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Random Factoids

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875.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:40 am Reply with quote

The idea is to have only NEW pieces of information that you have recently acquired, rather than 'a duck's quack does not echo'-type retreads....

876.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:07 am Reply with quote

Here's one for starters.

The breast-milk of the Weddell seal is 57.9% fat: this is almost twice as much fat as is in whipping cream.

By contrast, its water content is only 27.2%.

In some ways this is even more extraordinary. The water content of ordinary lean meat is about 65%.

s: ANP

Frederick The Monk
877.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:18 am Reply with quote

The latin word for 'to fold' became 'to arrive' in Spanish but 'to depart' in Romanian.

879.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:27 am Reply with quote

What's the word(s), Fred?

I'm on tenterhooks here....

881.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:30 am Reply with quote

The Spanish for a mocking-bird is zenzontle.

A hummingbird is zumbador.

Zorro means crafty, and zulu means stupid.

883.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:35 am Reply with quote

"zorro" means "fox", doesn't it?

Frederick The Monk
885.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:38 am Reply with quote

OK - courtesy of my wife who understands such thing (and who just told me this QI fact) -

Latin 'to fold' is 'plicare'
Romanian infintive 'to leave' is 'a pleca'
Spanish 'to arrive' is 'llegar'

886.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:39 am Reply with quote

Although traffic roundabouts were (until recently) very rare in the USA, the word 'roundabout' (in that sense) was in fact coined by an American ( Logan Pearsall Smith) in the 1920's. It's earliest use in print in Britain is 1927.

Until then a 'roundabout' meant a loose dressing gown worn by women (and Maoris)

Until the BBC adopted the word, British roundabouts were called 'gyratory circuses'.

s: BOB s: OED

888.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:43 am Reply with quote


Zorro does mean fox, yes, but can also be used as an adj. (foxy, crafty) or figuratively (crafty person, rascal).

Thanks, Frederick. Is your wife Romanian?

Frederick The Monk
889.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:45 am Reply with quote

I haven't looked - I don't think so. She just has an interest in the history of language.

She seems to speak several of them.

Or that's what it sounds like.

892.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:34 am Reply with quote


893.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:36 am Reply with quote

The only reason I mention it is that apparently Romania is THE place to invest in right now.

The bloke behind the counter at the off licence in Wantage (whose girlfriend is Romanian) says you can buy a 12 bedroom house on the sea in beautiful scenery for 84,000....which, when the country joins the EC will be worth a fortune.

Hmm.Perhaps if wasn't only a bottle of whisky he was trying to sell me....

896.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:15 am Reply with quote

The funny thing is, Jack, that in America they don't call it a roundabout, they call it a rotary.

Here's a factoid for you that I've only just read - apparently all walruses are right-handed and all polar bears are left-handed. But how would they test it? I thought walruses had flippers anyway? If you throw each of them a fish, wouldn't the walrus be more likely to catch it in its mouth rather than reach up with a flipper?

I'm thinking too much about this one, aren't I? Particularly since the source was an online celeb gossip sheet called 'Popbitch'. Not, I hasten to add, that I'm interested in celebs as such, but somebody sent me a link to it the other day and I couldn't resist the name so I went to have a look at it. Here's another little bit of celeb gossip for you - Britney Spears said in an interview with Newsweek the other day: "I've been into a lot of Indian spiritual religions."
Newsweek "Might Hinduism be one of them?"
Britney: "What's that? Is it like Kaballah?"

As somebody famously once said of Mariah Carey (after she had said, upon looking at a picture of Africans with AIDS, 'I'd love to be skinny like that but without all the flies and death and stuff') - Britney Spears, voice of an angel, brain of a sausage roll.

898.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:28 am Reply with quote

Very funny, Jen.

Actually, it's not true that polar bears are left-handed. That's one of those 'duck's-quack' net factoids of which I speak. I believe the latest research shows that polar bears are to all intents and purposes ambidextrous.However, well worth it for those delicious celeb quotes you bumped into.

I read about the right-handed walruses (or was it seals?) the other day. They use their flippers for cleaning the sand off their food: that's how they know...

The roundabout/rotary nuggetoid is terrific.

And you just can't get these things without this sharing and discussion of information, can you? Bliss.

910.  Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:29 am Reply with quote

The Greek invented the vowel in about 800 BC.

Until then all alphabets contained only consonants.

s: PAG


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