Showing posts from December, 2014

Interesting Fact - The Cost of Christmas - Christmas Fact

What is the true cost of Christmas.

The Cost of Christmas from Lynne Hand

Interesting Fact - Work

According to the Office for National Statistics, 562,000 people in the UK work in the real estate sector.

(The only problem with this is estate agents often top the poll of most hated professionals (just below politicians).

In London, estate agent signs have been modified to say "Estate Agents. Everyone hates you."

Interesting Fact - Christmas Presents - Christmas Fact

According to a survey conducted by, nearly half of us will fake gratitude when we
receive unwanted gifts this Christmas.

(In the UK adults receive around eight Christmas presents each, and hate two of them, which means about of £4.4 billion is wasted on 104 million unwanted gifts every year.

In 2013 it took just minutes before unwanted presents arrived on Ebay on Christmas Day!)

Maybe we should take our lead from these kids:-

Interesting Fact - Christmas Presents - Christmas Fact

According to a survey on Netmums, in the UK, parents spend an average of £312 per child on Christmas presents.

(They need to, because the average child's Christmas list adds up to around £900! One third of children believe they'll get everything on it.

Do they think Santa is made of money?)

Interesting Food - Sprouts - Christmas Fact

This year the UK has a bumper crop of Brussels sprouts.

(An unseasonably warm autumn (we are on track for it to be the warmest year ever since records began in 1910), and a (so far) mild winter means that they are not only bigger, and earlier, but there are plenty of them too.

Despite their bad reputation for causing flatulence, the UK eats around 434 million Brussels just in December.  They are the Christmas staple veg.

Added to that, Marks and Spencer have released a Brussels Sprout smoothie as part of their Christmas food range. Yummy!)

!Note - I checked in my dictionary, it is definitely meant to be spelt Brussels sprout, not brussel sprout.

Interesting Fact - Transport

According to plans unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) London commuters will soon be able to bounce their way to work.

(The “Bounceway”, due to open in 2015, will allegedly be trialed as part of TfL’s £1.8 million Future Streets scheme.

You might think this is unique - think again: Now we know what the British Secret Service was using those spy rocks for.

One more thought:  What if you've just had a full English breakfast?  It could be a disaster!

Interesting Fact - Funerals

A study conducted by funeral directors Co-operative Funeralcare, found the 1979 Life of Brian song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, has overtaken Frank Sinatra's My Way as the preferred choice of music at funerals.

(Playing popular songs is taking over from more traditional, and sombre music. The top 30 popular songs are:-

30. ACDC - Highway to Hell
29. Ben E King - Stand by Me
28. Terry Jacks - Seasons in the Sun
27. John Lennon - Imagine
26. Queen - Another One Bites The Dust / Don't Stop Me Now
25. Simple Minds - Don’t You Forget About Me
24. Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World
23. Tina Turner - Simply the Best
22. Jenn Bostic - Jealous of the Angels
21. Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven
20. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
19. Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2U
18. Cast of the Wizard of Oz - Ding-dong! The Witch is Dead
17. Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
16. Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven
15. Puff Daddy - I’ll Be Missing You
14. Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again

Interesting Fact - Food Labellin

In new legislation, restaurants and takeaways across Europe will be required by law to tell customers if their food contains ingredients known to trigger allergies.

(The new rules also apply to meals served in bakeries, cafes, care homes and any packaged produce sold by supermarkets.

Remember the nuts? Well it's not just nuts:-

The list of ingredients includes:-
celery - including any found in stock cubes and soup
cereals containing gluten - including spelt, wheat, rye, barley
crustaceans - e.g. crabs, lobster, prawns and shrimp paste
eggs - including food glazed with egg
lupin - can be found in some types of bread, pastries, pasta
molluscs - mussels, land snails, squid, also found in oyster sauce
nuts - for example almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia
peanuts - also found in groundnut oil
sesame seeds - found in some bread, houmous, tahini
soya - found in beancurd, edamame beans, tofu
sulphur dioxide - used as a preservative in dried fruit, meat products, sof…

Interesting Fact - Allergies

Around 5000 people need treatment in hospital for severe allergic reactions each year in the UK.

(Sadly some cases are fatal, causing an average of 10 deaths annually.

According to the European Academy of Allergy, food allergies affect more than 17 million people across Europe.
It reminds me of the story in the UK, about the supermarket that had to remove packets of nuts from their shelves, because they didn't warn people that the packet contained nuts.)

Interesting Fact - Maths

According to a study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, teenagers in the UK would be more likely to study maths at A-level if they were told what salaries it would help them earn in the future.

(Telling students that pupils who received the information on graduate earnings were 39 per cent more likely to study maths than those who did not.

Now if they could only convince them that maths could get you onto the X-Factor, and help you become famous, the take up would be 100%.)

Interesting Food - Pizza

Public Health England is considering including foods which have at least one portion of fruit or veg to their 5-a-day recommendation.
(This would mean ham and pineapple pizza could count as part of a healthy diet, along with tinned soups and tinned fruit.

I wonder if black forest gateau will count. After all, it has cherries in it.)

Interesting Place - Finland - Christmas Fact

Turku is the official Christmas City of Finland.

(The Declaration of Christmas Peace has been taking place there every year, almost uninterrupted since the Middle Ages (records show it was cancelled in 1939 during the Winter War).

The declaration takes place at 12 noon in the Old Great Square of Turku, on the day of Christmas Eve. The declaration ceremony begins with the hymn Jumala ompi linnamme (Martin Luther's Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott) and continues with the Declaration of Christmas Peace read from a parchment roll in Finnish and Swedish.  It is broadcast on TV and radio, and of course nowadays the internet.

 The old laws guarantee everyone Christmas peace from Christmas Eve until the end of Christmastide on St Knut's Day.

I wonder if we could extend that.)

Interesting Fact - Photography

Allegedly, image recognition software that detects brand logos on pictures uploaded to blogs and sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr is being used to glean marketing information for targeted advertising.

(For example, Twitter is using image-based ad targeting through image analytics firm, Ditto Labs.  They are able to pick out photos posted to Twitter -- either directly or through Instagram -- that contain a brand's logo, collect the Twitter handles of the people posting those photos to create a list that an advertiser can then submit to Twitter as the audience it would like to show particular ads to.

Maybe it's time to stop wearing branded items when we have our photo taken.)

Interesting Fact - Food - Christmas Fact

According to the British Retail Consortium, Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings is set to be cheaper than expected this year after food prices recorded a fall for the first time since 2006.

(And there is even more seasonal cheer; November was the first month alcoholic beverages experienced deflation since the index began eight years ago.

It's going to be a good Christmas, for everyone but the breweries, pubs and farmers.)

More about Christmas food here.

Interesting People - Stephen Hawking,

Renowned physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking, has warned that, quote: "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,"

(His main worry is that super-smart machines could leave humans floundering, and they could find human affairs totally unimportant, and may even begin to view humanity as a hindrance.
Before you dismiss this as science fiction, Google has set up an ethics board to oversee its work in artificial intelligence.

It reminds me of this joke: Artificial Intelligence stands no chance against Natural Stupidity.)

Interesting Fact - Greeting Cards

According to the Greeting Card Association, in the UK we spend nearly £1.47 billion annually on greeting cards.

(It might sound like a waste of money, but in the UK more than half a billion charity Christmas cards are sent out each year, raising around £50m for good causes.

That said, £1.47 billion is more than we spend on tea and coffee put together! We are a nation of card lovers.)

Source - 2010 Greeting Card Market Report,

Interesting Number - 2,147,483,646

The YouTube video Gangnam Style has forced YouTube to upgrade their viewing statistics to handle 64 bit numbers.

(The number of views for the video steadily increased since its release in 2012, until it hit a critical 2,147,483,647. Why critical? Well, the largest number that can be represented by a 32-bit integer is 2,147,483,647.

As a result, YouTube have upgraded their view counter to handle 64 bit integers, which means that they can sit back and relax, unless the video clocks up 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 views. 
There's not much chance of that, because every human being on earth would have to watch it 1.29 billion times to reach that number.)

Interesting Fact - Housework

According to a poll run by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, British women do six years of housework during their lifetime.

(Unsurprisingly it also showed we spend far more time on chores than British men.

They worked out that five years of our lives are spent cooking, four years shopping (I can only presume they mean the weekly shop, not shopping for shoes), and seven years looking after children.

Apparently men spend twice as much time socialising, playing video games and exercising.)

Interesting Fact - Drinking

According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, humans started drinking alcohol about 10 million years ago.

(They discovered that a single genetic mutation 10 million years ago endowed our human ancestors with an enhanced ability to break down ethanol, probably from eating fermenting fruit.
I guess it was their superpower.)