Showing posts from May, 2011

Interesting Fact - Hacking

The USA is bringing in regulations that will categorise cyber-attacks as acts of war.

(According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan, "A response to a cyber-incident or attack on the US would not necessarily be a cyber-response. All appropriate options would be on the table." I guess the Botmaster Underground had better watch out then. Next time it might not be the FBI knocking on the door.)

Interesting Fact - Parents

A study carried out for National Family Week, which takes place from the 30th of May till the 5th of June, found that parents need to send at least 600 texts, 312 emails and spend more than 1500 minutes on the phone every year just to keep track of their offspring.

(The report also found that 20 per cent of parents said that social networking websites like Facebook were the best place to find out what their off springs were doing. Or maybe it's only what they want you to think they are really doing.)


Interesting Place - Italy

Italy tops the EU chart for products that are protected under the The Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) label, which is similar to the 'appellation controllée' system used for wine.

(It has over 200 products currently protected, including the Neapolitan pizza, and Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham to you and me). I wonder if I can protect my granny's jam tarts?)

Interesting Fact - Smoking

Apart from the obvious toll on health, the cost of smoking can add up to thousands of pounds a year.

(In the UK the average price for a pack of 20 fags is around £6 (give or take a few pence). So, if someone smokes a pack a day:-

Cost of Smoking Per Day - £6.00

Cost of Smoking Per Week - £42.00

Cost of Smoking Per Month - £182.00

Cost of Smoking Per Year - £2,184.00

Cost of Smoking Over Five Years - £10,950.00

You can work out your own costs here.

Maybe there should be a new warning: Cigarettes can seriously damage your wallet.)

Interesting Word - Prosopagnosia

Prosopagnosia aka Face Blindness is the inability to recognize the faces of familiar people.

(It comes from the Greek: "prosopon" = "face", "agnosia" = "inabilty to recognise/identify familiar people or objects". In severe cases people are unable to recognise their own family. Two per cent of the UK population suffers from some form of face blindness, and as someone who is "not good with faces" I think I might be one of them. But now, when I can't put a name to the face, I can at least put a name to the condition.)

Interesting Fact - Trousers

A survey by the UK department store Debenhams, suggests that you can tell a man's age by the level of his waistband.

(Seemingly the height of the waistband bottoms out at the age of 16 with below-the-hip styles and peaks at 57, where it ends up just seven inches below the armpit. Personally I can't stand the sight of young men with their jeans hugging their hips and their boxers on full show, but equally I can't bear the sight of overweight males who can't decide whether to wear their trousers above or below their beer belly. It's called a waistband for a reason!)

Interesting Fact - Gaming

Angry birds the multi-platform game is made by a Finnish software company.

(Rovio Mobile, the software developer from Finland created the game, which was first launched for Apple's mobile operating system in December 2009, since then over 12 million copies of the game have been purchased from Apple's on-line store. The game features cartoonish, wingless birds that the player must slingshot into enemy pig territory to reclaim stolen eggs. It is completely addictive.)

Interesting Food - Marmite

Marmite has been banned in Denmark.

(Not because of the taste though, it has been removed from supermarket shelves as part of a clampdown in Denmark on foods fortified with vitamins and minerals.
And it's not just Marmite, British hot drinks Horlicks and Ovaltine, along with Farley’s Rusks – made by the US food giant Heinz – have also been placed on the blacklist.  Vegemite, Marmite’s Australian rival, has also gone, and Kellogg’s cereals, fortified with B vitamins, have been banned since 2004.  I can foresee a vitamin smuggling ring setting itself up in Denmark, can't you?)


Interesting Fact - The Internet

The Department of Homeland Security has the power to seize websites!

(They can seek U.S. court orders against piracy websites anywhere in the world, and shut them down through the sites’ domain registration.

To date they have confiscated 128 domains. The lastest domains to be seized are:-

And my favourite:

The seizures are part of an operation called "Operation in Our Sites." Who says Feds don't have a sense of humour?

Do you think they'd go after the people who keep nicking my content?)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to research from Brown University, Rhode Island, eating dairy food, like cheese and butter doesn't increase your risk of a heart attack.

(Contrary to earlier beliefs that saturated fat might lead to a heart attack, researchers found that nutrients in dairy products actually counteract the harmful effects. I knew it! Now where's my Lurpack and block of cheddar?)


Interesting Fact - The End of the World

End of the world predictions have been around for as long as someone could write on a piece of cardboard "The end of the world is nigh". Here are some of the most famous (infamous) ones:-

1. Followers of William Miller believed the world would end on October 22, 1844.

2.The Jehovah's Witness religion has predicted the end of the world in 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994.

3. Charles Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, predicted the world would end in 1794.

4. Famous forecaster Nostradamus predicted doomsday would happen in July 1999.

5. English mystic Joanna Southcott predicted the world would end on October 19, 1814, when she gave birth to the Messiah.

And of course US Preacher Harold Camping, 89, who has studied the Bible for 70 years, predicted today as Judgment Day. Using his calculator he worked out that Jesus was crucified on April 1, AD33, and 722,500 (calculated by multiplying three holy numbers together) days later would be May 21.

I mean …

Interesting Fact - That hat - Podcast

That hat - the "unique sculptural celebratory headpiece" (not my words) as worn by Princess Beatrice to last month's royal wedding, is for sale on eBay.

(Now, one would think that people of taste would avoid this particular auction like the plague, but of course it takes all sorts, and one person has bid £75,000!)

Interesting Food - The (not so) Happy Meal

550 of the world's top medics have written an open letter to McDonald's to say that Ronald McDonald and Happy Meals must be axed to save kids' health.

(They say that its gimmicks fuel obesity, and that Happy Meals, which come with a free toy, get kids hooked on junk food. Of course they're speaking to the converted when it comes to me, but as a coulrophobic I would love to see the demise of that scary clown.)


Interesting People - Lady Gaga

According to celebrity genealogist Chris Child, Lady Gaga and Madonna are distant cousins.

(The New England Historic Genealogical Society specialist told the Boston Globe, "They are ninth cousins once removed." I reckon if you go far enough back, we'll all find we're cousins x times removed.)


Interesting Fact - Law

Laws in the UK that make it illegal to rip (copy) content from CDs and DVDs onto computers, iPods, iPads and other devices are set to be scrapped.

(Millions of people routinely transfer music and films they have bought on CD and DVD onto such devices for personal use, but under current copyright rules, this copying, or ‘format shifting’, is technically illegal. The music industry has accepted the proposals, but has suggested that some companies and artists should be compensated for any income lost as a result of copying through a levy applied to the price of iPods and similar devices, or CDs, DVDs and downloads. Show me the money! They cried. Well I would like to be compensated for my husband having to buy CDs of LPs and Tapes he had already bought.)


Interesting Fact - The news

A survey by the media regulator Ofcom has found that only 7% of people in the UK trust the tabloid press to report the news truthfully.

(The same report found that radio is the most trusted source of news in the UK, beating both TV and the internet. 66% of people polled said they trusted radio news most, 58% chose internet news, 54% said television. 34% said newspapers in general, but only 7% tabloid newspapers. The only problem I have with this is the Sun is still the most widely sold newspaper in the UK. I wonder why?)

!Note - The tabloid newspaper format is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where its page dimensions are roughly 430 × 280 mm (16.9 in × 11.0 in. They are often called "red tops" because they have a red masthead, and the usual ingredients are an emphasis on entertainment news, celebrities, gossip, sports and political scandals. The red tops include The Sun, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Star, along with various local and regional newspapers. Th…

Interesting Fact - Money

Skype was purchased by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

(The popular VoIP platform was first launched in 2003, has been purchased by Microsoft for $8.5 billion. It was bought by EBay in 2005 for around $3bn, and in 2009 they sold the majority of the company for about $2bn (£1.2bn), keeping a 35% stake in the firm. What I want to know, is why they didn't sell it on EBay.)

Interesting Fact - Law

A Freedom of Information request in Merseyside, England has revealed compensation culture is rife in schools in the area.

(One pupil won £6,000 after falling off a chair, another received £6,000 when they were hit in the eye with a pen, £3,000 was paid to a child who was “accidentally kicked in the face” and £350 went to a youngster who tripped over an “unmarked ramp”. Another student was awarded £4,500 after catching their leg on a “protruding screw”, while £4,000 was given to a pupil injured on a fence, and to top it all a pupil at a school in Knowsley was paid £750 after being splashed by custard.

In fact Knowsley Council paid the most in compensation claims – more than £50,000 between 2008 and 2010, including the custard incident, and in the Wirral, more than £21,000 was paid out over the same period, while in Sefton more than £6,000 was paid.

Whatever happened to "don't cry over spilt milk"?)


Interesting Fact - Marriage - Podcast

According to economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, a happy marriage is worth about $100,000 a year.

(They describe a happy marriage as basic insurance against adverse life events, that allows gains from economies of scale and specialization within the family.

And they are not alone, economists Ed Diener and Shigehiro Oishi say that those who place high importance on money are far more likely to be unsatisfied with their lives than those who love love.

But research has also found that those who end their marriage lose all benefit of the happiness that it once provided with a little extra unhappiness thrown in for good measure, and those poor souls who divorce are considerably less happy than their married friends as well as those that have never married in the first place.

So, if you want to be happy, don't get rich, get married, and whatever you do, keep your partner happy.)

Interesting Fact - Work

A survey by ScanSafe says that Facebook, Twitter and other Web 2.0 and social networking sites have been banned in about 76% of workplaces over fears about the impact of social networking on business.

(The problem will be as the next generation, who've grown up with Facebook et al, join the workforce and then start exhibiting signs of withdrawal when they can't get their Twitfix. So, if you face this dilemma, it might be time to become your own boss.)

Read more

Interesting Fact - Broadband - Podcast

According to a report published by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2010, South Korea had the fastest broadband in the world.

(South Korea recorded a nice, healthy, average speed of 14.6 Mbps, while Japan occupied the second spot with an average speed of 7.9 Mbps. Constanta in Romania was found to be the fastest European city for broadband, with internet users able to download at an average of 8.23Mb. And the UK? 26th place! I checked my speed last week, and found I get a measly 3.5Mb. So, it's no wonder it takes me so long to post here!)

Interesting Fact - Law

Insulting the Thai Royal Family is an offence in Thailand that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

(Anyone can make an accusation of insulting the monarchy and the police are duty-bound to investigate and the Thai justice ministry has recruited volunteers to patrol cyberspace. Thank goodness I can insult her right royal Majesty, our illustrious leader David Cameron, and anyone else it pleases me to lampoon. I guess they don't feel they are so insignificant or powerless that they they need such protection.)

Interesting Fact - Feet

According to the UK National Sizing Survey, the average British woman's feet are a size 5 (that's around 24.5cm long). The average British man's foot is 27 cm (about a size 9).

(This means I'm half a size above average.)

Interesting Fact - Feet - Podcast

According to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, around four in 10 British women buy shoes knowing they do not fit, and nearly two out of 10 men do the same.

(I'm not surprised about the women, it's silly, but society says women are supposed to have small, dainty feet, but I am surprised at the men, or maybe they simply say their feet are larger than they really are.)

Interesting Animal - Frogs - Podcast

According to a study published in the journal Conservation Biology, up to one billion frogs are taken from the wild for human consumption each year.

(France and the US are the two biggest importers, and Indonesia the largest exporter of frogs.)

Interesting Place - Britain - Podcast

According to Visit Britain, the British Monarchy generates over £500 million a year through attracting overseas tourists.

(British culture and heritage, from theatres and galleries, to pubs, Premiership Football, castles and stately homes - generated £4.6 billion in total spending by overseas tourists in 2009, and supported 100,000 jobs, the report said. But within that total one-in-eight of those sites – ranging from the Tower of London to The Palace of Hollyroodhouse in Edinburgh and Ruthin Castle in Wales – are associated with the Monarchy. The report reveals that foreign tourists who visited them generated £500 million of spending, directly and indirectly. I wonder if they'd still come even if there was no monarchy?)

Interesting Fact - Property - Podcast

According to a study by Lloyds bank,  around 185,000 homeowners in Britain own property worth £1m or more.

(In 2010, 7,185 buyers spent a million-plus on a property, equal to around 20 people every day, an astonishing 125 homes were sold for £5m or more last year.  But nearly 1 in 4 homes bought for £1m or more last year were in the exclusive London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster, so I doubt I'll ever get onto that kind of property ladder.)

Source: This is Money

Interesting Animal - Termites - Podcast

Termites will eat money.

(Termites infested an Indian bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and ate their way through banknotes worth millions of rupees. Luckily the bank will cover the losses, but this isn't an isolated incident, one poor bloke, a Mr Prasad, from the Indian state of Bihar, wasn't so lucky. He deposited currency notes and investment papers worth hundreds of thousands of rupees in a bank safe, only to find them munched to dust a few months later. The bank put up a notice warning customers of the termites, and won't refund him. I guess this is why gold is so popular.)