Showing posts from July, 2012

Interesting Fact - Video Games

Video games in the UK will now be regulated under the Europe-wide PEGI (Pan European Game Information) scheme.

(This means that the age rating system for video games will try to stop inappropriate games being sold to children under the age of 12 and give the industry more straightforward rules for rating games according to age.

Up till now the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has provided 15 and 18 certificates, but the BBFC was never tasked with providing 12 certificates for video games, meaning it was technically legal to sell a 12-rated game to younger children, the changes mean anyone selling a 12-certificate game to a child under that age in the UK could be jailed.

Parents can find out about the suitability of games on the website -

Video games are good for you.

Interesting Fact - The Olympics

15,000 volunteers helped out at the Olympics opening ceremony.

(In addition there were three cows, 10 chickens, and 70 sheep among the cast.  The whole thing cost £27 million, but imagine how much more it would have cost without the volunteers.)

Interesting People - Performers

Sir Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal, Frank Turner, Underworld and Emeli Sande were paid a nominal fee of £1 for their performances at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. 

(They had agreed to play for nothing, but had to be charged token fee to create a contract with the London 2012 organisers.  Ah - contracts and lawyers, they don't understand the word "volunteer".)


Today was the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London, and it didn't rain!

PS - If you missed it be sure to check out the highlights on YouTube, some of it was a hoot.

My favourite bits were:  The representation of the Industrial Revolution.
The Queen being picked up by James Bond at Buck Palace and parachuting into the games.
Mr Bean playing with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Dozens of Mary Poppins floating out of the sky.

Interesting Fact - Health

According to research published in the British Medical Journal, shift workers are more at risk of having a heart attack or stroke than day workers.

(The researchers from Norway and Canada calculated that shift work was linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attack, 24% increased risk of coronary event and 5% increased risk of stroke. The researchers said that shift work can disrupt the body clock and have an adverse effect on lifestyle. I know that when my body clock is disrupted it has an adverse effect on hubby's lifestyle.)

Interesting Facts - Olympics

Members of Egypt's Olympic team have allegedly been given fake Nike gear.

(An eagle-eyed synchronised swimmer, Yomna Khallaf, said her workout bags had a big Nike logo in the front but the zippers had Adidas branding on them. Maybe it's not a fake, maybe it's industrial sabotage!)


Today is flying ant day in the UK. Oh and the first Olympic event takes place. You can decide which is most interesting.

Interesting Fact - The Olympics

The oldest Olympic medalist is Britain's John Copley.

(A lot of people believe it was Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn, who won his last medal at age 72, but Mr Copley was 73 when he won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics. Of course his medal was for "etching", but a medal is a medal.)

Interesting Animals - Worms

Scientists have discovered a new species of flatworm in the UK.

(Discovered by Brian Eversham, chief executive of the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, it's just 12mm long, so, what makes a flatworm interesting? Well this one has 60 eyes!   I hope it doesn't need glasses.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to economist James Henry financial assets held offshore round the world are worth “at least” $21tn and perhaps as much as $32tn.

(He calculated that £6.3trillion of these assets are owned by just 92,000 people – or 0.001 per cent of the world’s population. The international campaign group Tax Justice Network, which commissioned the research estimates that around $250billion is lost in taxes each year by governments worldwide as a result of the wealthiest individuals holding their assets offshore.)

Interesting Invention - Energy

Researchers at the University of California have developed a new transparent solar cell.

(This means that instead of unsightly solar panels on roofs, windows in homes and other buildings could be set up to generate electricity while still allowing people to see outside.  I can't wait!)

Interesting Fact - Microsoft

Microsoft has posted its first ever loss since becoming a public company 26 years ago.

(It has never previously reported a quarterly loss since the company's initial public offering in March 1986, but has been forced to do so after writing off almost the entire value of an online advertising service it bought five years ago, this led to a $492million loss in the April-June quarter.  That's got to hurt!)


Interesting Fact - Texting

According to an Ofcom survey, texting has overtaken voice calling as our preferred method of communication.

(Brits now send on average 50 text messages a week, and in 2011 we spent 5 per cent less time on the phone than in 2010. In fact 58 per cent of adults send text messages each day to friends and family. I have to admit I don't phone people as often as I used to, but I don't text either, I use Google talk.)

Interesting Fact - The Olympics

London has hosted the Olympic Games 3 times.

(Once in 1908, again in 1948 and now 2012.)

Interesting Fact - England

According to the Office for National Statistics, the population of England and Wales has surged by 3.7million in the past decade (10 years).

(It's the biggest increase for more than 200 years. The increase has been driven by a number of factors: immigration, increased life expectancy and fertility rates.   The biggest increase was in London, which grew by 12%, gaining more than 850,000 inhabitants and taking its total population to more than 8 million.  Another reason that I never go there.)

Interesting People - The Mayor of Talkeetna

Mayor Stubbs, the mayor of the sleepy town of Talkeetna, Alaska is celebrating his 15th year as mayor.

(Maybe you think that it's not that interesting, until you realise Mayor Stubbs is a cat (okay so it should have been filed under "interesting animal"). Residents thought the candidates running for mayor weren’t up to scratch so campaigned to get the 15-year-old part-Manx the honorary position with a write-in campaign after he was born.  The feline has now become one of the longest-serving mayors in America.  
This opens up so many possibilities, I can see a whole new line up in Parliament.)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

Psychiatrists estimate that the number of people who have become digitally dependent has risen 30 per cent over the past three years.

(Hospitals in the UK now offer technology-addiction services. Psychiatrist Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, author of Tired But Wired, said "People are getting locked into a cycle of technology at work, and then surf the net or use Facebook to unwind. They become exhausted, but cannot switch their brains off."

If you're worried about this, log off the net, switch your computer off, go home and go out for a walk with the family - oh and leave your smartphones at home.)

Interesting Fact - Facebook

Every day, more than 300m photos are uploaded to Facebook, and 526m people log in.

(This is up 41% from a year ago, and in case you think it's a good thing, you'd better read tomorrow's factlet.)

Interesting Fact - Money

UK inflation rate fell to 2.4% in June 2012.

(The reason for this surprise drop was clothing and footwear prices continue to drop. The trouble is that as food prices continue to rise it might give a whole new meaning to the idiom "I'll eat my hat".)

Interesting Food - Olympics

Interesting Food?  Olympics? Have I gone mad? No, but I am incensed, because this little factlet is about French fries at the Olympics. The fast food chain  McDonald’s has been given sole rights to offer French fries by the International Olympic Committee, because they are the official restaurant sponsor for London 2012 and have paid a small fortune for the privilege.

(The 800 other eateries at Olympic venues nationwide will be allowed to sell the British favourite fish and chips — but not chips on their own.

A note posted at the Olympic venue reads, “Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonald’s, Locog have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own. The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish. Please understand this is not the decision of the staff serving up your meals, who given the choice would gladly give it to you. However they are not allowed.”

Now IMHO there is no problem - French fries are not chips!

Here is a list…

Interesting Fact - Marriage

Until 1907, it was illegal in the UK for a man to marry his late wife's sister (sister in law).

(The law dated back to the English Marriage Act of 1537, passed in the reign of Henry VIII of all people. Rooted in the Book of Levicitus, Chapter 18, the law prohibited marriage between relatives and relatives by marriage in situations when the first marriage had been consummated.

But the reason for overturning this archaic law was not due to sudden enlightenment, the justification for the 1907 Act was that a man of moderate means should be entitled to marry his dead wife's sister, where that sister had come into his home to rear his children on account of his inability to pay for domestic help!

The whole thing was debated for years, as the transcript of one debate in parliament in the 1870's about possibly repealing it attests, one of the members said marriage to a deceased wife's sister, was a jolly good thing, because it removed the otherwise dire necessity of two mothers …

Interesting Fact - The Olympics

Great Britain (Team GB) will field a team of 542 sports people in the 2012 Olympics.

(Their ages range from 15 to 56.  I could have been a contender!)

Interesting Fact - Sport

At Wimbledon yesterday four things happened. Federer won his 7th Wimbledon title and he won his 17th Grand Slam title. Whilst Andy Murray was the first Brit to play in a final since 1938 and the first Scot in over 100 years (in unity there is strength).

(But things are a bit different nowadays. When Bunny Austin, became the last British runner-up in 1938 he was given the princely sum of a fiver. Yesterday, Mr Murray won £575,000.  Even Fred Perry, who won Wimbledon in 1936 only got a tenner, a tie, and a nice line in polo shirts.  Surely inflation hasn't been that bad!)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

Hundreds of thousands of internet users around the world could lose their connectivity if they fail to check their devices for malware.
(Malware could have taken over their machines more than a year ago and the number of computers that may be infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, although it is down from about 360,000 in April.

It all began when hackers took control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. Last year, the FBI set brought in a private company to install two clean internet servers to take over for the malicious servers, so people would not suddenly lose internet access, but that temporary system will be shut down at 4.01am UK time on Monday.

To check whether a computer is infected, users can visit a website run by the group brought in by the FBI:

Interesting Fact - News

According to a study by YouGov, 75% of people in the UK read, watch or listen to a news story every day.

(This may seem high, but in the UK we actually consume less news than people in the US and some European countries; nine out of 10 Germans access the news every day, and UK readers have less interest in politics, and more interest in celebrity news, with 21% of UK consumers expressing an interest in stories about music, film and gossip, compared with 9% in Denmark, 14% in Germany and France, and 16% in the USA.

I wonder if this says something about the average person in the UK, or more about UK politics.)

Interesting Animal - Frog

A rare species of frog has been named after Prince Charles in honour of his conservation work.
(The Ecuadorian frog, from the stream frog species, has been named Hyloscirtus princecharlesi.

The blotchy brown frog was discovered by Ecuadorian scientist Dr Luis A Coloma four years ago among preserved museum specimens, he later found live species in the wild.

I wonder what happens if you kiss it?)

Interesting Fact - Twitter

The most "followed" accounts on Twitter are:-

1. Lady Gaga @ladygaga – 26m
2. Justin Bieber @justinbieber – 24m
3. Katy Perry @katyperry – 22m
4. Rihanna @rihanna – 21m
5. Britney Spears @britneyspears – 18m
6. Barack Obama @BarackObama – 17m
7. Shakira @shakira – 16m
8. Taylor Swift @taylorswift13 – 15m
9. Kim Kardashian @KimKardashian – 15m
10. Youtube @YouTube – 14m 
I wonder how many of them write their own tweets?
PS -  I follow YouTube. 


Interesting Fact - Twitter

Some people buy followers on Twitter!

(Seemingly some enterprising folks are willing to make you look more popular by selling you thousands of extra followers on Twitter.    One company, Get Fast Twitter Followers, is based in London and offers a variety of packages – 1,000 followers costs £10 while 20,000 followers costs £150.
Last summer, Republican US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich was embroiled in controversy after a former staff member for his campaign claimed a firm had been tasked with increasing the politician’s Twitter follower numbers by creating fake accounts.

His campaign denied the allegations, but people search engine PeekYou claimed 92 per cent of Mr Gingrich’s followers were fake. He currently has more than 1.4m.
I'm not sure how many followers I have, or whether the accounts are real or fake, but I can tell you one thing, I've never paid for any!)

Interesting Fact - Transport

According to insurance website, over 66% of British motorists are confused by basic road signs.

(Even more worrying if you are driving on Britain's roads, 1 in 3 admitted that the signs are so confusing that they just follow whatever the car in front does, 50% said they ignored confusing road signs, and ... it gets worse ... 1 in 20 said they never noticed road signs!

Along with the basic signs, there are some great road signs on their website, that to be honest would confuse most people.  )

Interesting Places - Road Names

According to research by, Green Way is Britain’s unluckiest road name, with 27.6 per cent of those living on this road making a claim on their buildings insurance or contents insurance in the last five years.

(The second unluckiest road name is Hill Road, followed by Bradford Avenue, Beechwood Avenue, Kingston Road, Cecil Road, Western Avenue, Marsh Lane, Woodside Road and Balmoral Road.

Basically you don't want to live at 166 Green Way. (See previous post.))

Interesting Number - Unlucky Numbers

A lot of people believe that the number 13 is unlucky, but research by online insurance comparison company has shown that in Britain 21.9 per cent of insurance policy holders living at a house number 166 have made a claim in the last five years.

(The unluckiest house numbers in England for 2012 are:-
House Number 166
% of customers
making a claim 21.9% 227 21.5% 249 20.8% 239 20.0% 240 19.7% 169 19.4% 193 19.3% 253 19.2% 173 18.7% 243 18.3%
Number 13?  Well maybe they aren't lucky enough to have insurance, or if you notice 166 adds up to 13.  Spooky.)