hampshire

Opium poppies are grown in Hampshire, in the south of England.

(The diamorphine - equivalent to heroin - created is then used for treating UK addicts and it is used in palliative care. But don't think you can simply 'grow your own', it can only be done under licence and there are strict controls on access to fields. In fact, the mere possession of opium poppies is a crime in the UK.)

Interesting Food - Bananas

Banana skins can take two years to biodegrade.

(I'm not sure if this is good or bad news for clowns.

Interesting Fact - CGI

The famous puppy from the Andrex TV adverts has been replaced by a computer-generated dog.

(So, all you people following him on Twitter or Facebook - IT'S NOT REAL!)

Interesting Fact - Facebook

The Andrex puppy has over 171,000 friends on Facebook.

(This is twice as many as the Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.  What makes it funny, is that the Andrex puppy is a Labrador Retriever puppy that appears on TV adverts for Andrex toilet paper.)

Interesting Place - France

Since July 2010 it has been illegal in France to wipe your bottom with the French flag.

(Why on earth would anyone think they need a law for that, I thought? So I Googled it cautiously and found this story Photograph sparks outrage!)

Interesting Inventions - Toilet Paper

The European Patent Office has 5,841 inventions related to toilet paper.

(It probably even has loo paper for left handed people.  Now there's an idea!)

Interesting Fact - Toilet Paper

In the US in 1973 there was a massive shortage of toilet paper.

(Seemingly, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson joked that there was an acute shortage of loo paper, and so the next morning, 20 million people bought all that they could find. By noon, most stores were sold out.  The shortage lasted for 3 weeks.)

Source: Wikipedia

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Advent

According to Catholic tradition the colour for the season of Advent is violet.

(I thought about learning more about Advent as I opened the first window on my Advent calendar this morning. Seemingly violet came into use for this season at the end of the thirteenth century. During this time ministers wear violet vestments (clothing worn by ministers). The colours used in some vestments are changed during the year to indicate the seasons of the church year. Obviously violet wasn't quite so girly in the thirteenth century.)


World Aids Day

According to the UN, for women of reproductive age, HIV has become the main cause of death worldwide. In a report it says up to 70% of women worldwide have been forced to have unprotected sex.

A message to men:-

Don't be daft, don't be silly, get that condom on your willy.

A message to women to give to men:-

Don't be daft, don't be silly, get that condom on your willy.)

Interesting Words - OK okay

The true origins of the word "okay / OK" are not known with any certainty and have been the subject of much discussion over the years.

(Here are a few of the proposed origins:-
Initials of "oll korrect" Coined during a fad for comical misspellings and abbreviations. Documented by Allen Walker Read in 1964, and subsequently widely accepted by dictionaries and etymologists.Misspelling of "O.R." for "Order Received" A common mistake in the Western U.S. owing to the similar shapes of the letters R and K as in a 1790 bill of sale from "Andrew Jackson, Esq., a bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker for a negro man, which was O.K." This is cited in Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee.  The assertion that the misspelling is common is added in James Parton's 1860 Life of Andrew Jackson. Woodford Heflin in 1939 established that the 1790 bill did in fact read "O.R." rather than "O.K."Initials of "Old Ki…

Interesting Words - OK okay

Okay (also spelled OK, O.K.) is a colloquial English word denoting approval, assent, or acknowledgement, but it can have several different meanings.

(As an adjective, "okay" means "adequate," "acceptable" ("this is okay to send out"), but it can also mean "mediocre" often in contrast to "good" ("the food was okay").

As an interjection, it can denote compliance, "Okay, I will do that", or agreement, "Okay, that's good".

Often it does not modify any other particular word, but rather reinforces the general point being made, particularly if that point is being called into question. For example, a response to “So the accident kept him from going to the reunion?” might be “Oh, he went to it okay, but he had bruised ribs and his car was a wreck.” In this case “okay” does not modify him or his going anywhere; it is a particle emphasizing the point that is being questioned.
As a noun and verb it mea…

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Advent Calendar

Harrods have launched a one-million-dollar advent calendar.

(Amongst other designer toys, it features a speedboat a designer kitchen, and a chronograph watch in rose gold, worth 100,000 Euros. They have 5 for sale, one for each continent, and a spokesperson said that they expect to sell them all. I wouldn't be surprised if they do, after all, a fool and his money are soon parted.)

Interesting Fact - Smoking

According to a study led by the WHO, passive smoking causes 600,000 deaths every year.

(One-third of those killed are children, often exposed to smoke at home or in the family car. The study, carried out in 192 countries, found that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma. And yet people still smoke. Especially outside the school gates as they pick up their children. We are a funny species.)

Interesting Fact - Ageing

Researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in the Netherlands have developed a new method of estimating a person's age - from their blood.

(The test takes advantage of a characteristic of immune cells known as T cells but it's only accurate to plus or minus 9 years. So no more lying about your age - within limits.)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

The US president has the authority to disconnect computer systems and servers from the internet in the event of a national emergency.

(Seemingly a law was passed in 1942, when after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt was given the broad power to commandeer or shut down telephone and telegraph networks. 70 years on there are no telegraph networks, and the telephone is only one of many means of communication. Although the 1942 law makes no mention of the internet it does say "any facility or station for wire communication". The good news is wifi should be safe.)

Interesting Fact - Computers

An Apple computer has sold for £133,250.00 ($210,000.00).

(Why would anyone pay so much for a computer that usually retails at around £1,000.00? Well this is one of the first batch of Apple personal computers, one of only 200 of the model ever made. It originally sold for $666.66 when it was introduced in 1976. 666? OMG!)

Interesting Place - South Africa

Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape of South Africa, is to host the world’s first 1,000mph land speed record attempt in 2012.

(Just one little hitch, the Bloodhound Project needs every inch of over an area of 250 million square feet cleared of stones – by hand. They're asking for volunteers - no pay, backbreaking work, but the chance to be in on something historic.)

Interesting Fact - Books

The University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA) has opened the first completely bookless library on a university campus in the US.

(The library in the engineering department seats 80 people and holds 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. And the students don't have to worry about books already being out on loan, they simply download whatever they want, whenever they want. What bliss!)

Interesting Animal - Dogs

A chihuahua dog has joined a disaster rescue squad in Japan.

(The little chap will serve alongside retrievers and German shepherds. "We would like it to work hard by taking advantage of its small size," said a police department official. To boldly go where no dog has gone before.)

Interesting Fact - Science

Researchers at Cern, home of the Large Hadron Collider have trapped antimatter atoms for the first time.

(They formed 38 stable atoms of antihydrogen which lasted about two tenths of a second each. For each basic particle of matter, there exists an anti-particle with the same mass but the opposite electric charge, but when a particle and its anti-particle collide, they are "annihilated" in a flash of energy, yielding new particles and anti-particles. Physicists believe that the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and its opposite, but no one knows what happened to all the antimatter. The word "annihilated" makes me think that's a good thing.)

Interesting Word - Unfriend

The word "unfriend" was the New Oxford American Dictionary's "Word of the Year" for 2009.

(It means to stop being a friend of someone, especially on social networks. Internet friendships are friendships between people who have met online, in some cases people only know each other via the Internet.)


Today is National Unfriend Day.

(It's the day you are supposed to go through all your social network contacts and actually remove anyone you don't have some kind of relationship with.)

Interesting Fact - Diamonds

When he donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958, jeweller Harry Winston sent the fabled gem by registered first-class mail.

(It cost $145.29 to post, the stamps cost $2.44 the rest was for insurance. Why doesn't anyone ever send me diamonds?)

Interesting Place - China

380 "Etiquette Angels" have been trained to help out at ceremonies during the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

(So, what does an Etiquette Angel do? Well, their main job is to escort VIPs as they present medals to the athletes. In order to do this they have undergone rigorous training, which involves - carrying an imaginary tray of medals to an imaginary winner on the podium - deportment training, which involved learning to stand for at least an hour at a time without dropping a sheet of paper tucked between your knees or letting a book fall from your heads - holding a real with six full bottles of mineral water for up to half an hour at a time - and learning to smile by showing at least four teeth. Seemingly the Chinese deem it ungraceful for a woman to bare her teeth when she smiles, but these girls had to overcome this. It sounds as if they deserve a medal too.)

Interesting People - Niels Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922, allegedly taught himself English by reading Dickens' Pickwick Papers over and over again.

(Ha! When I heard this I realised why someone of my acquaintance was so disappointed when he realised that reading The Pickwick Papers is the literary equivalent of watching paint dry.)

Interesting Fact - Reading and Writing

According to England's chief schools inspector, too many children leave primary school unable to read or write well enough.

(The head of Ofsted, Christine Gilbert, said one in five is not at the level expected for English at age 11. Maybe they should make it less of a chore, and a bit more fun. After all since the Factory Acts we've been trying to protect children from exploitation, but now we seem to want to work them to death at school!)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 600,000 registered nurse (RN) jobs will be created by 2018 - more than any other individual job.

(With an average salary of $65,130 per year, nursing jobs look more and more attractive in a time of recession. And you're not likely to be replaced by a robot any time soon.)

Interesting Fact - War

According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Military Expenditure Database, combat planes account for one third of all global arms purchases.

(The United States is the largest supplier and India, the United Arab Emirates and Israel the biggest buyers. Only 11 of the world's countries figure on the list produce these aircraft: the United States, Russia, China, France, Sweden, India and Japan on their own, and Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain as part of the Eurofighter consortium.)

Interesting Animal - Crickets

Scientists have discovered that a species of bushcricket, platycleis affinis, has testicles which account for around 14% of its body weight.

(This is the equivalent of a human being having testes with the combined mass of 10kg!)

Interesting Fact - Art

A black and white painting of a big bottle of Coca Cola has sold for 35.3 million dollars at Sotheby's New York contemporary art auction.

(Why? Well because,"Large Coca Cola", was painted by Andy Warhol and the extravagant price might have something to do with this article in Time magazine on how the banks are buying up contemporary art (banks have always been able to convince us that worthless pieces of paper are valuable). The head of contemporary art at Sotheby's described Warhol as "an icon of global desire." Each to his own, but as far as icons go, Warhol is way below Wallace and Gromit for me.)

Interesting People - The Queen

The Queen has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

(Yes, the British Monarchy have launched themselves onto the internet-based social networking site, and you will be able to find out what royal events are happening, but you won't be able to add The Queen as a "friend" or "poke" her.)

Interesting Fact - Science

The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang".

(By smashing together lead ions instead of protons, they created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. And we're all still here.)

Interesting Fact - Longevity

In England and Wales, 42% of men die before their 75th birthday compared to 26% of women.

(Almost 100,000 men die prematurely each year compared to about 66,000 women. According to the Office for National Statistics, the life a newborn baby boy should expect to live 77.7 years and a newborn baby girl 81.9 years.)

Interesting Fact - The Weaker Sex

When people talk about "the weaker sex" they are usually talking about women, but according to medical experts, it should be men.

(Yes, when it comes to health, men really are the weaker sex. Men are more likely to get cancer than women and are also more likely to die from it. Heart disease, strokes and obesity are other conditions with a heavier toll in men. Men are even more likely to commit suicide. And yet men visit the GP far less than women.)

Source - BBC News

Interesting Fact - British Police

Fully-sworn British police officers are not employees, they are servants of the Crown.

(According to the Police Federation, "Every sworn police officer in England and Wales is a ‘Constable’, irrespective of rank," ... "those who hold the Office of Constable are servants of the Crown, not employees. Police officers have access to most statutory employment rights afforded to employees, but it is a criminal offence for police officers to take industrial action." This means the British police cannot go on strike, but on the other hand, they can't be made redundant either, as a result some police forces are trying to enforce retirement, because regulations state that a policeman can be "required to retire" after 30 or more years' service.)

Interesting Fact - Blindness

A newly invented electronic chip can help some blind people to detect objects.

(Developed by Professor Eberhart Zrenner, of Germany's University of Tuebingen, and a private company Retina Implant AG, the electronic chip was embedded in the central macular area behind the retina, and while not everyone benefited, one man, Miikka Terho, 46, from Finland, who suffers from an inherited form of blindness, was able to identify letters and a clock face. It's brilliant!)

Interesting Place - Mumbai

Officials in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) have had all the coconuts round the city's Gandhi museum, removed.

(Why? Well, US President Barack Obama is visiting, and they don't want the coconuts to fall on his head! According to George Burgess, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History, "Falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide each year, 15 times the number of fatalities attributable to sharks." I wonder who compiled the stats?)

Interesting Fact - Technology

China has the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which is capable of carrying out more than 2.5 thousand trillion calculations a second. (The computer has more than 7,000 graphics processors and 14,000 Intel chips and has taken over the top spot from America's XT5 Jaguar at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, which can only carry out 1.75 petaflops. One petaflop is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.  I still love the word "petaflop".  It reminds me of Sam.)

Interesting Fact - Halloween

Orange and black are Halloween colours because orange is associated with autumn and black is associated with darkness and death.

(It must make Halloween very easy to celebrate in the Netherlands, they're always wearing orange.)

You can learn more about Halloween here.

Interesting Fact - Time

According to a report in the British Medical Journal, remaining on British Summer Time would improve our health.

(All in all adults would have on average 300 more useful hours of daylight and children 200 more.   This would allow for more exercise and outdoor activities which boost both physical health and mental wellbeing.  I'm not sure if I want 300 more useful hours, it sounds like 300 more hours of work!)

Interesting Fact - Chess

Alik Gershon, 30,  a chess grandmaster, has broken the world record for simultaneous chess games after a 19-hour marathon match against 523 players.

(He won 454, lost 11 and drew 58 and so took the record from the  former, grandmaster Morteza Mahjoob. 
Mr Mahjoob last year bested 397 out of 500 chess players in Tehran.  How do they do it?  I can't even keep the moves of 1 game in my head!)

Interesting Fact - Genes

According to researchers at the University of California, political bias could be a matter of genetics.  They have identified a so-called ‘Liberal Gene’ that makes people more likely to seek out less conventional ­political views.
The gene, a neurotransmitter in the brain called DRD4, could even be stimulated by the novelty value of radical opinions, claim the U.S. researchers.  It suggests some people are simply born to be politically radical rather than moulded that way either by their friends, family or teachers.

I must have the lefty gene, and I have to say that when people call me a "liberal softy" I say, "thank you". 

Source: Daily Mail

Interesting Fact - Dreams

According to an article in the journal Nature, a US researcher, Dr Moran Cerf, says he has developed a system capable of recording higher level brain activity.  "We would like to read people's dreams," he said. 
(The film Inception, might not be as far-fetched as you think.)

Interesting Fact - Pronunciation

According to the British Library youngsters in the UK are now more likely to say "haitch" than "aitch" when pronouncing the letter H.

(My mum would be dead chuffed!)

Interesting Fact - Food Prices

The World Bank is predicting five years of food price volatility.

( The cost of meat, sugar, rice, wheat and maize is soaring and according to the key Reuters-Jefferies commodity price indicator, global wheat and maize prices recently jumped nearly 30%  while meat prices are at a 20-year high.   Thanks to speculators, it might be time to dig up the garden and plant some veggies.)

Interesting Fact - Wind Energy

One of the world’s most powerful inland wind turbines is being erected at Emden in Germany.

(The turbine is manufactured using 1500 cubic meters of concrete and 180 tonnes of steel.  The top of the turbine weighs 700 tonnes and it should be able to supply enough energy for a small town.  1000 such turbines should be able to supply one third of Germany's household energy needs.)

Interesting Fact - You Tube

According to Youtube, 24 hours of video material gets uploaded onto the site every minute.

(Unfortunately when I try to upload anything it takes me about 24 hours to upload one minute.)

Interesting People - Franz Reichelt

Franz Reichelt was an Austrian, who worked as a tailor in France, and tried to invent a parachute suit.  Unfortunately he's more famous for his death, than he is for his life.

(Reichelt wanted to develop a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft.  He designed an overcoat that would convert into a parachute and repeatedly petitioned the Parisian Prefecture of Police for permission to conduct a test from the Eiffel Tower. He was finally granted permission to test his invention using dummies,  but when he arrived at the tower on February 4 1912, it was clear that he intended to make the jump himself.  He jumped from the first platform of the tower wearing his invention and the parachute failed to deploy. He crashed into the icy ground at the foot of the tower and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Interesting Fact - Marriage

A pre-nuptial agreement has been recognized as binding for the first time in the United Kingdom.

(The agreement between German heiress Katrin Radmacher and French banker Nicolas Granatino was signed in Germany, both sides said they would not make any financial claims in the event of a divorce, but when the couple separated, Granatino broke the agreement and took his former wife to court.

In agreeing that the prenup is binding the judges in the case have set a precedent, which means a huge change in English law. Radmacher's lawyer Simon Bruce told reporters. "Pre-nups are now binding, so long as they're fair." Quite right too.)

Interesting Place - Hamburg

Hamburg in Germany has scooped the title European Green Capital of 2011.

(The award is given to a city that:-
Has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standardsIs committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable developmentCan act as a role model to inspire other cities and promote best practices to all other European cities)

Interesting fact - Biodiversity

Species that aren't native to Europe are costing the EU billions of Euros and threatening the continent's biodiversity.

(Europe now has 10,000 alien species. Some 10 percent of these are considered invasive, meaning that when they arrive, they tend to eradicate native plants and animals. These invaders are costing European economies 12 billion euros every year in agricultural losses and health care costs, as well as impoverishing the diversity of local ecosystems.

One of the most harmful invasive plants is the Japanese knotweed, which was deliberately introduced to Europe as a decorative plant around 200 years ago.

The Egyptian goose has been particularly aggressive in its conquest of the Rhine, pushing out other duck species in the process.

The Asian long-horned beetle is another invader. It's the forester's worst nightmare because the beetle lays its eggs inside trees and when they hatch, they basically eat their way out.

Maybe this is what Merkel was rattling on abo…

Interesting Numbers

111,111,111 multiplied by itself equals 12,345,678,987,654,321.

(The result is  the same forwards and backwards, and it contains all the numbers from 1 to 9, which  first increase and then decrease.  If you don't believe me, try it.)

Thanks to  Julliet

Interesting Fact - The Weather

A super typhoon is, by definition, the equivalent of a major hurricane of category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.*

(In other words, a super typhoon is simply a very strong typhoon.  In order to be designated "super" it has to reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 65 m/s (130 kt, 150 mph).  Super Typhoon Megi, which is heading towards the Phillipines, has reached winds of 195 kilometres an hour near the centre and gusts of up to 230 kilometres an hour, making it a super typhoon.)

*Source -

Interesting Fact - British Music

Organisers of the Glastonbury music festival have allegedly taken the surprise decision to cancel the world-famous music event in 2012 because so many of the nation’s Portaloos will be in use at the Olympics. (I think it's a very sensible idea, because the thought of Glastonbury without enough loos makes my stomach churn.)

Interesting Place - Sedrun

The world's longest tunnel has just been completed at Sedrun in Switzerland.

(The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) cost over 9 billion Swiss Francs.  With a length of 57 km (35.4 miles)  and a total of 151.84 km (94.3 miles) of tunnels, shafts and passages, it is the world's longest rail tunnel, surpassing the Seikan Tunnel in Japan.  After 14 years of drilling, the tunnel is now all the way through.)

Interesting People - Khagendra Thapa Magar

Nepalese teenager Khagendra Thapa Magar is set to become the world's shortest man as he celebrates his 18th birthday.

(Mr Magar comes from a remote village in central Nepal, and he's just under 66cm (2ft 2ins) tall. Up until now he had been the shortest male teenager in the world. He has become a bit of a local celebrity, was invited to meet the prime minister and is a tourism ambassador for the country.)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

According to research by Microsoft, more than 2.2 million US PCs were found to be part of botnets, in just the first six months of 2010.

(A botnet is a network of hijacked home computers that criminals use to send spam, phishing e-mails and to launch attacks on websites. They are also used to search the infected machines for information that can be sold on underground auction sites and markets found online.

The really scary thing is the US doesn't have the highest rate of infections, that dubious honour goes to South Korea where 14.6 out of every 1000 machines were found to be enrolled in botnets. Brazil had the second highest level of infections at 550,000.

It's really important to protect your computer against these people. Sign up for automatic updates of your software (especially your operating system and browser(s), use anti-virus software (again keep it updated) and run a firewall.

It's a bit like locking your front door rather than leaving it wide open with a …

Interesting Fact - Pain

According to research carried out by brain researchers at Stanford University, love can ease pain.

(Unfortunately for me the study focused on people early in a romance, so the "drug of love" may wear off after 13 years of marriage.)

Interesting Place - London

A rather macabre map of London has been put online. Using web application Google Maps it plots more than 400 homicide cases, based on news agency Central News' court reports and the Old Bailey's archives.

(From the evil doer, Jack the Ripper to the nast, notorious Krays the owners of the site plan to map every London murder case since the 19th century. This gruesome piece of social history can be found at

Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to the results of a long-term study in Germany, people who prioritize family, friends, altruistic goals, and exercise are happier than those just chasing money and success.

(Researchers analysed data gathered by the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (SOEP) from its widespread study of 60,000 Germans over 25 years. They found that the way people prioritise their lives was the key to happiness.

One of the study's authors, Gert Wagner said, "Social goals are more important than materialistic goals." He added, "It's good to be healthy and in order to be healthy, it's good for you if you do a little bit of sport."

So get out there and be happy.)

Interesting Fact - Books

Oxford University's Bodleian Library is entitled to a copy of every book published in the UK.

(Not surprisingly they've been running out of space (around 1,000 new books arrive each day), but they now have a warehouse big enough to store eight million books - which is enough space for about 20 years. And I thought I had a storage problem!)

Interesting Fact - Longevity

Scientists at the University of Milan think they may have found the elixir of life.  By feeding mice a cocktail of amino acids (aminoisohezoic acid, isoleucine and valine) they prolonged their lives "significantly". 

(Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. And the mice fed this cocktail didn't just live longer, theyalso benefited from an increase in the energy intake of their cells and an overall decrease in oxidation damage caused by free radicals. Their stamina also increased and coordination of their muscles improved.  So, maybe Douglas Adams was right; Earth, is actually a complex experiment that white mice have set up to learn the meaning of life, the universe and everything.)

Interesting Fact - Friendship

Over-zealous Facebook users are at most risk of losing their friends.

(According to a study carried out at Denver Business School, being boring is the number one crime on Facebook, and online pals get bored with constant, trivial updates.

The top ten reasons for being "defriended" or "unfriended" are:-
Writing boring postsPosting too many status updatesBeing crude or rudeMaking racist commentsExpressing political viewsExpressing religious views Relationship/friendship ends (online or offline)Having an argument (offline)Having an argument (online) Parents being unfriended by their children for being too nosy.When you think about it, it's actually very similar to why people lose their friends in real life. )

Interesting Fact - Films

The strict anti-smoking laws in Wales meant that special effects had to be used on the set of the film "Mr Nice".

(The film tells the story of Howard Marks (Mr Nice), an amateur drug smuggler from a more innocent time. It's based on the book of the same name and of course involves lots of smoking of various substances, but they had to use special effects machinery to simulate the actual smoking because in Wales it is illegal to smoke on a movie set. How times have changed.)

Interesting Fact - Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize for medicine has been won by Robert Edwards, the man who developed IVF (in vitro fertilization).

(The world's first so called "test tube baby" was born in July 1978, and since then around 4 million babies have been born using IVF. I think there's going to be a bit of squeaking about this prize from certain quarters, but congratulations to Mr Edwards.)

Interesting Fact - Games Consoles

Interactive games on consoles like the Wii are causing strains and sprains across the world.

(Yes, people are getting tennis elbow without stepping onto a real tennis court. Not just that, but the wild swinging of remote controls is also causing lots of bystander injuries too. I have to admit I now own a Wii, and the bookcase has already suffered a couple of clunks and I learnt a very important lesson - don't play in your slippers.)

Interesting Fact - British Music

Dame Vera Lynn had three songs in the first ever Top 12 in 1952.

(The songs were: Forget me not, Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart and The Homing Waltz.)

Interesting Fact - The Human Body

A typical human has enough body fat to keep going for about 40 marathons.

(So if a full marathon eats up about 3,000 calories, that means most people have 120,000 calories worth of fat on them.)

Interesting Fact - UK Law

In the UK, if you buy something on your credit card worth between £100 and £30,000 and it breaks because of a fault, your credit card company is liable.

(According to section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act it's as if they sold you the item. I don't know anyone who has tried this, but it sounds like good news to me.)

Interesting Fact - Space

A team of scientists at the University of California, have found a new planet outside our solar system that has the potential to support life.

(The planet, called Gliese 581g, orbits a red dwarf star and is roughly three times the mass of Earth and only around 20 light years away. Of course a light year is 9,460,528,410,545,436.2688 meters, or 5,878,625,373,184 miles, so it might take a bit of time to get there.)

Interesting Place - India

India is launching an identity card scheme.

(Using the latest biometric technology including an iris scan, over the next five years the cards will log details of India's population of more than one billion people on a central database. It's all starting in a remote village, Tembhli, in India's western state of Maharashtra. More than 1,200 cards have been handed out, making Tembhli the first UID-compliant village in India. Well at least they now know who they are.)

Source: BBC News

Interesting Fact - Evolution

According to research from Russia's ANO Laboratory of Prehistory, European Neanderthals may have been wiped out by a catastrophic volcanic eruption over 40,000 years ago.

(A new study says that a massive explosion caused the onset of a 'volcanic winter' that devastated their population. Modern homo sapiens may have survived the fall-out because much of their population was in Africa which was unaffected, and they went on to replace the Neanderthals about 30,000 years ago. Of course Neanderthals may have interbred with modern humans, so there may be a bit of Neanderthal in all of us.)

Interesting Fact - Retirement

According to a study by Barclays Wealth, British people are more likely to carry on working after retirement age than any other nation.

(The study found that over 60 per cent of people under 65 intend to work past retirement age, and those numbers will probably increase over the coming years, as 70 per cent of these under 45 'nevertirees',in the study said they would always 'be involved in some kind of work.'

Ireland was second with 59 per cent, in Spain the number was 44 per cent, and in Japan 46 per cent, but in Switzerland, only 34 per cent plan to carry on working. So, I'm off to Switzerland.)


Interesting Fact - Transport

According to a report in the American Journal of Public Health, in the period of from 2001 to 2007, an estimated 16,000 people in the US, were killed by drivers who were distracted by talking or texting on mobile phones.

(The research also found that a growing number of these drivers were under 30. The problem is everyone thinks it won't happen to them, because they know what they're doing. It's like drink driving - just don't do it.)


Tens of thousands of people have staged a march in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy to denounce the Mafia and organized crime.

Interesting Place - Australia

Following the wettest August in seven years, experts fear this year's infestation of plague locusts could be the worst since records began.

(After years of drought, the Australian climate is now perfect for swarms of locusts to descend on harvests and wipe them out. The Government of Victoria alone is forecasting A$2bn (£1.2bn) of damage. It's almost biblical.)

Interesting Fact - Theatre

There are more than 1,500 lines to learn for the part of Hamlet.

(Along with the famous phrase, "to be or not to be...".)

Source: BBC News


The Karaoke World Championships are starting in Moscow.

The competition lasts for three days and the winner will walk away with the unusual prize of one million Russian dumplings!

Interesting Fact - Evolution

According to a team of researchers from the The University of London, people from traditionally urban areas could be genetically better suited to fighting infection.

(The team studied people who carried a specific gene variant known to give resistance to TB and leprosy. They found it was more common in people from areas with a long history of urbanisation, where the diseases were more likely to have been rife at one point. Dr Ian Barnes, said, "This seems to be an elegant example of evolution in action.” Like poetry in motion.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to a survey by the BBC, around 38,045 state employees in the UK take home £100,000, or more, each year.

(Going by official figures, that leaves about 545,000 privately employed people earning £100,000 or more a year, after tax, this works out at £65,310. And after average expenses, there should be around £33,310 a year left over. 

According to David Kuo, from the investment advice website Motley Fool, the average person in the UK spends around £32,000 a year. This is made up of £25,000 on basic expenses (transport, food, clothing etc) and £7,000 on mortgage repayments.
So, the average household needs a gross salary of about £45,000 just to break even.  In his opinion the average person in the UK won't be happy unless they earn around £50,000 a year.   And that may still be a hand-to-mouth existence.

Someone earning a salary of £100,000, should be able to retire in reasonable comfort provided they invest their disposable income carefully. They could amass …

Interesting Fact - Obesity

According to scientists at Louisiana's Pennington Center in the USA, a common virus could cause obesity.

(They took stem cells from fatty tissue taken from liposuction patients, and exposed some to adenovirus-36. After the cells had been left for a week, those exposed to the virus had changed into human fat cells, while those left to grow without the virus had not. So, now you know. I'm not fat, I've just got an infection.)

Interesting Fact - Questions

According to the internet search engine, Ask Jeeves, the top ten unanswerable questions, based on around 1.1 billion queries, are as follows:-

What is the meaning of life? Is there a God?Do blondes have more fun?What is the best diet? Is there anybody out there? Who is the most famous person in the world?What is love?What is the secret of happiness?Did Tony Soprano die? How long will I live? (If like me you had no idea why number 9 appeared in the list, seemingly it relates to the final episode of a popular US drama, The Sopranos. and lots of people have asked about what happened to the character "Tony Soprano".  Sorry, I haven't a clue.)

Interesting Fact - Counterfeits

According to helpline "Consumer Direct",  in the UK there were 1,958 complaints about counterfeit goods in 2008-09 year, rising to 2,801 2009-10.

(Well when you hear that  web security firm Cyber Security say that it only takes seconds to set up a copycat website to sell fake goods, it's not surprising.   Just remember that you get what you pay for.)

Interesting Number - Pi

Pi has been calculated to its two-quadrillionth digit.

(Yes, using computers at Yahoo to crunch the numbers, a researcher, Nicholas Sze, has calculated the 2,000,000,000,000,000th digit of the mathematical constant pi.  It took 23 days on 1,000 of Yahoo's computers, but don't try this at home, on a standard PC, the calculation would take around 500 years!)

Interesting Place - Munich

A microbe which eliminates the stench of stale beer will be poured onto the floorboards at his year's Oktoberfest in Munich.
(The bacteria, called Elbomex, is produced by a Bavarian company which sells commercial dishwashers and it seemingly gets rid of all kinds of noxious smells.  The reason they're using it at the Oktoberfest this year is that they're worried the stench of stale beer will be unbearable because of the smoking ban.  Seemingly the stench of stale tobacco used to mask it.  I now no longer regret never having been to the Oktoberfest.)

Interesting Invention - Basketball

Basketball was invented by a Canadian!

(Yes, that great American sport was actually invented by someone from over the border, a Dr James Naismith in 1891.  Okay so he did invent it in America - Springfield, Massachusetts to be exact, but still ...)

Interesting Fact - Top Brands

According to Interbrand's Best Global Brands index the following companies are the top ten brands in the world, the valuation is simply for the brand name, not the company:-

Coca-Cola $70,452mIBM $64,727mMicrosoft $60,895mGoogle $43,557mGE $47,777mMcDonald's $33,578mIntel $32,015mNokia $29,495mDisney $28,731m Hewlett Packard $26,867m
(Unfortunately there are no UK companies in the top 30, although we do have six brands in the top 100.)

Source: The Independent