Sunday, 1 January 2012

55 amazing facts

To start 2012, here is the longest blog posting I have ever published! I yoinked it (and edited) from the BBC...  Happy New Year!

1. Birds binge drink - birds that were thought to have died from avian flu in Romania instead apparently drank themselves to death on grape waste.

2. Women's tears reduce sexual desire in men.

3. Princess Diana had two wedding dresses - one a back-up design in case her first choice was revealed before the big day.

4. Huskies can smell thin ice. 

5. Good cops are better at getting confessions than bad cops.

6. The average hug lasts three seconds.

7. Elton John has no mobile phone. 

8. Incan brides had to peel a potato to prove they would be a good wife.

9. UK postal workers get through two million red rubber bands a day.

10. The ransom paid to release Richard the Lionheart, captured in 1192 on his return from the Crusades, was the equivalent of about £2bn in today's money.

11. People with full bladders make better decisions.

12. About 40% of skyscrapers due to be completed in the next six years will be in China.

13. YouTube's first video was called "Me at the zoo".

14. The average person uses 20,000 words, with another 40,000 in reserve. [The average chav uses 100 words]

15. One in six people live in India.

16. The word "loo" dates from medieval times, thought to have derived from the warning shout of "gardez l'eau!" given by those tipping chamber pots out the window.

17. Seat belts are banned on some roads in Estonia that cross frozen lakes and rivers.

18. Male humpback whales play "Chinese whispers" across 6,000km. 

19. Swearing relieves pain.

20. A rare version of God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols is the most valuable record of all time. 

21. French police are currently allowed 25cl of wine or a small beer with their lunch while on duty.

22. The perfect nap lasts 26 minutes. 

23. New York taxis used to be red and green, but in 1907 were all repainted yellow to be visible from a distance. 

24. It costs $60,000 to train a Navy Seal dog - like the one that accompanied US special forces on the Bin Laden operation.

25. Humans stare longer at people with bad reputations.

26. There are only two beret factories left in France. 

27. It is illegal to sell moon rocks in the US. 

28. Vultures are better than sniffer dogs at searching large, overgrown areas for dead bodies. 

29. The odds of scoring two hole-in-ones in the same round of golf are 67 million-to-one.

30. Chimps can outperform eight-year-olds in solving problems. 

31. Sonic the Hedgehog's shoes are based on Michael Jackson's footwear in the Bad video. 

32. Half of Britons have German blood.

33. The US only got its first roundabout in 1990, in Nevada. 

34. The male water boatman insect sings with its penis. 

35. California has drawn up a legal definition for the hot dog.

36. Cows have best friends.

37. Apple has more cash than the US government. 

38. Uganda's national anthem is the world's shortest.

39. Singing sparrows are actually trading insults.

40. Asda Illustrated is the UK's top-selling magazine. 

41. The average Briton suffers 726 hangovers in a lifetime.

42. The world's atmosphere is worth £4.3 quadrillion, going by the air we breathe in and the price of CO2.

43. Women remember men with a deep voice more than those with a high voice.

44. Australians have a third choice when describing their gender on passport applications. 

45. Yawning cools down the brain.

46. Letters addressed to Kabul include directions - there are few street names and numbers, and no postcodes. 

47. Preston bus station is on this year's list of at-risk cultural heritage sites, along with the Nazca Lines in Peru and a Greek cemetery.

48. One in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with poo. 

49. Rival rugby teams face a fine if they stray over the half-way line while the All Blacks perform the haka.

50. Thierville in Normandy did not lose any service personnel in France's last five major wars. 

51. Until 1912 there was no set design for the Stars and Stripes. 

52. In the fifth and sixth decades of life, you are less likely to die over the coming year than at any other time in your life. 

53. Wasps recognise each other's faces.

54. The girl on the classic British road sign "children going to or from school" is based on a school photo of its designer Margaret Calvert.

55. Alcohol tastes sweeter when loud music is playing.


  1. A very happy New Year to you, Stephen - and may 2012 be not just a year of personal fulfilment and satisfaction for you, but also one in which you continue to provide us with thought-provoking and entertaining postings.

    That sure is some list to get one's head around, especially early on a Sunday morning for feeble-minded people like me.
    Okay, I already knew a handful of them but some of these are real WTF?ers. I'm reassured by #7 here that I have at least one thing in common with a talented and VERY rich individual - but there the comparison stops!

    Btw: If you have time and care to go there, yesterday I listed my 5 fave films of 2011 on my blog.

  2. Happy New Year Stephen.

    Not sure how many of these are actually true. I got to 33 and stopped. Washington DC had roundabouts as far back as 1988. Not many, only 2 or 3. Known as "circles" I remember being confused when cycling around them - the give way rule works the other way around; you give way on the circle to traffic coming onto it. DuPont Circle (a roundabout as well as a downtown Metro stop) in the heart of the DC gay zone was locally referred to as "fruit loop".


  3. Happy New Year
    Nice list. Some interesting stuff, some weird, some without much sense... :-)

  4. Item 33 is incorrect: "Rotaries", as roundabouts are called on this side of the pond, have existed at the the Sagamore and Bourne bridges connecting the main land of Massachusetts with Cape Cod since at least the 50s.

  5. Beautifully reasoned and well written.