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String the Quite Interesting

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Spud McLaren
921963.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:45 pm Reply with quote

Betjeman's poem Slough is reproduced in full on the cover of the DVD of the first series of The Office, which is set in Slough.

921965.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:58 pm Reply with quote

Astronomer royal, Sir William Herschel, came to live in Slough in 1786. His major astronomical discovery was the planet Uranus, but he continued to observe the heavens for many years after, with the help of a 40 foot telescope assembled in his back garden.

Spud McLaren
921976.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:42 pm Reply with quote

Herschel's sister, Caroline, was struck at the age of ten with typhus, which stunted her growth and she never grew past four foot three. Due to this deformation, her family assumed that she would never marry and that it was best for her to remain a house servant. Instead she became a significant astronomer in collaboration with William. Her most significant contribution to astronomy was the discovery of several comets and in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name.

In 1828 the Royal Astronomical Society presented her with their Gold Medal for this work — no woman would be awarded it again until Vera Rubin in 1996. In 1835, along with Mary Somerville, she was elected to honorary membership of the Royal Astronomical Society; they were the first honorary women members

922000.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:07 pm Reply with quote

The last Olympic gold medals that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912.

922003.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:23 pm Reply with quote

The Gold Paint Death Urban Legend

In 1964 Sean Connery was still James Bond, and Bond Girls were gaining steam as a meme of their own. In the film Goldfinger the villain creatively kills a traitorous secretary, Jill Masterson, by painting her entire body in gold paint (hair and all.) How did this result in her death? Bond explains, pointing out that the body breathes through the skin, and covering all of the skin will choke off the oxygen the body needs, resulting in death by suffocation. Movie goers were willing to swallow this line in a typical “suspension of disbelief” moment so that they could enjoy the movie (and the golden lady), but some forgot to start disbelieving again after they left the theatre, and so the stories began to spread of the clever gimmick used by the Goldfinger villain.

Today this may sound pretty ludicrous, but there was some belief at the time that the body’s skin did, in fact, aid in absorbing oxygen, and thus the skin “breathed”. The fact of the matter is it matters not how much of the skin is blocked by paint or anything else…as long as a person can take in oxygen through the mouth or nose, he or she will not suffocate.

922004.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:27 pm Reply with quote

Another urban legend pertaining to breathing is that of sharks having to maintain motion to facilitate ram ventilation so that they don't suffocate. In fact sharks can remain stationary for extended periods of time, they do this by utilising buccal pumping instead of ram ventilation. Buccal pumping essentially uses the muscles of the mouth and cheeks to pump water through the mouth and over the gills hence breathing.

922005.  Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:44 pm Reply with quote

Sharks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colours. The largest shark and the largest fish in the world is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), which is believed to reach a maximum length of 59 feet. The smallest shark is thought to be the dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), which is about 6- 8 inches long.

922078.  Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:32 am Reply with quote

Unlike most fish, a shark gives birth to live young. As the sharks deveop in their mother's uterus, they fight + eat each other until only one is left alive to be born.

922098.  Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:54 am Reply with quote

Not all sharks are viviparous, some sharks, skates and chimaera produce an egg sac from which the young hatch. The empty sac is frequently washed up on beaches and is known colloquially as a mermaid's purse.

922125.  Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:44 am Reply with quote

The first known mermaid stories were started in Assyria (now Iraq) in 1000 BCE. The mermaid was created when the goddess Atargatis loved a human shepherd. The goddess accidentally killed her mortal lover. She was so ashamed that she jumped into the lake to take the form of a fish. However, the waters were unable to hide her divine beauty. From that point on she took the form of a mermaid- human above the waist and a fish below. The earliest depictions of Atargatis have her has a fish with a human head and legs.

Oceans Edge
922239.  Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:25 am Reply with quote

on January 9th 1493, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, sailing near the Dominican Republic, sees three "mermaids"--in reality manatees--and describes them as "not half as beautiful as they are painted."

922253.  Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:35 am Reply with quote

Manatees belong to an order of marine mammals called the Sirenians. Dugongs are the other member of this family. Stellar sea cows were also a member of this family, but they were hunted to extinction within 27 years of their discovery.

Spud McLaren
922975.  Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:56 pm Reply with quote

Avoiding mention of the 27 Club* -

According to Feng Shui, to raise money, keep in the house 27 identical coins.

27 is the only number that is 3 times the sum of its digits.

27 is the atomic number of cobalt and the atomic weight of aluminum.

* oh, dammit...

922976.  Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:00 pm Reply with quote

The Club Méditerranée (more commonly called 'Med') was started in 1950 by former Belgian water polo champion Gérard Blitz. The first village opened on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The original villages were simple with members staying in unlit straw huts on a beachfront, sharing communal washing facilities. Such villages have been replaced with modern blocks or huts with ensuite facilities.

Spud McLaren
922980.  Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:04 pm Reply with quote

An ensuite bathroom or ensuite shower room (also en suite, ensuite and other variations) is a bathroom or shower room attached to and only accessible from a bedroom, but a Jack and Jill bathroom is a bathroom with two doors, accessible from two bedrooms. What fun.


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