Showing posts from April, 2015

Interesting Food - Wine

According to a study in the Journal of Marketing Research the actual taste of inexpensive wine improves, if the label looks expensive.
(In one experiment a group tasted the same wine from different bottles, and the more the tasters liked the label, the more they liked the wine. Another survey back in 2012 , found that consumers believed heavier bottles were more expensive and contained higher-quality wine.

It seems we really do taste with our eyes, and it means we have a tendency to enjoy wine (as well as other products) more when we think they’re expensive. 
Seemingly a carefully crafted label can make us think that something is more expensive than it actually is, so much so that people enjoy identical products such as wine or chocolate more if they think they have a higher price tag. Of course that doesn't explain the Primark effect.)

Interesting Fact - Mugs

According to research from Heinz Cup a Soup, 31% cent of Brits are so protective of their favourite cup or mug that they would never let anyone else drink from it.

(In fact nearly 60% of Brits have an "emotional attachment" to their favourite mug, and a third said they would feel "angry" or "totally devastated" if their mug broke, with 42% adding that their favourite mug is not replaceable.

According to food psychologist Christy Fergusson we become attached to these simple everyday objects.  Thaler coined the term 'endowment effect'. When we touch something, it almost becomes an extension of us. You can create a deeper connection to it and associate memories, emotions and feelings with objects.
It's a mug!)

Interesting Fact - Pocket Money

According to the Halifax bank, over the last 27 years pocket money in the UK has outstripped wages with payouts to children up 462%.

(Children have seen a rise from on average  £1.13 a week to  £6.35, but over the same period, the typical annual wage for working adults has increased by just 188%, from £11,648 in 1987 to £33,511 in 2014.

I think the difference is that children aren't afraid to ask for a rise.  After all, no one is going to sack them because they cost too much, are they?)

Of course parents paying out pocket money might want to click here (sorry kids).

Interesting Fact - Happiness

The top 5 countries in the Global Wellbeing Index, published by the United Nations, are Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada.
(The researchers believe that the differences in happiness can be explained by 6 factors: levels of gross domestic product (GDP), life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and level of corruption.

The US is 15th, the UK is 21st, but Germany is only 26th.)


Interesting Fact - Money

The Queen has dropped out of the top 300 in the Sunday Times Rich List, for the first time.

(The richest man in Britain is Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik with a fortune of £13.17bn!

The Queen had been in the Rich List every year since she actually topped the first list in 1989, but you need a personal fortune of £100m to become one of the 1,000 richest people in the country. That's up £15m compared with the entry point of £85m in 2014.

In 1997 it took a fortune of just £15m to join Britain's richest 1,000 people.

Did I just say just £15m? Ridiculous!)

Interesting Fact - Health

Over the last 50 years short-sightedness amongst children in the UK has doubled.

( In the 1960s just 10% of British 12 and 13-year-olds had myopia, today that is 23%.

Experts are blaming this increase on our increasingly indoor lifestyles and use of computers. 
 And it's not just happening in the UK, in the US in the 1970s 25% of children were diagnosed myopic, by the year 2000 this had risen to over 40%.  In China The journal Nature reported that around 90% of China's teenage and young adult population are short-sighted, up from 10 to 20% of the total population 60 years ago. One Chinese city is so worried, they are experimenting with transparent classrooms to expose children to more sunlight.
How about giving them more time and space to play outside?)

Interesting Fact - Women in the UK

According to the Catholic Church, the number of women in Britain choosing to become nuns has trebled over the last five years.
(However, I doubt this is some kind of religious revival in the UK: In 2004, only seven women opted to become nuns, this rose to 15 in 2009 and 45 in 2014.

So, why the increase?  Fr Christopher Jamison, director of the Vocations Office of the Catholic church, said: “There is a gap in the market for meaning in our culture, and one of the ways in which women may find that meaning is through religious life.” 
A gap in the market? My how times change. Personally, I think the movie Sister Act might have played a role too.)

Interesting Fact - YouTube

The first video ever posted on YouTube was called "Me At The Zoo".

So far the video has had 19,690,215 views, with 226,191 Thumbs Up clicks, and 11,794 Thumbs Down clicks.

FYI - The first ever comment on YouTube was probably "interesting..." and it was posted by COBALTGRUV.  I'm not sure how it was worked out, but it's interesting anyway.


23rd April

St George's Day in England.

Interesting Fact - Music

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? We call that kind of song an earworm (borrowed from the German word ‘ohrwurm'). Well according to research from the University of Reading chewing gum can get it out.

(Their study found that people who chewed gum after hearing catchy songs thought less often about the song and it reduced the amount the song went round and round in their head.

The study, "Want to block earworms from conscious awareness? B(u)y gum!" was published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

I wonder who financed the research?)


Interesting Fact - Voting

7.5 million UK citizens who are eligible to vote are not yet registered for this year's (2015) General Election.

(Changes to the voting system mean that many people are no longer on the electoral roll. This means that when they troll up to the polling station on May 7th, they will be turned away. They have till midnight tonight to get their skates on.

It has to be said though; in the last General Election in 2010, out of 47 million voters, only 29.6 million bothered. Democracy in action? More like "Democracy inaction".)


20th April

Is the last day you can register to vote in this year's General Election.

Interesting Number - 999

According to a survey carried out by Mumsnet, 1 in 3 children in the UK haven't been taught how to dial the emergency number, 999.
(More worryingly, many children in the UK don't know the difference between 999 and 911 (the US emergency number).
It's something you should teach, in the hopes it's never needed.)

Interesting Fact - Driving

According to a new study conducted at Loughborough University, drivers who are dehydrated can be as dangerous as those who are drunk or on drugs.

(The study showed that drivers who drank only 25 ml of water an hour made more than twice the number of mistakes as drivers who had drunk enough water.

Professor Maughan, who published the findings, said, “We all deplore drink driving, but we don't usually think about the effects of other things that affect our driving skills, and one of those is not drinking and dehydration. There is no question that driving while incapable through drink or drugs increases the risk of accidents, but our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated.”

I can see it now:-

Policeman: "Sir, you are 3 times over the legal limit."
Driver: "At least I'm not dehydrated, officer.")

Interesting Food - Lunch

According to a study by consumer watchdog Which?, some salads and sandwiches from supermarkets and cafe chains contain more calories, and higher levels of fat and sugar than fast food like pizza and burgers.

(They identified the 8 worst offenders as Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger, Marks & Spencer and Asda.

For example:-

Caffè Nero’s brie and bacon panini - 624 calories
McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese - 518 calories

Pret a Manger’s cheddar and pickle sandwich on artisan bread contained 17.6g of sugar and nearly half an adult’s RDA  (recommended daily allowance) of saturated fat.

Marks and Spencer's chicken and smoked bacon salad sandwich on soft multigrain farmhouse bread - 694 calories
Pizza Express margherita pizza - 683 calories

Asda’s creamy piri-piri chicken pasta salad contained more fat than Burger King’s bacon and cheese Whopper.

Interesting Animal - Dogs

The most popular name for a dog in the UK in 2014 was Max.

(The top 20 names were:-

MaxBuddyCharlieJackCooperRockyTobyTuckerJakeBearDukeTeddyOliverRileyBaileyBentleyMiloBusterCodyDexter IMHO - the best name for a male dog is still Sam.)

Interesting word - Shrinkflation

Shrinkflation describes the process of items shrinking in size or quantity while their prices remain the same, and according to consumer watchdog Which? a host of products sold in the UK have been undergoing this phenomenon.

(Confectionery is often a culprit, with a box of Cadbury's Fingers containing two fewer chocolate finger biscuits, Mars Bars (down from 58g in 2013 to 48g today), Kit Kat Chunky (down from 48g to 40g), a bag of Maltesers (down from 140g to 120g), and of course the Creme Egg scandal.

Maybe if they were just a bit more honest and simply increased the price, we wouldn't mind as much.)

Here are some more products:-

Interesting Fact - Small Talk

According to a documentary by Channel 4,  when they go to the pub together men are more likely to talk about their children and relationship issues, than football and women.

(I would imagine the topics might change if they know there's someone filming them.)

Interesting Fact - Religion

According to a survey conducted by Win/Gallup International, the UK is among the least religious countries in the world.

(The UK was 6th from last out of 65 countries, 30% considered themselves religious, 53% said they were not religious, and 13% said they were atheists. The remainder did not know how to define themselves.

China was the least religious, with only 6% of people saying they were religious and 61% saying they were convinced atheists. Followed by Japan, where just 13% of people were religious, Sweden with 19%, Czech Republic with 23%, and the Netherlands and Hong Kong with 26%.

The most religious countries were Thailand with 94%, followed by Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia and Morocco where 93% of people said they were religious.)

Interesting Fact - Sport

Since the first Women's Boat Race, in 1927, the women's rowing teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities have never been permitted to race on the same course, on the same day, as the men.

(That will all change today, when for the first time ever female crews representing Oxford and Cambridge will row the four miles, 374 yards from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge, the Tideway, on the same day as the men, in front of a live TV audience.
The tide has changed, and another bastion of gender inequality in sport bites the dust. )


11th April

Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race

Interesting People - Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll, best known as the British author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was the nom-de-plume of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

(A nom-de-plume is an assumed name used by a writer instead of their real name, aka a pen-name, not to be confused with the following:-

nom-de-guerre: the name a person uses to engage in combat or some other activity or enterprise (such as gaming).

pet name: a name that is used instead of someone's usual first name, usually to express fondness.

nickname: a familiar or humorous name given to a person or thing instead of or as well as their real name.)

Interesting Fact - Sport

It's just not cricket! According to Wisden (the cricketer's almanac), England has lost more than
50,000 recreational cricketers.

(Their editor, Lawrence Booth, blames the ECB for losing touch, and overseeing the decline of the England team, mismanaging the sacking of Kevin Pietersen and failing to effectively promote the sport to a new generation.

The biggest problem they highlighted was the move to pay TV, because then fewer people are able to watch it.)

Interesting Animal - Dogs

According to the Kennel Club, in the UK more than 10,000 dogs a year are poisoned after eating everyday items such as onions, grapes, paracetamol and chocolate.

(Between 2010 and 2014 56,000 dogs were treated for poisoning.

Painkillers were the most common cause of poisoning, followed by rat and mouse bait, and chocolate. Chewing gum, laundry detergent, sultanas, grapes and raisins along with onions, garlic and leeks all cause health problems that can be fatal to our 4-legged friends.)

Interesting Fact - Easter Eggs

The average child in the UK receives 8 chocolate eggs over Easter.

(If they ate them all in one go they will have consumed 8,000 calories.

I wonder if there is such a thing as chocolate poisoning.)

Interesting Fact - Money

New pension rules in the UK mean that people aged 55 and over have more access to their pension funds than before.

(What this basically means is that everyone in the UK is suddenly going to be inundated with pension liberation scams, that claim they can get access to their pension more quickly, for just a small fee.

If anyone tells you that you can easily free up money from your pension before you reach 55, you can't, and even if you do, you'll be heavily penalised for it.)

Interesting Fact - Easter Eggs

The shell of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg is not made from Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.

(It used to be, but they changed the recipe.

Dear Cadbury, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.)

Interesting Fact - Tobacco

Since 2012 all large shops and supermarkets in England had to hide tobacco products from public view, and now all shops will have to do so from 6th April.

(The original ban only applied to shops of more than 280 sq m (3,014 sq ft), and small outlets were exempt until 2015, but that is about to end as the ban comes into force across the UK.  The ban will stop cigarettes being visible at the point of sale in any small shops and other premises selling tobacco such as cafes, pubs and clubs.

It seems to be working too, with smoking rates for England at their lowest ever levels: the latest figures show only 8% of 15 year olds are now regular smokers, compared with 22% in 2003.

Interestingly on a recent trip to France, every other shop seemed to sell e-cigarettes.)

Interesting Fact - Nursing

According to figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, in 2014, 1 in 4 British nurses had to be recruited from abroad.

(Seemingly there aren't enough nurses coming out of training because of cuts in training budgets.

The good news is that agencies are making a fortune, and hospital trusts get to go on recruitment trips around the world.)

Interesting Food - Fast Food

According to Epidemiologists at Cambridge University the greater the access someone has to takeaway food, the higher the BMI (body mass index) and their odds of becoming obese are nearly doubled.

(Several local authorities in the UK have already introduced restrictions on fast-food outlets, around schools or in places where there are already lots of takeaways, but now UK researchers are calling on a restriction on the number of fast-food outlets around offices and homes to help combat the obesity epidemic in the UK.
How about fast food salads and fruit? Fruit is pretty fast food.)

Interesting Inventions - Pizza Printer

A new device has been invented in Italy, a pizza printer.

(You simply add the toppings you want, and what herbs you like, and the pizza will be printed to your specifications, and then baked - all in one.  You can set the size, depending on how hungry you are, up to 14", and the depth of the base, from crispy to deep pan.  You can even have your name baked on in cheese.

The inventor, a pizza chef known as Igor Lovera, said, "This could put me out of business. From pressing "Print Pizza", it only takes about 30 minutes to get your personalised pizza. "

Click here to learn more.)


1st April

April Fool's Day