Showing posts from October, 2012

Interesting Food - The Pumpkin

The world's largest jack o'lantern was carved by Scott Cully (USA) from the world's largest pumpkin on October 31, 2005 in Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania, USA.

(It was carved from the world's largest pumpkin which had been grown by Larry Checkon. It's logical really.)

Interesting Fact - Halloween

According to research from, nearly half (48 per cent) of people in the UK get annoyed by trick or treaters, and 42 per cent refuse to take part in the festivities because they don’t believe in the holiday.

(Not so much halloween as hallowmean.)

Interesting Fact - Halloween Fact

According to research from households in the UK are set to spend over £127 million on Halloween treats this year.
(Averaged out that’s £5.27 each.  I will have a bag of little bags of gummy bears on hand, but to be honest there's not much trick or treating in Germany - so I may be stuck with those gummy sweets.  What a shame!)

Interesting Fact - Parents

According to research carried out by Ultralase, over half of British dads would rather see their children find fame and fortune by winning a reality TV show, than see them pursue academia and traditional sought-after careers.
(I guess that with all the worries about pensions, British dads have their eye on the future.)

Interesting People - Emma-Louise Hodges

A woman in the UK, Emma-Louise Hodges, has changed her name by deed poll to include the names of 14 different Bond girls.

(Her name is now Miss Moneypenny, but her full name is:- Miss Pussy Galore Honey Rider Solitaire Plenty O'Toole May Day Xenia Onatopp Holly Goodhead Tiffany Case Kissy Suzuki Mary Goodnight Jinx Johnson Octopussy Domino Moneypenny.)

You can discuss this on the forum. What's in a name?

Interesting Fact - Sperm Donation

In the UK only anonymous sperm donors, at licensed clinics, are exempt from being treated as the legal father of a child born as a result of their sperm donation.
(Ignorance of the law is no defence.)

Read more

Interesting Food - Sweets

Warheads are the world's sourest sweets.

(Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy derive their strong sour flavour primarily from malic acid which is applied as a coating to the outside of the small, hard sweeties. The intense sour flavour fades after about 20 to 40 seconds. The sweet itself contains the somewhat less sour ascorbic acid and citric acid, but at the centre of the boiled sweet is a small pocket of more malic acid.  I wonder what part of "sweet" they don't understand.)

Interesting Fact - Smoking

According to research from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, the effects of smoking can be passed on to future generations.

(The study was carried out on rats, but a rat’s physiology is sufficiently similar to a human’s to suspect the same thing may be true in Homo sapiens. In a nutshell, Dr Rehan showed that if pregnant rats are exposed to nicotine, not only will their offspring develop asthma induced by nicotine, so will the offspring of those offspring, neither of whom had been directly exposed to nicotine.)


Interesting Fact - Money - Olympic Fact

The final quarterly economic report published by the UK government's Department for Culture Media and Sport has revealed that the overall cost of delivering the Games was £8.92 billion.

(That works out at £142 per head for every man, woman and child in the UK. They were very proud of the fact that it was lower than the £9.3bn they eventually set aside, but no one should forget that the original budget, put forward at the Olympic bid was a mere £2.4bn. Only governments get away with this kind of thing, if I did it I would be sacked, or jailed.)

Interesting Fact - Health

4 million Germans suffer from tinnitus.

(Tinnitus is often caused by continuing noise or an acoustic shock, such as an explosion. According to the German Tinnitus League, another major cause is stress.

I suffer from this condition, and I live in Germany, but I'm not German, so I don't know if they included me in these statistics, so maybe 4 million and 1 people in Germany suffer from tinnitus.)

Interesting Word - Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a word direct from Latin which means “ringing”.

(In English it describes a condition where the sufferer hears a constant buzzing, humming or ringing in the ears. This phantom sound goes on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

Interesting Fact - British Music

Ageing rockers The Rolling Stones have announced their first live shows in five years - but the tickets will set you back at least £106.

(The best seats cost around £406, and fans who want to stand in the "tongue pit" near the front of the stage will have to purchase a VIP hospitality package costing £1,140. £106 - is more than the band themselves were paid when they performed their first gig 50 years ago.  I guess this isn't so much a "must see before I die" as a "'must see them before they die",)

Interesting Fact - Tax

I pay more tax in the UK than Starbucks!

(According to the Independent newspaper, the coffee chain Starbucks has not paid any tax in Britain since 2009.  UK sales since 2009 amount to around £1.2 bn, but their UK tax bill was £0.  Yes, £0. I don't even live in the UK, but my little NFP organisation pays more tax than they do.  Star*ucks! (Sorry, but it makes me livid.))

Interesting Fact - Exams

GCSE exam papers in the UK are aimed at a reading age of 15 years and seven months.

(So, if you want to assess your reading skills, try looking at some past exam papers online. Good luck!)

Interesting Fact - Health

A newly discovered letter reveals that doctors knew about the risk tobacco posed to people's health as early as the 18th century.

(Medical student William Adams, wrote to his father in 1799 saying how he feared his mother's pipe-smoking habit was harmful. He said tobacco had a narcotic power, and its use destroyed digestion. Adams, who was studying in Edinburgh, also referred to a case where a woman had died after being given the wrong dose of tobacco by a chemist.)

Interesting Animal - Mice

Mice can sing.

(Well, the male mouse can, and naturally they do it to impress the women. The results of several experiments on mice were published in the Journal, Plos One, and it seems that mice share some of the brain mechanisms that humans and songbirds use when learning songs. This ability, which is known as local learning, had been limited to humans, sea lions, seals, birds, dolphins, whales, bats and elephants.
This story has caused a great deal of silliness on the Interwebby thingy, with lots of suggestions for songs they might sing, such as, We're Caught In A Trap.

Here are some of my favourite even sillier suggestions:-

Cheese Release Me
Cat's Entertainment
Mouse of The Rising Sun
Mouse of Love
8 days a squeak

My own contribution was:-

Our Mouse In The Middle Of Our Squeak

If you want to find more, search for #mousesongs on Twitter.)

Interesting Place - London

If you go down to the Tube today, you may have a big surprise.  Seemingly someone on the London Underground is trying to cheer everyone up by sticking a series of spoof stickers across tube carriage signs.

(Some of the stickers change "Shepherd's Bush" to "Shepherd's Pie", others give useful advice like: "Don’t acknowledge fellow passengers or sustain eye contact beyond two seconds," and another urges commuters to, "... offer this seat to those drunks less able to stand than you.")



Interesting Fact - Happiness

According to a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 16 to 17-year-olds are, the most optimistic about the future, the least anxious and the “most satisfied” with life than any other age group
in the UK.

(Despite high youth unemployment and the prospect of tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year young people in the UK seem to be very optimistic.  Well good for them, although I do wonder what they're putting in the water.)

Interesting Fact - Happiness

A study by the University of Warwick has found that people who eat seven – rather than the government recommended five – portions of fruit and veg a day are the happiest in the UK.
(They found mental well-being rose with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables people ate. Well-being peaked at seven portions a day.  I wonder if it's something to do with being regular?)

Interesting Fact - Computers

According to preliminary figures released by research firm Gartner, PC maker Lenovo has replaced Hewlett-Packard as the world's top PC maker.

(Lenovo shipped 13.8 million units in the third quarter, compared with HP's 13.55 million, and they were the only PC maker, among the world's top five, that increased its shipments to the US during the third quarter. Lenovo are based in Beijing, China, but before you decry the rise of Chinese manufacturing, they make the ThinkPad, which was originally designed, developed and sold by IBM. Maybe we should be asking, "Who decided to sell off the IBM PC business in 2005?")

Interesting Animal - Bees

According to Entomologist Mark Greco, the stingless bee (Trigona carbonaria) in Australia 'mummifies' any parasitic interloper that can damage its hives.

(The bee wraps the live parasite in resin, wax and mud until it can't move and leaves it to starve. It sounds like some kind of weird diet / beauty treatment to me.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to the UK Payments Council, in the UK, cheques will be phased out by October 2018.

(Personal cheque payments reached a peak of 2.4 billion in 1990.  They have fallen steadily since, and only 663 million were written in 2008. So, now they are looking for easy-to-use efficient alternatives that everyone understands.  Cash?)

Interesting Fact - Money

The first cheque was written 350 years ago.

(It was dated 16 February. It was made out for £400, signed by Nicholas Vanacker, made payable to a Mr Delboe, and drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton - scriveners and bankers of the City of London. Kind of makes you think of Scrooge, doesn't it?)

Interesting Fact - Transport

People in occupations, most likely to drive a car with personalised plates include nursing home owners, 13% of them own one, local government chief executives, 12%, and haulage contractors, 11%.

(I wonder what the percentage of English teachers with one is.)

Interesting Food - Eggs

According to a survey conducted by Mindlab International for the British Egg Industry Council, the way you eat your eggs can reflect your personality.

(The study found that the average poached egg-eater is likely to be happier than most.  Boiled egg-eaters run the greatest risk of getting divorced. Fried egg fans are usually from the skilled working class and scrambled eggs are favoured by those without children.  They call it the eggs factor, which should indicate how seriously this should be taken.)