Showing posts from June, 2012

Interesting Fact - Smartphones

According to research from mobile network O2, smartphones are hardly ever used to make a phone call.

(Most people use their smartphone for surfing the web, checking social networks or playing games.

The research found that the average smartphone owner spends more than two hours each day using the device. Here's a breakdown of what they use it for.
Browsing the internet - 25 minutes Social networking - 17 minutesPlaying games - 13 minutes Listening to music - 16 minutesMaking phone calls - 11 minutesText messaging - 10 minutesTaking photographs - 3 minutes Even though people only spend three minutes a day taking photographs, photography was the most popular thing to use a smartphone for, 74 per cent said that they had taken photos with their handset.

For me all the above is true apart from playing games and texting. I have never played a game on my Motorola Droid, and I send about 10 texts a year. In fact my smartphone gets about 30 minutes use a day, I prefer my laptop and a real …

Interesting Fact - Traffic Accidents

According to figures released by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents; more people were killed on UK roads in 2011 than at any time since 2003.

(Statistics revealed almost 2,000 people died in traffic accidents – 3% up on 2010. The number of deaths and serious injuries reported to the police hit 25,023, a 2% increase on the previous year and the first increase in those killed or seriously injured since 1994.

Now I wonder what's changed recently that might cause these increases. Anyone here been using their mobile phone recently?)

Interesting Fact - Language

I was shocked when I read that one of Italy's leading universities - the Politecnico di Milano - is going to switch to the English language.

(The university believes that if it remains Italian-speaking it risks isolation and will be unable to compete as an international institution.

Giovanni Azzone, the university's rector said, "We strongly believe our classes should be international classes - and the only way to have international classes is to use the English language."

I guess it would be cool to study in Milan, but it also means it becomes just one more English speaking university amongst many.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to, more than 1,500 vouchers are redeemed in UK every minute.

(That's 2.23 million discount vouchers every day, and this saves Brits, on average, £2.7 billion every year.  Across the country the figures vary, Londoners seem to be the keenest; here is the City Savings League:-
City Monthly saving London £71 Cardiff £65 Edinburgh £60 Liverpool £57 Manchester £51
In Germany there aren't as many voucher offers, I guess because Aldi couldn't cut their margins without going the same way as Schlecker.)

Interesting People - Kate Middleton

If her hubby isn't with her, Kate Middleton will have to curtsey to the blood princesses, including the cats in the hats, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

(The Queen’s updated protocol — the “Order of Precedence in the Royal Household” — stipulates that if Wills (a.k.a. the Duke of Cambridge) is in the room, Kate need only curtsey to the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and, believe it or not, Charles’s wife, Camilla.

The Daily Mail sets out the palace rankings as follows:

The Queen; Prince Philip; Prince of Wales; Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William; Prince Harry; the Duke of York; the Duchess of Cambridge; the Earl of Wessex; the Countess of Wessex; the Princess Royal; the Duke of Gloucester; the Duchess of Gloucester; the Duke of Kent; the Duchess of Kent; Princess Alexandra.

Further, as commoners (like most of the planet), Kate’s parents have not — by virtue of their daughter’s marrying “up” — become members of the Royal Family, as under a “blood Royal” rule, only the childre…

Interesting Fact - Toddlers

In a report entitled "First Steps Research", nutritionists have worked out that the daily energy expended by an average toddler is the equivalent to the energy an adult would expend during 83 rounds in a boxing ring.

(In the same research the equivalent energy would be expended if an adult ran 30 miles, played 3 football matches, cycled 82 miles at 12-14mph, climbed 2,980 metres, or rowed for 6 hours.
I doubt any parent will be surprised at this.)

Interesting Fact - Ageing

Researchers at Boston University claim they can predict whether someone will live to 100 with up to 85 per cent accuracy.

(After studying the DNA of centenarians and identifying common genetic variations they have developed a genetic test for healthy ageing, which may have contributed to their longevity, but the test is most reliable late in life, meaning it is unlikely to be useful as an early predictor of lifespan.

Would you really want to know though?  I mean, they can't predict whether you'll be run over by a bus, can they.)


Interesting Fact - Toys

Believe it or not, Kinder Surprise toys, Lego people, model soldiers, soft toys and toy cars are officially not ''citizens of Russia''.

(This surprising announcement was made when a petition was presented to hold a protest rally with 100 Kinder Surprise toys, 100 Lego people, 20 model soldiers, 15 soft toys and 10 toy cars. In one of the best quotes this year, Andrei Lyapunov, a spokesman said, ''As you understand, toys, especially imported toys, are not only not citizens of Russia but they are not even people,'' 'Neither toys nor, for example, flags, plates or domestic appliances can take part in a meeting.''

Darn it! And there was me hoping to get all the neighbour's Hoovers round for the LEN AGM.)Source

I've had a brilliant thought! They should set up a protest with matryoshka dolls. No one would dare deny their citizenship.

Interesting Fact - Newspapers

Germany's Bild newspaper, the world's seventh-biggest newspaper, has stopped printing its page one girl.

(The page one girl, usually a busty, semi-clad and sometimes completely naked woman has been a staple at breakfast time all over Germany for years. The German tabloid declared, "It is perhaps a small step from the viewpoint of women, but it is a big step for Bild and for every man in Germany." 
Even more amusingly they reprinted a headline from May 1970 - ''Women have less in the head than men'' - and announced that ''this headline is of great embarrassment today''.
The Sun, which started showing topless page 3 girls in 1970 and was an inspiration for the Bild, declined to comment on Bild's move,)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to research by online bank First Direct, you now need £3million to be able to live like a millionaire.

(Today’s jet-setters need almost £3 million to buy the millionaire lifestyle, compared with 20 years ago.

Here it is broken down for you:-

Millionaire’s lifestyle in 1992

House in Kensington - £345,920
Rolls Royce Phantom - £111,894
Sea-faring yacht - £301,360
Men’s designer watch - £14,880
Women’s designer watch - £13,550
3.5 carat diamond necklace - £9,130
32 night Caribbean cruise - £7,770
Holiday home in St Just, Cornwall - £51, 707
Villa in Tuscany - £138,800
TOTAL: £995,011
Millionaire’s lifestyle in 2012

House in Kensington - £1,362,930
Rolls Royce Phantom - £285,200
Sea-faring yacht - £509,000
Men’s top of the range designer watch - £25,270
Women’s top of the range designer watch - £23,000
3.5 carat diamond necklace - £15,500
32 night Caribbean cruise - £13,200
Holiday home in St Just, Cornwall - £149,950
Villa in Tuscany - £235,670
TOTAL: £2,619,720
Not to mention…

Interesting Fact - Money

According to research by online bank First Direct, the cost of living in the UKhas gone up by 163% in 20 years.

(The problem is average salaries have not kept pace, increasing by just 100%.  I knew I felt poorer!)

Interesting Food - Pizza

A New York pizza restaurant is charging $1,000 for a pizza.

(Labelled the 'most expensive pizza in the world', the pizza is prepared with thinly sliced lobster and creme fraiche, and then you can choose between two of the most expensive caviars in the world as an extra topping,

The restaurant owner, Nino Selimaj, says it is worth every penny, "We sell them to politicians, Wall Street traders, or couples celebrating a birthday or anniversary," he said.

I praise his entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact he is able to squeeze a bit of that banker's bonus out of people who can afford it, but during a recession and with half the world going hungry, I have to question his ethics, and those of his customers.)

Interesting Fact - Teeth

In the early part of the 19th century, dentures were made of a variety of materials, from wood and ivory, to real human teeth.

(Following the battle of Waterloo there was a plethora of spare teeth which had been extracted from the mouths of fallen soldiers.  They became known as Waterloo teeth.

"Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained." The Duke of Wellington)
Source: H2G2 "

Interesting Place - Bangor

Bangor in Gwynedd, North Wales, has banned under-16s from the city centre after 9pm, unless they are accompanied by an adult.

(The rule is called a dispersal order, and it says: "If you are under 16 you are not allowed to be here between the hours of 9pm and 6am unless you are under the effective control of a parent or responsible person over the age of 18.

The streets affected are:-

Glynne Road, Friars Avenue, Mount Street, Maes y Dre, Dean Street, Brick Street, James Street, Well Street, Ashley Road, Ffordd Gwynedd, Tan y Fynwent, Glan yr Afon, Glan yr Afon Hill, Lower Penrallt Road, Penrallt Road, Deiniol Street and The Crescent and include parts of High Street, Love Lane,
Deiniol Road, Holyhead Road, College Road, Ffordd Islwyn and Orme Road

Failure to comply could lead to up to three months imprisonment for the parent(s) and/or a fine of up to £2,500.

Of course, putting "interesting place" and Bangor in the same title, might seem like an oxymoron, which is probably…

Interesting Animal - Penguins

Penguins can be gay.

(Two Gentoo penguins, Inca and Rayas, at a zoo in Madrid, Spain, have been building a nest together every six years in the hope of starting a family. They have now been given their own egg to look after.

Inca and Rayas aren't the first gay penguins to hit the news, and homosexual behaviour in penguins was first recorded in 1910, by polar explorer, Dr. George Murray Levick, but his account wasn't published as it was deemed "too shocking". Funnily the zoo keeper who looks after them said that although the pair were extremely close, they were not actually gay, but simply "the best of friends".  I call that being in denial.)


Interesting Fact - Work

According to a survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, nearly two-thirds of office workers continue working outside office hours.

(The culprits are smartphones, notebooks and tablets, technology which has turned people into "screen slaves".  Admit it, we often work while commuting or after we get home. The main problem, apart from stress related illnesses, is that working in these environments encourages poor posture, which can lead to back and neck pain. Unions say that people need to learn to switch off their devices, so I'm going to make myself a cuppa now.)

Interesting Fact - Ageing

The international standard for walking speed is 4ft (1.2 metres) per second.

(This speed is used by the Department for Transport in the UK to set the timing on pedestrian crossings.  The problem is that according to a report published in the journal Aga and Ageing, 76% of men and 85% of women over the age of 65 have a walking speed slower than that.  This means they struggle to cross the road before the green man turns red (pedestrian crossings in the UK use little green men (see the picture - they're not aliens).  I have to add that 100% of people with a bad back struggle too!)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

American-based organisations accounted for nearly half of all applications for new net address endings, according to  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the organisation in charge of the expansion.

(They received 884 requests for new suffixes from the US, out of a total of 1,930.  The breakdown of requests is as follows:-

North America: 911 applications

Europe: 675 applications

Asia-Pacific: 303 applications

Latin American and the Caribbean: 24 applications

Africa: 17 applications

116 of the applications were for non-Latin alphabets.)

Interesting Fact - Longevity

According to a publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, US scientists have found that children with older fathers and grandfathers appear to be "genetically programmed" to live longer.

(The genetic make-up of sperm changes as a man ages and develops DNA code that favours a longer life - a trait he then passes to his children.  So, delaying fatherhood may be a good idea, unfortunately lots of young men seem hell-bent on reproducing as quickly as possible.)


Interesting Place - London

According to Trip Advisor's TripIndex, London is the world's most expensive city for a night out.

(It costs an average of £330.45, which includes the combined costs for two people of one night in a four-star hotel, with cocktails, a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine and taxi fare home. Hah! What's wrong with a fish supper and the bus?)

Interesting Fact - Money and Politics

According to the GMB trade union, almost a quarter of the richest people in the country are Conservative Party donors, 
(Since 2001, the Tories have received donations of around £83m from 248 out of the top 1,000 on the Sunday Times Rich List.

Tetra Pak billionaire Hans Rausing and his family were shown to have given £886,000 to the party. Peter Cruddas (great name) and Lord Ashcroft, two significant Tory donors, also made the Rich List. Mr Cruddas gave £1.4m, while Lord Ashcroft gave £6.1m. The Fleming family, a banking dynasty worth £1.5bn, donated £1.4m to the Tories.
Well, at least we know who is really running the country.)

Interesting Fact - Dinosaurs

According to a study by British scientists, dinosaurs may have farted their way to extinction.

(The study, which appears in the journal Current Biology, estimates that an average argentinosaurus, weighing around 90 tons and measuring 140 feet, munched its way through half a ton of plant material a day, its gut produced clouds of methane. The scientists worked out that this resulted in 520 million tons of methane gas being "released" into the atmosphere every year. Nowadays cows and other farm animals globally contribute up to 100 million tons a year, and many scientists believe that this methane is contributing to global warming and climate change now.)
This appears in Fun With English too, thanks to Russell Howard:-

Interesting People - Pali Grewal

In 2010 Pali Grewal, from Croydon of all places, became the world's fastest pizza maker.

(He can make 3 pizzas in 39 seconds.  Here he is in action on the Russel Howard show:-

Interesting Fact - Transport

Wi-fi has been launched on the London Underground for the first time.

(Wi-fi is now available at King's Cross and Warren Street stations. The service, provided by Virgin Media, will be free during London 2012, and then free to Virgin Media customers.

The following 80 stations should have wi-fi installation by July 2012, just in time for the Olympics:-

Aldgate East, Angel, Archway, Arsenal, Barbican, Bayswater, Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, Blackhorse Road, Borough, Brixton, Caledonian Road, Camden Town, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Chancery Lane, Charing Cross, Clapham North, Covent Garden, Edgware Road (Circle), Elephant & Castle, Embankment, Euston, Euston Square, Finsbury Park, Goodge Street, Green Park, Hammersmith (District/Piccadilly), Heathrow T1-T3, Heathrow T4, High Street Kensington, Highbury & Islington, Holborn, Holland Park, Hyde Park Corner, Kentish Town, Kings Cross/St Pancras, Lambeth North, Lancaster Gate, Leicester Square, Liverpool Street, …

Interesting Fact - Transport

Manchester Airport ran out of fuel today, delaying more than a dozen flights.

(The airport gets through three million litres of aviation fuel a day. The fuel is pumped through a 30-mile pipeline, which is the airport's only source of aviation fuel, every day transporting the equivalent of 79 road tankers' worth of fuel, but suddenly the flow of fuel dried up as production problems at the the Essar refinery near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire meant that fuel stopped being pumped to the airport early this morning.
Usually the airport has between 12 and 24 hours of spare capacity, but the Jubilee weekend had been very busy with about 300,000 people flying over the four days, and by 17:15 BST the fuel had run out. 
I've only ever run out of fuel once, and it was hubby's fault.)

Interesting Food - Jubilee Lunch Menu

Here is the full menu for the special Diamond Jubilee Lunch.

First it will be canapes with the following drinks:
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2007, Sparkling English Wine

Sandringham Apple Juice

Marinated Uist Island Salmon with Lyme Bay Crab

Fresh Herb Salad with Lemon Soy Dressing

Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc, Bué Loire Valley, France 2011

Saddle of Welsh Cambrian Mountain Lamb with Braised Shoulder of Lamb

Grilled Isle of Wight Asparagus, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Jubilee Sauce

Château Cap de Faugères, Côte-de-Castillon, France 2007

Followed by a Symphony of Dessert
Chocolate Délice
Bread & Butter Pudding
Berry Compote with Sandringham Apple Sauce

This will be accompanied with:
Ceylon Tea,
Fairtrade Coffee
Petit Fours

Interesting Place - Britain

According to a major study carried out by the University of Essex, the British, as a people, are becoming less honest.

(As a nation we are becoming increasingly relaxed about "low-level dishonesty. The study found that in the year 2000, 70% of people believed an extramarital affair could never be justified; today, the proportion is about 50%. The number of people who say keeping money found in the street is never justified fell from 40% to 20%. Lying and breaking the speed limit have also become an accepted part of life, but fabricating a job application  is less acceptable, however many people do not rule it out.  Always check those references. )


Interesting Fact - Health

Marathon runners and other people involved in extreme endurance   sports like triathlons and long-distance bicycle races have been told that too much exercise can cause scaring in the heart.

(Researchers found that one in 10 athletes have signs of heart scarring.   Exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day is the ideal, more can actually be detrimental to the health.  I'm just explaining to my dog why her walk will be halved today, it has nothing to do with the lousy weather, my decision is purely based on health.)

Interesting Food - Oil

According to a study study, published in the British Medical Journal, fried food is not bad for the heart if it's cooked in olive, or sunflower oil.

(For over 11 years, scientists surveyed the cooking methods of 40,757 healthy adults, ages 29 to 69, in Spain and concluded that heart disease events and deaths were not statistically tied to fried food consumption. I'm just wondering what fish and chips fried in olive oil would taste like.)

Interesting Fact - Olympics

If someone takes a new born baby to some areas of the 2012 Olympics, they will need to have a ticket - for the baby.

(After a lot of confusion about the status of babes in arms, Locog have now confirmed that babies aged 12 months or under, will be allowed into almost all London 2012 venues without a ticket but they have to be strapped securely to a parent or carer in a baby carrier, sling or similar item.

The only exceptions are Wembley Stadium, St James' Park, Old Trafford and North Greenwich Arena, where existing licensing agreements mean all spectators need a ticket, regardless of their age.Organisers Locog have said that every baby for these venues will need a ticket, even if they do not need a seat.)