Showing posts from May, 2010

Interesting Fact - First Impressions

According to new research by Glasgow-based Go Group, the speed of your smile can have an impact on the first impressions created in others.

(Smiling too quickly can lead others to think that you are insincere, but slow grins appear more genuine. So, the Cheshire Cat had it spot on.)

Interesting Words - Floccinaucinihilipilification:

Floccinaucinihilipilification is used (or not) to describe something as worthless.

(So, you could say that floccinaucinihilipilification is a perfect example of floccinaucinihilipilification.)

Interesting Fact - Language

According to Dr Enlli Thomas, there is evidence that being bilingual "may provide protection against age-related memory loss".

(Language processing is one of the most complex activities that our brains carry out and the ability to be able to speak, listen, and think in two languages and of using two languages on a daily basis may help protect against the decline in the brain's abilities when ageing. I can only hope they're right, and that I didn't start learning German too late.)

Interesting Fact - Space

According to a Pentagon report, there is so much junk whizzing around Earth that any collision in space could now cause a knock-on effect that would destroy vital satellites.

(A crash between a satellite and a hunk of space junk could send thousands of pieces of debris spinning around, which could destroy other satellites. This was illustrated in a major crash in 2009 between a U.S. communications satellite and a defunct Russian military probe over Siberia. That one collision at speeds of at least 15,000mph created a cloud of 1,500 pieces of space junk, and a Chinese missile test in 2007 left 150,000 pieces of junk in the atmosphere.

The latest efforts being made up there include two spacecraft that are about to begin an unusual waltz above the Pacific Ocean to try to evade interference from a third, failed satellite; Intelsat's Galaxy-15 platform in April.)


Interesting Fact - The Internet

According to Google Ad Planner, is visited monthly by 540 million people, or slightly more than 35 percent of the Internet population.

(This makes Facebook king of the Internet, followed, not so closely by, which gets a measly 490 million visitors per month. It all makes me feel so small and insignificant.)

Interesting Food - Cheese (Make sure you're not eating before you read this)

Casu marzu (also called casu modde, casu cundhídu in Sardinian dialects, or in Italian formaggio marcio) is a traditional Sardinian sheep's milk cheese. But, I hear you asking, what makes it interesting? Well it's notable for being riddled with maggots.

(It's name literally means "rotten cheese" in Sardinian, and the cheese is known colloquially as maggot cheese. Derived from Pecorino, Casu marzu goes beyond typical fermentation to a stage most would consider rotten. This decomposition is brought about by the digestive action of the larvae of the cheese fly Piophila casei. The larvae are deliberately introduced to the cheese, promoting an advanced level of fermentation and breaking down of the cheese's fats. The texture of the cheese becomes very soft - well it would, wouldn't it - with some liquid (called lagrima, from the Sardinian for "tears") seeping out. The larvae themselves appear as translucent white worms, about 8 millimetres (0.3…

Interesting Food - Chips

Britain has been named the chip capital of the world, with 16 different kinds of chips on offer (not to be confused with crisps, or Intel).

(A survey by Tesco found 16 chip types, and 13 regional preferences. They included:

Homestyle - oven chips that go crispy
Home fries - chunky chips with a fluffy texture
Steakhouse - long and straight.
Rustic - with the skin on one side
Holden fries - with a crispy turmeric and paprika coating
Frying chips - small and thin

Then there are: crinkle home fries, chunky oven, crinkle oven, straight cut oven, thin & crispy oven, crispy French fries, chunky homefries, beer battered, curly fries and low fat oven.


Interesting Food - Beer

Czechs top the world league tables on beer drinking.

(Czechs consume more beer per person than people in any other country. Men consume on average 3.1 litres of beer each week with women drinking on average 0.3 litres per week. Come on ladies! You're letting the side down.)

Interesting Fact - Beer Bellies

According to researchers in Britain and the Czech Republic, there is no such thing as a "beer belly".

(Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they said they had found no link between the amount of beer people drank and the size of their stomachs. Good news for the previous post then.)

Interesting Food - Guinness

According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, a pint of Guinness every day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

(Guinness used to use the slogan, "Guinness is Good for You", but were told to stop using it decades ago as there was no medical proof. Now perhaps they could bring it back. Of course we'll all end up alcoholics with beer guts, but at least our hearts will be healthy.)

Interesting Fact - Olympic Facts - The London 2012 mascots

Two alien-like creatures called Wenlock and Mandeville have been chosen as the mascots for the London 2012 Games.

(They are bug eyed and a bit scary. I think the PTB are preparing us for an alien invasion.)

Interesting Place - Japan - Isesake

In the Japanese town of Isesaki the local government banned employees from growing beards.

(The facial hair ban is believed to be the first of its kind in Japan. Funnily it's part of a 'Cool Biz' casual office dress code, which allows male staff to work without jackets and ties in summer in order to cut down on air-conditioning and reduce global warming. I guess they figure beards make your face too warm.)

Full Story:

Interesting Fact - Books

A library book borrowed by the first U.S. president, George Washington, has been returned to New York City's oldest library, 221 years late.

(I'm so glad I won't be paying that particular fine.)

Interesting Fact - Money

German regulators have banned the naked short-selling of shares.

(Now this doesn't mean traders have to put clothes on (if they want a go to work naked day they can still do that). According to Wikipedia, naked short selling, or naked shorting, is the practice of short-selling stocks and shares without first borrowing the security or ensuring that the security can be borrowed, as is conventionally done in a short sale. When the seller does not obtain the shares within the required time frame, the result is known as a "fail to deliver". The transaction generally remains open until the shares are acquired by the seller, or the seller's broker, allowing the trade to be settled. Naked short selling can be used to fraudulently manipulate the price of securities by driving their price down, and its use in this way is illegal.[2] However, the practice is considered benign under certain circumstances, such as trading by market makers. As soon as the announcement was made…

Interesting Place - Tokyo

A humanoid robot has conducted a wedding ceremony in Tokyo.

(The happy couple Tomohiro and Satoko Shibata had their ceremony in a rooftop garden restaurant in Tokyo's Hibiya area, where The four-foot tall wedding-machine, called the i-Fairy, officiated. The robot was built by Kokoro, a subsidiary of Sanrio, the company that created that cute cat Hello Kitty. It's all very clever guys, but I'm still waiting for a robot that will do the housework for me.)

Interesting Fact - YouTube

YouTube has been going for 5 years.

(It now gets more than 2 billion hits a day. Happy birthday YouTube.)

Interesting Word - Siphon

A Queensland University of Technology physics lecturer has found a 99-year-old mistake in the Oxford English Dictionary.

(Dr Stephen Hughes said he discovered last year that the dictionary's definition of the word siphon was incorrect. A siphon is a tube commonly used to empty containers of liquid that are otherwise difficult or impossible to empty. Since 1911 the Oxford English Dictionary had incorrectly stated that atmospheric pressure was the operating force in a siphon when in fact it is gravity. The incorrect entry is being corrected as I type.)

Interesting Fact - Volcanoes

An online shop,, is selling 160-gram (five-and-a-half ounce) jars of ash from the Eyjafjpoll volcano.

(The ash costs €23.80 ($29.90), but the good news is all the proceeds are going to a charity that supports Iceland's search and rescue services.)

Interesting Fact - The weather

Nineteen percent of Brits over 65 questioned in a survey by ICM believe they can predict the weather as well as a professional weatherman.

(It's the aching bones that do it.)

Interesting Fact - The weather

According to a survey by ICM, Britons spend six months of their lives discussing the weather.

(Britons talk about the weather for about 49 hours every year and the subject comes up more often than work, TV, sport or gossip. Now my visitors might understand why I run the "Let's Talk about the Weather" thread on the forum.)

Interesting Fact - Divorce

According to research by research by the London School of Economics (LSE), divorce rates in the UK are lower in families where husbands help out with the housework, shopping and childcare.

(The study found that the lowest-risk combination is one in which the mother does not work and the father engages in the highest level of housework and childcare. Basically - keep your wife happy.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to a survey by Sandler Training in the USA, the prospect of making cold calls for a week as a salesperson is more unappealing than giving up sex for a month.

(Only having root canal work was deemed worse than making sales calls to businesses people did not know. From five options presented, one-third of the people said having root canal work was the worst, followed by cold calling at 23 percent and giving up sex for a month at 18 percent. Other results were, 15 percent picked being a surprise guest on a reality television show and 13 percent chose speaking in front of an audience.)

Interesting Fact - Money

Greece has been given a €110 billion ($136bn; £94bn) to help it overcome its debt crisis.

(Europe's Finance Ministers have also approved a comprehensive rescue package worth almost a trillion dollars aimed at ensuring financial stability across Europe. The whole world seems to be in debt, which means no one really owes anything. Let's rip it up and start again.)

Interesting Animal - Ants

According to researchers at Bristol University in the UK, ants are ‘better than humans’ when it comes to choosing a new home.

(The ants were given a choice between two nests, one of which was superior to the other in its construction. The scientists noted that the ants chose the superior nest even though it was nine times further away than the alternative. It's all very clever, but what the scientists failed to figure in is the ants were never presented with a mortgage to pay at the end of the month.)

Interesting Fact - Telecommunications

Nordic telecoms operator TeliaSonera has opened the first mobile phone network in the world to use faster LTE wireless technology – otherwise known as 4G.

(LTE (Long Term Evolution) is 10 times faster than current networks for things like looking at internet pages and able to support more users. They are up and running in Oslo and Stockholm. Having just returned from the UK, where the only place I found free WiFi was in a pub in Derbyshire, I'm very jealous.)

Source - Euronews

Interesting Fact - E-books

France and Germany, impose higher VAT for electronic books than for paper ones!

(It's bad enough that they have VAT on books at all. Basically - if it moves, tax it, if it doesn't move, tax it higher because it can't run away.)

Interesting Fact - E-books

To date only 2.5% of published books are available in digital format in Germany.

(The digitising of books here is in its infancy. It's no wonder not many people are buying e-readers.)

Interesting Fact - News

According to a survey by Ofcom (The Office of Communications) in 2009, radio is the most trusted source of news in the UK.

(66% of people considered news reports on the radio to be reliable compared with 58% for news websites, 54% for TV and just 34% for newspapers. If you've ever read a British newspaper, you'll understand why they rate so badly.)

Interesting Place - Greece

According to data from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), in 2008 the Greek economy was the twenty-seventh largest in the world by GDP (gross domestic product).

(It had the 22nd highest standard of living in the world. The public sector accounted for about 40% of GDP. The service sector contributed 75.8% of the total GDP, industry 20.8% and agriculture 3.4%. It was the twenty-fourth most globalized country in the world and classified as a high income economy. I'm not sure what the IMF rates it now.)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

According the the UK Online Measurement company (UKOM) British web surfers are spending 65% more of their time online than they did 3 years ago.

(Your average surfer in the UK spends 22 hours and 15 minutes on the net each month. All I can say is "lightweights".)

Interesting Fact - News

The British Library is going to make 40 million pages of newspaper archives available online.

(300 years of journalism will be put on the web by the publisher BrightSolid. Users at the main library at St Pancras will be able to use the material freely. That sound ominously that the rest of us will have to pay. They really don't get the point of the net, do they.)