Showing posts from May, 2015

Interesting Fact - Language

There is a language taking over the world, and it isn't English; it's Emoji.

(In a survey conducted by TalkTalk Mobile, 8 in 10 people use emoji symbols in emails and text messages, and 72% of British 18 to 25-year-olds said they found it easier to put their feelings across in emoji icons than in text.

The 10 most popular emojis are as follows:-

1- Smiley Face

2- Crying with laughter

3- Love heart

4- Blushing

5- Thumbs up

6- Cheeky face

7- Blowing a kiss

8- Winking face

9- Confused

10- See no evil monkey

However, different language speakers have their own preferences:-

Canadians seemingly enjoy using the smiling poop emoji. The French use four times as many heart emojis than other languages.
Flower and plant emojis, particularly the rose, are used at more than 4 times the average rate by Arabic speakers.
Russian speakers use 3 times as many romantic emojis.
Australians like emojis with an alcoholic and / or drug related theme.
Americans have a penchant for the aubergine (egg…

Interesting Animal - The Dodo

According to a study carried out by the WWF (World Wildlife Federation) 25% of Brits believe that the dodo still exists.

(The unfortunate flightless bird actually became extinct over 400 years ago, and yet 14 per cent of the respondents believe it is currently under threat from hunters, whilst 12% said it was not even endangered!.

Red Admiral butterfly           38%
Red kangaroo                        36%
Swan                                       28%
Weever fish                            28%
Crane fly                                 21%
Flamingo                                20%
Fresian cow                           19%
Grey squirrel                          19%
Highland cattle                      17%


Fin whale                              48%
Green turtle                         42%
Asian elephant                    37%
Bonobo ch…

Interesting Fact - Money

According to a survey by, Brits are paying out around £150 a year for subscriptions they no longer use.

(The worst culprit is gym membership, followed by newspaper or magazine subscriptions, and TV and music streaming services like Netflix, or Spotify.

Most people take out a free trial period, and then forget to cancel.  

I'm actually subscribing to a newspaper and I keep meaning to cancel it!)

Interesting People - Guy Claxton

According to cognitive scientist, Guy Claxton, rubbers (erasers) are instruments of the devil and has called for them to be banned from classrooms.

(Strong words, I hear you say, but his argument is that they encourage children to feel ashamed of their mistakes, and perpetuate a culture of shame about errors.

"It’s a way of lying to the world, which says ‘I didn’t make a mistake. I got it right first time.’ That’s what happens when you can rub it out and replace it," he said.
Now you know why you can't correct your posts in the forum!)
According to a study conducted by Virgin Active, more than a third (38 per cent) of Brits aged 25 and over say they have no desire to try anything new.
(It gets worse: 16% of 25-year-olds believe their favourite foods, travel destinations, hobbies and even their friendships will remain the same for the rest of their lives!   24% admitted that they avoid even trying anything new because they are frightened of being laughed at.
When you think about it, that's laughable.)
A poll, by decorating brand Harris, has revealed Britains favourite (and least favourite) smells.

(The top 20 smells were:-

Freshly baked breadBaconFreshly cut grassCoffeeCakes baking in the ovenThe seasideFreshly washed clothesA Sunday roast Fish and chipsFresh flowersA real Christmas treeRosesVanillaScented candlesLog firesLavenderLemonChocolateBarbequesCinnamon
The most hated smells were:
BinsDrainsBody odourSewageVomitRotten milkRotting foodPublic toiletsNappiesOld trainersFeetManureMorning breathBurning plasticGarlic breathExhaust fumesSports changing roomsBlue cheeseBleachFish What are yours?)

Interesting Fact - Google

According to, the Google autocomplete function can tell you the top searches for the cost of something by geographic area.

(They have created an eye-opening infographic that shows what the most pressing concerns of an area are.  Some of their results were amusing, some sad, others worrying.

“Camel” was the top search for Saudi Arabia
“Croissant” came top in France
"Passport and patent" were neck and neck in North America
“BMW” in Germany
"Prostitute" in Ukraine, Hong Kong, Latvia and Brazil
"Slave” in Mauritania
"Kidney" in Iran

I decided to do a couple of tests, so I started with a simple "cost of * in ..." search for Nottingham.

The results were:-

... living / parking / taxi

Then I did the "How much does a * cost in ...".

The results were:-

IVF / the tram / to hire a limo

Good old Nottingham.

Then I did a "How much does a * cost in ..." search for England:-

The results were:-

divorce / prescription / abortion…

Interesting Words - Diseases

The WHO (World Health Organisation) has new rules for avoiding offensive names for new diseases.

(The new guidelines are aimed at removing the stigma that can be inflicted by diseases that use the names of people, places, and animals.

The new guidelines called “The Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases” would discourage names like Spanish flu, German measles, Ebola, swine flu , bird flu, Rift Valley Fever, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, monkey pox, and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), and encourage the use of more neutral, generic terms, such as severe respiratory disease or novel neurologic syndrome.
Under the new guidelines, Marburg disease (named after a city in Germany) might have been called filovirus-associated haemorrhagic fever, while Ebola (named after a river) might have been filovirus-associated haemorrhagic fever.)


Interesting Fact - Elections

France, India and Italy all have laws banning the publication of opinion polls in the run-up to an election.

(In France newspapers and media can't publish opinion polls up to 24 hours before an election. In India that is 48 hours, and in Italy, 15 days.

Of course the opinion polls published in the UK were so wrong, it would be funny, if they didn't charge £8,000 to £12,000 for the privilege of using them.  The pollsters are blaming the public - for lying.)

Interesting Food - Junk Food

According to studies conducted at King’s College London, junk food kills bacteria that protect against obesity, heart disease,  cancer,  diabetes, inflammatory bowel conditions and autism.

(The human gut contains around 3,500 difference microbial species, which together make up some three pounds in weight, but a limited range of highly processed foods, rather than those found in a balanced, healthy diet, can wipe out the number of stomach flora by more than a third.

Other studies suggest that Belgian Beer, garlic, coffee, leeks and celery are ideal foods for promoting healthy gut flora.

Mmm - beer.)

On This Day

22nd May

The all-time classic video game Pac-Man was shown to the public for the first time.


22nd May

World Goth Day (Get your Goth on)

Interesting Fact - Exams

According to a poll carried out by Kelloggs, British children as young as 10 worry their SATS results will ruin their future.

(The poll revealed that more than half of children surveyed were anxious about not achieving Level 4 in Maths, Science and English - the national standard, and 25% of parents said their child was too nervous to eat before the exams, with 14% saying they had refused to eat, whilst other kids say they take up smoking!

SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) are given at the end of year 2, year 6 and year 9 in the UK, and are used to show a child's academic progress compared with other children born in the same month. They shouldn't be confused with the US SAT scores.)

Interesting Word - < 3

Before you shoot me down in flames and say that < 3  is not a word, read this:-

The heart emoji "< 3" has been chosen as the word of the year in the 15th annual survey of the English language by the Global Language Monitor.

(If  you are new to these emoji or emoticons, each emoji represents an emotion, expression, state of mind, person, place, or thing.  There are now some 722 characters, with another 250 being made available in 2016, and 37 more due for approval in June 2015.

Social media and the internet is driving the emoji language forward, with symbols like hashtag #, photobomb - gatecrashing a selfie, bae - a term of endearment for one’s object of desire, “bash” tag - using a hashtag to undermine your frenemies and clickbait - a link you just have to click on - all making it into the top 10 words.

On a sad note, the world’s top phrase was “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” chanted by demonstrators against the police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri.)


With overall prices for goods and services falling, the UK economy is in deflation for the first time since records began.

Interesting Fact - Conversation

According to a survey conducted by Asda, the best time to have a conversation with a man is 8:15pm.

(Unfortunately the women in the survey said they would probably bring up a tricky topic at 8:20am

We might not be from different planets, but it looks as if we run on different time-zones.)

Interesting Fact - The Law

In 1591 the growing popularity of theatres in the UK led to a law that meant all theatres had to close on Thursdays.
(Why?  So that the bull and bear bating industries would not suffer! How times have changed (thank goodness).)

Interesting Invention - Aspartame

Artificial sweetner and sugar substitute, aspartame, which can be found in most diet drinks, including big-name brands such as Diet Coke, was discovered by accident in 1965 by James Schlatter, a chemist at the U.S. drugs company GD Searle (now part of Pfizer).

(The legend goes that he was working in his laboratory on a new ulcer drug when he mixed two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. After accidentally spilling the liquid on his hand, he licked his finger and found it was sweet.

Today, a host of websites with names such as and warn that it is dangerous to health, and Pepsi recently announced it's dropping the sweetener from drinks in the US but not the UK.)

Interesting Fact - Sickness

According to a study by insurance company RIAS the top reason for pulling a sickie from work was being too tired to get up!

(The top six reasons given were:-
Too tired to get up - 28%Felt I deserved a day off due to working hard recently - 23%Just didn’t want to go in - 23%To avoid a colleague - 18%Hungover - 16%Had something planned and didn’t want to use up holiday - 14% I'm surprised "I haven't been off sick yet this year," wasn't on there.)

Interesting People - Li Jinyuan

Chinese billionaire Li Jinyuan took 6,400 members of staff from the Tiens Group on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Paris and Cote d'Azur to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the company

(France is expected to be 33 million Euros better off. His company booked up 140 hotels in Paris and then made their way to the glamorous Cote D'Azur, where they booked 4,760 rooms in 79 four-and five-star hotels in Cannes and Monaco.

They then broke the world record to form a human chain in Nice as the 6,400 employees arranged themselves to spell out the phrase 'Tiens' dream is Nice in the Cote d'Azur'.

LEN will be 20 in 2019. Well I can dream.)

Interesting Fact - Sickness

According to a study by insurance company RIAS, younger workers in the UK take twice as much time off sick as people over 50.

(Just a quarter of over-50s took time off sick in the past year, compared to half of those aged between 20 and 29.

They are also more likely to fake an illness: 44%  of younger people were found to have faked being ill to avoid coming into work, compared to just 12% of over-50s.

It's probably because older workers are more worried about getting another job.)

Interesting Word - Saccharin

The artificial sweetener saccharin derives its name from the Greek word "sakcharon" and "saccharine", meaning "sugary".

(A coal tar product, it is the oldest artificial sweetener, first produced in 1879, by Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist working on coal tar derivatives in Ira Remsen's laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University, but it didn't achieve commercial success until sugar shortages during World War I.

It is about 300–400 times sweeter than table sugar, with effectively no calories.)

Interesting Fact - Age

According to women’s car insurance specialist, Diamond, men are more likely to lie about their age than women.

(1 in 10 of the men questioned said they have lied about how old they are on their birthday, compared to 1 in 14 women.

However, we are less likely to lie about our age the older we get. Men and women aged over 45 are the least likely to lie about their age, whilst those aged 25 to 35 are the most likely to.
I don't lie about my age, "I'm as old as my tongue, and a little bit older than my teeth.")

Interesting Fact - Age

The following celebrities have all been caught in the oldest fib in the world, lying about their age:-

(A number of times Sandra Bullock's age has been up and down like a yo-yo, shaving off years, and then adding years, depending on the role.  

Shaving off:-

6 years - actress Katie Redford was caught telling porkies, when eagle eyed fans on social media pointed out that she was 25, not 19 as she had claimed to be during an audition for ITV soap 'Coronation Street'.

2 years - Singer James Blunt.

2 years - Rapper Eminem.

4 years - Paloma Faith
And celebs don't always take the years off. To land that dream role, they'll even add a few:-

Adding years

2 years - Nadine Coyle

5 years - Whoopi Goldberg

In 1949 Time joked:-

To find the age of a star, a Hollywood press-agent takes the year of her (or his) birth, subtracts it from itself, and burns the paper the numbers were written on; then adds last week's fan mail to the box-office receipts from the star's last picture, …

Interesting Fact - Alcohol

A teacher has become the first person in the UK to be turned away from MacDonald's for failing a breathalyser test.
(The tipsy 25-year-old teacher was refused entry to the fast food outlet in the early hours of a Sunday after failing a breathalyser test at the door.

This is all part of a scheme funded by Cambridgeshire Police. I would think they'll be turning away a lot of people.)

Interesting Fact - Alien Signals

For years, mysterious radio signals known as perytons have been picked up at the Parkes Observatory in Australia.

(Theories as to the source of the signals had ranged from evaporating black holes to extraterrestrial communication and mergers of neutron stars.

Now researchers at the Parkes Observatory claim they have finally found the source of these 'alien' signals - it was the microwave in the staff kitchen.

Seemingly, if you open the microwave door before the timer goes off a brief burst of radiowaves can be generated, because the magnetron hasn't completely turned off, and as a result, the microwave oven briefly transmits radio waves into the open air.

Which goes to prove that scientists don't read the instruction manual - "DO NOT open the oven door until 2 beeps sound and cooking time appears on the Display Window.")
Here's a scary statistic: According to crime figures, there has been a 60% rise in the number of children in the UK being investigated by police for violent crimes against their parents.

(The number of suspects aged 17 or under in the Metropolitan Police area rose to 1,437 in 2014 from 895 in 2012. The youngest was just seven.

I'm not sure what you can do if your own child attacks you. There's even a helpline, Parentline Plus, for parents who face this kind of abuse. Scary!)

Interesting Fact - Flags

Jamaica and Mauritania are the only countries whose flags have no red, white, or blue in them.

(The Jamaican flag is black, green and gold, and the Mauritanian flag is green and yellow.)


8th May

The General Election in the UK ends with a Conservative victory.

The Tories are back, and there's gonna be trouble, hey na, hey na, the Tory's back.

Interesting People - Margaret Jacobs

100-year-old Margaret Jacobs has celebrated her birthday on the wrong day for almost a century.

(The mistake only came to light when the centenarian received a telegram for her hundredth birthday from the Queen.

Mrs Jacobs, from Treuddyn, Flintshire, had been celebrating every April 24th, but her birth certificate says she was actually born four days later on April 28th.

Mrs Jacobs' daughter, Olivia Santos, said: "We think when my grandfather went to register my mother's birth, and they put on the date of registration." So, really she's been celebrating the right day, and the Queen got it wrong.)

Interesting Fact - Health

According to a report by the WHO (World Health Organisation) 74% of men and 64% of women in the UK will be overweight by 2030.

(That's almost three-quarters of men and two-thirds of women in the UK are on their way to being overweight within 15 years.

Medically speaking, being “overweight” is defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of between 25 and 29.9.  Being  “obese” is defined by a BMI of 30 and above.

Worryingly other European countries are facing growing obesity problems including Greece, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic and even Sweden.  

The only European country to escape is the Netherlands.  Must be all those bikes.)


Interesting Fact - Drink

According to researchers from Bristol University's Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, the shape of a glass can affect the speed at which we drink.

(They found that straight glasses cause people to drink more slowly than curved ones. In a test people with straight glasses were 60% slower when consuming alcoholic beverages than those drinking from curved glasses. Markings on a glass also slowed the speed at which people drank. People with a marked glass took an average of 10.3 minutes to finish a pint, while the non-marked glass group took 9.1 minutes.

Unfortunately I think this means pubs and restaurants will soon be removing all markings and serving everything in curvy glasses.)

Interesting Fact - TV

According to a study conducted at the University of Bonn, in Germany, watching reality TV shows such as Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity makes you nicer.

(Allegedly it develops our ability to feel “vicarious embarrassment” for others, activating those parts of the brain that make us more empathic, concluding that people who watch reality TV were able to “put themselves in another person’s shoes” more easily.

I wonder if it makes people feel more empathy for the poor insects and critters eaten in I'm a (Z list) celebrity.)

Interesting Word - Mx

A new gender honorific 'Mx' is now an officially recognised title in the UK.

(Mx, which is used by transgender people or other individuals who do not wish to identify with a particular gender is joining  'Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms' on driving licences and other official documents in the UK, and is now accepted by Royal Mail, high street banks, government departments and some universities. 
It is also under consideration for inclusion in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Interesting Fact - Football

English football fans face being breathalysed before being allowed into matches.

(Trying to enter a sports ground while drunk is actually a criminal offence, and only fans who appear to be drunk will be tested.
The project, which will run indefinitely, was launched at Cambridge United's match against Burton Albion, and if successful, may be roled out to other venues. Anyone found to be over the limit will be given the boot (sorry).)

Interesting Fact - Transport

There are 800 miles of roadworks in place on motorways and major A roads in the UK.

(Just in time for the bank holiday traffic, where 14.5 million drivers will set off for the spring break.

Gridlock is expected on the M25, M4, M5, M53 and M62.  Happy days.)


On This Day

1st May

1840 - The world's first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, was used in a public postal system, in the UK.

1978 - The May Day Bank Holiday was officially introduced by the Labour government (of course it was then moved to the nearest Monday, for the sake of expediency).