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Today Is World Tedium Day

16 Jan

To relieve it, I have gathered together some funny and/or interesting stuff.  You can thank me by reciprocating in the comments with your own funny or interesting stuff.

  • Children are a great comfort in your old age — and they help you reach it faster, too.   Lionel Kauffman.
  • One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child’s name and how old he or she is.   Erma Bombeck.
  • Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.  Sam Levenson.

  • The longest war in history was between The Netherlands and The Scilly Isles.  It ended in 1986 after 335 years.
  • Peanuts are an ingredient of dynamite.
  • A sneeze travels at over 100mph.
  • The shortest war in history was between Zanzibar and England in 1896. Zanzibar surrendered after 38 minutes.
  • The names of the continents start and end with the same letter.
  • You cannot lick your elbow (yes, I know it’s an old one but I promised you dull stuff).
  • When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second.
  • The only word in the English language to end in ‘mt’ is ‘dreamt’.
  • People laugh on average thirteen times a day.
  • The sun is 330,330 times larger than the earth.
  • Polar bears are left-handed.
  • Honolulu is the only place in the United States that has a royal palace.
  • Babies are born without kneecaps.

This post first appeared three years ago.  Fact.

12.12.12

12 Dec

Today has an interesting date.  I wouldn’t mention it, however, except that there won’t be another like it for many years.

Having mentioned it, I can’t think of anything interesting to say about it.

Having nothing interesting to say about it, I did some Google research.  I came across this little exchange on Yahoo! Answers:

Question: What word do you use when all numbers in the date are the same?  For example, tomorrow is the 8/8/2008. is there a word for this numerical phenomenon?  I’m in Australia. Its the 7th now.

Answer: 666 called the devil’s number…………….

Answer: August.

Answer: Umm… isnt the day after tomorrow the eighth?
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There’s a surprising amount of stupidity on the internet.

12.12.12

I assumed there are only twelve occasions in a century when the numbers in a date are the same e.g.  1/1/1, 2/2/2 etc., but I read elsewhere – on the internet, of course – that there are 14.  The writer cited 1/11/11 and 11/11/1 but what about 11/1/11 and 1/11/1?  And isn’t it cheating because 1. There should be a zero in front of the ones and 1.1. One is not the same number as eleven?

If I use those arguments, I have a little problem myself: I lose nine dates i.e. 01/01/01. 02/02/02, etc.

12/12/12

The best source of information for today’s date was Wikipedia.  I can’t guarantee its accuracy, but I can repeat it:

Twelve!

Twelve! (Photo credit: Mrs Logic)

  • 12 is the natural number following 11 and preceding 13.  (I’m pretty sure that’s right.)
  • The word twelve is the largest number with a single-morpheme name in English.  (You get no argument from me.)
  • Twelve is a composite number, the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Twelve is also a highly composite number, the next one being 24. It is the first composite number of the form p2q; a square-prime, and also the first member of the (p2) family in this form. 12 has an aliquot sum of 16 (133% in abundance). Accordingly, 12 is the first abundant number (in fact a superabundant number) and demonstrates an 8 member aliquot sequence; {12,16,15,9,4,3,1,0} 12 is the 3rd composite number in the 3-aliquot tree. The only number which has 12 as its aliquot sum is the square 121. Only 2 other square primes are abundant (18 and 20). (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…)
  • The duodenum (from Latin duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, that is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in fingerwidths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.  (Gross but fascinating.)  (See what I did there?  Made a little number 12 joke.)
  • 12 appears a lot in religion and mythology.  (That last bit was paraphrased because there’s a massive chunk that I’m not going to c+p.  I want you to still like me after this post.)  (There’s an even bigger chunk about twelve in sports but, yawn…)
  • Most calendar systems have twelve months in a year.  The Chinese go one better and use a 12 year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.  (I have to take Wikipedia’s word for that; I’ve never seen one on the high street.)
  • Twelfth Night is a play by William Shakespeare.  (Speaking of which, can’t forget ye olde Twelve Days of Christmas.  But the less said about that, the better.)  (Twelfth Night in 1996 starred Helena Bonham Carter; HBC was in Novocaine with Kevin Bacon, giving her a Bacon Number of 1.  Kevin Bacon is the key component in Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  From AR15OK, this is a trivia game that takes its name from the Movie “Six Degrees of Separation”, which refers to the idea that everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in six steps or fewer.  There you have it: today’s date belongs to Kevin Bacon.)
  • Films:
    • 12
    • 12 Angry Men (1957 and 1997)
    • Cheaper by the Dozen (Oddly, no mention here of a re-make…)
    • Ocean’s Twelve (Baffling sequel, redeemed only by Brad Pitt.  He didn’t have to do anything, just look gorgeous)
    • 12 Monkeys (Brad Pitt again, proving he can act as well as look gorgeous)
    • The Dirty Dozen
    • 12 Rounds
    • Twelve
    • (No Twelfth Night.  Wikipedia’s obviously not a Shakespeare buff.)

Today’s post has been brought to you by the Number Twelve, and by a whiff of desperation.

Food Facts

6 Dec

Christmas for many is all about preparing to eat, eating, then wishing you hadn’t eaten quite so much.

To celebrate the growing obesity* crisis that is December, here are some food facts:

  • Apples are made of 25% air, which is why they float.  They also have more stimulant than caffeine.  And I’ve been feeding them to my children.
  • Avocado has the highest protein and oil content of all fruits (I didn’t say they’d be interesting facts).  They are also poisonous to birds (okay, that is interesting).
  • Carrots were originally purple in colour, changing in the 17th Century to orange, through new varieties.
  • The most expensive coffee in the world comes from civet poop.  Not sure what a civet is, but if it poops, I’m not drinking the coffee.
  • Celery requires more calories to eat and digest than it contains.
  • Cherries are a member of the rose family.  Asparagus is a member of the lily family.  Food doesn’t know its place.
  • The largest food item on a menu is roast camel.  I wonder if that would be enough for my family this Christmas?
  • Corn always has an even number of ears. It only makes up about 8% of the weight in a box of corn flakes.
  • Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish.  Ewwwwwwww!
  • Honey is the only edible food for humans that will never go bad.  A jar of honey that was 2000 years old was eaten safely.
  • Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.  Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges.  Strawberries knock citrus fruits on their – ahem – backsides.
  • Coconut water can be used (in emergencies) as a substitute for blood plasma.
  • Peanuts are an ingredient in dynamite.
  • Pear is a fruit that ripens from the inside out.
  • During a lifetime the average person eats about 35 tonnes of food.  70% of that at Christmas time.

Source: the internet, so they must be true.

*See what I did there?

Do you have an interesting food fact to share?

10.11.12

10 Nov
Dates Bookmark

Dates Bookmark (Photo credit: RBerteig)

My old school friend Dave reminds this number geek that today is 10.11.12.  I adore interesting numbers but I did them to death last year, if you remember.

The date is the only interesting thing about today, unless you count the sausage and egg oven bottom barms we had for dinner; and they were interesting only in an air quotes sort of way, because I got a little hysterical during the egg frying.  

The internet had nothing interesting to say about today, though I did keep picking up that in the year 1582 there was no October 11th in some European countries because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar.

I couldn’t understand why it kept telling me something thirty days and 430 years out of date until I realised I was looking at American sites and that America is backwards.  

About dates, that is.  In the US, today is 11.10.12.

How interesting.

Rain. So What Else Is New?

15 Aug

 

To say we’ve had a lot of rain this year is an understatement.  Trawling my archives, I discover that I was complaining about rain way back in August 2010, so I dug up some facts:

It is the wettest spot on Earth

It is the wettest spot on Earth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you are a UK resident this is a good site for the rain forecast.  Or you could just look out your window.
  • Rainfall is classified as light if not more than 0.10 inch per hour, and heavy if more than 0.30 inch per hour.
  • If the earth were a body, the Amazon rainforest would be its lungs.  It’s got emphysema.  Rainforests used to cover 14% of the earth; now it’s only 6%.  Forty more years and it’s Hello Gobi.  Dull as he is, Sting is clearly on to something.
  • A single pond in Brazil can sustain a greater variety of fish than is found in all of Europe’s rivers.
  • Raindrops can fall at up to 22 miles per hour.  And 22 hours a day, in my experience. 
  • Louisiana is the wettest state in the US: 56 inches a year.
  • One single tree in Peru was found to have forty-three different species of ants.  Okay, they can chop that one down as far as I’m concerned.
  • There is a famous actor called Rain.  Ever heard of him?  Me neither.

    The Rain People

    The Rain People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Acid Rain is a real phenomenon; natural precipitation reacts chemically with air pollutants and becomes acidic.  Ouch.  We’re poisoning the ecosystem.  Where’s Sting when you need him?
  • Made out of copper, the Statue of Liberty is corroding because of acid rain; the acid discolours and dissolves the copper.  If it carries on, she’ll be Is That You, Liberty?
  • Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 350 rainy days every year.  If you think that’s a lot, try living in Stockport.
  • Raindrops change shape as they fall.
  • The world’s heaviest average rain fall (about 430 inches) occurs in Cherrapunji, India, where as much as 87 feet of rain has fallen in one year.  Is that anywhere near Stockport?
  • Rain that freezes before it hits the ground is known as frozen rain.  I got that from a site called ‘Interesting facts about rain.’  I should sue them for false advertising.
  • All the water in the world is all the water we will ever have. The rain and floods we are experiencing are like sloshing drinks from one glass to another.  Finally, a good idea.
  • The umbrella started life as a parasol.  Talk about aspirational.
  • You can make your own rain.  Like we haven’t had enough.  Check out: http://www.essortment.com/all/kidsweatherrai_rsdj.htm.  I’m not posting details here because I don’t want to encourage you.

 

Victory Victoria

8 Jul
Maltesers

Maltesers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a treat for you today – a guest blogger!  Her name is Kate Shrewsday and she and I have been following each other for a long time.

Kate has a wonderful parlour trick: she can take two disparate subjects and link them so that they make one interesting post…Batman and aqueducts; sharks and cats; death and Debussy.

She knows the value of a hook – that first line of writing that grabs the reader and keeps them reading.  My personal favourite: Everyone loves a cross dressing lady sailor.

I gave Kate what I felt was an impossible challenge: link Maltesers and Queen Victoria.  She was back in a couple of days with a So you think you can beat me, Mrs Wrong… and the following post.  It’s hard to believe there was ever a time without Maltesers, but Kate has unearthed that disturbing fact.

Enjoy the post!

Then go and visit her blog; I’m sure you’ll like her.  Who wouldn’t like a burping woman?

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Queen Victoria (State portrait) by Sir George ...

Queen Victoria (State portrait) by Sir George Hayter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a well-documented fact that the quick fire humour of the Laughing Housewife is fuelled by small spheres of malt, covered in a thin coating of chocolate.

The Malteser, created in 1936, is iconic. It is moreish in much the same fashion as that Wonka bar of fictional fame, and might as well be made by oompa loompas, for all we know, for the company – Mars Incorporated, a family concern – is notoriously schtumm about its methods.

 
In 1993 The Washington Post, the paper which broke the Watergate scandal, congratulated itself thoroughly on being able to send a reporter into an American Mars factory to witness the ‘M’ being painted on an M&M.
 
It’s all very hush-hush. And I should know: I live not far from the mysterious British industrial cathedral which fills lorries with Maltesers and speeds them up the M6 to Stockport.
 
You may have heard of it. The birthplace of the British Malteser is Slough.
 
English: An aerial view photograph taken over ...

English: An aerial view photograph taken over the infamous Slough Trading Estate in Slough, Berkshire. United Kingdom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A barren industrial wasteland,  Slough earned the poet John Betjeman’s scorn: “Come friendly bombs and rain on Slough,” he intoned famously; “it isn’t fit for humans now.”

 
It is, but it ain’t purdy. Concrete, a mix of new shopping paradise and tired old parades, it goes on for mile after relentless mile, with little to persuade one to tarry.
 
It has not always been a concrete jungle. It was once known for something very different from Ricky Gervais, and Forrest Mars’s chocolate factory.
 
Its fame stemmed, back then, from a lady who was rarely amused.
 
Her nearby gaff at Windsor Castle had long been a place to which dignitaries flocked. Even in Shakespeare’s time the visitors were much in evidence – one glance at The Merry Wives Of Windsor will show you the extent of the bustle.
 
But Queen Victoria was not just a queen, she was an empress.
 
And an empire’s worth of visitors: that’s a lot.
 
They came from all over the British Empire to visit her by invitation at Windsor Castle. But there was an awkward problem.
 
The castle wasn’t particularly comfortable. It is said its design, and formality, were stuffy: and the Queen had a suspicion of gaslight and would not tolerate it. It was strictly candles-only at Windsor Castle.
 
And so, furtively, visitors began to book hotels: just down the road, in a conglomeration of villages which gathered around the Great Western Railway station which opened in June 1838. It was collectively called Slough.
 
The station attracted understandable interest. It was just an informal stop for a while because the headmaster of Eton made a rumpus about railways interrupting the discipline of the school.
 
In a typically British compromise, the train just ‘happened‘ to stop at Slough so passengers could alight.
 
But you can’t rely on chance when an empress gets on.  
 
Queen Victoria made her first journey to London from Slough’s newly built station in 1842. Long before Betjeman invited the bombs, before concrete, before industrial estates.
 
And 94 years before the advent of Maltesers.
 
 
 

*Joel Glen Brenner, “Planet of the M&Ms”  Washington Post Magazine, April 12, 1992
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Sorry For The Misunderstanding

6 Apr

I was surprised at the reaction to this photo yesterday, because it looks so obvious to me that it is make up, and I have a towel around me to protect my clothes. 

I promise the Hub never laid a hand on me.  I take violence against women seriously and I would never make light of it, nor stay with a man who thought it was okay to knock me about.

I was touched that you wanted reassurance.   I would never have used this photo if I thought it would be misunderstood.

If you’d like to know how I feel about attacks on women, read this post.

Facts, Because What Else Is There?

26 Feb

Or, I can’t think of anything to write about so here’s something from my email inbox sent to me by people who preferred emailing when they should be working but at least they’ve got a job so this is all sourness on my part.

A still photo of a Winston advertisement featu...

Image via Wikipedia

  • In the 1400s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have ‘the rule of thumb’.  The Hub tried it on me once, hence ‘the rule of sore bum.’
  • The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
  • Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than for the U.S. Treasury.  It’s anyone’s guess which is worth more.
  • Coca-Cola was originally green.
  • Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
  • Tom Sawyer was the first novel to be written on a typewriter.
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321, proving once and for all that mathematicians have no sex life.
  • If you were to spell out numbers, you would have to go to one thousand before you reached the letter A.  My earlier comment refers.

You know you are living in 2012 when:

  • You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.
  • You call your family from your car in your drive to ask them to help bring in the groceries.
  • You have a list of fifteen phone numbers to reach your family of three.
  • You email the person who works at the next desk.
  • When you get up in the morning, you go online before making your first cup of tea.
  • You don’t stay in touch with friends and family because you don’t have their email addresses.
  • If you leave the house without your mobile, which you didn’t have for the first 20/30/60 years of life, you panic.

One more fact for you:

  • Don’t buy your Kindle books from eBay, otherwise you might find yourself reading, as I did, instead of the line He put his head in his hands, this gem: He put his head in his anus.

Happy Birthday Debbie!

1 Jan
I am saying nothing about interesting dates this year (if I made resolutions, that would be number one), but I do have to mention that Debbie in London is 44 today.
My Photo

44 is an interesting number. 

Not really; I have to say that to convince you to read on.

  • It is a band, +44.  They have a song called When Your Heart Stops Beating, but I don’t think Debbie is ready to hear that yet, especially on her birthday; I’ll try another song of theirs, to Make You Smile.
  • 44 are the first two digits in any telephone call to Britain from the rest of the world.  Call me.
  • The movie Cowboys & Aliens got a Rotten Tomato rating of 44%.  I have no idea what that means.
  • 4400 people were turfed out of an alien spaceship on Sky TV once, having been abducted over about fifty years.  I’d tell you about it but I was bored by the end of the first series and never cared enough to find out why.  Hope that doesn’t happen to Debbie; it would spoil her birthday party.
  • There is a £44 supplement for an extra night with Mercure Auckland if you extend your Australia trip to New Zealand for 1 or 3 nights.  I spend too much time on the internet.

Debbie told me she was born on ‘January 1st, like the racehorses. My Mum had a terrific New Year’s Eve as you can imagine.’  If her Mum was in a hospital with racehorses, I imagine she did have a terrific New Year’s Eve.

Debbie also told me, ‘If you write me a poem, I will not appreciate the fact that Deb rhymes with pleb. Just so you know.’ 

Deb, Deb, Deb…you should know better than to hand me a loaded gun.

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A Birthday Poem For Deb

Deb knows a girl
who spends too much time on the web. 
What a pleb. 

Not Deb: the girl
who lets her thoughts unfurl
like a sausage curl. 

It makes Deb want to hurl.

Happy 44th birthday, Deb!

11.10.11

11 Oct

File:FIAV 111011.svg

It’s time to sleep again, folks: today’s date is another binary number, 111011

Someone Yahooed to ask, how to change a base 10 number into a binary number? the number is 111011.  And here’s the answer – in fact, the best answer, as chosen by voters; who knew maths was so democratic?

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111011, base 2
= 1(2^5) + 1(2^4) + 1(2^3) + 0(2^2) + 1(2^1) + 1(2^0)
= 32 + 16 + 8 + 0 + 2 + 1
= 59, base 10

For the other way, decimal to binary:
59, base 10
Can 2^6 fit into 59? No.
Can 2^5 fit into 59? Yes.
59−32
=27
Can 2^4 fit into 27? Yes.
27−16
=11
Can 2^3 fit into 11? Yes.
11−8
=3
Can 2^2 fit into 3? No.
Can 2^1 fit into 3? Yes.
3−2
=1
Can 2^0 fit into 1? Yes.
1−1
=0

So, let’s look at what we have for our answers:
No (0)
Yes (1)
Yes (1)
Yes (1)
No (0)
Yes (1)
Yes (1)

Hmm… read it from top to bottom (ignore any zeroes in the beginning): 111011.
59, base 10 = 111011, base 2

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So there you have today’s date: of the geekest, by the geekest, for the geekest.

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Poetry Can Be Fun…Honest

6 Oct
William Wordsworth, the subject of the poem. P...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is National Poetry Day.  I was going to bring you some fun and interesting facts about poetry, but you know what?  There aren’t any.  Not on the internet, anyway.  Poetry is dull.

By the way, remember to check out my poetry blog, I’m Not A Verse.

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I did find a site called Poetry Fountain.  Under the heading ‘Interesting Facts’ it has these interesting facts:

  • Starfish have no Brains.  I wonder if they write poetry?
  • There is a species of ants that is found only in buildings in Washington, D.C.  It’s killing me not to make a joke about politicians here.
  • The scientific name of a Boa Constrictor is Boa Constrictor.  Scientists don’t use metaphors?
  • Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth.  Apart from me on National Share Your Maltesers Day.
  • If you turn a shark on its back, it will fall asleep.  It must have been reading Wordsworth’s & Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads.  The same thing happens to me.
  • Shakespeare was born and died on the same day (only many years apart).  Well, duh!  Whoever wrote that qualifying remark either thinks we’re all stupid or is an infant prodigy.  And it is only suspected that Shakespeare was born on that day: births were not recorded back then; only baptisms.  Glad I got that off my chest.
  • In one day more money is printed for Monopoly then for the US.  If ever there was a glorious typo, this is it.
  • Mrs.Roosevelt was the only first lady who carried a loaded revolver with her.  To stop Mr Roosevelt from reading Lyrical Ballads to her, I’m guessing.
  • Democratic Congressmen are almost twice as likely as Republican congressmen to be offered a bribe.  And the very next fact is:
  • Franklin Roosevelt was related by blood or marriage to eleven other presidents.  Coincidence…?
  • The female black widow spider devours the male after mating. She may kill as many as 25 males a day.  Too many Lyrical Ballads, too few Maltesers…
  • The flounder has both eyes on one side of its head.  What’s so special about that?  So do humans.
  • The national Institute of Education reports that over 5,000 teachers are robbed each month in American schools.  And I bet not one of them lost their copy of Lyrical Ballads.

Your homework for today: choose one or more of these interesting facts and use them to write a poem.

And to show that poetry can be fun, here’s a bit of fluff:

 

 

Almost A Ghazal, For The Beautiful Brad

Dear Mr Pitt, I long to twizzle with your cheeks.
I may be a silly twit to love the sizzle of your cheeks.

They have me quite delirious;
I am bedazzled by your cheeks.

With you I’m deadly serious -
I am bamboozled by your cheeks.

I’m in love but also frantic
to solve the puzzle of your cheeks.

Thus, I crossed the wide Atlantic
So I could nuzzle on your cheeks.

Yet I’m now locked up in jail
For getting too close to your cheeks.

But if you don’t mind posting bail
I’ll say I’m sorry to your cheeks…

If you’ll agree, you were a bad boy
Showing your backside in Troy.

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Ze Train! Ze Train!

19 Jul

<a href=”

 

http://www.youtube.com/v/fzGMnDOsGVQ?version=3” target=”_blank”>

Planes, trains or automobiles? What is your favorite way to travel 500 miles?

It has to be the train.  Unlike a car, I can sit, stand, walkabout.  All traffic is going in the same direction.  Unlike a plane, I won’t crash into a mountain and have to eat my fellow passengers.  Even I don’t like my food that much.  But I do like trains, so here are some interesting facts for you:

  • The earliest railway in Great Britain was built between October 1603 and October 1604.  Which was a bit of a waste of time, as trains hadn’t been invented yet.
  • The first railway in America was used in 1826.  That was in the days when ideas flowed this way to that, and not the other way round.
  • The steepest Cogwheel railway in the world is in Switzerland. It has a gradient of 48%.  Rather like their chocolate.
  • Great Britain has over 40,000 bridges on the rail system.  If you’re lucky, the one in your area will be open for use.
  • The longest straight stretch of railway is in Australia. The part without any curves is 478km (301 miles) long.  This might be the one time I’d choose to fly.
  • The heaviest train weighs more than 27,000 elephants.  In the scale of things, that’s a pretty big scale.
  • In the 1800s, trains moved at peak speeds of 25mph.  Ah, the good old days, when trains moved so quickly.
  • The only railway to go to the top of a volcano was built on Mount Vesuvius in Italy, in 1880.  The ride down was much faster.
  • There was rush hour traffic on the Oregon-California trail.  The more things change…
  • The fastest train in the world is the TGV in France. It is a similar train to the Eurostar which runs in the UK and across to France and Belgium. It can go at 515km (322 miles) an hour – four and a half times faster than a car on the motorway.  A motorway in Europe, that is; in Britain, it’s forty-four and a half times faster.
  • Central Station has the largest platform in the world.  That used to be true; now it’s Lady Gaga.
  • In test runs, the French TGV reached speeds of 584km per hour and when it braked it took 10 miles to stop.  Bet that aircraft carrier is looking mighty nippy round about now.
  • The longest possible journey on one train can be taken between Moscow and Vladivostok in Russia, on the Trans-Siberian Express. The journey is 9,297km (5,857 miles) long.  No wonder Dr Zhivago is such a boring book.
  • The largest station in the world is Grand Central in New York. It has 44 platforms.  Lady Gaga is working on a fiendish plot to steal them for her next video.
  • Even in full emergency, it can take a train a mile or more to stop.  This means if the engineer can see you, it is already too late to stop for you.  Moral: stay off the track.
  • Time was standardised by the introduction of railway timetables.  ‘The train arriving at platform 1 is due at four minutes past sunset’ wouldn’t work on cloudy days.

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Some Interesting Facts

23 Jun
Leonardo da Vinci

Image by Sirpale79 via Flickr

I’m sharing these facts because they are interesting, but they have no relevance to anything.

  • A jiffy is an actual unit of time: 1/1000th of a second.  Unless you’re trying to fit something into one of their bags, in which case it feels like an eternity.
  • Almonds are part of the peach family.  I have no comment to make on that almost-dull fact.  I don’t like almonds.  That’s not why I’m not commenting.  Though that was technically a comment.  Okay, my comment on the fact that almonds are part of the peach family is that I don’t like almonds.  And I’m not mad on peaches, if I’m honest.
  • In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.  Including cats.
  • Leonardo da Vinci invented the scissors.  I’m not convinced that’s true because wasn’t he left-handed?  Surely he’d have invented left-handed scissors first?  Then a majority of the population would be cursing when cutting, instead of a minority.  Though he was all about the greater good, wasn’t he?  That’s why he suppressed his invention of the submarine.
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.  You wouldn’t believe that if you ever saw Snoopy dozing on his kennel.
  • Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.  So do tights.  We don’t say ‘refrigerator’ any more, so why don’t we say ‘fridged’?  Rubber bands last longer when fridged.  So do tights.
  • The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.  Try it.  Tell me what you think.  I think I’m not average.  Or perhaps I just can’t type.
  • The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.  I thought he’d have invented dry cleaning first.

*

I Like The Sun, And That’s A Fact

31 May

 

Today when I got up, the sun was shining for the first time in months.

Actually, I know that the sun always shines (and not just on tv): I was once on an Aer Lingus plane that left Zürich in the middle of winter, climbed through mountains of snow clouds, and when we broke through the top there was the sun, waving to us. 

There were nine people on that plane, including the crew, and the Hub ate three breakfasts because, rather like Everest, they were there.

I thought I’d look up some interesting sun facts for you.  I’ll start with this one, because it gives the most stupid explanation I’ve ever heard:

  • It is a medium size star, it also has medium brightness.  Some stars are many times brighter, and some are many times fainter.

Thanks for clearing that up.  Now explain this: if it is medium, how can it be large?

  • Containing more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System, the Sun is by far the largest object in the Solar System.

I suppose it’s the same way I can be beautiful yet repulsive, and for a similar reason:

  • The Sun also emits low density streams of particles, also known as the solar wind. These winds blow through the solar system at 450 km/sec and consist mostly of electrons and protons.

The blow factor is about the same but my wind consists mostly of smells and smells.  Talking of gas,

  • The centre of the Sun is made of helium.

I pity the poor bloke whose job it was to check that out.  But not to worry, we’ll all be dead soon:

  • The Sun is heating up, and will kill all life on Earth.

That’s not very nice, is it?  His mother won’t be happy.

  •  It’s becoming 10% more luminous every billion years. In fact, within just a billion years, the heat from the Sun will be so intense that liquid water won’t exist on the surface of the Earth. Life on Earth as we know it will be gone forever.

Better stock up on the Evian.

  • On its trip around the sun, the earth travels over a million and a half miles
    per day.

Did you buy enough Evian?

  • In Spit Bergen, Norway, at one time of the year the sun shines continuously for three and a half months.

And don’t forget the suntan lotion.

  • Light from the Sun reaches Earth in around 8 minutes.

Unless you live in Stockport, when it’s every eight years.  I blame Norway.

  • There are sometimes “Mock Suns” (parhelia) which are called Sun dogs because they follow the Sun around.

The Earth’s equivalent are known as “Paparazzi”.

I listened to a programme on Radio 4 last night that told me (children and impressionable adults look away now) you can stare at the Sun for thirty minutes if you are high on cocaine, I think it was, and not suffer any lasting retinal damage because your pupils are already dilated, I think it was (I wasn’t paying attention, if I’m honest).  It is commonly known as ‘Actus Moronus’. 

Don’t try it at home; I don’t want to read about you in The Sun.

<a href=”http://www.youtube.com/v/SLcUDsNMkFM?version=3“>

http://library.thinkquest.org/15215/Facts/index.html

http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/istp/outreach/workshop/thompson/facts.html

http://www.universetoday.com/17982/10-interesting-facts-about-the-sun/

http://www.funshun.com/amazing-facts/sun-universe-facts.html

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/space/sun.html

False Pretences

3 May
Haggis on a garnished platter with the knife u...

Image via Wikipedia

Re: Fascinating False Facts?

They were all false.  So sorry to let you down, Sidey.

Nancy, after reading your comment I did another search but I couldn’t find one site that agreed with you.

Was that post fun?  Should I do another like it in the future?

By the way, Kate & Viv: all haggis-lovers are now banned from this blog for being, well, haggis-lovers.*

*Another false fact.  I need the hits.**

**Or to be hit…I can never remember which.

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