Showing posts from June, 2014

Interesting Fact - Clothes

According to a survey by Cotton USA, 23% of people hate it when their partner wears socks in bed.

(The problem with that is according to Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, wearing socks in bed can help you fall asleep.

Luckily I have no trouble sleeping, and I can't believe that only 23% of people hate it.)

Interesting Fact - Reading

According to former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo, teachers should let themselves cry in class when reading poignant stories.

(He says it would help teach children that books matter.

Of course I don't read, I make everyone else read, although I think Hermine had a lump in her throat when we were reading Wind in the Willows.)

Interesting Fact - The World Cup

Just in case you hadn't noticed, the World Cup is on, but what is it?  It is is a gold trophy that is awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup association football tournament.

(The trophy is 36.8 cm high and weighs 6.175 kg.   1.8 kg of which is 18k gold.  It's not the original trophy, as that one was stolen.)

Interesting Fact - World Cup

The top teams at the World Cup are Brazil, Germany and Italy.

(To date, the points they have are as follows:-

Brazil - 20 tournaments / 101 games / 224 pointsGermany - 18 tournaments / 103 games / 209 pointsItaly - 18 tournaments / 83 games / 156 points Poor Italy are already out, which opens up the 3rd place, and maybe we will see a Brazil vs Germany final.  What do you think?)

Interesting Fact - Teaching

According to the Talis 13 report issued by the OECD, England has the rowdiest classrooms in Europe.

(6.5% of teachers in England face intimidation or verbal abuse.

Brazil tops the league with 12.5%, followed by Estonia at 11% and Australia at 9.7%.

You might be shocked, but I'm pleasantly surprised the figure for England is so low.)

Interesting Fact - Bookshops

According to the Guardian newspaper, there are only 987 independent bookshops in the UK.

(The number of independent bookshops in the UK fell below 1,000 in 2013, with 67 closing, leaving just 987 across the UK.

It's really sad, and Amazon needs to take some of the blame.)


Interesting People - James Patterson

US crime writer James Patterson is offering £250,000 to independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland.

(Worried about the death of the independent bookshops, he has already run a similar scheme in the US, with grants of between £250 and £5,000 available to spend on schemes aimed at encouraging reading among children. 

This is what you could call, putting your money where your mouth is.)

Interesting Fact - Cars

Car maker Volkswagen also own Audi, Bentley, Ducatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Seat, and  Skoda.

(They should keep buying companies until they have a complete A to Z.)

Interesting Numbers - The Brain



June 20th is take your dog to work day.

(All the dogs I have ever cared for have been at work with me.  I wouldn't work anywhere that didn't allow dogs.)

Interesting Food - Coffee

According to researchers at the University of Bath, coffee dregs could be used to produce bio fuel.

(According to the report, coffee dregs can be a reliable source of bio diesel. An average coffee shop produces 22lb of coffee waste every day, which could be used to make two litres of bio diesel.

I think I'll have to up my coffee consumption to run the van.)


18th June is National Splurge Day and National go Fishing Day in the US, and  International Panic Day everywhere else.

So, if splurging makes you panic get out of the house and go fishing.

Interesting Fact - A&E

With recent calls for drunks to be banned from A&E (Accident and Emergency) departments in NHS hospitals, according to charity Alcohol Concern, 1/3 of people seeking treatment were under the influence, this rises to 40% at the weekend, and a shocking 70% of people who seek treatment in the early hours.

(In 2013 over 1 million patients were admitted to hospital in the UK with alcohol related illnesses or injuries, at a cost of £3.5 billion.

One problem I faced on having hurt myself in the early hours, is that 100% of doctors and nurses presume you are drunk. (I wasn't.))

Interesting Place - Leiston Abbey

The skeleton of a 7ft long dog have been unearthed in the remains of ancient Leiston Abbey in Suffolk.

(There is speculation that it could be the skeleton of legendary devil dog Black Shuck who terrorised 16th century England. Accounts of the animal form part of the folklore of Norfolk,Suffolk, the Cambridgeshire fens and Essex

Folklore tells of a 7 foot hell hound with flaming eyes. For centuries, the beast, which came to be known as Black Shuck, struck fear into the hearts of all who crossed its path.)


16th June 2014 is National Fudge Day.

Of course as a verb, to fudge something means to present or deal with (something) in a vague or inadequate way, especially so as to conceal the truth or mislead.  I hope I'm not fudging National Fudge day by telling you this.

Interesting Word - Shuck

The shell of an oyster is also called a shuck.

(It can also be used to describe the husk on maize, and as a verb, to shuck, to shell an oyster.

However, it is also an old English word believed describe a demon, or from East Anglian dialect meaning ‘shaggy’.
And "Aww shucks" is an expression of regret or embarrassment.  I wonder if rats say that?  (You will need to check an earlier IF to understand this.))

Interesting Fact - Faces

According to a paper published in the journal Biological Reviews, men's faces evolved to cope with fist fights.

(The beefier facial features of men developed as a defense, so the bones most commonly broken in a fist fight gained the most strength, a sort of defensive armour.
This explains the average look of those involved in a Saturday night punch-up in Nottingham.)

Interesting Fact - Mobile Phones

In 1946 the first (very primitive) mobile phone was used by the Swedish police force.  After 6 calls the battery died.

An early mobile phone weighed 80lbs.

Early phones could run for about 30 minutes, and took 10 hours to recharge.

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

Interesting Fact - Most popular music video

According to the Economist the mysteriously popular music video “Gangnam Style” is the most watched music clip of all time.

(PSY, the South Korean pop star who released the song in July 2012, recently surpassed two billion views on YouTube.  At 4:12 minutes long, that equates to more than 140 million man-hours, or a cumulative 16,000 years of human life spent watching a strange Korean man prancing around. 

The Economist worked out what else could have been achieved in this time:-

It took 50 million man-hours to complete the “supercarrier” USS Gerald Ford, so 3 such ships could have been constructed.

We could have built more than 4 Great Pyramids of Giza.

Created another Wikipedia.

Built 6 Burj Khalifas (the world’s tallest building in Dubai).

Maybe it's best not to add up how much time we spend on the net.)

Thanks to +april sis.

Interesting Place - Plovdiv

Plovdiv in Bulgaria, is the oldest inhabited city in Europe.

(The second-largest city in Bulgaria, records show Plovdiv as the earliest habitation of any European city; 4,000 BC.

It was originally a Tracian settlement before becoming a major Roman city. Later ruled by the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, it eventually became part of Bulgaria.

To put it into perspective, London was first inhabited about 50 AD. It's a spring chicken in comparison.)
Thanks to Boris.

Interesting Animal - The Rat

According to a study carried out at the University of Minnesota, in the USA, rats experience regret when their actions make them miss out on better food options.

(Scientists believe that the emotion of "regret" is unique to humans, and is different to disappointment.  Prof David Redish said, "Regret is the recognition that you made a mistake, that if you had done something else, you would have been better off. The hard part was that we had to separate disappointment, which is just when things aren't as good as you hoped. The key was letting the rats choose.

Funnily the dictionary defines regret as a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment.)

Interesting Fact - Building

According to property experts in London, there are up to 1,000 JCB diggers entombed underground in London.

(So, is this because of some great calamity? Mud slides? Earthquakes? No. It's simply  because they are cheaper to bury than lift to street level.

In London, new luxury conversions, “sub-basements” are all the rage, because let's face it, there's nowhere else left to build. The basements are dug by diggers, and in the past developers would use a large crane to scoop up the machinery, but when they calculated the cost-benefit equation of this procedure: hiring a crane, closing the street etc. it emerged that simply burying the digger; worth only £5,000 or £6,000, in its own hole was cheaper.
I wonder what the future will think of us.)

Interesting Numbers - D-Day Landings

D-Day was the biggest seaborne invasion and the greatest military campaign the world has seen. From 6th June to 11th June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches.According to the D-Day museum in Portsmouth, the number of military personnel were:-

Allied troops landed in Normandy 156,115
American (Omaha & Utah beaches + airborne) 73,000
British (Gold & Sword beaches + airborne) 61,715
Canadian (Juno Beach) 21,400
Airborne troops (included in figures above) 23,400
Aircraft supporting the landings 11,590
Sorties flown by allied aircraft 14,674
Aircraft lost 127
Naval vessels in Operation Neptune 6939
Naval combat ships 1213
Landing ships and landing craft 4126
Ancillary craft 736
Merchant vessels 864
Personnel in Operation Neptune 195,700
American 52,889
British 112,824
Other allied 4988

According to the D-Day museum website the following casualties were suffered:-

Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1,0…

Interesting Fact - Obesity

According to figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws, up to 74 morbidly obese children are estimated to have been taken into care in the UK over the last five years.

(Information released by councils showed that 183 under-11s weighed more than 16st.

21 of the fattest 100 children in England were in London, 16 were in the West Midlands and 14 in the South East, but the two heaviest primary school pupils in England – a boy of 23st 2lb and a girl of 22st 11lb – lived in the North West.

Allowing children in your care to become obese is considered to be child neglect, because it puts them at risk of developing serious conditions in adulthood such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.)


4th June is hug your cat day.

Or cats.  +Karen O'Connor

Interesting Word - Bikini

The bikini (a two piece swimming suit) was named after Bikini Atoll in the Marshall islands.

(Bikini Atoll is where the United States detonated an atomic bomb in 1946. The bikini was so named because of the ‘explosive’ effect the garment was expected to have.
Of course, people were scandalised by this, forgetting that the Romans had been sporting this fashion item in about 286 AD.)


2nd June is Leave the Office Early Day.

Unfortunately it is not an excuse to bunk off, the idea is you finish your work early, so you can leave early.