Showing posts from June, 2010

Interesting People - Napoleon

A lock of hair from former French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold for more than £8,600 (US$13,000) at an auction in New Zealand.

(I have one question: "How far along are we in cloning technology?" One short little man in charge of France is enough.)

Interesting Place - Shakenhurst Hall

Shakenhurst Hall, a 1,300 acre estate at Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, in England is up for sale for the first time in over 1,000 years.

(It was it was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. It's got its own lake and landscaped parkland, as well as shooting and fishing rights. But, before you pop down to your local estate agent, the price tag is an amazing £12m!)

Interesting Fact - Censorship

The Pakistani government has announced it's going to monitor the internet for 'blasphemous' content

(My goodness they're going to be busy. I remember the good old days, when a simple bolt of lightning, or a plague of frogs was considered ample. I guess they figure they need to lend a helping hand, or maybe they think God isn't being proactive enough, which in itself is a bit blasphemous really.)

Interesting Fact - World Cup Fact - Matches played

According to FIFA, the first FIFA World Cup, held in Uruguay in 1930 featured just 18 matches.

(In 2010 a total of 64 will be played: 48 matches in group play, which produces 16 teams to play further. Then there are 8 matches of the first round of the knock-out stage, which will produce 8 winners. The 8 winners will produce 4 quarter-final matches. From there you have 2 semifinal matches. There is a third and fourth place play off match. Then, 1 championship match!)

Interesting Fact - Language

According to the director of the department of typography and graphic communication at the University of Reading, capital letters used to portray formality.

(Seemingly, in Ancient Rome emperors' great deeds were written in capital letters. In fact lowercase letters in the Latin alphabet, which English is based on, developed as a faster way to write. Since then of course we've invented texting, so eat your heart out Romans.)

Interesting Fact - Work

You can lose your job for capitalising e-mails.

(Yes, it's true. A woman in New-Zealand lost her accounting job after sending "confrontational" e-mails filled with block capitals. On the web, capital letters are commonly thought to be online shorthand for shouting. Seemingly this lady had also highlighted phrases in bold or red. She has since been awarded $17,000 for unfair dismissal, so any bosses out there might want to reconsider.)

Interesting Fact - G20 Summit

The G20 and G8 meetings being held in Canada are costing a staggering US$1.1bn (£730m) to host.

(90% of the summits' budget is for security. I wonder if the world leaders realise that hosting an online meeting on iVisit or Google Talk would be a lot cheaper.)

Interesting People - Michael Jackson

According to Billboard magazine, Michael Jackson has earned nearly a billion dollars - £675million - since his death a year ago.

(In the last year, 24 million of his albums have been sold around the world, along with a million more records by the Jackson Five and the Jacksons. 12.9 million track downloads in the U.S over the past year, along with 26.5 million in international downloads. Then the executors raked in a further £1.3 million from digital performance royalties from music subscription services and £3 million from global digital performances. About £3.3million has come in from ringtone sales. His publishing company, Mijac, had an estimated value of £35 million in 2005 - has a current value of around £102 million, generating around £17 million a year in revenue, with that number possibly doubling to £34 million in the past year. All in all the money keeps rolling in.)

Interesting Fact - Holidays

According to a survey carried out on behalf of Clothes Show London, women spend around £700 on the latest bikini, sarong and maxi dress to complete their holiday wardrobe.

(The survey also found that women spend a further £170 on beauty products and treatments to ensure they have that sunkissed, glamorous look before they've stepped anywhere near the beach and they'll spend around 15 hours giving themselves a full holiday makeover, including applying fake tan, waxing their legs and polishing their toenails.

If you combine the cost of everything British women spend an average £855 getting ready for their holiday - on average £350 more than the trip itself.

Who are these women? I don't know anyone so vacuous. Personally, the last time I bought a "holiday outfit" was two years ago, when I bought a swimming costume (in the sale at €20) and a sarong (in the sale at €10). I'd much rather save my money so that we can go out for a nice meal and enjoy a good bottl…

Interesting Fact - Prisons in the UK

It costs British taxpayers £140,000 a year to send a young offender to prison.

(This is six times more than a place at Eton. So, instead of making them "do time", maybe we should send young offenders to Eton, that should help the famous public school with its demographics too - win win.)

Interesting Fact - World Cup Fact - First World Cup

The first FIFA World Cup™ was held in Uruguay in 1930.

(They ran from 13th to 30th July. Uruguay won, thus establishing the "home advantage".)

Interesting Animal - Orangutans

According to scientists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, orangutans use 40 body language signals to communicate.

(The gestures were used to communicate 'I want to play', 'give it to me', 'go away', 'follow me', or 'stop doing that. Gestures included things like back rolls, placing objects on the head, blowing raspberries, nudge and shoo movements, hand to mouth 'begging' gestures, hitting the ground, hair pulling, biting the air, swatting, grabbing, and walking in tandem with another individual. It sounds like chucking out time in Nottingham.)

Interesting Fact - Nagging

According to health campaign group Everyman, wives spend 7,920 minutes a year nagging their husbands.

(This equals two-and-a-half hours of earbashing each week - which totals 11 hours a month or five-and-a-half days a year. The most common subject women nagged their partners about was not helping to tidy the home. Other complaints included not helping to wash the dishes, drinking too much and not visiting the doctor to get checked out. Of course men would call this giving advice or asking for help, but because it's the women doing it, they say it's "nagging".)


Interesting Place - Cambourne

Cambourne is a village in Cambridgeshire, but what makes it interesting? Well, seemingly it has a higher birth rate than India and China.

(According to the Cambridgeshire County Council Research Group, the birth rate is nearly twice the national average. In 2007 the birth rate was 24.1 births per 1,000 people. The average birth rate in the UK is 12.1 births per 1,000 people.

Maybe it's something in the water, but coincidentally, the area is also home to one of the UK's best-known fertility clinics.)

Interesting Fact - World cup fact - Sponsors

Top "partners" of the world cup now pay £75m to be associated with just one World Cup tournament.

(The top "partners" aka advertisers:-
* Adidas
* Coca-Cola
* Emirates airline
* Hyundai cars
* Sony
* Visa

Underneath these six firms are the second tier of firms, called "sponsors" aka advertisers as opposed to "partners" aka advertisers, paying about £20m per tournament. These are:-

* Budweiser
* Castrol
* Continental
* McDonald's
* Mahindra Satyam
* Seara
* Yingli Solar

Nice to see Sony can afford so much, if only they could fix my laptop.)

Interesting Fact - Space

A new telescope facility in Hawaii is searching for asteroids and comets which could threaten Earth.

(The telescope, Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1), has a huge digital camera: 1,400 megapixels (1.4 gigapixels). It can photograph an area of the sky as large as 36 full Moons in a single exposure. Do you feel safer now?)

Interesting Fact - Bacteria

According to a recent study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, around one in five sporadic cases of Legionnaires' disease could be the result of not adding windscreen wash to a vehicle's windscreen wiper water.

(The rare type of pneumonia is caused by water-dwelling Legionella bacteria. Not adding screen wash to the water may allow the bacteria to flourish under the bonnet of a car, which provides the perfect breeding ground. Having put together the last three IFs I'm beginning to get the feeling that something is out to get us.)

Interesting Fact - Bacteria

According to US scientists from the University of Colorado, dirty shower heads can deliver a face full of harmful bacteria that causes lung disease.

(Levels of Mycobacterium avium on shower heads were 100 times higher than those found in typical household water supplies. Spurting water can distribute bacteria-filled droplets which suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs. I'm just going to clean the shower now.)

Interesting Food - Tea

Not to be outdone by coffee, a report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits.

(The report dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. It not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, because of the presence of flavonoids. The study was funded by The Tea Council.)

Interesting Fact - World Cup Facts - Prize Money

The total prize money on offer for the tournament was confirmed by FIFA as $420 million (including payments of $40m to domestic clubs), a 60 percent increase on the 2006 tournament. Before the tournament, each of the 32 entrants receive $1 million for preparation costs.

(Once at the tournament, the prize money will be distributed as follows:

* $8 million – To each team exiting after the group stage (16 teams)
* $9 million – To each team exiting after the round of 16 (8 teams)
* $14 million – To each team exiting after the quarter-finals (4 teams)
* $18 million – Fourth placed team
* $20 million – Third placed team
* $24 million – Runner up
* $30 million – Winner

Interesting Fact - Equality

It took 176 years for the Carlton club (the Conservative private members' club) to admit women as full members.

(Funnily it wasn't (as I thought it must be) Maggie who got the honour, it was Ann Widdecomb. I guess that fthey must have been confused for 176 years about the actual meaning of members.)

Interesting Fact - Music

According to the music licensing company PPL, Lily Allen's single 'The Fear' was 2009's most-played song on radio and in bars.

(The top 20 were:-

The full list is as follows:

1 Lily Allen - The Fear

2 James Morrison featuring Nelly Furtado - Broken Strings

3 The Killers - Human

4 Beyonce - Halo

5 Lady Gaga - Poker Face

6 Lady Gaga - Just Dance

7 Daniel Merriweather - Red

8 Kings of Leon - Use Somebody

9 Pink - Please Don't Leave Me

10 Pixie Lott - Mama Do

11 Taylor Swift - Love Story

12 Katy Perry - Hot N Cold

13 Kelly Clarkson - My Life Would Suck Without You

14 Pink - Sober

15 The Pussycat Dolls - Jai Ho!

16 Enrique Iglesias - Takin' Back My Love

17 Ciara featuring Justin Timberlake - Love Sex Magic

18 Alesha Dixon - Breathe Slow

19 Take That - Greatest Day

20 Take That - Up All Night


Interesting Fact - Most expensive holiday

Research by flight comparison website Skyscanner has found that France is the most expensive holiday destination.

(France finished top ahead of Switzerland, Denmark, Brazil and Russia, when comparing holiday prices – excluding flights. They looked at the cost of various items including a coffee, a beer, a meal, accommodation and car hire, and even when they included flights France ended up the third most expensive country to visit, higher than Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. The most expensive country to visit overall, including flights, was Japan. By contrast, Cyprus was the least expensive, before and after flights are taken into consideration. So, look out Cyprus, here I come!)

Interesting Fact - Bedtime

According to research, from SRI International, youngsters who go to bed early, at the same time every night, turn out more intelligent.

(In the study, children who had regular bedtimes were better at languages, reading and maths than those who did not, and the earlier a child went to bed the quicker they are at picking things up. Maybe parents should punish their children by making them stay up late, rather than sending them to bed early.)


Interesting Fact - Sickness in the UK

According to a CBI report UK workers took an average of six and a half days off sick in 2009.

(This was the lowest number of days since the CBI survey began in 1987, but at 180 million sick days it still cost the economy £16.8bn.)

Interesting Fact - Beautiful Tweet

The most beautiful tweet ever tweeted on Twitter has been announced at the Hay Festival by broadcaster Stephen Fry.

(The winning tweet read: "I believe we can build a better world! Of course, it'll take a whole lot of rock, water & dirt. Also, not sure where to put it." The winner, Marc MacKenzie, 41, from Canada, said he was "pleasantly surprised" to win. I still say the most beautiful tweeting I hear is the birds in the garden at 6.00am.)

Interesting Food - Coffee

According to scientists from the UK and Germany, using coffee as a pick-me-up may be pointless if you drink it all the time.

(Experts say they have discovered that people who drink a lot of caffeine develop a tolerance to its stimulatory effects. If you drink a lot of coffee, caffeine only brings you back up to baseline or "normal". So, cut back a bit and benefit from a boost if and when you need it.)

Interesting Fact - Diversity

In the US, nearly 1,400 Pacific salmon populations have been wiped out since the arrival of European settlers.

(The most important factors that affect salmon are the "four Hs"—hydropower, habitat, harvest, and hatcheries. To help reduce mortality of juvenile salmon as they encounter dams and hydroelectric turbines on their downstream migration, fishery managers and biologists transport critical populations in barges and trucks. Hitch Hiking Salmon - Madness.)

Source: Salmon Decline and Recovery -

Interesting Animal - Sockeye Salmon

In the USA, sales of sockeye salmon fetched $8bn over the last half century.

(That's just the value of the landed fish - when you take into account other aspects such as tourism revenues associated with recreational fishing, the true value to the US economy is higher.)

Interesting Fact - Smiling

According to Glasgow-based Go Group, a smile, which appears too swiftly and does not extend to the eyes, can sends signals that you lack sincerity.

(They found that people should avoid three types of grin:

The Enthusiast - A huge smile showing all of your teeth and wide eyes can be overbearing.

The Big Freeze - A constant, practised smile lacks sincerity.

The Robot - A tiny, polite smile doesn't display warmth.

It seems there's more to smiling than meets the eyes, that said, the more you practise, the less sincere you look.)