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Fifty Amazing, (but Completely Useless), Facts

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crissdee
1351360.  Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:07 pm Reply with quote

I can't see how they could possibly enforce the rule, or even know that anyone was doing it, or why they would give a rat's ass either way.

 
tetsabb
1351367.  Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:55 pm Reply with quote

No 19. -- 51 things you are not allowed to see on Google Earth? Anyone know what they are?
For a long time the then Post Office Tower did not appear on maps of London, as it was technically a state secret.

 
crissdee
1351372.  Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:48 pm Reply with quote

A big one will be "Area 51" in Nevada, and I'm guessing that China and Russia have their share of places they don't want people looking at, (more than their share if truth be told). It would not overly surprise me if some of the places PDR has plied his trade are on the list as well.

 
suze
1351374.  Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:55 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I can't find anything to back 32.


If Israel did have any law along the lines of what is suggested, it would have come from Orthodox Judaism. Wouldn't it more likely be Saturday that was off limits than Sunday?

So, now that I've done all the work I need to do today, let's have a proper look at the first ten.

1. does seem fairly likely to be true. The brand of fascism which was popular in Brazil in the 1930s was called integralismo, and was based more on Mussolini than Hitler. Chile too flirted with fascism in the 1930s, but Brazil is a much larger country.

2. is true.

3. is false. In fact, Bolivia has about one seventh of the world's known exploitable lithium reserves. Argentina has the largest of any single country, but it's less than one quarter of the total. source

4. might be true. There are no formal league tables for snipers, but the Finn Häyhä and a Russian named Sidorenko are both credited with "about 500". He lived to be 96, but after his war service he lived quietly in a remote part of Finland and bred dogs; Finnish society was very polarised on whether he was a hero or a thug.

5. is a staple of lists of this kind, but seems rarely to be mentioned otherwise. How would anyone know?

6. is true. You can see the building here.

7. might be a tricksy reference to this guy, but the well known dead singer Michael Jackson never played professional baseball.

8. I shall leave to someone who knows more about movies than I do. It's certainly true that Muppets Most Wanted did film at the Tower of London, and that permission to film inside Royal Palaces is rarely granted.

9. is true. The definitive article on the subject appeared in, oddly, the Wall Street Journal, which is paywalled, but there's a decent summary here.

10. is sort of true. Should there ever be a need for it, it will be for the President of the day to approve a re-design of the flag. The White House undoubtedly has possible designs on file and there are hundreds more on the Internet, but if Mr Trump wanted to design it himself they probably couldn't stop him.

While a 51st state would probably be either DC or Puerto Rico, Newt Gingrich once claimed that if he became President he would propose that it should be the Moon. It wouldn't even be the largest state!

 
Numerophile
1351379.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:54 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Newt Gingrich once claimed that if he became President he would propose that it should be the Moon. It wouldn't even be the largest state!

Huh?

The surface area of the Moon is 14.6 million square miles; the largest state (Alaska) has an area of less than 0.7 million. So in terms of area, it would be about 22 times the size of the next largest.

In terms of population, on the other hand...

 
crissdee
1351383.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:26 am Reply with quote

Re No 9. When I pass on to whatever comes next*, should I be cremated, I can think of few places I would like my ashes scattered LESS than any part of the mouse's kingdom!


*I have a (possibly) strange, secular idea of an afterlife. While I don't believe in a "heaven" or "hell" per se, I would hate to think that this is all we get. I like to think that there is another plane of existence after this one, unaffected by what we have done in the past either "good" or "bad", but just the next stage of what we call "life".

 
tetsabb
1351390.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:05 am Reply with quote

If Trump redesigned the US flag, he would do away with the stars and replace them with his face, wouldn't he?

 
CB27
1351395.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:17 am Reply with quote

Wotsy McWotsitsface...

 
suze
1351425.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am Reply with quote

Numerophile wrote:
Guh?

The surface area of the Moon is 14.6 million square miles; the largest state (Alaska) has an area of less than 0.7 million. So in terms of area, it would be about 22 times the size of the next largest.


Oh, of course it would be. But if we could place the Moon on top of Alaska - conveniently ignoring the rather large crater that this would make - it wouldn't spill over the sides. While the Moon's surface area is plenty larger than any state, its diameter is smaller than Alaska's.

Time to look at another ten:

11. is true. You can see the trademark registration here. It expired in 2004.

12. is true. Until 1823 suicides were buried at crossroads with a stake through them. From that year they were buried in churchyards, but it had to be done between 9 pm and midnight (source). Then cam the Interments (felo de se) Act 1882, which ruled that suicides could be buried in the usual way during daylight hours. This Act was in turn repealed in 1961 when suicide ceased to be illegal.

13. is true. Giraffes are ruminants and have cloven hooves, so they're kosher.

14. is another of the usual suspects in lists of this kind. The act has been filmed, so it's true.

15. was true as of about 2006. Of an estimated 125,000 cranes in the world, 30,000 of them were in Dubai. It looks as if the world's craniest city now may be Toronto.

16. not quite. In Paris of those days, a married women needed her husband's permission to run any kind of business, includinhg a brothel. But that was to be Madam, I can't find any reference to a woman needing her husband's permission to be a mere fille publique.

17. is true. You can buy just about anything out of a vending machine in Japan, and by now there are a handful of egg vending machines at the gates of British farms too. Here is one in Norfolk.

By the by, there was at one time a laptop vending machine at Victoria Station in London. I never saw anyone use it, and I don't think I'd want to buy such a high ticket item from a vending machine.

18. is false. Pierce Brosnan is in fact a smoker, but when he took the role he said that he didn't want Bond to smoke in a movie that children might see. Even so, he did smoke in Die another day. In fact, Daniel Craig is the only Bond who has never smoked on screen, even though Mr Craig is also a smoker.

19. Who can say. Only Google knows for certain, and it's not going to tell us.

20. is true, and President Taylor wasn't poisoned. In fact, he seems to have died of cholera.

 
crissdee
1351430.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:20 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
17. is true. You can buy just about anything out of a vending machine in Japan, and by now there are a handful of egg vending machines at the gates of British farms too. Here is one in Norfolk.


A few years ago, while I was still working for the ticket machine company, and my friends up here were living at their last place which was part of a farm, I offered to go over to the farm to look at a vending machine they had acquired with the intent of turning it into an egg vending machine. It was the father's idea, but unfortunately he contracted what was to be his final illness shortly afterwards, and the scheme got put aside. The sons who now manage the farm seem to have no interest in the idea.

 
suze
1351435.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:14 pm Reply with quote

Did he have the idea for the same reason as the guy in Norfolk?

He didn't really want to stand at the gate all day in case he sold a box of eggs - but if he just left the eggs there with an honesty box, people had a tendency not to be honest.

 
Numerophile
1351441.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:51 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Numerophile wrote:
Guh?

The surface area of the Moon is 14.6 million square miles; the largest state (Alaska) has an area of less than 0.7 million. So in terms of area, it would be about 22 times the size of the next largest.


Oh, of course it would be. But if we could place the Moon on top of Alaska - conveniently ignoring the rather large crater that this would make - it wouldn't spill over the sides. While the Moon's surface area is plenty larger than any state, its diameter is smaller than Alaska's.

Still wrong, I'm afraid!

As I'm sure you're aware, the surface area of a sphere is four times the area of a disc of the same diameter. So if the surface area of the Moon is 22 times that of Alaska, the area of a disc with the diameter of the Moon will still be 5.5 times as big.

If you want to work it out from scratch, the Moon's diameter is 2,159 miles, so that disc would have an area of 3,661,000 square miles; the area of Alaska is 663,268 square miles. Although admittedly that disc couldn't cover both the extremities of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Panhandle, it would be spilling over quite a lot of the Yukon, Russia, and the sea.

 
crissdee
1351454.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:35 pm Reply with quote

@suze. Something along those lines. There was a little wooden shed at the end of the lane next to the road, and I think people were basically honest about it, but it might have been as you say.

 
PDR
1351460.  Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:15 pm Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
A big one will be "Area 51" in Nevada, and I'm guessing that China and Russia have their share of places they don't want people looking at, (more than their share if truth be told). It would not overly surprise me if some of the places PDR has plied his trade are on the list as well.


The Americans don't take any great efforts to "hide" Area 51. You're not allowed into the area without an invite, and if you attempt to walk/ride/drive in you will be apprehended and led away before you get to a vantage point overlookig the airfield (if you really try you can get arrested and prosecuted, but it takes a lot of effort). If you try and fly over the place you'll be escorted away, but that's mainly for collision avoidance than anything because it's "range" airspace (like the Woomera Protected Airspace in South Australia, or the GMR range north of Zhukovsky) where there may be air vehicles which are unable to adequately "see/sense and avoid" anything else that was there.

But the lower-resolution google earth pictures include all these paces because they are taken by satellites and frankly you can't stop them. It's only the high-res images which are taken by survey aircraft which won't exist for these areas because they don't let them overfly. Of course the same thing applies to lots of areas - there are whole countries where the high-resolution imagery is banned. Many middle- and far-eastern countries are quite sensitive on this subject.

PDR

 
suze
1351499.  Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am Reply with quote

21. is claimed as true here, but I'm skeptical.

That article asserts that the gun in question was a ".45 Colt British service revolver". The Colt 45 was an American bullet, which makes it an unlikely choice for a British service revolver. Wouldn't Bond's original service weapon have been a Webley, just as Dr Watson's was?

22. appears to be true.

23. has already been covered upthread, and is false.

24. is true, although in practice the law is not enforced. A tattooist who is not a doctor is operating illegally, but the police only bust him if they really don't like him.

25. has already been covered upthread and is an exaggeration, but Central Park is indeed larger than Monaco.

26. seems to be an exaggeration too. The Taj Mahal's first ever full clean began in 2016 and is not yet finished, but it is not expected to take nine years.

27. is a definite maybe. There was a fellow known as Yasuke, probably originally from East Africa, who is claimed by some sources to have been created a samurai. He wasn't quite a slave when he arrived in Japan, although being the personal servant of a Jesuit missionary probably wasn't that far up from slaveness. Whether he was a full on samurai, or just this guy who had somehow ingratiated himself, is disputed.

Japanese legend tells of an earlier samurai called Katsunari who was Italian, but historians tend to think that he never really existed. The first few "undisputed" foreign samurai were Korean.

28. is true.

29. is basically true, although it was the United States Army Air Corps. It hired Bausch and Lomb to invent Ray-Bans in 1929, and didn't become the United States Army Air Force until 1941. (It then got its independence from the Army as the United States Air Force in 1947.)

30. is false. 2,471 Americans lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, 1,482 in Alaska. (source)

 

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