Here is the news article about the Bank Robber in the Netherlands who claimed his gun as a deductible expense:
and here is the story of Tennessee's so-called crack-tax:
Our fact about Diocles, who we think was the richest sportsman of all time, came originally from a wonderful magazine called Lapham's Quarterly; here's an article from The Telegraph:
But we have one caveat: It's impossible to judge the relative amounts when comparing Roman Italy and USAian America. The statistics in the above article make him look like he's by far the richest by looking at Diocles's relative wealth compared with his compatriots, but other stats - such as looking at how much gold you could buy with his winnings would make him an order of magnitude less rich than Tiger Woods.
The question about Mary and Joseph not going home for a census came from our resident historian, Justin Pollard. He cites the following books, if you'd like to learn more:
The Nativity: History and Legend and The Historical Figure of Jesus. We've had a couple of queries about this subject, citing Gaius Vibius Maximus:
"Seeing that the time has come for the house to house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their districts to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census, and may also attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments."I think this is one we will revisit here on the Quibble Blog soon, so stay tuned.
The question about modern-day censuses came from Geographic Magazine May 2011, and here's a great article about a German census protest which wasn't mentioned on the show:
A year ago, we talked about the tongue-eating louse, and Dara was incredulous:
adds the digits individually until one ends up with single figure results, one will get the following:
(1+2+4+0+7) = (1+9) *(6+5+3)
(1+4) = (1+0) *(1+4)
5 = 1 *5
which is another true equation.
Which we agree is Quite Interesting, so maybe the search goes on for another boring number?
The Harold Macmillan story comes from the National Archives here:
and here is the wonderful StraightDope on the Eye of Providence and the US Dollar:
The Aztecs called themselves Mexica, which made for an excellent General Ignorance question:
Finally, there is some controversy about which is the heaviest bird that can fly. We said the mute swan (having found the information in the Encyclopedia Britannica) but we've had many e-mails from ornithologists claiming that in fact the bustard is bigger. Do you know for sure? Send any evidence that you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org but in the meantime, here is some evidence that mute swans are not, as their name suggests, mute: