Showing posts from April, 2010

Interesting Food - Sausages

Eating sausages, or other processed meat products like bacon, increases the risk of heart disease.

(A team of researchers at Harvard University found that just 50g of processed meat a day increases the risk of diabetes. Unprocessed meat doesn't carry the same risk. So remember: "A sausage a day, doesn't keep the doctor away".)

Interesting Fact - Science

The smallest man made pump is the size of a human red blood cell.

(A team of American and Chinese researchers have created tunnels in glass rods that are thinner than a human hair, these conduct electricity and power the teeny weeny fluid pump. The only problem is, I'm not sure what use it is.)

Interesting People - Sachin Tendulkar

India's record-breaking batsman Sachin Tendulkar has had a new variety of mango named after him.

(Farmer Kalimullah Khan has created a hybrid version of the mango and has named it Sachin, in honour of his cricketing hero.

It's a nice gesture, but I can't get the image of Tom Cruise yelling "Show me the money!" out of my head.)

Full story here:-

Interesting Fact - Spamming

According to WebProWorld the USA is responsible for the most spamming.

(Here's a list of the worst culprits:-

Here's a list of the countries who were responsible for the most spam between January-March 2010.

1. USA 13.1%
2. India 7.3%
3. Brazil 6.8%
4. S Korea 4.8%
5. Vietnam 3.4%
6. Germany 3.2%
7. United Kingdom 3.1%
8. Russia 3.1%
9. Italy 3.1%
10. France 3.0%
11. Romania 2.5%
12. Poland 2.4%
Others 47.3%

Well to me it looks like The Others are the worst offenders.)

Interesting Fact - Floppy Disks

Sony has said it will stop selling floppy disks in Japan from March 2011.

(Strangely they are still sold in their millions, but no one is quite sure who's buying them. Maybe people with really old computers.)

Interesting Word - Digerati

The word digerati (or digiterati) is used to describe the elite of the computer industry and online communities.

(It's a combination of the words "digital" (data technology that uses discrete 'discontinuous' values) and "literati" (well-educated, literary people or intellectuals who are interested in literature). I'm interested in computing and literature, so does that make me me a litidigiterati?)

Interesting Place - Dusseldorf

According to Deutsche Welle, Dusseldorf in Germany is home to more than 730,000 square meters of green roofs.

(That's around 100 football fields spread over some 1,700 buildings. Far prettier than tarmac too.)

Interesting Fact - Beer

The German hop harvest in 2009 was 31,300 tonnes.

(Three quarters was exported. No wonder many bottles of beer in Germany have "hopfen und malz gott erhalt's" printed on the label, it means God protect hops and malt."


Today is World Book Day.

Interesting Fact # 1299 - The Largest Atlas in the World

The largest atlas in the world is the 350-year-old Klencke atlas at the British Library.

(It measures 5ft 10in (1.78m)high and 3ft 5in (1.05m) wide and 4in (11cm) thick. It takes six people to lift it. It was presented to Charles II on his restoration and is now 350 years old. It will be displayed for the first time as one of the stars of the British Library's big summer exhibition of maps.)

Interesting Fact - Mount Everest

A team of mountaineers are aiming to retrieve the bodies of climbers who have lost their lives on Mount Everest and to clean up decades of old rubbish from the mountain in what is being called the world's highest ever clean-up campaign; Extreme Everest Expedition 2010. The team are hoping to bring five bodies down from the summit, including the body of a Swiss climber who died in the mountain in 2008, whom, with the family's permission, they plan to cremate on the mountain.

(Since 1953, when New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepal's Tenzing Norgay Sherpa were the first to climb Mount Everest's summit, more than 4,000 climbers have scaled the mountain. So, the team will be picking up empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, torn tents, ropes, and utensils that have been left lying between the South Col and the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit. I hope it all goes well.)

Interesting Place - Mount Everest

Around 300 people have died along a perilous stretch of the world's highest peak known as the "death zone".

(As many as 150 of the bodies are still on the mountainside, beyond the reach of recovery because of treacherous climbing conditions and lack of oxygen.)

Interesting Fact #1297 - Internet Security

During 2009 Symantec identified almost 2.9 million items of malicious code.

(51% of all viruses, trojans and other malicious programs Symantec has ever seen were logged during 2009. 2009 - the year of the hacker.)

Interesting Fact #1296 - Drugs

In the UK, it is now illegal to sell and possess the class B drugs mephedrone and other related substances, previously known as legal highs.

(It is now a class B drug in the UK, and so there will be a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, an unlimited fine for possession and 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine for supply. Slang names for the drug include meph, MC, MCAT, m-cat, 4-MMC, meow meow, bubbles, bounce, charge, drone and white magic. Of course people who don't care what they put in their bodies as long as they feel better about themselves for a few minutes will still buy it, it will just cost them more.)

Interesting Fact - Universities

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, more than a fifth of UK University students fail to finish their degrees.

(But it seems to depend on the university. The study showed that 45.4 per cent of Bolton University students failed to finish their studies, and at London Metropolitan University, the figure was 44.4 per cent, but at Oxford University, only 3.6 per cent failed to complete the course they started. Why don't you finish what you started? Hmm I feel a song coming on.)


Interesting People - Tom Jones

For 47 years Tom Jones has been banned from the tiny Welsh village of Fochriw (careful how you say that).

(His crime? Allegedly stealing a chicken. Len Davies, 80, who was there at the time said, "There was a fight and then the chicken had gone. Tom got the blame – but nobody really knows." The ban has now been lifted, but it's a great mystery. Who stole the chicken?)

Full story here:

Interesting Place # 135 - Eyjafjallajokull

Before the recent eruptions, the last time the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier exploded was between 1821 and 1823.

(It also erupted in 920 and 1612. Of course back then there were no airports to shut.)

Interesting Fact #1294 - Volcanoes

There are about 1,510 'active' volcanoes in the world.

(Over half of them are in a belt around the Pacific Ocean called the Ring of Fire. Reminds me of a Johnny Cash song.)

Interesting Fact - Makeup

Any substance that measures less than 100 nanometers (one tenth of a micrometer) in at least one dimension can be considered a nanomaterial.

(You might think it is all science fiction, but you'd be wrong, synthetic nanomaterials can be found in cosmetics like sunscreen and make-up and, are added to food, to extend shelf life. Which means you probably have some inside you as you read this.)

Interesting Fact #1292 - Prisons in the UK

In England and Wales about 147 people per 100,000 are in prison.

(Nowhere in Western Europe imprisons more of its population than that. Maybe they'll turn it into a new event for the 2012 Olympics.)

Interesting Fact - Age of consent

The age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual relations.

(At the time of writing this, in the USA the federal age of consent is 16, but in some states children can marry as young as 14 provided they have the agreement of their parents and a judge. In the UK you can join the army at the age of 16, but if you want to marry you need your parents' consent. In Pakistan the age of consent for sexual activity is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, although girls can marry at 14. In Argentina it's 15, in Canada, and Hungary it's 14, in Peru and Colombia it's 14 for boys, and 12 for girls. In India it's 18 and in Tunisia it's 20. In some countries the age of consent is - married. I have deliberately used the terms, children, and boy and girl, because there's no way I could refer to any 12, 14 or 16 year old as a woman or a man.)

Interesting Fact #1290 - World's Strongest Beer - Podcast

A Scottish microbrewery called BrewDog has created the strongest beer in the world.

(It is called “Tactical Nuclear Penguin” and at 32% beats the previous "strongest beer" record set by German beer Schorschbräu which had 31% of alcohol in it. I'm not sure why people think they have to keep doing this, unless it's simply to get into the record books. Guys, stop and think - just because you can, doesn't mean you should.)

Interesting Fact # 1289 - Drinking

According to research firm Mintel the amount of alcohol consumed per person in the UK has risen by 10% since 2000.

(However drink sales haven't changed. So, how come we're drinking more alcohol? The problem is wines and lagers are much stronger than they used to be. The alcohol content of wine is often around 13%, in the past it would have been around 11% and premium 5% lagers have become more popular.)

Interesting Fact # 1288 - Drinking

According to the Department of Health in the UK, when we're on holiday we consume around eight alcoholic drinks a day.

(That's around 80 drinks over the course of an average holiday, well over 200 units of alcohol. I only drink 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and only at the weekend. I can only think someone must be taking up my slack.)

Interesting Word # 99 - Phenology

Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.

(Not to be confused (as I did) with Phrenology - A pseudoscience that hypothesises that the personality traits of a person can be derived from the shape of the skull. With that in mind imagine reading the following sentence:-

"The phenology of the blackcurrant leaf midge."

I imagined people studying the lumps on a leaf midge's head to figure out its personality!)

Interesting Word - Scrabble

Scrabble has announced that under new rules, proper nouns will be allowed in the game.

(To date the rules have been clear, place names, people's names and the names of companies or brands don't count. But now a whole new world (literally) of opportunity has opened up.

I can imagine the new arguments that will arise on spelling, and validity.   We need a proper nouns dictionary.)

Interesting People - Easter Fact - Albert F Storz

Albert F Storz patented chocolate Easter bunnies in the USA on May 3, 1960.

(The patent, number 187838, lasted 14 years. You can view it here.)

Interesting Food - Easter Fact - The Easter Bunny

The first edible Easter bunnies were made in Germany in the early 1880s.

(They were not made of chocolate; they were baked pastry bunnies.)

Interesting Fact - Easter Fact - Passion Plays

Any man who wants to take part in the Oberammergau Passion Play is not allowed to visit the barber for more than a year before the premiere.

(No stick-on beards allowed.)

Interesting Place - Easter Fact - Oberammergau

Every ten years the people of Oberammergau stage a monumental passion play.

(A passion play depicts the Passion of Christ: the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ. It is a traditional part of Lent and Easter. The tradition in Oberammergau, started 377 years ago, during an outbreak of the bubonic plague. The residents made a vow to God that if he spared them they would give thanks by staging a passion play once every ten years. Centuries later, and the people of Oberammergau are still honouring their pledge. The passion play will be performed between May and October during 2010.)

Interesting Food - Breakfast

According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity a fried breakfast of sausages, eggs, bacon, beans, mushrooms, black pudding and tomatoes is a healthier way to start the day than a bowl of cereal.

(I know you're thinking "April Fool", but the theory is that a fatty breakfast will help you stop snacking during the day and you will eat less at night.

 Now where did I put that plate of bacon and eggs?)