Showing posts from March, 2010

Interesting Fact # 1285 - Teachers

According to the ATL, teachers nowadays receive presents as high-end as Tiffany bracelets and Test match tickets.

(A survey revealed that some teachers had receive gifts like Mulberry handbags, theatre vouchers, champagne and very strangely a brace of pheasants. What's wrong with an apple?)

Interesting Food # 57 - Chillies

The Indian military is going to use the world's hottest chilli as a new weapon in the fight against terrorism.

(The thumb-sized "bhut jolokia", which is usually used to cure stomach troubles, will be employed to pepper suspects with the tear gas-like grenades. Of course London's Thai Cottage sparked a terror alert that led police to break down the restaurant's door when it dry cooked a pot of bird's eye chillies. )

Interesting Place # 133 - Germany

According to Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen, Germany got more than 10 percent of its energy in 2009 from renewable sources.

(The sources include, the renewable sources included biomass, geo-thermal, hydro-electric, solar and wind power. The goal is to make that 18 percent by 2020.)

Interesting Fact # 1284 - Facebook

According to Ofcom's annual Children's Media Literacy Audit, one in five children between eight and 12 years old ignores age restrictions to use Facebook.

(That's shocking! Do you mean that children ignore age restrictions! My goodness they'll be trying to get into pubs next.)

Interesting Food # 56 - Chillies

Bhut jolokia - also known as "ghost chilli" is the world's hottest chilli.

(They are over 125,000-times spicier than a jalapeno. On the Scoville scale, the scientific measurement of a chilli's spiciness, it measured more than 1,000,000 Scoville units: Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.)

Interesting Fact - Tipping

A study into tipping etiquette by TripAdvisor revealed that three-quarters of Britons don't research tipping customs before holidaying abroad.

(As a result, 15% said they had been confronted by staff for not leaving a tip and 6% said their holiday had been ruined because of this type of experience. Leave a tip, then you won't get into trouble, I can't imagine anyone complaining because you've left a tip.)

Interesting Fact # 1282 - Tipping

A new study by TripAdvisor has revealed that Spanish tourists are the least generous when it comes to tipping on holiday.

(80% of Spanish travellers questioned said that they did not always tip when they visited other countries.

They were closely followed by 78% of Italians and 76% of French, while 57% of British people surveyed said that they didn't always reward service staff.

I worked as a waitress once, so I usually tip, but not if the service was really bad.)

Interesting Fact # 1281 - Forests

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the world's net rate of forest loss has slowed markedly in the last decade, with less logging in the Amazon and China planting trees on a massive scale.

(But (there's always a but) the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 finds the loss of tree cover is most acute in Africa and South America. Still, wWay to go China! You get knocked a lot, so praise where praise is due. Please plant lots of different trees, not just money-making ones.)

Interesting Fact # 1280 - X-Rays

According to research published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, X-rays fail to spot up to nearly a third of fractures in the bones of the hip and pelvis, research suggests.

(When US doctors from Duke University re-checked the X-ray results of 92 patients using a more detailed scanner, called an MRI, they found 35 fractures that had been missed. Eek! That's a scary thought.)

Interesting Fact # 1279 - Schools in England

According to statistics from the Department for Children Schools and Families, the truancy rate for schools in England has risen to the highest level ever recorded.

(In my day you had the truancy officer, and we didn't have computers and TVs in our bedrooms. Home was pretty boring, so you'd rather be at school.)

Interesting Fact # 1278 - Photography

The first photograph was taken in 1814 by by French scientist and inventor Nicephore Niepce (pronounced Nee-ps).

(He used a Camera Obscura, but it needed eight hours of light exposure and even then the resulting photograph was not permanent, it faded to black in daylight. Maybe that's what Metallica were singing about.)

Interesting Fact # 1277 - Seasons

The vernal equinox occurs on March 20 or 21 each year and signals the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

(It is also the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn, in the Southern Hemisphere. The world in balance.)

Interesting Fact - Clothes

Britain has been voted the worst dressed country in Europe.

(Yes, 40% of the people polled by Microsoft's price comparison site Ciao thought that Britain was the worst dressed nation, and Germany came second in the league of shame at 33 per cent. Fifteen per cent said the Spanish were least fashionable and 6 per cent chose the French. With a mere 3 per cent saying the Italians were the worst dressed. Personally I dislike any obsessive occupation with looking good all the time. Life's too short to worry about it.)

Interesting Animal - Monkeys

Scientists at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, say that monkeys learn more from females.

(The monkeys were better able to learn a task when it was demonstrated by a female, who in monkey society are core group members with higher social status than males. Quite right too.)

Full story here:

Interesting Fact # 1275 - Physics

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have created a "quantum state" in the largest object yet.

(Seemingly this means an object is in two places at once. If anyone would like to read the full article on the BBC and then come back here to explain how this is possible, please do, because my brain is about to explode and then it will be in many places at once.)

Full story here:

Interesting Fact # 1274 - Bacteria

Scientists at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA, have discovered that the bacteria on our hands is different for each individual.

(They took swabs from keyboards and were able to match the bacteria they found their to the computer owners. They say that the results could be used in forensic identification, in the same way as DNA. And don't think you can escape with a quick scrub, even scrupulously clean people have about 150 different species of bacteria on their hands. I always knew we had evolved as a complex bug carrier.)

Interesting Fact - The UK's Least Welcoming Cities

According to research by Jurys Inn to mark the start of British Tourism Week, the UK's least welcoming cities are:-

1. London
2. Glasgow
3. Bradford
4. Birmingham
5. Liverpool
6. Manchester
7. Aberdeen
8. Wolverhampton
9. Belfast
10. Leeds

(No surprises at number 1, but I have to say I found Glasgow friendlier than Edinburgh.)

Interesting Fact # 1272 - The UK's Most Welcoming Cities

According to research by Jurys Inn to mark the start of British Tourism Week, the UK's most welcoming cities are:-

1. Southampton
2. Norwich
3. Exeter
4. Brighton
5. Plymouth
6. York
7. Oxford
8. Nottingham
9. Derby
10. Portsmouth

(See the next post for the most unwelcoming cities - guess which was top.)

Interesting Place # 132 - Berlin

In Berlin children may now officially make a noise Monday to Saturday, 0900 to 1900.

(I'm not joking. Berlin's local government, the senate, has passed a law giving children the right to be noisy, the first law of its kind in Germany, but they will still have to respect the official quiet time at night and all day Sunday.)

Interesting Fact # 1271 - 3D Films

People with a lazy eye or some other eye conditions will not be able to get the full effect of 3D films.

(In order to enjoy a 3D film, your eyes need to work equally well, and work well together. If your eyes don't work together you're stuffed. Me? I'm stuffed.)

Interesting Fact # 1270 - The Nobel Peace Prize - Podcast

Nominations for a Nobel Peace Prize can be put forward by former laureates, members of national governments and select university professors.

(Seemingly a few other people can nominate someone, but not many. It's a real "insiders club". I wonder who has the power to nominate someone for the ignoble awards - I would suggest - former losers of the Nobel awards, and members of the public, but only if they haven't been to university.)

Interesting Fact # 1269 - The Internet

The internet has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

(It's been nominated for helping advance "dialogue, debate and consensus". If it wins, I'm not sure who will walk to the podium to accept the prize.)

Interesting Fact # 1268 - Crime

An MP's report by the Home Affairs Select Committee, says that one in every 1,300 crimes solved by police is due to the UK's DNA database.

(That's a mere 0.3%. People who watch TV shows like Crimewatch, Waking the Dead and Cold Case, will be very disappointed.)

Interesting Fact # 1267 - Women in the Media

On British TV, women are outnumbered by men two to one.

(A study carried out for International Women's Day, found that more than three-quarters of contributors to news programmes were men, but soaps were more equal, women occupy 50% of the roles. I've always known that soaps are more accurate than the news. If you want to know what's really happening in the world watch Coronation Street or EastEnders.)

Source: BBC News

Interesting Fact # 1266 - Chilean Earthquake

According to geophysicists at the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Colorado, Chile could be feeling aftershocks from the devastating 8.8-magnitude earthquake for months and possibly years to come.

(There have already been more than 200 aftershocks since the monster quake struck on Feb 28th.)

Interesting Fact # 1265 - English Schools - Podcast

According to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, there are 793,000 empty places in England's schools.

(There are 3.4 million secondary school places, 310,000 of which are unfilled, and out of a total of 4.2 million primary school places, there are 483,000 surplus places. Although I have to say, it is a bit late for me to anything about it!)

Interesting Place - Finland

In Finland there are two classes of driving licence. An A class licence and a B class licence.

(To get a B class licence you need 30 hours of instructed driving, which has to include a session on a skid pan. I guess this must be because you often have to drive in icy conditions. I doubt I would have passed my test first time if I'd had to do any skid pan training.

Seemingly the B license is issued for two years. During this time, the newly qualified driver may receive a maximum of two traffic fines in total. If the number of fines is exceeded, the license is revoked and the driver is required to re-take the exam. Even with one fine, the interim period may be extended for a maximum of two years. During the interim period, the new driver must pass a short refresher course, which includes another skid pan course, and they have to take part in dark time driving training, but Finnish lighting conditions prevent the dark time training during summer. You can't fight nature.)

Interesting Fact # 1264 - Money

According to the Financial Times £2.5bn gross (£1.5bn net)will be raised by the super-tax on bank bonuses in the UK.

(Of course bankers are furious at the 50 per cent super-tax. The first £25,000 of bonuses is exempt, so a lot of banks have reduced bonuses to this amount, with the "understanding" that employees will be "seen all right" later, when this annoying tax is out of the way. Personally I think the tax should stay in place until every penny of taxpayer's money that was used to bail out the banks has been paid back.)

Interesting Fact # 1263 - Noses

A study at the University of Bath has identified 6 kinds of noses: Roman / Greek / Nubian / hawk / snub and turned-up.

(They scanned the noses in 3D and characterised them by tip, ridge profile and the nasion (area between the eyes). They have said that nose profiling could be useful for identification in covert surveillance. Follow that nose!)

Interesting Animal # 114 - The Swift

The bird, the common swift (apus apus) has been recorded flying at a speed of 69.3mph (111.6km/h).

(This wasn't just swooping and stooping, seemingly it flies at this speed horizontally and upwards. The record speeds were measured during bouts of mating, which are called "screaming parties". Hmm I've been to a few of those.)

Interesting Fact # 1262 - Sport

The Scottish football team's manager, Craig Levein, has banned the Scottish team from drinking alcohol while they are on international duty.

(It all stems from Scotland's failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, and of course wasn't helped by former captain Barry Ferguson and Rangers keeper Allan McGregor being banned from international duty following an all-night drinking session between two World Cup qualifiers. The team reckons they won't have a problem complying with this new rule, but only time will tell.)