Showing posts from December, 2012

Interesting Fact - Statue

The tallest statue in the world (at the time of writing), is the Spring Temple Buddha in China.
(It is a statue depicting Vairocana Buddha, and it measures 420 ft /128 m).  When the 82 ft pedestal it is placed upon is taken into account, the monument has a total height of 502 ft (153 m). )

Interesting Fact - Statue

The tallest statue of Christ is in Poland.

Photo Creative Commons: Source

(Located in Swiebodzin Poland it is made out of concrete and measures 120 ft (36 m). It includes a 3 m tall metal crown and stands on top of a 16 m stone bank, so the total height is 52 m.

Does anyone else think it looks as if it's out of Lord of the Rings?)

Interesting People - Josie Ellis and Mary Lasch

For over 70 years Briton Josie Ellis and American Mary Lasch have been penpals.

(Through WWII and beyond, they shared all the significant milestones of their lives. After decades of letter writing the pair came face to face for the first time in 2006, but as far as I know they are still writing to each other.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Christmas Trees

Berlin waste management company BSR, collects around 400,000 Christmas trees each year.

(At this time of year in Germany people throw out their old Christmas trees for collection.  Many are shredded, recycled as wood chips and finally used in the production of wooden pellets for central heating systems. Some cities in Germany burn discarded Christmas trees to generate heat and electricity.
In some areas, up to the 25th of January, the council lets you know when to put your tree out for collection, but in most areas, one person will put a tree on a street corner, and then the next day there will be 20 to 30 of them there.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Christmas Trees

In Germany discarded Christmas trees are donated to zoos for the animals to eat.

(Thousands of trees, that weren't sold during the lead up to Christmas, are fed to elephants, camels, polar bears and a variety of other animals. But it's no good trying to donate your tinsel bedecked tree, the trees have to be free of any chemical treatment, and so only certain vendors of Bio trees are eligible.)


Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact

For the first 8 years of Charles Dickens' life, it snowed.

(Every year between 1812 and 1820 in fact.  This probably explains why we are so fixated on a White Christmas in the UK.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact

In the UK, white Christmases were more frequent in the 18th and 19th centuries
(During the 20th Century, there were only 4 White Christmases in the UK, and so far this century, we've had two - 2010 and 2009.

Yes, in spite of all those snow covered cards featuring snowmen and robins, and films where everyone rushes out to find it's snowing, we don't get much snow in England.  The sad truth is the most likely weather event on Christmas Day in the UK is rain.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds the two icons of the Christmas song, the 12 days of Christmas; the grey partridge and the turtle dove, are in alarming decline. 

(The society says the number of partridges has dropped 30 percent. Turtle doves are even worse off — with a 60 percent decline in numbers. The society warns, at this rate, the dove will face extinction by the middle of the next decade.

No partridge in a pear tree.)

The 12 days of Christmas

Interesting People - Al Capone

Gangster Al Capone had business cards that listed him as a used furniture dealer.

(He really did try to develop an air of respectability and lived in a modest house in a middle-class Chicago neighbourhood with his wife and son, his mother and siblings. He even told neighbours that he was a second hand furniture dealer.
I guess you never really know who lives next to you, or what they get up to in their sheds.)

Interesting Fact - Hair

Cutting your hair does not make it grow faster.

(It's one of those old wives tales.  Hair only seems to grow faster if you have it cut short, because any growth is simply more noticeable when your hair is short than when it is long. In addition, when your hair is short it tends to look healthier and fuller and it doesn't break as much as long hair.

That said, I prefer keeping my hair shoulder length, because it means I don't have to go to the hairdressers as often when it is longer.)

Discuss going to the hairdressers here.

Interesting Fact - Teeth

In the past young women from poor families had all their teeth taken out and replaced by dentures as a 21st birthday present.

(These were sometimes presented to the man of their dreams as a sort of dowry. I guess the idea being that the woman wouldn't cost anything in dental bills, or maybe the teeth could be sold so that well to do people could have dentures.  This kind of thinking continued into the twentieth century, when having dentures was still a bit of a status symbol.
Of course nowadays people will do anything to get that perfect white smile, I'm sure there will be equal astonishment in the future when someone reads about how people would bleach their teeth in the twenty-first century.)

Interesting Animal - Elephants

Humans have chins (well most do), but elephants are the only other animals with a chin. 

(So the wolf could have said to the three little pigs, "What chinny chin chin?")

Interesting Fact - Glass

There is no such thing as bullet proof glass.

(In spite of what movies and TV show us, no glass is completely bullet proof, the most it can claim is to be bullet resistant.

Of course some manufacturers still use the term bullet proof, I guess because it sells, some even call this kind of glass, bullet proof resistant glass, which, if you think about it, is a complete contradiction in terms.)

Interesting Number - Love

Before you go off in a huff, love is a number - in tennis.
(In France, where tennis became popular, the round nought on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called 'l'oeuf,' which is French for 'the egg.'  Legend has it that when tennis was introduced in the US, Americans (mis)pronounced it 'love.')
More about numbers here.

Thanks Marianne

Interesting fact - Science

Helium gas is a non-renewable gas.

(It is created by extraction from natural gas.  This means we could run out of party balloons any day now.)

Interesting Fact - Chidren

At Christmas ever popular on Santa's wish list are electronic gadgets. Even for children. According to a survey conducted by the Gadget Show live, the first gadget a child gets is probably a games console, by the age of seven years and seven months.

(The last they receive is likely to be a mobile – with which they will be texting their friends by the time they are nine years and three months.

In between, they will get their first digital camera at eight years six months, a TV in their bedroom two months later and an MP3 player at eight years and nine months. They’ll flip open their first laptop at eight years and ten months.

At an even younger age we give them toy replicas of these gadgets, even working examples, aimed at children.  The future is going to be very interesting as our digital age generation comes of age.)

Interesting Fact - Law

Currently there are 46 prisoners in the UK serving whole life sentences. 45 are men, and 1 is a woman.

(A whole life sentence / tariff means there is no right to parole.  Life means life.

Here is a list of prisoners who have served, or are currently serving these terms:-

Interesting Fact - Transport

The shortest cycle path in the UK is just 8 feet (2.5 metres) long.

(That's about the length of two pedal cycles. You can see this wonder of the modern world on the Ridgeway in Plymouth. 
Plymouth council insist that it is there to save cyclists’ lives.

A spokesperson said: “The red area marks where the off-road pedestrian and cycle route ends and cyclists join traffic.

“It is designed to alert motorists to cyclists joining the road, as well as give cyclists the space to do so safely.”
And if you think this is a one-off, think again.  There's one in Wales - on a road in Cardiff, that is one inch longer. It makes me proud to be British.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Christmas Dinner

The world’s most expensive Christmas dinner will set you back £125,000.

(So what do you get for 1/8 of a million quid?

The meal, which will be prepared by John Salt head chef Ben Spalding at the home of the customer, is for four people has the following:-

Starter - Almas caviar (£5,000)  served with a balsamic vinegar that is 150 years old.

Main course - Wagyu beef fillet and heart (£5,000) sprinkled with Akbari Pistachios (£5,000) and edible 50 carat gold leaf.

Pud - Whipped Kopi Luwak (£3,000) and Densuke watermelon (£2,600).

All washed down with £37,000 pre-World War One champagne, poured into diamond studded champagne flutes.
Luxury website are offering the meal, but the proceeds will go to charity.  Well that's all right then.  You can stuff your face silly, as long as it's for a good cause.  Let them eat Wagyu Beef.)

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Christmas Tree

Boffins have come up with the perfect formula for decorating a Christmas tree.

(The research, commissioned by department store Debenhams, says that if you're buying a 6ft Christmas tree, you will need an angel or star for the top that's one tenth the size of the tree, and the number of lights required is found by multiplying the mathematical constant Pi (3.14) by the height of the tree in centimetres.

For example, a 183cm (6ft) tree needs 574cm of lights (183 x 3.14) or 18ft 9in. But perfection is only obtainable with 37 baubles and 920cm (30ft) of tinsel.

But how many chocolate Santas should I buy?)


Today is Mega Monday, and according to the Times, Brits will spend £10,000 per second online.

Interesting Fact - Law

More than 209,000 young people were detained by police in England and Wales in 2010.

(2,117 of those arrested were under the age of 11.  The police have even arrested some children for throwing sticks at a horse chestnut tree (we do that to get the conkers, and yes, I have done it - even as an adult), but believe it or not, the number of children actually arrested has fallen in recent years.  I have the sneaking suspicion that children are easy targets, whilst hardened criminals may be dangerous. I know who I'd rather go after.)

Interesting Food / Word - Aubergine

Aubergines were originally called "vatinganah" in Sanskrit, which means literally ‘fart, go away.’

(From Sanskrit, the word and the fruit travelled, morphed into Persian as badingan, then into Arabic as al-badhinjan.  The Spanish borrowed the term thinking that the Arabic definite article "al" was part of the word, so it went into the Catalan language as alberginia, where the French later picked it up as aubergine, and the English borrowed the word in the late 1700s.

1794, from Fr. aubergine, "fruit of the eggplant" (Solanum esculentum), dim. of auberge "a kind of peach," variant of alberge, from Sp. alberchigo "apricot" [OED]. Klein derives the French word from Catalan alberginera, from Arabic al-badinjan"the eggplant," from Pers. badin-gan, from Skt. vatin-ganah.

So aubergine really means "fart go away".

Americans know it as an eggplant, which IMHO isn't half as much fun.)