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299851.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:01 am Reply with quote

Post here snippets which seem promising but which have no obvious home, then blame Mat whose idea it was to create this thread.

299860.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:27 am Reply with quote

Is it generally known that the Inca Empire lasted less than a century? It surprised me, when I read it the other day.

299861.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote

The head gardener at the American Museum in Britain says it’s a myth that “plants take up water and dissolved minerals [...] through their roots.”

“In fact, they don't. It would now seem that all plants instead live in a symbiotic relationship with a fungi which spreads out through the soil, dissolving the nutrients and passing them straight into the root hairs of the plant.”

Western Daily Press, 15 March 08.

299873.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:37 am Reply with quote

That one sounds as though it might be great, but I don't think I understand what it means - it sounds as though the plants do take up water and dissolved nutrients through their routes, with the assistance of these fungi.

299876.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:58 am Reply with quote

Yes, I’m afraid that was about as far as I got too, Flash. I’m hoping someone will have a better idea of what he’s talking about.

299926.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:48 pm Reply with quote

Doesn't make sense to me - and it doesn't put a species name on the fungus concerned.

I didn't know the thing about the Inca Empire.

302013.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:21 am Reply with quote

George Formby originally trained as a jockey.

His dad was also called George Formby and was also a successful music hall star. In fact, he was one of the most successful of his day and left a string of horses and money worth the modern equivalent of £1,000,000 in his will.

Neither of them were christened "Formby." That was just a stage named used by both.

302870.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:27 am Reply with quote

I wonder what people might say to: "name a shakespeare play set in Verona"

Of course I'm looking for "Two Gentlemen" which is mostly set in Milan, but I guess a lot of people would go for a correct answer such as Romeo & Juliet.

Perhaps one to try out on a few people...

302872.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:28 am Reply with quote

Perhaps we could subconciously alter the question:

"OK Gentlemen, who can name a Shakespeare play based in Verona"

302881.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:38 am Reply with quote

I wonder if someone who knows what they're talking about could make something of this ... we all know that leeches were for a long time the comical epitome of old-fashioned, pre-scientific medical practice - and we all know that in the last 20 years, leeches have “made a come-back.”

However, I assume that the uses made of them now are significantly different to the uses made of them before ... but I wonder if people generally realise that or, in their delight at finding that everything modern and scientific is wrong and that the clever-dicks are being forced to admit that Granny was right all along, could they be Gen Igged?

302886.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:45 am Reply with quote

Is it generally known (outside the West Country, I mean) that Sandbanks, near Poole in Dorset, is the fourth most expensive area (to buy property) in the world? Real estate there averages £850 per square foot.

I also wonder, every time I hear this, whether it’s actually true ... or just some story that’s taken off ... and if it is true, whether it is meaningful; could it be that the sample size is too small, for instance, or something like that?

There’s lots of google, for instance

302890.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:52 am Reply with quote

Yes, they're used for a different purpose:
Through bloodletting, it was thought that leeches would drain "impure blood" from the body, thereby curing illness. Eventually, scientific research showed that leeches were unlikely to stop a headache, but are useful in surgery.

They are often used today in plastic and reconstructive surgery, because a natural anticoagulant they secrete fights blood clots and restores proper blood flow to inflamed parts of the body.

However, I didn't know any of this, including the assertion that they were used in the old-fashioned way until the 1960s:
The medicinal leech almost became extinct in Europe due to the extremely high demand for them. Leeches were collected in a particularly creepy way. Leech collectors would wade in leech infested waters allowing the leeches to attach themselves to the collector’s legs. In this way as many as 2,500 leeches could be gathered per day. When the numbers became insufficient, the French and Germans started the practice of leech farming. Elderly horses were used as leech feed where they would be sent into the water and would later die of blood loss.

Leeches were thought to be able to cure everything from headaches to brain congestion. They were used to cure obesity, hemorrhoids, nephritis, laryngitis, eye disorders as well as mental illness. Their use continued on until the 1960s when their use in medicine was discontinued.

302896.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:05 am Reply with quote

That sounds fantastically unlikely, doesn't it? But it would be a great question, if true: when did doctors stop using leeches?

303035.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:44 am Reply with quote

I thought it was quite well known that doctors still use leeches for limited purposes. At any rate, I'd heard of it.

304135.  Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:53 am Reply with quote

When you die of drowning, you don't typically get water in your lungs, you die because the water causes your epiglotis to close up the airway.

If someone has got water in their lungs, then it's probably got in there after death.


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