Showing posts from January, 2012

Interesting Fact - Health

In 2011 43,069 cosmetic operations took place in Britain.

(A 6% increase on 2010 figures of 38,274. I cannot even imagine going under the knife willingly, never mind actually paying for the privilege for cosmetic surgery with all the risks that carries.  How could anyone trust a medical professional who is willing to slice people open to give them bigger boobs?)

Interesting Fact - English

Researchers at Harvard University and Google have found that the English language has expanded by 8,500 words a year in the new millennium and now stands at 1,022,000 words.
(But nearly half of the new words are not included in any dictionary and are dubbed lexical "dark matter". They are either slang or invented jargon.  Which is why we have the Urban Dictionary.)  

Interesting Place - London - Olympic Facts

The organising committee for the London 2012 Games, Locog, revealed yesterday that it had over-estimated by a quarter the number of rooms needed by officials, media and sponsors. It has now handed back 120,000 of the total 600,000 nights booked for the sporting event.

(These needless reservations could be a key factor in a tourism slump set to cost Britain billions over the Olympics. Analysis for The Independent suggests up to one million beds will now go unsold over the Olympic period. One trade association estimated income could slump by up to £3.5bn during July and August! So much for Olympic gold.)

Source: The Independent

Interesting Fact - Transport

On average it takes 16 seconds for men to manoeuvre into a parking space, compared with 21 seconds for women.

(Scientists from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, found men were better at driving both head-on into the space and reversing into it.  However, the biggest difference was in parallel parking, where men were found to be five per cent better in their handling and positioning of the vehicle. Okay men - you win! (Just in time for the self parking car.))


If you need proof -

Interesting Fact - Work

Among the first jobs advertised in UK Job Centres were piano regulator, picture frame gilder and "girl confectioner's packer".

(I guess they weren't worried about equality back then.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

A 4ft tall, papier-mache haggis sparked a security alert in Scotland.

(The haggis, sporting a pink kilt and ‘honest sonsie face’, and bearing a tag which read "this haggis needs friends", was discovered by shocked passengers in a luggage compartment on the train before the alarm was raised. It is thought the haggis was part of an art project, and had been placed on the train as a joke to mark the annual Scottish celebration Burns Night.)

Interesting Fact - Eastenders

There have been 92 deaths in Eastenders since it began in 1985.

(This doesn't seem too farfetched, but 22.8% of the deaths were murder, a rate far above Britain's real figure of 0.032 per cent, and there is going to be yet another one soon.

There is even a death map on the BBC:-

Cheerful stuff.


Interesting Animal - Spiders

One million spiders were used to create a golden spider silk cape that will be on show at London's V&A.

(The designers, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley, used Madagascar Golden Orb spiders to create the work of art. It takes the silk from 23,000 spiders to weave 25 grammes of silk, and there are 1.5kg of silk in the cape. All in all, it took eight years to complete it. The spiders were "borrowed" from the forest, and returned there after a day. I wonder if they have a union?)

Interesting Place - London

London has its own leaning tower, the clock tower that contains Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster.

(Seemingly, the 96-metre tall clock tower, which houses the bell originally nicknamed Big Ben, leans about 46 cm to the left of its peak. A construction expert said there was nothing to worry about, and it would take 10,000 years to reach an angle of concern. Well at least it's leaning to the left, and not to the right.)

Interesting Fact - Transport

According to official data, China granted 22.69 million driving licenses in 2011.

(China is the world's largest car market, and now everyone wants a driving licence. Of course when you look at some of the other posts here on China's roads, you have to wonder if they ever get anywhere.)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to research from the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and University College London, the brain begins to lose sharpness of memory and powers of reasoning and understanding from as early as 45.

(Previously it was thought that this began around the age of 60, but the researchers found that the brains of even the youngest were already in decline. There was a 3.6% decline in the mental reasoning of men and of women aged 45 to 49 and the process appeared to have sped up in the older age groups. Men aged 65 to 70 had a decline of 9.6% while women fared a little better, at 7.4%. The good news is that there are things that can be done about it. Looking after the heart has been shown to help the head, studies show that people with high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol who are at high risk of heart problems, are also at higher risk of dementia. Or maybe as we get older, we simply forget to exercise and eat properly.)

Interesting Fact - Google

According to Google, YouTube now streams 4 billion online videos a day.

(Most of the videos still do not make money, but about three billion videos a week are monetized. I account for a couple a day.)

Interesting Fact - Clothing

A survey suggest that only 18% of male office workers in the UK wear ties.

(The German boss of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Professor Martin Roth, said that only security guards bothered to wear a tie any longer.

As proof of this people have noted that David Cameron chose an open-neck shirt in many of his appearances on TV, so as not to appear stuffy, and even Prince William got in on the act when he turned up at a recent charity event in a shirt and sweater rather than a suit and tie.

Interesting Inventions - The Handbag

Leonardo Da Vinci has been credited with inventing the designer handbag.

(It's believed he drew a sketch of an ornate leather accessory in 1497 while he was painting The Last Supper. Now a luxury Italian brand, Gherardini, has decided to manufacture a bag based on Leonardo's design - more than five centuries after his death. I guess the copyright has run out by now.)

One for +april sis.

Interesting Food - Nuts

Peanuts are not nuts!

(Peanuts are actually a type of pea, so the health warning on a packet of peanuts (“may contain nuts”) is untrue. And people who are allergic to peanuts, are not necessarily allergic to nut nuts.

Pecans, sweet chestnuts, beech nuts, acorns and hazel nuts are nuts, but almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts are also not nuts.

Quite simply it's nuts!)

Source: QI on the BBC

Interesting Date - Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday, or is it?

(In the UK Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, which usually falls on the third Monday of the year or the Monday of the last full week of January, but this year we get it early. In 2012, Blue Monday could fall on January 23rd which is the last full week of January, or on January 16th the third Monday of the year. Maybe this means we will get two this year - Whoopee!)

Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to a report by the Institute of Economic Affairs 'The Pursuit of Happiness', happiness levels correlate with the amount of wealth a person accumulates.

(It contradicts the widely-held belief that above a certain income level, people do not become any happier, which was put forward in 1974 by wellbeing expert Richard Easterlin, who claimed that happiness stagnates when income rises beyond a certain level. Even Princeton University claimed to have found that wellbeing stopped increasing at £58,700 – with an increase of as much as a third making little difference, but this latest study says this is a ‘myth’ and ‘fake’. It argues a 20 per cent rise in income has the same impact on wellbeing irrespective of how much wealth the person has initially. But it still can't buy you love.)


Interesting Fact - Music

According to the karaoke website "Lucky Voice", one in four karaoke singers chose an Adele song when they picked up a mic in 2011.

(Her hit 'Someone Like You' was the most popular.
Her cover version of 'Make You Feel My Love' came in second place.
The X Factor finalists' version of David Bowie's 'Heroes' was number three.
One Direction's debut single 'What Makes You Beautiful' trailed at four.
And finally, Jessie J's 'Price Tag' finished up at number five.)

Interesting Number - 13

Today is the first Friday the 13th of the year, and it's got the inter web thingy in a spin, but not everyone thinks the number 13 is unlucky.

Triskaidekaphobia, is the phobia of the number 13, and there are a number of theories behind the cause of this association between thirteen and bad luck, but none of them have been accepted as universally true.

(13 Lucky or Unlucky?

Unlucky 13

The number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number in some countries.

The end of the Mayan calendar's 13th Baktun is superstitiously feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon.

Fear of the number 13 has a specifically recognized phobia, Triskaidekaphobia, a word which was coined in 1911. The superstitious sufferers of triskaidekaphobia try to avoid bad luck by keeping away from anything numbered or labelled thirteen. As a result, companies and manufacturers use another way of numbering or labeling to avoid the number, with hotels and tall buildings being conspicuous examples (Thirt…

Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to a survey by the Children's Society one in ten children in the UK, aged eight to 16, are unhappy.

(The main cause is family, but the survey also found that children who did not have clothes to 'fit in' with peers were three times more likely to have a feeling of low well-being than those that did, and one in ten children were unhappy about their relationships with teachers; one in six being unhappy about the amount they felt they were being listened to at school. The main thing is 500,000 unhappy children is no laughing matter.)

Interesting People - Mr and Mrs Chand

Karam Chand and his wife Kartari have been married for 86 years, this could make them the UK's longest married husband and wife.

(They live in Bradford, Yorkshire, but got married in Punjab, India in 1925 He is 106 years old and she is 99. The couple celebrated their 86th marriage anniversary yesterday. They have eight children, 27 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.

Interesting Fact - Cameras

According to figures from Samsung, 2.5 billion people around the globe have a digital camera.

(Given that there are 7 billion of us on the planet, there's plenty of room for growth.)

Interesting Invention - The Digital Camera

Kodak is credited with building the first digital camera in 1975.

(Steven Sasson invented it, but it was a box the size of a small coffee machine with a cassette stuck to the side, so not very practical. Unfortunately this invention has all but killed the traditional camera, and Kodak looks as if it shot itself in the foot by not fully profiting from its invention.)

Interesting Word - Continuator

A continuator is a writer who chooses to finish the work of another author.

(The latest book to be "continuated" is Charles Dickens' unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, his only mystery story. It was his final book, published in 1870, but he only completed six of twelve parts before he died. No-one knows how he intended to conclude it, but Gwyneth Hughes not only adapted Dickens's half-written novel into a new television drama but also gave it an ending of her own. You could describe what continuators do as literary necrophilia, or maybe they simply keep popular authors alive.)

Interesting Fact - Health - Podcast

According to  Professor Mark Wilcox, Clinical Director of Microbiology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, whether you close the toilet lid before you flush, could have an impact on the spread of infections.

(Seemingly leaving the lid up when you flush can allow a cloud of bacteria to explode into the air, settling on nearby surfaces. I won't go into the specifics, but they tested the hospital superbug C. difficile, and found that when flushing, bacteria was transported up to 10 inches above the toilet seat when it was open, and was found on the cistern, to the right and left of the toilet seat, and on the floor, in fact it was still detected in the air up to 90 minutes later, but when the lid was closed no C. diff. was recovered on any surface.  So, men, now you know why us women get so annoyed when you leave the lid up.)


Interesting Fact - Olympic Fact - Archery

The centre of an Olympic archery target is gold.

(Olympic Archery targets  are 122 centimetres in diameter, with the gold ring at the centre (worth a maximum 10 points) measuring just 12.2cm. Archers shoot at the target from a distance of 70 metres.

I would have lost any trivia quiz before I discovered this, as I was convinced it was red.)

Interesting Food - Fish

A Japanese restaurateur at Japan's Tsukiji fish market has paid nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for a single tuna.

(This is the most ever paid for this endangered species; bluefin tuna. The beautiful animal weighed 269-kilogramme (592-pound), which means it cost a whopping 210,000 yen per kilogramme. It was caught off the coast of Japan's northern Aomori prefecture. Japan consumes three-quarters of the global catch of bluefin, a highly prized sushi ingredient known in Japan as "kuro maguro" (black tuna) and dubbed by sushi connoisseurs the "black diamond" because of its scarcity. Of course tuna is often loaded with mercury and a mix of nasty industrial chemicals such as dioxins, pesticides and PCBs, which have been dumped in our seas and oceans, and with the risk of contamination from the nuclear waste swept away in the Tsunami, this fish may have the last laugh.)


They are counting all the animals at London Zoo.

There are an estimated 18,500 animals, so it will take all week.

They have been doing an annual stock take for years, as this old footage reveals.

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Interesting Fact - The Royal Family

The Duke of Edinburgh was given a baby elephant when visiting Sri Lanka.

(In fact, the Royal family usually receive presents when they go on holidays (sorry - state visits), and some of them are quite ridiculous.

Princess Anne was given a brown Syrian bear by the then Soviet Union.
Prince Andrew was given a newborn Gambian crocodile.
The Queen was given a pair of sloths in Brazil in 1968.

It's not always animals either.

Prince Andrew was given two bags of basmati rice by the Pakistan High Commission
2008 the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were given two wristbands, two baseball caps, four T-shirts and 18 CDs by the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica.

When the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer, she received a pair of 100-year-old silk mittens, a silver-plated mousetrap and, most esoteric of all, a piece of crocheted lace made from yarn spun by Mahatma Gandhi.

Other gifts have included a box of volcanic ash from Montserrat, a yellow metal hatpin from Japan, three bot…

Interesting Fact - Technology

According to Google, about 42m new Android devices were activated in December 2011.
(They calculate that  there are now around 280m active "Google Android" devices.  I own 2 of them, but unfortunately none of the newly activated ones, Santa wasn't that generous.)

Interesting Fact - Big Ben

The Clock Tower is the focus of New Year celebrations in the United Kingdom, with radio and TV stations tuning to its chimes to welcome the start of the year, but the unique sound of the bell Big Ben is caused by a patched crack.

(Yes, Big Ben isn't the name of the tower, it's the nickname of the main bell in the tower which is part of the Great Clock of Westminster in London. It's officially known as the Great Bell, but is better known by the nickname Big Ben.

The original bell was a 16.3-tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by John Warner & Sons. The bell was named in honour of Sir Benjamin Hall, and his name is inscribed on it.

Cast in 1856, the first bell was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested and a replacement had to be made. The bell was recast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.76-tonne (13½ ton) bell. …