Showing posts from February, 2011

Interesting Food - E Numbers

All approved food additives in the UK are given an E number. The "E" stands for "Europe" although some people say it stands for edible.

(Each E number has a specific name and number and their use is limited to particular foods.

E1... are colourings e.g E150-caramel colour
E2... are preservatives e.g E211 sodium benzoate
E3... are antioxidants e.g E300 vitamin C
E4... are emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners e.g Pectin
E5... are acidity regulators e.g Potassium carbonate
E6... are flavourings e.g monosodium glutamate

You can read more about them here:, good luck making any sense out of it all.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

In the weirdest car recall in history, Mazda has had to recall 65,000 of its saloon cars in the US, Canada and Mexico after spiders were discovered nesting in their fuel pipes!

(The first incident was spotted in October 2009, when a Mazda6 was brought to a dealer with a fuel leak. A spider had spun its web in the fuel tank vent pipe, which created a vacuum in the tank, eventually cracking it. Maybe they thought they were Lotus Spyders.)

Interesting Fact - Ghosts

According to research by leading psychologist and paranormal investigator Professor Richard Wiseman, more than 11 million people in the UK claim to have had an experience with a ghost.

(That's 25% of Brits! In the 1950s, the figure was just 7 per cent, rising to 14 per cent in the 1990s and 19 per cent in 2003. "Who ya gonna call?")

Interesting Fact - Crime

The cost of copper theft in the UK is around £770 million a year.

(Thieves are targeting gas supplies, electricity companies and telecoms cables. Organised gangs even risk their lives by clambering on to railway tracks and using power tools to cut through live train signalling, electricity and data cables. They then cart the cabling off in anything from wheelbarrows to quad bikes. The reason is the price of copper has soared by 41 per cent in the last year and this month hit an all-time high of £6,328 a ton, oh and some people will steal anything and other people will buy anything.

Interesting Fact - Mail

According to the Royal Mail, their postal workers get through two million red rubber bands every single day!

(I know; I've found a few of them!

Imagine the size of the rubber ball you could make!)

Source - BBC

Interesting Word - China

Now I'm not talking about the country here, rather the plates, cups and saucers that we call china.  Don't ask me why, but I suddenly wondered "Why is it named after a country?"  Seemingly china is called china because it often came from China! 

(It was first used in the 1570s to describe "porcelain imported from China," it was shortened to china from the words China ware or China dishes.  You might hear the words pottery, dishware, crockery or ceramics, and if it's porcelain it's called fine china.)

Interesting People - Susan Boyle

According to Music Week magazine, singer Susan Boyle had the UK's best selling album for the second year running. (Her album, The Gift, sold 3.7 million copies abroad, beating Sade, Mumford and Sons and Muse. I do hope anyone who bought Ms Boyle's album has at least listened to the runners up.)

Interesting Fact - Hackers Welcome

Amazingly Microsoft is welcoming hackers with open arms.

(They are opening up their Kinect technology so that amateur software developers can tinker with it. They have promised a development kit for personal development, but they have said they will release a commercial version in the future. At last! They are seeing the bigger picture!)

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Interesting Fact - Memory

Doctors at CPS research have said that as life becomes more hectic and we are overloaded with information we are becoming more forgetful.

(They've even given the condition an abbreviated name SCI (Subjective Cognitive Impairment).  So, if you've been getting forgetful, you now know what it's called - just as long as you can remember it.)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, a patient's belief that a drug will not work can become a self fulfilling prophecy. (Studies showed the benefits of painkillers could be boosted or reduced by manipulating expectations. The power of the brain should never be underestimated.)

Interesting Word - OK

"OK", short for "okay", is one of the most frequently used and recognised words in the world.

There are different versions of OK:-

Native American Choctaw: Okeh - it is so Scottish: Och aye - oh yes Greek: Ola kala - all is right German: ohne Korrektur - without [need for] correction Finnish: Oikea - correct Mandinka: O ke - that's it Source: BBC News

Interesting Food - Chillis

The hottest chilli in the world has been developed in the market town of Grantham, Lincs, in the UK.
(Called the "Infinity Chilli" it has gained the title "hottest chilli in the world" after tests revealed it has a Scoville Scale Rating of 1,176,182 - hotter than the kind of chilli reportedly used in hand grenades by the Indian military.  To put this in perspective 2,000,000 is the Scoville rating for military grade pepper spray.  If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, then you don't know much about the British male.  In the UK the ability to eat the hottest chilli is a real sign of manliness.)

Interesting Fact - Depression

A study by mental health magazine Uncovered has revealed that half of people fighting depression in the UK prefer to Google for help rather than tell pals or see their GP!

(If you've landed on this page in a search for help, might I suggest you seek medical help and turn to a member of the family, or go to a counselling session with some real people.  You'd be surprised how supportive people can be, if you just let them.)

Interesting Fact - Depression

A study by mental health magazine Uncovered has revealed where people in the UK feel most depressed.

(The Welsh are most likely to be in a trough of despair.  In Yorkshire three-quarters of adults admit to severe anxiety over money troubles, and funnily enough the Scots are among those least likely to fret about being skint.  Londoners, Midlanders and people in the North East and Ulster are the most prone to secretly battling depression by boozing.

The East Midlands is the nation's mental health mecca - with eight in ten inhabitants insisting it is a "happy" place to live.)

Interesting Fact - Interesting Valentine Fact - Valentine's Day Cards

Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and only then, sweethearts.

(Children between ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.  Unluckily for the card industry, children make their own cards.)

Interesting People - Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra only had two number one hits in the UK.

(They were, Strangers in the Night and Three Coins in a Fountain.  Better than Strangers in a Fountain, or Three Coins in a Night.)

Interesting Place - Indonesia

Indonesia is made up of over 10,000 islands.

(One of the smallest is called Run (aka Pulo Run or Puloroon), it is only 3 km long and less than 1 km wide. So, easy to run across then.)

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Interesting Inventions - TV Remote

The first remote control for a TV was called a "Lazy Bones". 

(It was developed by the Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950 and it was connected to the television set by a wire. A wireless remote control, the "Flashmatic", was developed in 1955; it worked by shining a beam of light onto a photoelectric cell, but the cell did not distinguish between light from the remote and light from other sources.  Then in 1956, Robert Adler developed "Zenith Space Command", a wireless remote. It was mechanical and used ultrasound to change the channel and volume. Unfortunately the receiver could be triggered accidentally by naturally occurring noises, like the whislting of budgerigars, and some people could even hear the piercing ultrasonic signals.)

Interesting Fact - The Brain

The storage capacity of the human brain is around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes).

(For example, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder there would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the telly running for 300 years to use it all up!  Actually, that would be really good - I've nearly run out of my 80 hours recording time!!)

Source - Scientific American

Interesting Animals - Parrots

Being either left handed or right handed was once a trait believed to be unique to humans, but it turns out that parrots prefer to use one side of their body more than the other too. 

(I wonder if we can teach them to write?!)

Source - BBC

Interesting Fact - The Human Body

Obesity affects one in 10 adults around the world.

( Anyone else remember the spaceship from WALL-E?! Sorry I couldn't find a picture/video of that part, but basically we are ensconced in moving chairs and everything is done for us. We don't even have to get out to eat or talk to our friends!)

Source - BBC

Interesting Place - Malawi

There's a war of words going on in Malawi about the actual meaning behind "fouling the air".

(Justice Minister George Chaponda says the new bill would criminalise flatulence to promote "public decency".

Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga, says the reference to "fouling the air" means pollution.

The Bill reads: "Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour."

Mr Chaponda, a trained lawyer, insists that this includes farting.

I think they need to sort this out before I visit.)  
Update - Mr Chaponda has eaten humble pie and admits he had not read the proposed law before the radio interview, saying fouling air "does not necessarily mean farting" and that it will be not punishable by law in Malawi.

[View the story "Farting in Malawi&quo…

Interesting Animal - Spiders

According to research published in the journal Current Biology, a spider found in Central America and Mexico, Bagheera kiplingi, is vegetarian.

(It feeds on the green tips of acacia plants.  Of all the known species of spider, around 40,000 of them, these are the only ones that are vegetarian, although some spiders will occasionally supplement their diet with a little nectar or pollen, and according to scientists this species has been caught munching on the occassional ant larvae - a bit like vegatarians who eat eggs I guess.)

I just thought of a new line for that famous Cure song. Spiderman is having peas for dinner tonight.  

Interesting Place - Kidzania

Kidzania is a chain of theme parks where boys and girls work shifts in child-sized replicas of a real city, including buildings, shops and theatres.

(There are 'Kidzanias' all round the world, and children can do all kinds of jobs in different industries, banking, retail, hospitality, even joining the police or the fire service, and best of all, their parents pay for them to do it!  Maybe it's just me, but are these people barmy?)

Interesting People - Fidel Castro

According to the Sunday Times, Fidel Castro stopped smoking cigars in 1985.

(There aren't many iconic cigar smokers any more: Hemingway, Churchill, Che Guevaras, Groucho Marx; all gone, and even their photos often have the cigar airbrushed out. How times have changed.)

Source: Sunday Times

Interesting Words - Myriad

The word myriad used to mean 10,000.

 (Nowadays it's used to refer to a countless number or multitude of specified things. I guess that means this blog has a myriad of facts.)