Showing posts from April, 2012

Interesting Fact - Books

According to the Publishers Association, revenue from digital downloads hit £92million in 2011.

(This is a 366 per cent increase on 2010. Around 1 in 40 UK adults received a Kindle for Christmas, and retailer John Lewis said that at one point during the festive season they were selling a Kindle every 30 seconds. Experts say the success of e-books is being driven by top authors releasing eBook-only short stories and novels,. If they would just reduce the price of an e-book these figures would sky-rocket.)

Interesting Fact - Games

According to its creators Rovio, Angry Birds Space has been downloaded 50 million times in just 35 days.

(This makes it the fastest growing mobile game ever, Breaking the records set by - yes - previous Angry Birds releases. Other popular games have reached the 50 million download milestone too, these include Draw Something and Temple Run - but it took them a bit longer than 35 days.


Interesting Animals - Sharks

Before they are born, sand tiger sharks eat their siblings until only one survives in each uterus. 

(There is even a term for this, rather disgusting, phenomena: in utero cannibalization.   Actually the female sand tiger shark has two uteri, so two pups can be born at one time. Sometimes nature is just downright icky!)

Interesting Word - Retarded

The UK press (apart from the obvious ones) have all jumped on the fact that Rupert Murdoch called the British Prime Minister's disabled son 'RETARDED' whilst giving testimony at the Levenson enquiry.

(Retarded comes from the French word 'retarder', and when used in the context of childhood development it  has been around for centuries, it was used as an official medical adjective to describe a mentally disabled person, but for the last few decades retarded is now deemed offensive. Why is it offensive?  Well that happens to words the moment they start to be used as an insult.  I guess around 1970 kids started to say to other kids in the playground, 'you are such a retard' or 'you are so retarded'.
In 2006 the medical term 'mental retardation' was dropped by the American Association on Mental Retardation and the organisation was renamed American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. And in 2008, a poll by the BBC conclude…

Interesting Fact - Money

If you're looking for a good ROI (Return On Investment), here's a way of making 30% in just 5 days.

(No, this isn't a con, this is genuine. Send me all your money (joke). No - go to a UK post office and buy some first and second class stamps. By Monday they will be worth around 30% more.
On 30th April a first-class stamp in the UK will rise in price from 46p to 60p and a second-class stamp will go up from 36p to 50p.  As the stamps don't show their monetary value, just their status (First / Second Class), you will be making an excellent investment.)

Interesting Places - Boring and Dull

No, this isn't an oxymoron.  A town in Britain called Dull has been twinned with a town in the USA called Boring.

(Boring and Dull!  They must have Boring and Dull schools, and Boring and Dull streets.

In Scotland the sign will probably read "Dull  - Twinned with Boring", the sign in America might read: "Welcome to Boring, sister community of Dull".  It's so tempting to make some more silly jokes using these names as adjectives (click on the source link to read some).

We will discuss this in today's Skype session, bring your puns.)


Interesting Inventions - The Zip

Gideon Sundback, a Swedish-American electrical engineer, is credited with the invention of the zipper.

(He was born on April 24th 1880 in Sweden, but the development work on the zip was carried out in the US as head designer at Universal Fastener.

Sundback made several advances in the development of the zipper between 1906 and 1914, while working for companies that later evolved into Talon, Inc. He built upon the previous work of other engineers such as Elias Howe, Max Wolff, and Whitcomb Judson. He was responsible for improving the "Judson C-curity Fastener". At that time the company's product was still based on hooks and eyes. Sundback developed an improved version of the C-curity, called the "Plako", but it too had a strong tendency to pull apart, and wasn't any more successful than the previous versions. Sundback finally solved the pulling-apart problem in 1913, with his invention of the first version not based on the hook-and-eye principle, the "…

Interesting Animal - Chickens

A chick on a farm in on a farm in Sri Lanka was recently born without an egg.

(Normally eggs are passed out of a hen's body and incubated outside until the chick hatches. However, in this case, the egg was incubated inside the hen for 21 days before hatching. Unfortunately the poor hen died from the birth, but the chick survived and is said to be healthy and fully formed.
Of course this all means that the age old conundrum of which came first - the chicken or the egg has finally been answered.)


Interesting Fact - Light-bulbs

To mark Earth Day 2012, a new kind of light-bulb is going on sale in the US.

(What makes this light-bulb different is that it lasts for 20 years. They are made by Dutch electronics firm Philips. The bulb swaps filaments for light-emitting diodes to provide illumination.

Using LEDs endows the light with a long life. The downside is the hefty price tag; the first versions are set to cost $60 (£37).

Why is being green always so expensive?)


Today is Earth Day.

History of Earth day.

Interesting Fact - Light bulbs

Production of 100, 75 and 60 watt light bulbs has ceased in the US and Europe.

(From 2014, incandescent bulbs of 40 watts or above will be banned in the US.

Supporters of this move say that by replacing the old fashioned lamps with more efficient models domestic energy consumption for lighting will be reduced by 60 per cent in the EU alone. That's the equivalent of 30 million tons of CO2 pollution every year.

What was really funny is that when they announced that these bulbs (which we haven't used for years) were being phased out, people went out and bought loads to stock up. Demand was highest in Germany, Austria, Poland and central Europe.  Germany surprised me as they usually care about the environment.  The reason given was that people felt that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use a fifth of the energy needed for a conventional bulb, give off a sickly light.  Aw diddums.)

Interesting Place - Spain

Spain will reimpose border checks for a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting in Barcelona in May.

(The only grounds for restoring border controls under the Schengen Treaty (the EU's passport-free travel treaty) is a threat to public order. Now why on earth would they think that a meeting of bankers would be a threat to public order?)

Interesting Fact - Human Body

According to a report in the May 2011 issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, there are 14 different nose shapes.

(Unfortunately 4 remain nameless, but the named ones are are:-The turned up noseThe fleshy nose The Greek noseThe hawk noseThe Roman noseThe snub noseThe bulbous noseThe bumpy noseThe aquiline noseThe Nixon noseYou can find pictures of them here.
What kind of nose have you got?)
More body vocabulary.

Interesting Fact - Morality

According to results from Professor Roger Steare's “Moral DNA test,” women are more moral than men.

( Professor Steare developed the test four years ago to measure changes in people’s value systems and 60,000 volunteers across 200 countries have already taken the quiz. There are six personality types: philosopher; judge; angel; teacher; enforcer; or guardian. The results to date show that females are more likely to make decisions based on how they impact on others.  You can take the test yourself  at )


Interesting Fact - Humans

According to philosopher Professor Roger Steare, we reach the "peak of our intellectual and moral powers" in our early 60s.

(I presume he means age and not the decade.)

Interesting Fact - Tax

According to figures published by the Treasury, 6% of people in the UK earning more than £10million a year hand over less than ten per cent of their income to the Treasury.

(The worst offenders are the super-rich, people who rake in £10million-plus a year. Just to put it into perspective this all means that some of the richest people in Britain are paying a lower rate of tax than their cleaners.)

Interesting Fact - The Titanic

The Titanic, sank 100 years ago, in the early morning of April 15, 1912.  (Of the 1,496 people that perished with the Titanic, 73.3 percent of the women and 50.4 percent of the children survived compared to only 20.7 percent of the men. The statistics went against most other maritime disasters (see previous post) because the captain, Edward Smith, threatened to shoot men unless they yielded their lifeboat seats to the women. Capt. Smith also went down with his ship.)

Interesting Fact - Human Nature

According to Swedish researchers, Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixon of Uppsala University, the chivalrous concept of "women and children first" is just a myth.

(The Swedish researchers analyzed 18 of the world's most famous maritime disasters, ranging from the HMS Birkenhead that grounded in the Indian Ocean in 1852 to the MV Bulgaria tourist ship that sank on Russia's Volga River last year.

Analyzing passenger lists, logs and registers, they found that men actually have a distinct survival advantage: Of the 15,000 people who died in the 18 accidents, only 17.8 percent of the women survived compared with 34.5 percent of the men, and sadly, in three of the shipwrecks, all the women died.

In fact it gets even worse, the idea of going down with the ship is called into question too, as their studies have shown that captains and their crew are 18.7% more likely to survive a shipwreck than their passengers.

So, it looks as if the expression `every man for himself' is…

Interesting Fact - Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th.

(In fact there are only 3 Friday 13ths in 2012 and they are all 13 weeks apart.  It's exactly 13 weeks since the last Friday 13th and it will be 13 weeks to the next Friday 13th.  I bet there are lots of people not getting out of bed today.)

Interesting Fact - Population

The Census Bureau in America says that there are now nearly 2 million people in the USA in their 90s.

(This is three times as many as there were back in 1980 and the number is projected to reach 9 million by 2050, but aging isn't just a phenomena in the West, it is a global issue:  Worldwide, by 2050, the increase in population ages 65 and over is forecast to be 2.5 times that of the population ages 0-4. This is an exact reversal of the situation in 1950.  Of course some people think this is a problem, but when it comes to aging, I for one am all for it!)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) the top 5 worst places in America for allergy sufferers are as follows:-

1. Knoxville, TN
2. McAllen, TX
3. Louisville, KY
4. Jackson, MS
5. Wichita, KS
The primary springtime allergy trigger is tree pollen, and it can cause symptoms including itchy runny nose, nasal and sinus congestion, repeated sneezing, watery eyes, inflamed sinuses and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

Interesting Fact - Slang

According to a survey conducted by The Museum of London Cockney Rhyming Slang is dying out.

(Many people did not know the "dickie birds" (words), and the meaning of once-popular phrases like "pig's ear" (beer), "bacon and eggs" (legs) and "bricks and mortar" (daughter) have been lost, "apples and pears" (stairs) was the most well-known Cockney phrase (78%) but only 9% of respondents said they used it in the last six months. "Porky pies" (lies) ranked as the most commonly used expression - but only 13% said it had come out of their "north and south" (mouth) In fact other forms of slang are taking over and words like "OMG," "epic fail" and "wicked" currently rule the London lexicon.)

Interesting Fact - Education

You don't have to be a qualified teacher to work in UK schools.

(Now this statement might surprise you, but it's true.  Only state school teachers (the schools you don't have to pay for) have to have a teaching qualification, those working in public schools (the very expesnive schools you do have to pay for) don't. )

Interesting Fact - Health

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, in 2011 43,069 cosmetic operations took place in the UK.

(Breast implants remained the most popular procedure for women, with more than 10,000 boosting their cup size, which is why the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, BAAPS for short, has the most appropriate acronym possible.  In British English, a bap is a type of floury soft bread roll, a bit like a hamburger bun. The term is often used affectionately to describe breasts.)


Interesting Fact - Easter Fact

According to a vicar, Father Phil Ritchie, from All Saints Church in Hove, East Sussex, this Easter we should all "Have a lie-in, have sex, and eat chocolate".

(Father Ritchie said:  "The problem with the church is that we stay inside our building and occasionally come out and say, 'Why don’t you come to our church, it’s cool and funky' - To be honest, it’s not.  I would love more people to come at 10am on Sunday and I would welcome them to All Saints.  For Christians this is the most important day of the year.  All life and all hope flows from it.  But there are plenty of ways to celebrate without coming to a draughty Victorian building.  So why not stay at home, have a lie in, have sex and eat some chocolate."

His suggestion actually raised his congregation for Easter Sunday to about 300, 100 more than usual, I guess the alternative didn't appeal to them much.)


Interesting Fact - Health

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. men now account for 10% of all cosmetic surgery operations in the UK.
(People will never be happy with how they look, so IMHO, unless there's a very good reason to go under the knife, it's best to stick with what you've got.)


Interesting Fact - Groceries

Coca-Cola is the most popular grocery product in the UK.

( It tops the UK's list of top 10 grocery brands with sales of £1,014m, up £74.3m on 2011.  The next most popular brands were Warburtons, Walkers Crisps, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Hovis, Kingsmill, NescafĂ©, Lucozade, Andrex and for the first time Pepsi.  So, soft drinks, crisps, chocolate, coffee, bread and toilet paper.  No wonder we are topping the obesity tables in Europe. )

Interesting Fact - Law

You can be fined or jailed for buying fake goods in Europe.

(In France, the maximum fine for buying fake goods is 300,000 euros, or three years in jail and during a crackdown in Italy in 2010, a tourist was fined 1,000 euros for buying a fake Louis Vuitton bag for seven euros.)

Interesting Place - The UK

According to a nationwide survey by Halifax Home Insurance, around 6.5 million adults in the UK admit to buying goods from criminals.

(Only 20 per cent of the people asked said that they would ask where the goods came from before buying them. The British public are buying around £247 million worth of stolen goods from illegal street traders.)

Interesting Fact - Law

It is not illegal to knowingly buy counterfeit goods in the UK.

(Although the UK authorities target those who trade in fake goods, the government has decided against criminalising consumers who buy them.

In fact it's even funnier, seemingly hookie goods, which can mean knock off or stolen goods, can be sold legally in some parts of the UK. A medieval law allows people to buy stolen goods at some street markets throughout England. The law, which was passed in the 15th century, has been condemned as a 'thieves' charter' because it allows criminals to sell or 'fence' stolen antiques and art. Up to 20 markets, known as 'market overt' (open market) are affected by the legal loophole.)

Interesting Fact - Childhood

According to a study commissioned by chocolate biscuit brand Rocky, in 2011, one in seven youngsters in the UK spent just 26 hours playing outdoors over the whole year.

(More than half of kids only saw their parents at weekends and 44% of parents admitted using computer games to keep the kids quiet, because they were too tired to organise activities. That combines with the fact that the weather was lousy and the economy a disaster 2011 has been labelled as the worst year to be a child.)


Best April Fool's Jokes 2012

Purely MHO:-

Politics was a big theme in 2012.

The Sunday Telegraph claimed that the Tories were launching a hunt to replace recently-departed "blue skies" thinker Steve Hilton using the format of a new reality TV show.

The Observer said David Cameron had asked the Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder to come to Downing Street to advise him on issues of class. (Hubby and I fell for this one.)

The Independent on Sunday reported on police stations holding "hosepipe amnesties" for the public to hand in garden hoses ahead of a hosepipe ban in south-east England (the hosepipe ban was real, just the amnesty was a joke).

The Sunday Times' Style magazine hoped to catch out readers with its double-page spread on "Lemac", a new Middle-Eastern beauty treatment where customers are injected with cells from the humps of camels.

Readers of The Sun on Sunday reported that Arsenal football club was releasing its own fragrance, which took its aromas from the Emirates Stad…