Showing posts from 2013

Interesting Place - France

If you are arrested in France, make sure the police address you as "vous" and not "tu".

(As of first January 2014 the police in France will have to use the formal "vous" when addressing members of the public.

I'm not sure you can legislate etiquette during an arrest.  What do you think +Xeb eke / +Elinor Minotaur ?)

Interesting Fact - Swearing

Davina Wakelin, headmistress at Meeching Valley Primary School in Newhaven, East Sussex, has sent a letter to all parents about swearing.

(She wasn't so much complaining about the children swearing, she was asking the parents to stop swearing around their children, especially on and around school premises, after pupils had been caught repeating swear words that they had heard their and other parents using.

She wrote:

I have received complaints regarding parents swearing when bringing children to and from school.

Swearing is not permitted on school grounds and I ask all parents to think about the language you use when on school grounds. Thank you for your consideration with this matter.

Tell them to wash their mouths out with soap, and stick them on the naughty step.

Interesting Fact - Lying and Cheating

According to a study published by the Center for Ethics, Harvard University, in the USA, we are more likely to lie and cheat in the afternoon.

(The study, called The Morning Morality Effect - The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior, found that if we’re usually ethical to begin with, our ethics slip a bit in the afternoon, but people who tend to cheat regularly were just as likely to do so in the morning as in the afternoon.

Interesting Fact - Vocabulary

New research shows that early language development isn’t so much about the number of words as the style of speech and social context in which speech occurs.

(Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences said, “It’s not just talk, talk, talk at the child.  It’s more important to work toward interaction and engagement around language. You want to engage the infant and get the baby to babble back. The more you get that serve and volley going, the more language advances.”

I kind of do this with my students, without the goo goo ga ga, although I did offer that service to a recent visitor who said he wanted to learn like a baby. LOL)

Interesting Words - Hyphenation

The sixth edition of the Oxford English Dictionary has removed the hyphen from around 16,000 words.

(Some hyphenated words are now one, e.g. pigeon-hole is now pigeonhole and leap-frog is leapfrog.

In other cases the hyphen has been removed to form two words instead of one. Pot-belly shall henceforth be pot belly.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - 3 Wise Men

In every nativity play, there are three wise men, who pay homage to the little baby Jesus, but the Bible never gave a number.

(Matthew's Gospel only refers to "wise men".

So, more than one.)

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Health and Safety

Due to health and safety issues at a church putting on a nativity play in Neath, south Wales, has  meant that the child playing Mary will have to wear a hard hat when she saddles up for the donkey ride to Bethlehem.

(Luckily she will be able to hide the head gear under her shawl.

My favourite headline for this story, comes from the Metro - Yule never believe it!)

Interesting Fact - Fear

According to researchers at the Emory School of Medicine in Georgia, fear can be transmitted from a father to his offspring through his sperm.

(They have shown that if mice are taught to fear a certain smell this triggers chemical changes in their sperm.These changes then alter the makeup of their children and grandchildren's brains, causing them to fear the same smell.

This could explain my fear of flying, and is bound to open up the whole nature vs nurture debate again.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to a study run by, 79% of office workers in the UK waste 4 hours and 22 minutes every day.

(On average respondents believed that they actually did 2 hours and 53 minutes of productive work.

The favourite pastimes that eat up "productive" time were:-

1.       Checking social media – 47% 2.       Reading news websites – 45% 3.       Discussing out of work activities with colleagues – 38% 4.       Making hot drinks – 31% 5.       Smoking breaks – 28% 6.       Texting /instant messaging – 27% 7.       Eating snacks – 25% 8.       Making food in office – 24% 9.       Making calls to partner/ friends- 24% 10.   Searching for new jobs – 19% Average time spent on each distraction: 1.       Checking social media – 44 minutes 2.       Reading news websites – 1 hour 5 minutes 3.       Discussing out of work activities with colleagues – 40 minutes 4.       Making hot drinks – 17 minutes 5.       Smoking breaks – 23 minutes 6.       Text/instant messaging – 14 mi…

Interesting Fact - Accents

According to the executive communications consultancy, the Aziz Corporation, you are better off having a "foreign" accent, than a regional British one.

(According to UK business leaders, strong regional and "working class" accents can hold people back in their careers, as can "posh" accents. The best accent for a Brit to have is a "neutral one".

The worst English accents to have were Scouse, Brummie, Cockney, Geordie and the West Country.
If you want to get ahead in business and don't speak the Queen's English, it is better to sound as if you are from America, Europe, India or indeed Scotland than from any English region.
Khalid Aziz, The Aziz Corporation )

Interesting Fact - Accents

A teacher in a Berkshire school was told by Ofsted inspectors to ditch her Northern accent and speak with a more southern one.

(The teacher, from Cumbria, has been set this by her school as one of her "targets" to improve performance.

Luckily they don't have a leg to stand on if they attempt to enforce this, but it is part of a worrying trend: A school in the Black Country, gave its pupils a list of ten banned regional phrases which, it said, could damage their prospects. These included "ya cor" meaning "you can't" and "ay?" instead of "pardon".

The headteacher said: "It is about getting them ready for job interviews."

They shouldn't want to work for companies that require poncy accents.)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to an international study conducted by job seeker website Monster, 1 in 10 workers love their job so much, they would do it for nothing.

(In the same survey, 1 in 8 low-paid workers said they loved their job, compared with only 9% of high earners.

The thing is, they "say" they would work for nothing, but I'm not sure they really would.  If they'd asked me, I would have been able to answer truthfully, because I love my job so much that I do work for nothing.)

Interesting Animal - Clams

The worlds oldest living animal, which lived to be 507 years old, was a clam.

(He was called Ming.

Now, why is this all in the past tense?

Because, during a research expedition in 2006, marine scientists collected live specimens from the Icelandic shelf, and when they were frozen on board to take them home, they all died.

They didn't find out how old Ming was until they were back in the lab and looked at its shell under a microscope.

In the year Ming was born, Leonardo da Vinci was at work on the "Mona Lisa," the first recorded epidemic of smallpox hit the New World, and the Ming dynasty ruled China (hence the name). Ming was 52 years old when Queen Elizabeth I took the throne.)

Interesting Fact - Politics

According to several newspaper reports and blog sites, the Tory party in the UK has deleted all the promises made before the election.

(In what must have bee a frenzy of clicking "Del" all pre-election pledges have been removed from their website: Every article, speech and press release.

And if you want to hear something even more sinister, they are using a “robot blocker” to ensure the documents are hidden from search engines and removed from the ‘Internet Archive’ an online library that aims to build up a permanent record of web content.

A Conservative spokesman said: "We're making sure our website keeps the Conservative Party at the forefront of political campaigning. These changes allow people to quickly and easily access the most important information we provide..." Nice to see how they regard their promises.

They went on to say that they are simply making it easier for people to “quickly and easily” access information on the site, but obviously only the i…

Interesting Fact - Money

The world's most expensive diamond (to date) was sold at Sotheby's in Geneva, for ... wait for it - £52m.

(The Pink Star, which would look good on any Barbie doll, is supposedly the largest internally flawless fancy pink vivid diamond (measuring 2.69cm x 2.06cm) that the Gemmological Institute of American has ever graded.

Estimated to sell for at least £38 million, the diamond attracted four bidders and finally sold for $83,187,381 (£52, 024,735.83), which is a world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel.

You can watch the insanity here:-


Interesting Food - Chocolate

The market price of cocoa beans has risen by 63% in the last two years.

(The problem is that according to trade magazine Kennedy’s Confection, diminishing cocoa supplies could threaten the future of chocolate. 

Because cocoa butter and cocoa are the most expensive ingredients in the chocolate we eat, it is increasing being replaced with cheaper ingredients like vegetable fat, sugar, raisins and nougat.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but you'd better stock up now.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - Christmas Music

British pop group Slade earn £500,000.00 in royalties every year from their festive hit "Merry Xmas Everybody".

(The top Christmas earners for 2013 were approximately:-

Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody - £512,000
The Pogues - Fairytale of New York - £386,270
Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas - £347,615
Wham - Last Christmas - £301,620
Cliff Richard - Mistletoe & Wine - £98,400
Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? - £78,030
Shakin Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone - £53,834
The Pretenders - 2000 Miles - £45,344
East 17 - Stay Another Day - £30,220
Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry - £13,260

I need a Christmas number 1!)

Interesting Fact - Shopping

British supermarket chain Tesco has announced it will introduce a “one date” system to stop customer confusion between display dates and use-by dates.

(The confusion arises because shoppers often throw out items based on their sell-by or display date, but this date is only used by the sellers for stock control, and doesn't actually mean the product is unfit for consumption. 

The expiration date, or use by date is the one that relates to food safety.  For food items, maybe it should be called an "eat by" date.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - World Records

A record-breaking stollen that weighed in at over 4,000 kilograms was created to celebrate the opening of Dresden's Christmas market.

(If you want to make your own you will need approximately:-Stollen (rounded figures):

1,500 kilos flour
990 kilos seedless raisins (sultanas)
790 kilos butter
455 kilos sugar
200 kilos candied lemon peel
150 kilos almonds (sweet)
110 kilos icing sugar
95 kilos yeast
55 kilos almonds (bitter)
45 kilos lemon peels
44 kilos Jamaica rum
44 kilos powdered milk
30 kilos salt
5 kilos spices)

Interesting Fact - The cosmological horizon

According to a team of physicists we now have the “clearest evidence yet” that our universe is a hologram.

(According to an article in Nature, the conflict as to why Albert Einstein's theory of gravity clashes with quantum physics, could be solved if the Universe were a holographic projection. The theory is that the three dimensions we perceive are actually just “painted” onto the cosmological horizon - the boundary of the known universe.

I really struggled with the title for this one!)


Interesting People - Thamsanqa Jantjie

Thamsanqa Jantjie, a sign language interpreter in South Africa has been branded a fraud by members of South Africa's deaf community.

(Around the world deaf people started tweeting about what the man was doing, with Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen, the first deaf woman to be elected to the South African parliament tweeting: "ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with dep president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off." And others said it amounted to little more than "flapping his arms around."

What a shame that this happened during a memorial ceremony for a great man.

!Update - He now says he suffers from schizophrenia and was suffering an episode during the speech making.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - Christmas Borrowing

According to figures released by the Circle Housing organisation, about 7 million people in the UK are expected to take out a loan to cover the crippling cost of Christmas.

(It gets worse; according to the Money Advice Service, one million Brits will use a payday loan to cover the cost of Christmas while a third of adults will use credit cards.  Two of the most expensive ways of borrowing money.
In 2012 Brits spent an average of £1,000 per household on Christmas and some of them haven't paid that back yet.

The harsh reality is, if you can't afford to buy something without paying with credit, don't buy it.  If you are feeling pressured into buying presents you can't afford, be honest and tell people, including your children, you simply can't afford it. They will be more understanding than you think, and you can offer to start a fund to buy their "must have" item later when you have enough to buy it with hard cash.  If you have to have something to wrap, mak…

Interesting Word - BYOD

This is more an interesting abbreviation, but I hope you will forgive me.  BYO is an abbreviation that's been in use for some time, usually seen in restaurants, it stands for 'Bring Your Own', and it usually applies to wine or alcoholic drinks. BYOD means Bring Your Own Device.

(Seemingly more and more companies are asking employees to provide their own electronic devices, at their own cost. This means employees have the freedom to use a device that they prefer over one issued by their employer and employers don't carry the burden of providing computers, smart phones and other mobile devices.

Of course I have no choice but to BMOD.)

Interesting Place - Solihull

Now that's not something you see every day - Solihull is interesting, but it is at the moment, as it has been voted by, as Britain's best place to live.

(Solihull's motto is "urbs in rure" (town in the country), and Almost 70 per cent of the borough is designated as green belt land, but it's main claims to fame are that it has Felicity Kendal and a branch of John Lewis.

Frankly it's nice to see somewhere in the Midlands, Solihull is between Birmingham and Coventry, getting a look in on one of these "best of lists", so rock on Solihull.)

Interesting Fact - Families

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, in the UK, the number of women who don't have children has almost doubled over the past 30 years.

(The most common family size in Britain is two children, but nearly one in five of women who had reached the end of their child-bearing years last year had no children, compared with just over one in ten of their mothers.

On average a woman born in 1940 had 2.36 children, while her daughter’s generation had 1.91.

No jokes about .36 and .19 of a child please.  That's just the joy of averages.)

Interesting Christmas Fact - The origins of Santa Claus

Thanks to Oana for sharing this video with us.

Today is Saint Nicholas Day, but unlike Christmas, it's not something we celebrate much in the UK.

The video is full of interesting facts of the origin of St Nicholas, who is the forerunner of Santa Claus. If there's a part you don't understand, post a question here, with the time it appears in the video, and we'll see if we can help you out.

Interesting Fact - Smoking

According to research from Cancer Research and the Imperial College London, an estimated 463 children, some as young as 11, start smoking every day in England, 50 in Scotland, 30 in Wales and 19 in Northern Ireland.

(That means around 600 children in the UK begin smoking every day.

Between 2010 and 2011 there were 50,000 more child smokers than the previous the year, making a total of 207,000.

It's so sad, because no matter what I say, it won't change.  Kids think it makes them look adult, but it just makes them smell bad.)

Interesting Fact - Wages

The latest government figures, from the Office for National Statistics, show that on average British wage-earners have taken a £5,000 pay cut over the last five years.
(Wages and salaries for the middle fifth of non-retired households fell from £33,100 in 2007-08 to £28,300 in 2011-12. Over the same period original income, which is the income households get from employment and investments, fell from £37,900 to £32,600, while cash benefits rose from £3,100 to £4,600.

We can't blame the recession either, as the figures show that the decline predates the big slump.
How does that song go?  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. )

Interesting Fact - Christmas - Christmas Fact

Ladbrokes is offering odds of 2,000:1 for a zombie apocalypse to happen on Christmas Day.

(This means that they think a zombie apocalypse is more likely than Crystal Palace winning the Barclays Premier League this season (5,000:1).

Poor old Crystal Palace.)

Interesting Fact - Mental Health

The Word Health Organisation (WHO) only removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1993.

Interesting Fact - Money

On average, 70% of young sports stars will go broke within 3 years of retiring.
(In the USA 78 percent of NFL players face bankruptcy or serious financial stress within just two years of leaving the game and 60 percent of NBA players face the same dire results in five years.
Mike Tyson the former heavyweight boxer earned an estimated $400 million filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

Gold-medal winning figure skater Dorothy Hamill declared bankruptcy in 1994.

Even Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg filed for bankruptcy in 1989.

And our own George Best, whose appetite for spending led to his financial downfall. "I spent a lot of money on booze, women, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered," he said.)


Interesting Fact - Art

The estimated value of art owned by councils across the UK is £4 billion.

(For example; A Lowry painting that Derby museum bought for £42 is now worth an estimated £1m.  Of course they are now under pressure to sell it.)

Interesting Word - Dyslexia

Dyslexia was originally used to describe someone who had lost the ability to read following a head injury.

(It comes from the German word dyslexie, which was made up from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" + lexis "word".  Nowadays this type of dyslexia is called deep dyslexia or trauma dyslexia.

Someone with dyslexia might have the following issues:- Seeing some letters as backwards or upside down.Seeing text appearing to jump around on a page.The inability to tell the difference between letters and numbers that look similar in shape, such as lower case letters (q and p) & (d and b), and numbers (10 & 01). The numbers (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 9) could be confusing while (8 & 0) would not be, due to being distinctive in shape. Similarly, distinctive lower case letters (i, m, o, v, & w) and upper case (A, H, I, M, O, T, U, V, W, X, & Y) are typical in shape and therefore not as likely to be confusing.The inability to tell the difference between…

Interesting Fact - The Weekend

According to a survey carried out by, Brits spend nearly nine hours every weekend in front of a TV or computer screen.

(34% of Brits admitted to spending their weekend watching TV,  27% catching up on sleep, cleaning the house (11%), doing ‘life’ admin (8%), getting drunk (5%).

I do all of the above from time to time.)

Interesting Fact - Lies

According to a study carried out by around 2.5 million Brits waste their weekends then lie about what they did.

(People will regularly lie about their weekends to make them sound more interesting, and the main culprit for all these porky pies is social networking.

So, the next time you read someone's update on Facebook or Twitter, take it with a pinch of salt.)

Interesting Place - Heathrow

How many Heathrow workers does it take to change a light-bulb?

(The answer is - none, because since opening in 2008, not a single bulb has been replaced in terminal 5's departure lounge at Heathrow.

In some areas up to 60 per cent of the lights have blown, but they haven't been replaced because there is no safe way to reach them.

The people who designed the terminal, which cost £4.5billion, appear to have overlooked basic maintenance, light-bulbs need to be changed, and some of them are positioned 120ft above the ground. I would have thought pulleys and lifts would have been on the specs, but seemingly not.

They have tried cherry-pickers and hydraulic boom lifts to replace the downlighters, but none were deemed to be practical or safe enough, and now, a team of specialist wire walkers has been given the job of stopping the lights from going out completely.

It will take four months and cost millions of pounds.

I wonder if they will play circus music whilst they are doing it.)

Interesting Fact - Law

Clare's Law is aimed at protecting women (and men) from violent abuse by their partners.

(The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme means that police can disclose previous convictions for violence, even if a person has not requested it.

It is called Clare's Law after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.  It was revealed after his trial that he had a horrific history of violence against women. Miss Woods’ father Michael Brown campaigned for a change in the law.)

!Note - According to The Wright Stuff, 400 people investigated a partner during the pilot scheme.


Today Clare's Law will start to be rolled out across the UK.

(To find out more about what Clare's Law is, read the fact for today.)

Interesting Fact - Money

The BBC paid out £60m in severance payments in eight years.

(This bonanza included £1m to former deputy director general Mark Byford and £486,500 to George Entwistle, who quit as director general at the height of the Jimmy Savile scandal, after just 54 days in the job.

I know people are sometimes surprised when I am less than enthusiastic about the institution that we call the British Broadcasting Corporation, but this kind of "snouts in the trough"* culture is one reason.)

*Not my words - Graham Norton's - He actually works for them and earned around £2.6m in the year to the end of July 2012 . :)

Interesting Food - Coffee

A regular sized cup of coffee (about 5oz) can contain anything from 65 to 125 mg of caffeine. It all depends on the type of coffee and how it's been made: On average there is 110-150mg for filter coffee, 65-125mg for percolated, and 40-80 mg for instant. Typically an 8 oz cup of Starbucks coffee contains165 milligrams of caffeine.

(I looked into this following yesterday's IF, and the amount of caffeine in energy drinks also varies. They can contain between 70 and 200 mg. A Dr. Pepper gives you 61mg, and a can of Coke provides 50mg, but according to Web MD, a full can of 150mg Rockstar energy shot contains a massive 229 mg!

That's not a drink, that's medicine.)

Interesting Food - Energy Drinks

The supermarket chain Morrisons has banned under-16s from buying caffeine-infused energy drinks.

(The ban will only apply to drinks like Red Bull, that contain at least 150mg of caffeine per litre and has been introduced amid health fears about extreme caffeine intake by children, and staff have been instructed to challenge any customers who look under 25.)

Interesting Fact - Popularity

According to a poll conducted by Populsus, even banks are more popular than the 'big six' energy giants in the UK.

(Only the tobacco industry, and payday loan firms were less popular.

Supermarkets were the most positively viewed companies with a "Like" rating of 58.6.

They can't have included chocolate manufacturers in the list!)

Interesting Fact - The NHS

The NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, received more than 162,000 complaints about care in 2012/13 – around 3,000 every week.
(A recent (2013) report into the NHS and its handling of complaints recommended that all NHS patients should have a pen and paper by their hospital bed for writing down complaints.
I would have thought having a nurse, interested in their well-being, near their hospital bed would be more useful.)

Interesting Fact - Shopping Bags

According to Professor Hugh Pennington, professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, 'bags-for-life' should never be used to carry raw meat or vegetables with soil on them.

(He says bacteria can be transferred from the meat to the bag and then onto other products which are eaten raw - such as fruit - causing food poisoning, and raw meat should be carried in plastic bags which are then binned.

In a study by University of Pennsylvania it was found that since San Francisco banned the use of plastic bags in 2007, hospitalisations and deaths from food-borne illnesses have nearly doubled. Penn Law professor, Jonathan Klick, found that eight per cent of reusable shopping bags contain E.coli and that 97 per cent of people admit to never washing their reusable bags.
Even more scary is that they claim that washing the bags or cleaning them with antibacterial sprays is not sufficient.  This makes me feel a bit sad, because I hate plastic bags, I regularly wash my canvas bags,…

Interesting Fact - Music

The British navy is using Britney Spears' music to scare off Somali pirates.

(According to news reports, Britney's hits, including Oops! I Did It Again and Baby One More Time, are being employed in an attempt to scare off pirates along the east coast of Africa. One naval officer is reported as having said:-
"Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most. These guys can't stand western culture or music." But my favourite quote comes from Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry:
"Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music. I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention." Perhaps nothing else – not machine guns, not big, beefy security personnel – is quite as intimidating as the sound of Ms Spears singing "Ooh baby baby".  What would scare you away?)

Sources: Daily Mail | The Guardian

Interesting People - Scott Moyse

18-year-old Scott Moyse spotted Thorntons Chocolate incorrectly priced at one pence a piece on its website.

(A couple of days later 400 boxes of chocolate arrived at his house. So, what did he do with them? He dressed up as a chicken and took to the streets of Horsham with a colourful sign declaring ‘FREE CHOCOLATE’ handed them out to passers by.

Unfortunately the video is blocked here, but you might be able to see it.

Interesting Food - Biscuits

According to a survey of business people in the UK, 2 biscuits is the polite quantity to eat.

(Any more could be considered greedy.  Oh dear, it sounds like a calorie counter worked on this one.

Update: A recent Times report placed this biscuit etiquette (or biscuiquette) at 2 and a half biscuits, but IMHO leaving half a biscuit would be rude and wasteful.  Maybe if there are 5 biscuits and 2 people, then maybe you can cut the spare bikky in half.)

Interesting Food - Wine

According to experts at the London Wine Academy, Britons prefer cheaper wine.

(In blind tests where tasters tried two wines, each from the same grape variety but at different prices, 8 out of 10 people preferred a bottle of wine costing £4.99 to a bottle that cost £19.99, and 6 people in 10 thought the £4.99 version was the more expensive of the two.

The academy said that an amateur’s perception of a good wine is based on the notion of ‘smoothness’, and cheaper wines from warm climates have lower acidity, a simpler flavour, and higher alcohol content.

Aha! I think the last point explains much.)

Interesting Fact - Crying

According to a survey carried out by Cosmopolitan and 75% of women cry at least once a month, and almost 5% of men said that real men never cry.

(The same survey showed that 33% of women cry at least once a week. Around 39% of men felt that crying should only be in response to tragedies, like the death of a loved one, while 27% said it's okay for a man to get emotional at any time. The remaining 29% say it's okay to for a guy to cry whenever, so long as it's not publicly.

Interestingly, 99% of women believe that real men cry. So, don't worry about it guys, it doesn't make you any less of a man in our eyes.)

Interesting Place - London

The centre of London is located at Charing Cross, Westminster.

(Whenever the distance to and from somewhere in London is measured, Charing Cross is the point it's measured from.

It's not because it can be measured as the centre of London, but because on her death in 1290, King Edward I had crosses erected across England as a memorial to his beloved wife Queen Eleanor. The original crosses were in Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Hardingstone, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Cheapside (West Cheap), and the last one was at Charing Cross.

Only three of the original crosses remain at Geddington, Hardingstone and Waltham. The cross outside Charing Cross Station is a replica made in 1863.
An illustration of the construction of the cross:-
This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Interesting People - Craig Cobb (We need a new Daft People section)

White supremacist Craig Cobb has achieved national notoriety in the USA, by attempting to turn Leith, North Dakota into an all-white enclave.

(The town of Leith has even gone so far as to create its own national socialist hunting flag, complete with stag horns and only a small “discreet” swastika.  If they tried that in Germany, they'd be arrested.

However, what makes this story so much fun is, according to the Telegraph, Mr Cobb may now be unable to meet the racial purity benchmark he set to settle in his own town after the tests showed he was 14 per cent sub-Saharan African.  His interview on the Trisha Show is a must see (normally I'm not a fan of daytime TV, but this one is priceless).

DNA tests are so cool. If you don't believe me, read this:

BTW - You will hear him spout the old "Oil and water don't mix" phrase.  However:-…

Interesting Fact - Money

Well rip off Britain gets even worse on the disclosure that people in the UK spent around £56 million calling government helplines.

(According to investigations by the Public Accounts Committee, people in the UK are being charged premium rate to access certain government departments.  They also take too long to answer. Most departments have no targets, despite an industry standard that calls be answered within 20 seconds, but of course there's no real incentive to answer quickly, as the longer they can keep you on hold, the more money they make.

Of the 208 million calls made in 2012/13, some 63% were made to higher rate numbers at an estimated total cost of £56 million.  These included calls to the Department for Work and Pensions, the inquiries and complaints line of the Student Loans Company, and sickeningly to helplines for victim support and the Bereavement Service.

It's like something out of Despicable Me.)

Interesting Food - Pumpkin

Artist, Dmitri Galitzine, who works with outsized vegetables, has claimed the fastest 100 metres paddled in a pumpkin record.

(The record now stands at 2 min 0.3 sec, should you wish to beat it.)


Interesting Fact - Arguing

According to a survey carried out by Esure home insurance, couples in the UK bicker and argue around 2,455 times a year. That's equal to almost seven times a day.

(The most likely topics for conflict were: over-spending, money in general, laziness, snoring, and even what to eat for dinner.

So if you are married to a profligate, lazy, snoring glutton, you are doomed.)

Interesting Place - Wales

An advert filmed to promote a Welsh University was filmed in England.

(The ad was supposed to show the actor Ioan Gruffudd, walking across the Brecon Beacons, but the location had to be changed to the Mendip Hills because of - rain.

Interesting Fact - Meals

According to research carried out by WRAP (the UK's Waste and Resources Action Programme ), the average UK household throws away enough food to make 6 meals every week

(The waste costs almost £60 a month per family, but, according to farming UK if you add it all together it's worth a whopping £12.5 billion a year. 

The top three foods that we are throwing away uneaten are those every day essentials: bread, potatoes and milk. The equivalent of 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted daily.)



7th November 2013  (Celebrated on the first Thursday of November.)

National men make dinner day.

The most important rule is women aren't allowed to interfere, just let him get on with the cooking.

Interesting Fact - Education

According to a story in the Daily Star, there are 32 students living in one house in Plymouth. The house started life as four separate terraced houses, which were knocked through into one complex of rooms.

(The house comprises of, 32 bedrooms; 22 toilets; two living rooms; three kitchens; one utility room; seven showers (four of which contain twin showers); one bath; a pool table; a dart board; four washing machines; five fridges; five freezers; and four ovens.

They get through 40 loo rolls; 20 bin bags of rubbish; 100 tins of baked beans; 20 large bags of pasta; 500 cans of beer; 150 cans of cider; 50 Pot Noodles; 150 takeaways.

And each week they collectively spend their time in the following activities:

320 hours at lectures; 311 hours partying at nightclubs; 1,300 hours watching TV; 900 hours playing PlayStation; 224 hours playing pool.

According to The Wright Stuff, by the time they graduate they will owe over 1 million in student fees.

Of course, that's always assuming they gr…

Interesting People - Albert Mehrabian

Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, came up with the 7%-38%-55% rule.

(His premise is that when it comes to "liking" someone,  words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55%, this is abbreviated as the "3 Vs" for Verbal, Vocal & Visual.

Unfortunately people often use his research to say that communication is only 7% verbal.  Which of course is nonsense.

On his website, Mehrabian clearly states:
"Total Liking = 7% Verbal Liking + 38% Vocal Liking + 55% Facial Liking. Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like–dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable. Also see references 286 and 305 in Silent Messages – these are the original sources of my findings."[2]

Interesting Words - Scrabble

The final board of the 2013 British Scrabble championships contained words that don't appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.

(But don't worry, there was no cheating going on, as they did appear in the official Scrabble dicationary.

The 12 most obscure words on the final board were:-

Aecia: A fruiting body of a rust fungus
Coniines: Alkaloid that makes up the poisonous part of hemlock
Vela: Plural of velum, a glass screen
Zeds: Plural word for the letter Z
Khis: Plural of khi, a letter in the Greek alphabet
Fy: To digest
Enew: (Hawk) Falconry term for driving a bird into the water
Qat: variant spelling of khat, a plant whose leaves are chewed as a stimulant
Litu: Plural of Litas, a former silver coin and monetary unit of Lithuania
Atigi: Parka worn by the Inuits in northern Canada
Bandura: Ukrainian lute
Swarf: A swoon; grit abraded from an axle

Now work out how many points they scored.)

Interesting Animal - The Octopus

Octopuses have three hearts. Two branchial hearts pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third is a systemic heart that pumps blood through the body.
(Octopus blood contains the copper-rich protein heamocyanin for transporting oxygen. Although less efficient under normal conditions than the iron-rich haemoglobin we have, in cold conditions with low oxygen pressure, heamocyanin oxygen transportation is more efficient than heamoglobin oxygen transportation. The heamocyanin is dissolved in the plasma instead of being carried within red blood cells, and gives the blood a bluish color, which of course we had to call "ink".
Yet another reason not to eat these remarkable marine animals:  The main reason being they can juggle.)

Interesting People - Carlos Burle

Brazilian surfer Carlos Burle is believed to have surfed a 100ft wave.

(He took on the monster wave - created by the St Jude storm - at Praia do Norte in Portugal.

The current Guinness World Record holder, Garret McNamara from Hawaii surfed a 78ft wave at the very same spot in Nazare in Nov. 1 2011.  Footage of Mr Burle's amazing ride will be analyzed by the Guinness World Records team, you can view it on YouTube:



2nd November the world beard and moustache championships take place in Germany. It will be conducted according to the Rules and Regulations of the Association of German Beards Clubs.

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

Interesting Fact - Being Good

According to a study by Pru Health, three quarters of Brits try to be 'good' most of the time.

(57% do so simply because they believe it’s the right thing to do 49% do it for their own sense of wellbeing and one in five (20%) believes in karma and that what goes around comes around.

However, remembering one's 'Ps and Qs' and being friendly are the good deeds Brits do most regularly, as well as simple things like holding open a door for someone (70%) and being helpful to others (67%).
Being helpful can be a "good deed", but the rest is just good manners.)

Interesting Fact - Lost Property

In 2012, over 246,241 items were handed to lost property offices in London after being found on trains and buses.

(Shopping trolleys, umbrellas, medicine, and even the ashes of a loved one are all on the list of things that got left behind.

Happily 52,000 people were eventually reunited with their property.)

Interesting Fact - OCD

According to the charity OCD-UK, clinical research stats suggest about 750,000 people, approx.1.2% of the UK population suffer with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).

(However research suggests that 44% of the population think they have it. A common phrase in the UK is "I'm a bit OCD", well ladies and gentlemen, that's not OCD.

Some signs of OCD are:-

Compulsive hand-washing (Do you keep scrubbing your hands raw, or use sanitizer?)

Overzealous cleaning (Is your house spotless?)

Checking behaviour (Is the oven off?)

Counting everything (How many steps in your house?)

Perfect Organisation (Is your desk always tidy?)

Fear of violence (Are you frightened to go outside?)

Unwanted sexual thoughts (Are you disgusted at yourself?)

Dwelling on relationships (Do you still obsess about your old flames?)

Always seeking reassurance (Do you ask your friends the same questions over and over?)

Hating your looks (Do you like what you see in the mirror?)


Interesting Fact - Technology

According to research carried out by the Ultra Parallel Visible Light Communications project, a joint venture between the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews and Strathclyde, and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council wireless transmission reaching speeds of 10Gbit/s – more than 250 times faster than ‘superfast’ broadband is possible using converted LED lightbulbs.

(The technology, cleverly called Li-Fi by Edinburgh University's Prof Harald Haas, would enable existing LED light bulbs to be converted to transmit Li-Fi signals with a single microchip.  The
bulbs would have to be kept on to transmit data, but they could be dimmed to the point that they were not visible to humans, and would be more secure than Wi-Fi, as hackers would be unable to access unsecured internet connections from out of sight of the transmitter.)


Interesting Fact - Law

In the UK, the maximum prison sentence for dog owners whose pet is involved in a fatal attack will be increased to 14 years. 

(The maximum prison term is currently only two years.  

And the new penalty will match the maximum for causing death by dangerous driving. 

There will be an exemption from prosecution for householders whose dogs attack trespassers in or entering the home.)

Interesting Word - Lachanophobia

Lachanophobia is a fear of vegetables.

(The reason this came up was there have been a couple of news stories on people suffering from this condition in the UK.

According to the Mail Online, students Vicki Larrieux and Abi Stroud cannot eat their five a day because they suffer from panic attacks at the merest sight of a sprout or a pea, and what is worse The Metro reports that Dee Vyas developed the phobia after being made to eat greens as a child.  Why is it worse than the other two? She's a vegetarian! Seemingly, she lives off sweets and crisps.

I think a bit of cognitive therapy would come in handy here.)

Interesting Fact - Smuggling

Major cigarette firms in the UK have been accused of fueling black market in smuggled tobacco.

(The accusation is that UK tobacco manufacturers turn a blind eye to the avoidance of UK tax by supplying more of their products to European countries than the legitimate market in those countries could possibly require.

The “high-risk” oversupply countries included the Benelux nations – Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and of course Spain, where many Britons go on holiday. Just one “white van man” bringing back a single load of tobacco is estimated to cost the Exchequer £60,000 in lost revenue.
He probably tells customs it's for "personal use".)

Interesting Fact - Facebook

Clicking the Like button on Facebook is part of free speech and so constitutionally protected.

(The ruling has come about following the sacking of several workers for supporting an opponent in a sheriff's 2009 re-election bid, where a district judge, Raymond Jackson in Norfolk, ruled that clicking the 'like' button did not amount to expressive speech.

That ruling has now been overturned, so "liking" a political candidate's campaign page communicates the user's approval of the candidate and supports the campaign by associating the user with it. In this way, it is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one's front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech.'

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, said in a written statement. 'The Constitution doesn't distinguish between `liking' a candidate on Facebook and supporting him in a town meeting or public rally.'
I c…

Interesting Facts - Work

According to a poll commissioned by UK law firm Slater & Gordon, 60% of women have had to ward off an unwanted advance from a colleague.
(Almost a quarter of female workers have had a more senior member of staff make a pass at them, but only 27 per cent of victims have reported the matter to their boss.

The most common places for harassment are at the desk when working a late shift, in a lift or staff corridor, and of course at the office party.
In my case it was my boss, at the office party.  I won't tell you what I did, but he didn't do it again.  That said soon after I left the company.)

Interesting Fact - Road Safety

According to a YouGov poll, 29% of Brits don’t think the button at pedestrian crossings does anything useful.

(The fact is, according to the BBC, they are sometimes right. In New York, they are sometimes referred to as "placebo buttons", and in the UK, well - it depends. If you are at a standalone pedestrian crossing, unconnected to a junction, the button will turn a traffic light red. At some crossings, the button will work, but only between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m. In the daytime, the button has no effect.

To be honest, I don't care, I'll still keep poking them.)


Interesting Fact - Road Safety

According to a survey by YouGov, 47% of British adults say they often don’t even bother to find a designated crossing when they need to cross the road.

(You might think this is jaywalking, but it's not illegal in the UK. I always say, "the crossings are there for me, I am not there for the crossings".)


Interesting Fact - Education

50 years ago only 5% of young people in the UK went to university.

(The ONS (Office for National Statistics) found that 27.2% of the UK population aged 16 to 74 had a degree or equivalent or higher, and according to the UK government's universities minister, David Willetts, the number of places at UK universities will have to grow by at least a quarter over the next 20 years.
We have a long way to go to beat Finland though: In Finland 80% of young women are now going to university.
Going to university may become as natural as going to school.)

Interesting Fact - Education

According to government figures, one in ten teachers working in free schools in the UK are not formally qualified.

(Free schools, the wonder child of education reform in the UK, are schools in England which are funded by taxpayers, and free to attend, but they are not controlled by a local authority, and do not have to follow the national curriculum. In addition, unlike state schools, teachers there do not have to have QTS (qualified teacher status).)

Interesting Fact - Learning

According to neuroscientists, children who write using good old fashioned pen and paper learn better than those who use a keyboard.

(A study carried out at the University of Stavanger in Norway showed that people who are learning new letters—such as children learning to read for the first time, or as adults picking up a second language with new characters— retain the information best when writing the letters by hand.

One of the researchers, Anne Mangen, said, "The movement for “the typing of a T is no different than the typing of a Y. Furthermore, when you write something on the keyboard, you get the visual output somewhere else, on the screen, as opposed to watching your hand when you write on paper."

I am so tempted to say "Told you so" again.)

Interesting Food - Sweets

Jelly Babies used to be called Unclaimed Babies.

(Aww, that's so sad.  Victorians really were weird.)

Interesting Food - Hospital Food

According to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, some hospitals in the UK are feeding patients for around £4.15 a day.

(The amount is less than half the national average, which according to the Department of Health, has risen by £1.10 from £8.77 to £9.87. 

Interestingly figures also showed that some hospitals charge £4 per hour for parking – three times the national average.

Nice to see where their priorities lie.)

Interesting Food - Frogs

The British ate frogs' legs 8,000 years before the French.

(Archaeologists at Stonehenge have found the remains of the cooked front leg of a toad, which has been dated to between 7000 and 8000 BC (or BCE for those who have been attending my sessions.

I'm not sure if this isn't something we should simply leave for the French to claim.)

Interesting Fact - Diamonds

According to scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1,000 tonnes of diamonds a year are being created on Saturn.

(These diamonds, which are big enough to be worn as jewellery, could be raining down on Saturn and Jupiter. Seemingly, lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which, as it falls, hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond.

And you just thought it was a rock.  Remember - rock is slang for a diamond or other gemstone.)

Interesting Fact - Privatisation

On the day the Royal Mail is privatised I think it's timely to remind everyone that even the great white shark Margaret Thatcher refused to flog off the Royal Mail.

(Her reason was she wasn't prepared to privatise the Queen's head.

In a YouGov poll in July 2013, two-thirds of British adults opposed the privatisation of the Royal Mail.

Nice to know that the Tories are listening to the common people.)

!Update - Three months on from privatisation, shares are trading around 561p, 70% higher than the original price of 330p.  (I'm still glad I didn't buy any.)


15th October - Hagfish Day.

Allegedly the ugliest fish in the world, but I disagree, that surely has to go to the blob fish from Australia.

Interesting Fact - Money

Stacey Withers downloaded a 5-minute cartoon onto her Orange network mobile phone whilst on holiday in Turkey. What's interesting about that? Well...

(That short clip cost her a whopping £1,118. It actually cost her £101 more than the family holiday and the equivalent of £223 for every minute of the film.

She isn't alone, another British holidaymaker racked up a staggering £20,000 mobile phone bill in Turkey, when she used her internet connection to upload holiday snaps to Facebook. This was 28 times the amount she paid for her holiday.  (Lucky for her Orange reduced the amount.)

It shows me 2 things, Britain must stay in the EU and we need to let Turkey join.)

Interesting Fact - Age

According to research from the Australian School of Business, the age you decide to retire at has no impact on life expectancy.

(Did you notice the "you decide to retire" bit? Seemingly if you are forced into retirement because of redundancy or ill health, it can have a detrimental effect on your life expectancy.

There are still reasons to keep working though, research carried out at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherché Médicale (INSERM) in France has shown that people who work for longer are less likely to develop dementia. They concluded that a person who retires at 65 is 15 per cent less likely to develop the condition than someone who retires at 60. It is believed that this is because intellectual stimulation and mental engagement are protective against dementia.

I wonder if going to Bingo would have the same effect?)

Interesting Food - Beer

The lager brand, Stella Artois, is insisting that bar staff in the UK have to use the brand's full name, and not call it simply "Stella".

(It is the best selling premium lager brand in the UK, but in an attempt to rebrand the drink, they are running a campaign called the Connoisseurs Programme and are using the slogan "reassuringly expensive".

Why? Well - In Britain, it is also known as "wife beater", as its high alcohol content is thought to be responsible for many "domestic incidents". The company lowered the alcohol content from over 5% abv to 4.8% in an attempt to reposition it away from such connections to domestic violence.)

What's in a name?

Interesting Fact - Memory

Regulars to the sessions will know that I have a rubbish memory, and I'm not alone.  According to a report commissioned by Post-it sticky note pads, the average person forgets around 4 things a day.  That adds up to 1,460 things every year.

(Here are the top 10 things you are most likely to forget . . .

Why you went into a room.Where you put your keys.Things you wanted to buy at the shops. People’s names after you meet them.Where you put your pen.Taking meat out to defrost.To respond to an email.To mail somethingWhat you wanted to search for online.Where you parked your car. How many things did I say I was going to write?)

Interesting Fact - Time

Spain is seriously considering moving back a time zone, which would align it with the UK and Portugal.

(Currently Spain's clocks run on CET (Central European Time), the same as Germany, France etc., but some people are arguing that Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) (and its summer equivalent, BST) would suit Spain's daylight hours.

According to said Ignacio Buqueras, president of the National Commission for the Rationalization of Spanish Time, Spain needs to create new habits to allow them to improve their productivity and at the same time allow them to ensure a work-life balance.

Interestingly CET was only adopted by Spain, along with other European countries, during the Second World war when Nazi-occupied France switched to German time, Spain followed suit. However, while countries such as the UK and Portugal moved their clocks back again after the war, Spain's dictator Francisco Franco decided not to.  I think that's as good a reason to change as any.)

Sources:  Sky News…

Interesting Fact - Money

According to a report from parliament's public spending watchdog, the failed NHS (National Health Service) patient record system has so far cost the British taxpayer nearly £10bn

(I say "so far" because the final bill, for what would have been the world's largest civilian computer system, is likely to be several hundreds of millions of pounds higher, it has been described as "the biggest IT failure ever seen".  
Nice use of the superlative.  I wonder if the British taxpayer can sue?)

Interesting Food - Pizza

Pizza Hut introduced the Cheeseburger Pizza Crust pizza.

(The spiel is that you can have it all - burger and pizza. At a whopping 2,880 calories, they are recommending it for sharing - for 288 calories a slice.

And people wonder why there's an obesity epidemic, I mean how many people do you know who share a pizza between 10 people?)

!Update - this pizza was withdrawn from sale in November.

Interesting Animals - Beetles

In connection with our last fact, there are other animals with superpowers that don't work properly for them. The tiger beetle is one such, they can run really, really fast.  Like the Flash.

(However, their eyes can't keep up.  This means that they run towards their prey, then they have to stop let their eyes catch up and then sprint again and hope they’ll hit it.

A bit like me playing darts. I aim, and then I just throw the dart willy nilly and hope I hit the board.)

Interesting Animal - The Housefly

Houseflies are notoriously difficult to swat, and now scientists have discovered why: It's because they have superpowers.

(According to a publication in the journal Animal Behaviour, they can actually see you coming in slow motion. They process more visual information than we can, for example, your average housefly can see a light flickering at a rate nearly seven times faster than we can.  So what we perceive as fast is in slow motion for them.

One of the researchers, Dr McNally compared it to the famous bullet-time scene in the Matrix where the bullets were moving at an incredibly slow rate as far as Keanu Reeves was concerned.)


Interesting Place - Coleshill

Coleshill in North Warwickshire is England's Viagra capital.

(The little market town of Coleshill only has a population of 6,343 people, but NHS figures show that last year, 54.87 prescriptions per 1,000 men were issued by GPs in the district for erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, placing the town well ahead of its nearest rival for the dubious title, Wychavon, across the border in Worcestershire.

The City of London has the lowest usage with just 1 prescription per 1,000 male patients.
I do hope I don't end up getting a lot of spam for posting this one!)

Interesting Fact - Wine

The UK government has a cellar that contains about £2m worth of wine and spirits.

(The cellar contains fine wines from the likes of Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

Now I understand why people go into politics.)


Is world smile day.


Interesting Fact - Transport

According to Europol criminal gangs are using budget airlines to fly into cities to carry out illegal activities - and then flying out the same day.

(They are either cheapskates or crime really doesn't pay.)


Today is National Poetry Day in the UK.

Put pen to paper, and let the creative juices flow.

Interesting Animal - Hornets

According to China News Agency attacks by hornets in northern China have killed 41 people since July.

(A combination of rapid urbanisation and climate change seem to contributing to the problem. More than 1,600 people have also been injured by stings in Shaanxi province, but the hornets behind the deadly attacks this summer appear to be the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia. 
Scarily, they can grow up to 5cm long and have a 6mm sting.)

Interesting Fact - Oceans

According to a review by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the health of the world’s oceans is deteriorating.

(The problems have been known for some time, but the deterioration is happening even faster than had previously been thought.

The oceans face many threats; climate change means they are warming, and slowly turning less alkaline by absorbing CO2.  Additional problems include over-fishing, pollution, siltation and toxic algal blooms. If that's not bad enough, dead zones are being formed by fertilizer run off pollution.)


1st October 2013 - The start of national mushroom month.

(This should be dedicated to all workers, who are often treated like mushrooms.  They are kept in the dark and fed manure.)

Interesting Fact - Ageing

According to a UN-backed global study, Sweden is the best place in the world to be old.

(Sweden, Norway and Germany headed the list, whilst Britain was rated 13th, one place behind Ireland. So, I guess I won't be moving any time soon.  Sorry to say Afghanistan, Tanzania and Pakistan ranked lowest, but don't worry, the only way is up.)
Source: The Global AgeWatch Index is the first-ever overview of the wellbeing of older people around the world.

Interesting Fact - The Brain

According to research into adolescent health, published in the Lancet, our brains are not fully developed until the age of 24.

(In the UK, young people can legally smoke and have sex at 16, drive at 17, drink alcohol, vote and are deemed adults at 18, but the brain is ill-equipped before the age of 24 to deal with the effects of all the drinking they do and less able to assess risk.

I wish I had known this when I was a bit younger. I'd have had a good excuse for all the crazy things I did: "Hey, give me a break, my brain isn't fully developed yet.")

Interesting Fact - Health

According to a survey ­carried out by the ­British ­Chiropractic Association, two in three of us Brits have suffered serious neck or back pain by the time we hit 35, and what's worse, a survey Simplyhealth showed that 84% of 18-24 year olds admit to having suffered back pain in the last 12 months.

(The biggest culprits? Computers, tablets and smartphones. So, sit up straight - stretch, and now, if you can, go for a walk for a couple of minutes.)

Interesting Fact - Alcohol

According to a series of reports on adolescent health behaviour, published in the Lancet, British teenagers are among the worst in the world when it comes to drinking.

(One in five adolescents was found to binge drink on a weekly basis in the same high-income countries.

England ranked fourth out of 40 high-income countries for the number of 13-year-olds who had been drunk. Wales came fifth and Scotland was eighth.
Having lived in Scotland at the age of 21, I'm amazed they were only eighth.)

Interesting Fact - Death

According to a series of studies, published in the Lancet, more boys in the United States, age 15 to 19, are  likely to die a violent death than any other Western nation.
(The Western nations with the highest rates of violent death per 100,000 teens are:-
1. United States -- 17 2. Israel -- 4 3. Switzerland -- 4 4. Canada -- 3 5. Ireland -- 3 6. New Zealand -- 3 7. Estonia -- 2 8. Sweden -- 2 *United Kingdom -- 1)

Interesting People - Ed Milliband

According to his press office, in his main speech at the Labour Party Conference in Britain, Ed Milliband, the leader of the Labour party, gave a 6,000 word speech, with no teleprompter, or notes.
(He repeated "Britain can do better" 17 times, so I don't think that counts.
I'm lucky if I can remember what day it is, kudos to him.)
If you're interested in how he did it, this article in the Independent attempt to figure it out.


25th September is World Pharmacist Day.

Wish your pharmacist a happy World Pharmacist Day.

Interesting Fact - Age