Showing posts from March, 2017

Interesting Words - Gender

One of Britain's biggest banks, HSBC, is going to offer its customers an extra 10 gender neutral options for people who do not wish to be identified by gender.

(Usually you get the choice of "Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms", but they have now added the following titles:

Mx (pronounced "mix" or "mux")

Ind (an abbreviation of individual)

M (unspecified, but a bit James Bond really)

Misc (an abbreviation of miscellaneous)

Mre (an abbreviation for "mystery")

Msr (represents a combination of Miss/Sir)

Myr (unspecified)

Pr (prounced "per". An abbreviation of person)

Sai (pronounced "sigh")

Ser (pronounced "sair")
I like Ser.  Which do you prefer? )

On This Day

31st March

1918 - Daylight Saving Time was adopted as law in the US.

1948 - Congress passed the Marshall Aid Act, a plan to rehabilitate war-ravaged Europe.

1959 - The Dalai Lama fled Chinese-occupied Tibet and was granted political asylum in India.

1991 - The Warsaw Pact formally ended as Soviet commanders surrendered their powers in an agreement between pact members and the Soviet Union.

On This Day

30th March

1853 - Vincent van Gogh was born.

1856 - The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.

1858 - Hymen Lipman patented a pencil with an attached eraser.

1986 - James Cagney died.


29th March

2017 - The UK is going to trigger Article 50 to begin negotiations to leave the European Union.

2017 - Germany is switching off its current terrestrial TV signals to allow the broadcast of HD signals.

On This Day

29th March

1971 - Lt. William Calley was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison for his part in the My Lai massacre. He served one day in prison, before President Richard Nixon ordered him transferred to house arrest at Fort Benning, pending appeal. He subsequently served only three and a half years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning and was released on September 25, 1974, by federal judge J. Robert Elliott.

I wonder if he's ever read the 5 people you meet in heaven.

2017 - The UK triggered Article 50 to begin negotiations to leave the European Union.

2017 - Germany switched over its terrestrial TV signals to allow the broadcast of HD signals.

On This Day

28th March

1854 - Britain and France joined the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War against Russia, to halt Russian expansion.

1930 - Constantinople was renamed Istanbul as part of Kemal Atatürk's campaign to create a secular Turkey.

On This Day

27th March

1309 - Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice and all its population.

1625 - Charles I, ascended the English throne, with the title "Charles, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland..." Yes, he also claimed the title King of France.

1713 - Britain gained Menorca and Gibraltar under the Treaty of Utrecht.

1871 - The first international rugby game was played - Scotland 1, England 0.

1914 - The first successful blood transfusion was carried out (in Brussels).

1945 - The last German V2 rocket fell on England, killing a woman on Kynaston Road in Orpington, Kent

1964 - The first Pirate Radio station, Radio Caroline started broadcasting.

1964 - The Great Train Robbers were sentenced to a total of 307 years behind bars.

On This Day

26th March

1812 - An earthquake destroyed Caracas, Venezuela.

1827 - German composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna.

1934 - The driving test was introduced in the United Kingdom.

1973 - The London Stock Exchange allowed women on to the trading floor for the first time in the institution's 200 year history.

1979 - President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel ended 30 years of fighting with a handshake, after the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.  Mr. Begin said, "No more war, no more bloodshed, no more bereavement, peace unto you, shalom, saalam, forever."  ("Shalom" and "salaam" are the Hebrew and Arabic words for "peace.")
1995 - The Schengen Treaty went into effect, creating a borderless zone between many European countries.  (But not the UK - never the UK. Pull up the drawbridge!)

On This Day

25th March

1306 - Robert the Bruce became King of Scotland.

1807 - The Slave Trade Act "An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade" was signed. It made slave trading illegal throughout the British Empire.

"Slavery is still practised in new forms that today affect millions of men, women and children across the world."
Koichiro Matsuura

1957 - The European Economic Community was established. The members were West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

1969 - During their honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their first Bed-In for Peace in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

1975 - King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was shot and killed at his palace in Riyadh, by his mentally ill nephew.

March 25th also used to be the start of the new year in England, Wales, Ireland, and the future United States until the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. (The year 1751 began on 25 March; the year 1752 began on 1 January.)

On This Day

24th March

1944 - 76 prisoners of war begin breaking out of Stalag Luft III. This was later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape.

1972 - The United Kingdom imposed "Direct Rule" over Northern Ireland.

On This Day

23rd March

1603 - Queen Elizabeth I of England died.

1895 - The first official match played by women took place at Crouch End in London.

(Nettie Honeyball had placed an advert in the press and persuaded about 30 young women to join the British Ladies Football Club. It wasn't a resounding success, but during the First World War it became more popular. Unfortunately women's football in England and Scotland suffered a blow in 1921 when the Football Association, in England, banned women from playing the game on Association members' pitches.)

1975 - The beaver became the official symbol of Canada.

Interesting Place - Norway

Norway has been named the world’s happiest country, according to the World Happiness Report 2017.

(Norway moved up 4 places, and knocked Denmark off the top spot into second place, by ranking highly on the main factors found to contribute to happiness: “caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance”.

Iceland and Switzerland rounded out the top four. Sadly The UK sits in 19th place, beaten by Germany in 16th and the US in 14th. Poor old France is a miserable 31st in the standings.

So much for Hygge. Although I guess to really experience Hygge, this sort of thing shouldn't matter.)

On This Day

21st March

1960 - More than 50 people were killed in the South African township of Sharpeville when police opened fire on a "peaceful" protest. The death toll rose to 69 and the number of injuries to 180.


20th March

International Day of Happiness

On This Day

20th March

1956 - Tunisia gained independence from France.

1993 - Johnathan Ball, aged 3, died in a bomb attack in Warrington. He was in town with his babysitter buying a Mothering Sunday Card. Tim Parry, 12, was fatally injured and died five days later in hospital.

1997 - The Liggett Group, the fifth-largest U.S. tobacco company, admitted that smoking was addictive and caused health problems and that the tobacco industry had sought for years to sell its products to children as young as 14.

2003 - American launched missiles hit the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Civilian casualties were not counted.

On This Day

19th March

1932 - The Sydney Harbour Bridge opened.

(It's so iconic now, it's funny to think it didn't even exist once.)

On This Day

18th March

1922 - Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience against the British rulers of India.

On This Day

17th March

1861 - Modern Italy became unified under the house of Savoy.

1992 - South African whites voted to end minority rule. 2.8 million whites who cast ballots, slightly more than 1.9 million (68.7 percent) voted to give Mr. de Klerk the mandate he had sought. In his own words "Today will be written up in our history as one of the most fundamental turning point days in the history of South Africa. Today we have closed the book on apartheid -- and that chapter is finally closed."

On This Day

1968 - The My Lai massacre took place in Vietnam.

(Of the 26 US soldiers initially charged with criminal offences for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served three years of his life sentence.)


15th March

The Ides of March

True Confessions Day

On This Day

1906 - Rolls Royce was founded.

(And I still haven't been in one!)

On This Day

13th March

The Dunblane school massacre took place. It is still one of the deadliest firearms incidents in UK history, when a gunman killed sixteen children and a teacher at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland on 13 March 1996, before killing himself.

With the consent of Bob Dylan, the musician Ted Christopher wrote a new verse for the song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in memory of the Dunblane school children and their teacher.

On This Day

12th March

1930 - Mahatma Gandhi began a campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in India.

On This Day

11th March

2004 - Ten bombs were planted on rush-hour trains in Madrid, by terrorists. Killing 191 people and injuring 1,800.

On This Day

10th March

1801 - The first official census was held in Britain. There was a population of approximately 10 million people.

On This Day

9th March

1009 – Lithuania was mentioned for the first time (in the annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg).

1566 – David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, was murdered in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland.

1831 – The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

1841 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the United States v. The Amistad case that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them to captivity had been taken into slavery illegally.

1925 – The first Royal Air Force operation conducted independently of the British Army or Royal Navy began. It was called Pink's War.

1946 – Bolton Wanderers stadium disaster at Burnden Park, Bolton, England, killed 33 and left hundreds more injured. The disaster led to Moelwyn Hughes's official report, which recommended more rigorous control of crowd sizes.

1959 – The Barbie doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New Yor…

Red wine compound can slow brain ageing

A substance found in red wine can help keep the brain young in a similar way to exercise and a low-calorie diet, scientists have discovered.
Resveratrol, which occurs naturally in the skin of fruits including grapes, blueberries and mulberries, can keep muscles supple and help protect connections between neurons in the brain, according to researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
Tests on elderly mice showed the compound significantly slowed brain ageing by preserving synapses called neuromuscular junctions, which relay movement signals from the brain to the muscles. Mice who had been given resveratrol from one year of age had more youthful neuromuscular junction synapses at two years old than those who had not.
“I believe that we are getting closer to tapping into mechanisms to slow age-induced degeneration of neuronal circuits,” said the study’s primary author, assistant professor Gregorio Valdez. 
Source  - Independent


8th March

International Women's Day.   (To be honest we don't wish each other "Happy Women's Day".  It's just a day the media feel obliged to look at the contribution women make and have made to society. Then they can ignore us for the rest of the year.)


7th March

Unique Name Day

On This Day

6th March

1988 – Three Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteers were murdered by the SAS on the territory of Gibraltar.

1987 – The British car ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized just outside the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, in about 90 seconds killing 193 people.

1974 -  The miners' strike came to an end following a pay increase of over 30%.

1970 - The British Government announced an indefinite ban on the importation of domestic pets to prevent rabies.

1964 – Nation of Islam's Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole) officially gave boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.

1961 – George Formby, British comedian and singer, died.

1957 – Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan country to gain Independence from the British

1945 – Cologne (Köln) was captured by American Troops.

1899 – Bayer registered aspirin as a trademark.

1836 - Mexican forces captured the Alamo in San Antonio killing the last of 187 defenders who had held out in the fortified mission for…

Interesting Fact - Work

According to the TUC (Trades Union Congress) 5.3 million people in the UK work an average of 7.7 hours of overtime a week.
(Chief executives topped a list of those doing the most unpaid overtime, at an average of 13.2 hours a week, followed by teaching staff (12.1 hours), finance managers (11.3 hours) and managers in production and health care workers (10 hours).

The TUC has called on people to take their full lunch break and go home on time, asking managers to set an example by leaving on time too.
Oh dear, I never leave a session on time, but then I don't get paid either. The TUC would hate me.)


On This Day

5th March

1770 - British troops killed five people in Boston USA. One of the events that led to the American Revolution.

Interesting Words - Gender-neutral Terms

It seems that Cardiff Metropolitan University is trying to stop lecturers from using phrases they deem sexist; such as 'right-hand man', 'gentleman’s agreement', 'man in the street', 'housewife' and 'forefathers' in favour of gender-neutral terms.

(The following gender-neutral terms have been suggested:-

Forefathers - Forebears
Gentleman's agreement - Agreement based on trust.
Girls (for adults) - Women
Housewife - Homemaker
Manpower - Labour force / Human resources
Man / Mankind - Humanity
Man-made - Artificial
Man in the street / common man - Average citizen
Right-hand man - Chief assistant
Sportsmanship - Fairness / Sense of fair play

We will all be 'sering' before we know it.)

On This Day

4th March

1893 - Happy Birthday (the song) was published under its original title "Good Morning To You".

Interesting Fact - Swimming

Scientists in Canada have been able to prove what we have all suspected; people pee in the swimming pool.

(Whilst it is not possible to find the actual  culprit (the colour of the water doesn't change), after monitoring two public pools in Canada the researchers found that a typical large swimming pool (a large pool (about one-third the size of an Olympic pool) contains 75 litres of urine – enough to fill a medium-sized dustbin.

If you don't swim in public pools, but you enjoy a spa experience, they also tested hot tubs, which were found to have far higher urine levels. 

In one anonymous survey, 19% of adults admitted to having urinated in a swimming pool at least once. And it seems professional swimmers are the worst offenders, as they don't have "time" to get out and use the facilities.

Please!  Eew!  I can swear, with my hand on my heart that I have never peed in the pool.  I always go before I swim (I honestly believed the water would change colour), and I shower…

On This Day

3rd March

1284 - The Statute of Rhuddlan was signed and Wales became a territory under the English crown.

1991 - A home video captured three Los Angeles police officers beating motorist Rodney King.

(Four LAPD officers were later tried in a state court for the beating but were acquitted. The announcement of the acquittals sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.)

Interesting Fact - Literacy

On World Book Day I thought I would share some scary facts about the land of Shakespeare and Dickens. According to the OECD, young people in England have the lowest literacy levels in the developed world.

(One term used is "functionally literate", and around 16 per cent, or 5.1 million adults in England, can be described as functionally illiterate, in that they would not pass an English GCSE and have literacy levels at or below those expected of an 11-year-old.

Another study conducted by the Royal Society of Literature showed that 1 in 5 Brits cannot name a single author of literature, and that 15 per cent of those surveyed believed that literature is too difficult to understand.

Happy World Book Day!)


2nd March

World Book Day (In the UK children dress up as their favourite character - as inspired by Disney films).

On This Day

1st March

1872 - Yellowstone National Park was established in the US. It was the first area in the world to be designated a national park.