Showing posts from January, 2016

Interesting Fact - Clothes

The first blue jeans made by Levis had four pockets: one at the back and, in the front, two plus a mysterious small pocket at the front, and our jeans still have this tiny pocket just above the front pocket. Why? Well, according to Levis that pocket was for a small watch.

(According to Levi Strauss's historian Tracey Panek, the watch pocket appears on the oldest pair of jeans (1879) in the Levi's archives.
People have been discussing the small pocket in a Quora thread for years, and eventually the Levi Strauss company confirmed their conclusion, adding, "This extra pouch has served many functions... condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket and ticket pocket, to name a few."
In my case, tissues, which I have to remember to remove before putting them in the wash.  What do you keep in yours?)

Interesting Animals - Birds

According to a poll commissioned by Wilko, 25% of primary school children cannot identify a robin redbreast or a blackbird.

(The survey also revealed that nearly 50% do not recognise a sparrow, with 42% unable to name the common bird from a photo.

It's not surprising, when you remember most of kids in the UK think beef comes from McDonald's.)

I guess I'd better add blackbird to our list:

Interesting Fact - Technology

According to research carried out by Childwise, youngsters in the UK are spending more time online than watching TV.

(However, before you think, "Great! The children will be fitter and more active", the most popular online service was Netflix.

So, unfortunately it doesn't mean kids are getting a life, they are just watching the same stuff on a different platform.)

Interesting Fact - Writing

A new Beatrix Potter story has been discovered.

(It's called The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, and features Potter favourite, Peter Rabbit.  It should be published in September 2016, over 72 years since her death. 

Unfortunately Ms Potter had only completed one drawing, so the book will be illustrated by Quentin Blake.)

Interesting People - Justin Bieber

Between the 8th and 14th January 2016, Justin Bieber became the first artist ever to hold the top 3 spots in the UK charts at the same time.

(He took the number 1 spot with 'Love Yourself', at 2 it was 'Sorry' and 3 was 'What Do You Mean'.

I'm sorry?  What do you mean he took all 3 spots? I guess that's what happens when you love yourself.)

Interesting Fact - Time

Allegedly, the biggest watch in the world, is the Musk MR2129.

(It was released in 2006 by a Japanese company. At 90mm in diameter and with a weight of 1.6 pounds its probably the heaviest watch too.

Seemingly watch manufacturers call this "wrist presence".  It looks more like a clock with straps.

Did anyone ever buy one?  Maybe the Hulk?)

Interesting Fact - Education

Homeschooling is legal in the UK, but there is no register for home-schooled children.

To the best of my knowledge, the following countries have banned homeschooling:-

Bosnia and Herzegovina
El Salvador
Sierra Leone
Trinidad and Tobago

Interesting Fact - The Internet

The Social Media site Friends Reunited is closing down as it is unable to cover its costs.

(It launched in 2000 and was extremely popular in the UK, with over 12 million members in 2005, almost 50% of UK internet users back then. 

Sadly, since then, rivals like Facebook have ensured its demise.)

Interesting Fact - Money

According to a report from Oxfam, 62 people are now as rich as 50% of the rest of the world.

(The richest 62 people in the world now own as much as the poorest half of the world's population.

They would fit on a bus. Last year it was 80, and in 2010 it was 388. So, someone, somewhere is making a killing.)

Interesting Fact - Music

David Bowie's album Blackstar has reached number 1 in the American album charts. It is his first number 1 album in the US, and the first posthumous number one album in the US since Michael Jackson's This Is It soundtrack, which topped the chart in November 2009.

(He had managed to reach number 2 spot with his 2013 album, The Next Day.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 19 of his albums entered the UK album charts last week, after fans sought out his classic hits.


18th January

Lots of things to celebrate / mark today. It is:-

Blue Monday

Thesaurus Day

Winnie the Pooh Day

Interesting Fact - Space

Astronomers in Belgium have dedicated a constellation to David Bowie.

(The constellation will be called Starman, as it is made up of seven stars that, when connected, form the iconic lightning bolt seen on the cover of Bowie's Aladdin Sane album.

Appropriately the seven stars — Sigma Librae, Spica, Alpha Virginis, Zeta Centauri, SAA 204 132, and the Beta Sigma Octantis Trianguli Australis, form the newly named constellation in the vicinity of Mars.)

Interesting Fact - The Human Brain

According to neuroscientists from the Salk institute, the human brain has 10 x more memory capacity than previously thought.

(They measured the storage capacity of each synapse - the connections within the brain that are responsible for storing memories - and discovered that, on average, one synapse can hold about 4.7 bits of information. This means that the human brain has a capacity of one petabyte, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes.

One petabyte is about the same as about 20 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with text or about the same as 13.3 years of HD-TV recordings, or 4.7 billion books.   One big problem here: I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

It all sounds very exciting, until you realise that Google handles 20 petabytes of data every day. And a mere 50 petabytes can hold the entire written works of humankind, from the beginning of recorded history, in all languages.

I think we need to be able to upgrade our brains, or add bits, like plugging in a n…

Interesting Fact - Wealth

According to a study by Swiss bank UBS, the number of female billionaires worldwide has increased nearly sevenfold in the past 20 years to 145.

(In fact, women have outpaced men when it comes to membership of the billionaires’ club, with their ranks and wealth growing at faster rates.  The number of male billionaires has only grown by a factor of 5.2, that said, there are 1,202 male billionaires.

I haven't even joined the millionaire club.  Has anyone got a membership card I can borrow?)

Interesting Fact - Shopping

Since introducing the 5p levy on plastic bags in England, 520 million of them have been pinched from shops.

(When I first heard this, I thought "How?", but seemingly it's at the self service checkout.  When people are asked if they have brought their own bag 50% say, "Yes", even when they haven't.

At £26,000,000 that's the biggest heist, ever.)

Interesting Fact - Music

According to data provided by Shazam, and analysed by the BBC, Adele's hit song 'Hello' was the most-searched for song globally.

(As a result, Lionel Richie got a boost, as his track has the same name and ended up being looked searched for in Angola and Iran.)


Interesting Fact - Coffee Shops

The number of coffee shops in the UK surpassed 20,000 in 2015, boosting sales by 10pc to £7.9bn. 

(Unfortunately this soaring demand means there will be a problem; supply won't be able to keep up, and market experts are predicting a shortage of coffee within the next 3 years.  Strangely the price paid to producers means they aren't likely to want to increase productivity, as according to Mintec, the price of Arabica coffee has fallen by 35pc over the last year.

If I run out of coffee, there will be no more sessions.)

Interesting Food - Bread

According to "The Grocer", Brits are shunning sliced white bread in favour of freshly baked loaves and healthier wholegrain alternatives.

(In 2015 Britain's biggest bakers, Warburtons, Hovis and Kingsmill, lost £121 million in revenue, and a large 750g or 800g loaf costs 13.3per cent less than it did a year ago.

There's a saying in English, "The best thing since sliced bread", this may be irrelevant now.)


10th January

David Bowie passed away.

Interesting Invention - The Lawnmower

Edwin Beard Budding, an engineer from Stroud, England, is credited with inventing the lawnmower.

(It was a push mower, inspired by a machine he saw in a local cloth mill which used a cutting cylinder (or bladed reel) mounted on a bench to trim give wollen cloth a smooth finish. The mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on sports grounds and in extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the scythe. He was granted the British patent on August 31, 1830.

And thus the stripey English lawn was invented.)

Interesting Fact - Britishness

According to a survey commissioned by Tetley the following are the top 40 traits of being "British".

1. Wearing summer clothing at the first sight of sun
2. Apologising automatically
3. Ability to talk at length about the weather
4. Making a cup of tea in response to a crisis
5. Finding queue-jumping the ultimate crime
6. Forming a queue for pretty much anything
7. The typically British 'stiff upper lip'
8. Grumbling throughout a meal, but not telling staff, so as not to cause a fuss
9. Making sarcastic/dry jokes
10. Having a beer at the airport even though it's before 8am
11. Giggling at innuendos
12. Making a cup of tea when you have no time to drink it
13. Getting sunburnt on the first warm day of the year
14. Finding American forwardness 'a bit much'
15. Avoiding eye contact on the Tube
16. Binge drinking at the weekends
17. Insisting the other person goes through the door first
18. Searching for a fry-up when on holiday abroad
19. Mistaking brightne…


Most people whose New Year's resolution was to go on a diet will have ditched it by 8:02 tonight, after having only lost 1lb.

Interesting Fact - Britishness

According to report by NatCen Social Research 82% of Brits are proud to be British.

(But only 62% of people who live in Britain said they would rather be citizens here than anywhere else.

In a similar survey, commissioned by Tetley, researchers also found that Brits wear summer clothes at the first glimpse of sun, apologise too often, discuss the weather (see the forum), and make tea in response to a crisis.  The top signs of Britishness were eating a Sunday roast, the Fab Four, takeaway grub and the traditional brew (not beer - tea).

Well 3 out of 4 isn't bad, I still think the Fab Four are overrated.)


Interesting People - Pranav Dhanawade

15-year-old schoolboy Pranav Dhanawade, from the KC Gandhi High School, Kalyan, India, has become the first batsman to score 1000-plus runs in an innings in any form of cricket.

(He reached 1000 runs in just 323 balls whilst batting against Arya Gurukul School in the Bhandari Cup (a tournament in India for under-16s).

His score included 59 sixes and 129 fours, and his team declared the innings at 1465/3, which is also a world record, with Pranav unbeaten at 1009 runs.

The previous record had stood for 116 years. Held by AEJ Collins since 1899 after he had struck an unbeaten 628 for Clark House against North Town House in the UK.

I hope he's not a one-hit wonder.  Get it?  Oh never mind.)

Interesting Date - 5th January

The 5th of January is Fat Cat Tuesday in the UK, which is when, according to campaign group the High Pay Center, top bosses in the UK will have earned more money by the end of this day than the average worker will do in a year.

(The High Pay Centre estimates that chief executives in the UK, presuming they work a 12-hour day and take few holidays, earn an average hourly pay rate of £1,260 an hour.  Using this rate, they only need 22 hours, which means, assuming they started work on 4th January, they will only need to work until this afternoon, to reach the median full-time employee salary in the UK.

They would only need to wake up and switch on the coffee machine to reach my pay rate.)— Left Unity (@LeftUnityUK) January 5, 2016


5th January

Fat cat Tuesday.

Interesting Fact - Communication

According to the Indian Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, smartphone sales in India reached 100 million by the end of December, 2015.

(India is growing at a phenomenal pace and the government is looking to expand rural development with broadband being laid out in rural India.

According to data from analyst firm CyberMedia Research (CMR) 94% of feature-phones (as opposed to smartphones) sold in India were priced below 2,000 rupees  £21.)

Interesting Fact - British Homes

According to a study conductedd by online electricals retailer,, 82% of Brits admit their homes are filthy.

( More and more Brits have given up the traditional spring clean in favour of quick and easy surface cleans. The chores Brits are most likely to neglect include cleaning their mattresses and the tops of cupboards and shelves.

16-24 year olds were actually the cleanest age group with nearly a quarter saying they do a try to do a big clean once a week, whilst those over the age of 55 were most likely to leave their big clean to only once a year.

I am waiting for my domestic robot.)

Interesting Fact - Rubbish

You can be fined up to £150 for dropping litter in the UK. 
(Previously fines had been set by councils, varying between £50 and £80, however now under guidelines drawn up by the Department for Communities and Local Government, litter bugs could face an on the spot fine of £100, and if they do not pay up within a designated period it could increase to £150.
Fear of being fined shouldn't stop people from littering.  A wish to live in nice surroundings should be enough.)

Interesting Fact - Space

The European Space Agency has announced a New Year resolution.  It plans to build a ‘moon village’ within the next two decades from which it will explore the galaxy.

(They plan to build a 3D-printed base on the moon from a naturally-occurring radiation-resistant moon material called regolith. The ‘village’ would most likely be built on the rim of a south pole crater called Shackleton, where it would receive almost limitless solar power.
They first discussed plans to build a lunar base in 2013, but it has now developed a timetable for the plans and has set 2030 as its goal. I'm not sure if this blog will continue until then, but watch this space.)