Showing posts from January, 2010

Interesting Place - Westbury-sub-Mendip

Villagers from Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset, England, can use the library around the clock, selecting books, DVDs and CDs.

(What's so interesting about that? Well the "library" in questions is a traditional red phone box, one of those things that you imagine when you think of England, which has been recycled into one of the country's smallest lending libraries - with over 100 books, CDs and DVDs.)

Interesting Fact # 1246 - Health

A report published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, says that overweight elderly people may live longer than those of normal weight.

(But you've got to be overweight in the right way, a fine line between a few healthy extra pounds and being obese. And even if you're overweight, you have to keep active - sedentary lifestyles shortened lives across all weight groups. But I'll be alright, I've just been shovelling snow.)

Interesting Fact - British Men

According to research from Essex University British men are now doing almost twice as much housework as in 1961.

(This has probably been driven by the results of research from Arizona State University which found that men who do more housework get more sex.)

Interesting Fact # 1244 - British Women

According to a government-commissioned report into inequality, 44% of women in Britain now earn at least the same amount as their husbands and boyfriends.

(They are called breadwinner wives, and my hubby wishes I was one of them.)

Interesting Fact # 1243 - Education

A study by the University of the Arts, London, suggests that learning a musical instrument at primary school can boost a child's confidence and learning in other areas.

(It was said to improve motivation and behaviour, because it is a social activity that engages the child's emotions and self expression, and it can improve the way a child collaborates without any competitive element. I'm not sure about the lack of competition, and anyone who's been laughed at for playing the wrong note in the school orchestra would agree with me.)

Interesting Fact # 1242 - Education

According to experts at the Higher Education Policy Institute, British children born in August are less likely to go to university.

(Just 28 per cent of August-born children went to university during the six years of the study compared with 32 per cent of those born in September. It might be true, but I was born in September and I didn't go to uni after I left school, although I did get there eventually.)


Interesting Place #126 - China

The Southern Sky Column Mountain in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, China will now be known as the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.

(It is supposedly being renamed because it inspired scenery in the fantasy blockbuster. Avatar has become the most popular film ever in China, making $80m (£50m) at the box office so far. Call me a cynic, but I think that the main reason for this is because you can't easily rip a 3D film.)

Interesting Animal # 109 - Toads - Video Fact

Interesting Fact - Alcohol

According to new laboratory research reported in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, if you're drunk a cup of coffee doesn't sober you up.

(Thomas Gould, PhD, said, "People who have consumed only alcohol, who feel tired and intoxicated, may be more likely to acknowledge that they are drunk. . . Conversely, people who have consumed both alcohol and caffeine may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations."

Basically, a cup of coffee may make it harder for you to realize you're drunk and take the appropriate action of sloping off to bed to sleep it off.)

Interesting Fact # 1240 - Security

According to the news website Deutsche Welle, explosives detectors can give false alarms in the presence of substances such as chocolate or perfume.

(It makes you wonder how any woman makes it onto the plane then.)

Interesting Fact # 1239 - Health

Scientists at Exeter University say that the chemical PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid), a form of the ammonium salt used in some non-stick cookware, can be linked to a higher-than-normal incidence of thyroid disease.

(The chemical is also present in some furniture, fabrics and food packaging, because of its resistance to water and stains. We'd rather avoid stains, than avoid damaging our health.)

Interesting Fact - Internet Security

A security breach of revealed that 290,731 users, or almost 1% had chosen the password "123456".

(In fact a large number of users had chosen supposedly "easy-to-crack" passwords. The most common were:-


I cannot believe the 4th one!)

Interesting People # 146 - Osama bin Laden

According to Sudanese author Kola Boof, Osama bin Laden is a big fan of pop Diva Whitney Houston.

(I would have thought he'd prefer Lionel Richie and his song, "Hello, is it me you're looking for?")

Interesting Place #125 - Italy

The average age of stay at home adults in Italy is one of the highest in Europe.

(According to the Italian national statistics office more than seven out of 10 18-39-year olds still live with their parents. It's so bad that suggestions have been made that Italy needs a new law to force grown-up children to leave their parents' home. They've even got a name for them - bamboccioni - or "big babies". This all came to a head recently when a judge ordered a father to carry on paying a living allowance to his 32-year-old live-in daughter. I thought when I first read this that she might be retarded, in which case, fair does, but seemingly she graduated 8 years ago. I guess she knows she's got a cushy gig, I can only hope she supports her dad as he ages.)

Source: BBC News

Interesting Fact # 1237 - The Internet

France and Germany have issued warnings to web users to find an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) in order to protect security.

(A recent attack on Google exploited the vulnerability in IE6, but now the malicious code, which has been implicated in those attacks, has been published online, so it's only a matter of time before other versions of IE are exploited too. What I want to know is, why was Google using IE? Oh I know why, it's because Chrome keeps reporting sites as unavailable (even their own) although I guess that's really good security.)

Interesting Fact - Drugs

More cannabis is grown in Scotland than vegetables.

(Every year up to £100m of cannabis is grown in Scotland. Of the 111 cannabis farms discovered 100% were in domestic properties and 94% of those were in the buy-to-let market. Personally I prefer carrots.)

Interesting Fact # 1235 - Wine

According to an investigation carried out by BBC Scotland, Buckfast Tonic Wine was mentioned in 5,638 crime reports in Strathclyde from 2006-2009.

(One in 10 of those offences were violent and the bottle was used as a weapon 114 times. The investigation looked at its ingredients and how it may affect the behaviour of consumers. Neuroscientist Dr Steven Alexander from Nottingham University said each bottle contained 281mg of caffeine - the same amount as eight cans of coke. What makes all this really interesting though is that the tonic wine is produced by Benedictine monks in a Devon monastery. My granny used to drink it, but she never bottled anyone.)

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Interesting Fact # 1234 - The Internet

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), the number of Internet users in China, already the largest in the world, rose to 384 million by the end of 2009.

(So instead of singing "There are nine million bicycles in Beijing, That's a fact,
It's a thing we can't deny ", we should be singing "There are 384 million internet users in China, That's a fact, It's a thing we can't deny".)

Interesting Place #124 - Afghanistan

According to the UN 93% of the world's opium is grown in Afghanistan.

(According to their annual report, in 2009, opium cultivation in Afghanistan decreased by 22%, from 157,000 hectares(ha)in 2008 to 123,000 ha. The whole of the UK is 24 million hectares. With 93% of production coming from one country I'm surprised the monopolies commission hasn't got involved.)

Interesting Fact # 1233 - Drugs

According to the UN's annual drug report global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or declining.

(This is maybe one of the best results of the recession. Less spare cash = less misery and suffering around the world to fuel an evil demand.)

Interesting Fact # 1232 - Health

According to research published in "Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association," each hour spent in front of the TV daily increases the risk of dying earlier from cardiovascular disease CVD).

(The researchers found that every hour in front of the TV is associated with an 11 percent increased risk of death from all causes, a 9 percent higher risk of cancer death, and an 18 percent increased risk of CVD related death. I would think that sitting in front of computers blogging interesting facts probably has the same effect, so I'm going out for a walk now.)

Interesting Fact # 1231 - Health

According to research published in the International Journal of Obesity, carrying extra weight on your hips, bum and thighs is good for your health.

(Fat in these areas protect against heart and metabolic problems. For example, slower burning hip fat makes more of the hormone adiponectin that protects the arteries and promotes better blood sugar control and, believe it or not, fat burning. J Lo should be very happy.)

Interesting Fact # 1230 - UK Universities - Podcast

According to a survey for the technology firm Olympus, university students in the UK have average attention spans of just 10 minutes.

(Seemingly the average length of time a student can concentrate in lectures is around 10 minutes. A third of students blamed lack of sleep and being overworked for this, as many students are forced to take up part-time work. The student bar doesn't help either.)

Interesting Fact - Language

According to a survey by The Dante Alighieri Society in Italy, the following English words are the least popular when used instead of Italian:-

weekend 11%
OK 10%
welfare 8%
briefing 5%
mission 4%
location, bookshop, devolution 3%
computer, know-how, privacy, shopping 2%

(So what's wrong with these words? Seemingly they're just not Italian enough. Well of course they're not - they're English! But then quid pro quo, we've been speaking bits of Italian for centuries, ever since they invaded us (The Romans).)

Interesting Fact - The Post

According to a study by customer watchdog Consumer Focus, UK householders expecting a package are routinely left 'Sorry you were out' cards without so much as a knock on the door.

(More than half of customers - 55 per cent - claim to have received one of the cards despite being at home when the postman called and nearly a quarter - 23 per cent - say that this has happened at least three times in the past year. But who is at fault? The postman/woman, or the people who set unrealistic targets for mail delivery?)

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Interesting Fact - Australian Exports

After coal and iron ore, education is Australia's third largest export.

(International students are worth $13bn (£8.1bn) to the Australian economy each year. This position is now at risk though, with a rise in attacks on international students in Melbourne and Sydney, and the recent murder of an Indian student, the number of applications is down.)

Interesting Place # 123 - Velikaya Kopanya

There are 58 pairs of twins in Velikaya Kopanya - a village of only 4,000 people.

(The most recent statistics, part of a 2004 study by the National Centre for Health Statistics show that twins represent 32.21 of every 1,000 births. So Velikaya Kopanya is a statistical anomaly. The locals say it's the water, which has a reputation for being near-miraculous. And it's not just the locals that believe this, many people from neighbouring towns visit to collect water and there are always a number of vans and cars parked by the foot of the mountain. If it guarantees that you have twins, I would avoid it like the plague.)

Interesting Fact # 1229 - Film Records

Avatar has become the fastest movie ever to achieve $1bn (£625.6m) in ticket sales around the world.

(Distributors 20th Century Fox say it has earned more than $350m (£217m) in the US alone, and more than $670m (£415m) in the rest of the world. That's in only 17 days. I haven't been to see it yet, I'm waiting for the hype to blow over.)

Interesting Fact # 1228 - Coldest Temperature in the UK - Podcast

The coldest recorded temperature in the UK is -27.2° C. It was recorded three times in Scotland, twice in Braemar, 11 February 1895 and 10 January 1982 and once in Altnaharra on 30 December 1995.

(The coldest recorded temperature in England so far, was -26.1° C, 10 January 1982 in Shawbury Shropshire. Brrrr!)

Interesting Fact # 1227 - Recycling vs Reincarnation

About half of all crematoria in Britain are members of a recycling scheme, promoted by the trade "body", the Institute for Cemetery and Crematorium Management.

(Basically any metal that remains after the cremation, is sorted into wheelie bins and collected twice a year. Proceeds from the recycling are donated to charity. The logical conclusion of this is that eventually we'll simply be chucked directly into the wheelie bin and rolled down to the recycling centre, thus cutting out the middle man.)

Interesting Fact # 1226 - VAT

On 1 January 2010 VAT in the UK will rise from 15% to 17.5%.

(The standard rate of VAT was temporarily reduced to 15% on 1 December 2008 and will return to the previous level of 17.5% after 1 January 2010. Happy New Year!)