Showing posts from November, 2011

Interesting People - Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde's gravestone in Paris, France has had to be restored it was covered in lipstick marks left by tourists.

(The lipstick was gradually destroying it and so the restored gravestone now has a glass barrier to make it "kiss-proof". I have heard of kissing the Blarney Stone, but who in their right mind would kiss a gravestone?)

Interesting Fact - Sex

Staying on the sex theme (see previous post). Psychology professor Terri Fisher carried out a study at Ohio State University that shows that on average men think about sex every 50 minutes.

(The researchers worked out how many times men and women thought about sex by giving them a 'clicker' machine to press when they had any such thoughts. The women recorded an average of ten times a day, and the men's total was 19 racy thoughts a day, but it varied from as little as once a day to a rather imaginative bloke who registered 388 sexual thoughts, or one every two-and-a-half minutes. You may have heard that old chestnut that said men think about sex every six seconds, that would mean the average man having up to 10,000 racy thoughts a day, which would be downright dangerous. This new statistic is more realistic, but I would hope that really it depends on what someone is doing.)


Interesting Word - Sexting

Sexting is a mix of two terms - Sex and Texting.

(Seemingly sexting (a word I only just learnt because of the previous post) is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. The participants are usually teenagers or 'tweens', who seem to enjoy creating and exchanging provocative messages and nude, sexual images of themselves using their cell phone’s built-in digital camera and text messaging capabilities. The term was first popularized around 2005, but I only just found out about it because of the previous post)! My advice to anyone who thinks this sounds cool is, if you wouldn't want your granny to see it, don't send it.)

Interesting Words - Banned Words

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has banned 1,600 words it deems to be obscene.

(The words and phrases banned include 1,109 English words and another 568 in Pakistan’s national Urdu language, which in itself is interesting - do Pakistani people prefer swearing in English? (I know they do in Wales.) Now, I realise that there is a ban list on the forum, but it's limited to indecent language, and there certainly aren't 1,600 words on the list! In addition my list doesn't include everyday words like “idiot” (try imbecile) or “barf" (try throw up - I'd like to see them ban throw and up).)

Here's a list of the banned words - Parental Advisory.

Interesting Fact - Death

According to Anchor, a not-for-profit housing and care provider, at least 100,000 pensioners who died penniless and alone have been buried in paupers’ graves in the past five years, a charity revealed yesterday.

(In fact 40,000 people a year in Britain receive state-funded funerals as rising funeral prices and the breakdown of family units has led to about 21,000 pensioners dying every year without the money for funeral bills and with no relatives willing or able to pay. In the UK if you cannot afford to pay for a funeral the council is obliged to step in. It seems sad, but I don't suppose it bothers the deceased that much.)

Source - Daily Mail

Interesting Fact - Britain

According to a survey carried out by Nissan CARED4, 70% of people in the UK say they don't know who lives next door.

(Around 50% said they wouldn't ask their neighbour for help with anything, and only 6 per cent said there was a strong sense of community in their area.
Of course, it was Margaret Thatcher who once said, "there's no such thing as society" just as she started to dismantle it, it seems she did a good job.)

Source - Daily Mail

Interesting Fact - Hugs

According to a study carried out by by Nivea skin care, Brits hug each other about 13 times a day.

(The study found that in the UK, we typically devote 9.5 seconds to every embrace and spend an hour a month hugging. Hah! So much for the stiff upper lip and standoffish stereotypes. Now, give me a hug.)

Interesting Fact - Water

According to a study by Unilever an eight-minute shower uses 62 litres of hot water.

(People generally believe that taking a shower is more environmentally friendly than a bath, and this water consumption compares favourably against a bath, which uses an average of 80 litres, but if you use a power shower - an appliance that adds extra pressure to the water flow - then an eight-minute shower requires twice as much water and energy as a bath.  Maybe the answer is to share.)

Interesting Fact - Showers

According to the results of a survey carried out by Unilever, the average Brit spends eight minutes in the shower.

(I shall have to tell my nephew, who seems to spend much longer than that whenever I visit.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to the High Pay Commission, in the UK the average salary is £25,900, but the average Chief Executive (Managing Director) pay is £3,740,000.

(That's 145 times more than the average worker. According to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) you have to pay this kind of money in order to be competitive. A strange argument, given the times we are living in. Come on shareholders! These people are not worth it! They are paying themselves more than ever, but I bet your dividends haven't increased.)

Today - World Hello Day

Today is world hello day.
Say hello to ten people to promote peace and happiness.

Interesting Food - The Toast Sandwich - Podcast

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) the cheapest lunchtime meal in Britain is the toast sandwich.

(This shouldn't be confused with the toasted sandwich, or toasty. A toast sandwich, popular in mid-Victorian times, consists of two slices of bread around a slice of toast. The meal, which will cost you 7.5p to make, was first promoted by Victorian food writer Mrs Beeton.

Here is the recipe:-
3 slices of bread Butter Salt and pepper

1. Toast a thin slice of bread.
2. Butter two slices of bread and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place the toast between the two slices of bread-and-butter to form a sandwich.
4. Eat.
Bon appetite!)

Interesting Place - Switzerland

Switzerland does not have a law against public nudity.

(However, it it does have a law against public indecency, and so in Switzerland you can be fined for hiking naked in the mountains. Personally I would have thought the law of nature would discourage this practise, as it gets very cold up there.)


Today - World Toilet Day

Today is World Toilet Day.

It sounds funny, but with 2.6 billion people without access to proper sanitation, it highlights the importance of sanitation and improving toilets around the globe.

Interesting Invention - Photography

Louis Daguerre was the inventor of the first commercially successful form of photography.

(After years of experimentation, he perfected Daguerreotype in 1839, the process involved exposing silver-coated copper plates to iodine, obtaining silver iodide. This was then exposed to light for a few minutes and coated with mercury vapour and fixed with salt water. The French government 'acquired' Daguerre’s patent and, in August of that year, announced that the invention was a gift “free to the world”, but don't worry, Daguerre didn’t need to make money from his invention as he was pensioned by the French government in exchange for sharing the details of the process.) PS - He has been honoured today with a Google Doodle to mark his 224th birthday.

Interesting Fact - Language

According to a survey by, 2 in 3 Britons cannot say anything in another language.

(Now we're not talking about being able to speak a foreign language here, we are talking about the ability to say and understand one word in another language. And it's even more embarrassing to read that one fifth of those asked were even sure of what ‘bonjour’ means! (Sorry Xeb, Celine, Eflish and co.).

One third – 34 per cent – said they were willing to make an attempt at speaking a foreign language while on holiday.
One fifth (19 per cent) did not know the meaning of the French word for hello, one of the most recognisable foreign greetings in the world.
And 63 per cent had no idea what the Dutch word ‘goedemorgen’ meant, despite the obvious similarities to our own ‘good morning’.  (Sorry April, Will and co.)

Believe it or not, it is compulsory for all UK pupils to study a foreign language up to the age of 14 and French, German and Spanish are all on the national curriculum, s…

Interesting Food - Cheese

Long Clawson Dairy in Leicestershire is going to make a limited edition run of Stilton this Christmas, which will cost about £60 for a cracker sized slice.

(It will work out at At £60.87 per 100g slice, or £608 a kilo.  Why is it so expensive?  Well it's made with real gold.   Will anyone be dumb enough to buy it?  Of course they will.  The dairy has already been contacted by a variety of interested parties including an oil sheikh and a famous pop star.  Suffice to say, hubby will have to content himself with the usual mouldy variety.)

Interesting Fact - UK Children

According to a report by Unicef, Britain is the worst country in the industrialised world in which to be a child.

(The reason, according to the UN children's agency, is that materialism has come to dominate family life in Britain as parents "pointlessly" amass goods for their children to compensate for their long working hours. British parents work longer hours and are simply “too tired” to play with their children. Sue Palmer, author of the book Toxic Childhood, said: “We are teaching our children, practically from the moment they are born, that the one thing that matters is getting more stuff."  To be honest though, I wouldn't have minded a bit more stuff when I was a kid.)

Interesting Fact - Climate Change

According to a study by Nature's Calendar, Britain's native trees are producing ripe fruit, on average, 18 days earlier than a decade ago, probably as a result of climate change.

(The most marked change was seen in the rowan tree, which according to Finnish mythology was the first tree on earth:-

In the yard there grows a Rowan.  Thou with reverent care should'st tend it.  Holy is the tree there growing.  Holy likewise are its branches.  On its boughs the leaves are holy.  And its berries yet more holy.
Excerpt from The Kalevala,  a compilation of Finnish folk lore
 According to the study, rowan berries are now ready to eat nearly a month earlier than 10 years ago.)

Interesting Place -- Sicily

In the town of Corleone. Sicily, tourists often pose alongside the town's sign, not realising that the famous Godfather films were actually filmed elsewhere in Sicily.

(Seemingly the shops their still sell bottles of Il Padrino wine. I've never understood the fascination with the Mafia though. The good news is that many properties confiscated from the Mafia have been turned into ethical businesses including vineyards and even bed and breakfast. Not so much Cosa Nostra, as Casa Nostra.)

Source - BBC News

Interesting People - Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn, once Ireland’s richest man, was declared bankrupt today at the High Court in Belfast.

(The former billionaire was the boss of a manufacturing and insurance business empire, but he now allegedly owes €2.8bn to Anglo Irish Bank, which makes this bankruptcy one of the biggest of its kind ever made in either the United Kingdom or Ireland. Welcome to the 99% Mr Quinn.)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to research carried out by the Departments of Clinical Biochemistry and Cardiology in Denmark, yellow marks on the eyelids are a sign of increased risk of heart attack.

(These markings, called xanthelasmata, are mostly made up of cholesterol and can be treated cosmetically, but are also a warning sign of raised cholesterol, which can lead to cardiac problems. Guess what I did when I read this? Yup. I went to look in the mirror - so far - all clear.)

Interesting Word - Fakelaki

Fakelaki (Φακελάκι) is a Greek word that means "little envelope".

(It usually describes a little brown envelope stuffed with cash, and used to bribe officials or other people to "expedite" service. According to Transparency International the average family in Greece pays £1,200 a year in fakelaki, which if true, is astounding to someone who has never bribed anyone to do anything (and wouldn't even know how to go about such a thing). Fakelake - it's such a harmless sounding word, kind of cute, or maybe a bit rude, but the real translation is corruption, a bribe, which is not cute at all.)

Interesting People - Ned Kelly

131 years after being executed, infamous Australian outlaw Ned Kelly has had his final wish granted.

(Officials have agreed to release his remains so he can be buried with his family. He is likely to be laid to rest in a small cemetery near Glenrowan, where he was killed and where his mother Ellen, several of his brothers and sisters and other relatives are buried in unmarked graves. RIP Ned Kelly.)

Ned Kelly by Johnny Cash

In Australia a bandit or an outlaw was called a bushranger
One of Australia's most infamous bushrangers was a man named Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly was a wild young bushranger
Out of Victoria he rode with his brother Dan
He loved his people and he loved his freedom
And he loved to ride the wide open land.

Ned Kelly was a victim of the changes
That came when his land was a sprout and seed
And the wrongs he did were multiplied in legend
With young Australia growing like a weed.

Ned Kelly took the blame
Ned Kelly won the fame
Ned Kelly brought the shame
And th…

Interesting Fact - Britain

Plastic bullets have never been used [against protesters] on mainland Britain.

(There is a huge student demonstration planned for tomorrow. so maybe I should say, "Plastic bullets have not been used [against protesters] on mainland Britain, yet.")


!Note - I had to change the text to this, as I was kindly sent a link that shows "baton rounds" have been used in individual cases.

Interesting Fact - Health

According to analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics by SSentif, the NHS in the UK spends more than £440m a year on painkillers.

(This works out at £8.80 per person, with some GPs giving patients over-the-counter painkillers and branded cold and flu treatments like Lemsip and Anadin on prescription. My doctor once prescribed coffee and red wine (long story), but he wouldn't give me a prescription.)

Interesting Fact - Games

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 has just gone on sale in the UK. It's going to be a huge hit - a trailer, posted on YouTube on 21 October, has already attracted more than four million hits.

(For those of you who are blissfully ignorant of this series of RPG games which can be played against the computer or online against other human players. The series follows American paratroopers, British paratroopers and the Red army, and the player assumes the role of various characters It's successful, but controversial,

In CoDMW2 the depiction of a massacre carried out in a Russian airport, caused anger in the international community
In CoDMW3 they feature an attack on the London Underground and actually show a family of tourists being blown up, the response to which will create more free publicity for the series (I know - I'm guilty too)

Infinity Ward's executive producer Mark Rubin response to the anger was:

"Yeah, we get a lot of that and it's tough, but for the m…

Interesting Fact - Space

As if satellites weren't enough, we now have a speeding ball of rock hurtling past the Earth tonight.

(The asteroid, romantically called Yu55, is about a quarter of a mile wide! It will pass inside the moon's orbit and come within 198,000 miles (319,000km) of Earth at 23.28GMT. Astronomers say this is the closest a tracked object this size has come to the planet, but it will pose no threat to the earth - this time. Seemingly, it's a regular visitor and there is a a one in 10m chance of its hitting Earth in the next century. Were it to strike, the collision would unleash the equivalent of several thousand megatonnes of TNT. Not to worry folks. We came in with a bang, but we'll probably go out with a whimper.)

Interesting People - Rajo Devi Lohan

Rajo Devi Lohan is the world's oldest IVF (invitro fertilization) mum.

(Yes, she gave birth in India to her daughter Naveen in November 2008,, at the age of 70. Tragically her health has deteriorated, but her doctor said, "Even though Rajo's health is deteriorating, at least she will die in peace. She does not have to face the stigma of being barren." Seemingly the stigma of being barren is greater than that of leaving a child motherless.)

Interesting Fact - England

A piece of upper-jaw discovered in Kents Cavern, Devon, southern England, suggests that humans were living in England as long as 44,000 years ago.

(This is the earliest indication of human habitation in the UK, and proves that homo-sapiens and Neanderthals coexisted for about three to five thousand years in this part of the world. A nice part of the world too, they obviously had good taste.)

Interesting Fact - Money

There's a new £50 note in the UK from today.

(It is the first time the UK has launched a new note in 17 years. The note features the queen on the front and for the first time ever, there are two characters on the reverse side; Bolton and Watt, two Victorian inventors who played a huge role in the industrial revolution. The note also has new features to prevent fraud, a broken green line that runs from top to bottom, and which contains images of the £ symbol and the number 50. When the note is tilted up and down the images move from side to side. Now if they could have made the queen do a shimmy, that would have been something to celebrate.)

Interesting Word - Sorry

According to a study by the New York Bakery Co, Brits say 'sorry' up to 8 times a day

(This adds up over a lifetime, equating to 2,920 times a year and 233,600 times in a lifetime. One in eight people (12 per cent) say 'sorry' more than 20 times a day! And we don't always apologise for something we have done, we often use "sorry" as a response to someone else's mistake - either someone bumping into you (43 per cent) or treading on your toes (17 per cent). It is also used instead of "excuse me" (30 per cent) or as an introduction to interrupt someone else's conversation (67 per cent). The most likely place for the word sorry, is in the workplace with more than a third (39 per cent) admitting misusing the apology - followed by shopping (33 per cent) and at home (31 per cent). In the workplace it seems that it is not just apologies on the tip of our tongues with 37 per cent of Brits admitting tiptoeing around colleagues or an issue in f…