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Fifty Amazing, (but Completely Useless), Facts

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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 This Act was in turn repealed in 1961 when suicide ceased to be illegal.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)

 
crissdee
1351504.  Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:22 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
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?


It might well have been a Webley, but it could have also been in .45 Colt calibre. Being an essentially unarmed nation at the beginning of hostilities, we would take anything we could get while industry caught up with the new demands. One of the many things we were short of was pistol ammunition. The Americans of course had imperial sh*tloads of it, but in US calibres. It was far easier for us to rebore Webleys to take the new ammo, than for the US factories to retool for .455 Webley or .38 Webley, so we got .45 Colt Webleys

 
suze
1351509.  Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:58 am Reply with quote

Thanks crissdee. You will imagine my surprise when it was you who clarified a point about guns, which had a tangential reference to Dr Watson!

Since I don't know much about guns, to me Colt 45 is a strong American beer before it is anything else. While the company that makes the stuff doesn't seriously deny that the beer is named after the bullet, it has a semi-official alternate history for anyone who thinks that isn't how beers ought to be named.

The National Brewing Company which created the beer in 1963 was based in Baltimore. At that time, the NFL team in Baltimore was the Baltimore Colts - and as of 1963, its #45 shirt was worn by one Jerry Hill, a third season running back out of Wyoming. And the beer was, of course, named after him.

Mr Hill is now 80, and lives in retirement next to a golf course in Wyoming. He says that he's not a big drinker, but he's entirely happy to accept the case of product that the brewery sends him every Christmas.

 
crissdee
1351511.  Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:58 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Thanks crissdee. You will imagine my surprise when it was you who clarified a point about guns, which had a tangential reference to Dr Watson!


I imagine that "not very much at all" would cover it!

 
suze
1351521.  Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:29 pm Reply with quote

You imagine correctly!


31. is false. The so-called Adak National Forest is a clump of trees barely large enough to be called a copse, the remnants of a load of Christmas trees planted by the US Navy when it had a base on Adak Island in the 1940s.

The base is long gone, but a few dozen of the Christmas trees survived - and some local wag erected a sign referring to them as a "National Forest". This was a joke. You can see the entire "forest" and its sign here.

32. sounds like nonsense, and as already noted any such rule in Israel would be more likely to covers Saturdays than Sundays.

33. used to be true. Education in New Zealand is compulsory from the age of 6, but it is funded from the age of 5 and it used to be common for children to start school immediately on their 5th birthday.

The government now prefers the cohort system whereby children only start school at the beginning of a term. The old ways are still in use in parts of the country, but it's probably not "most" any more. (source)

34. is true.

35. is true. The point was that Germany was flooding the British market with cheap tat bearing copied British branding. That led to the Merchandise Marks Act 1887, which required such items to be marked with the country of origin.

36. is a half truth. It's a circus more than a theatre, but it really exists and most of the performing animals are cats. The "ringmaster" is human though, and there are also a handful of dogs.

37. is true. After all, American courts have heard cases far more ridiculous than claims to own Mars - but bizarre cases are rarely successful, and the Yemenis didn't win theirs.

38. is false, as mentioned upthread and several times previously on these forums.

39. is probably true. Anyone who really knows the details of Premier Mao's ablutionary practices probably isn't going to talk, but - outside the urban elite - Chinese people mostly don't brush their teeth. There have been recent campaigns advocating toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dentists - but many Chinese don't trust such Western ideas.

40. is true. Antarctica is a desert, as we all know.

 
Big Martin
1351525.  Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:12 am Reply with quote

22 is not true. UC-78 was rammed and sunk by by the British steamer Queen Alexandra on 9 May 1918.

 
suze
1351552.  Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:20 am Reply with quote

Ooh, good work Big Martin! Score lots of points, as we had into the home straight and the final ten questions.

41. is true.

42. is false. There is indeed a post office inside the Khewra salt mine in Pakistan, but there is also one inside the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland. There is possibly a third in China.

43. is a half truth, as noted upthread. John Lennon did adopt vegetarianism for a time, but unlike the other three Beatles he returned to meat.

44. is true. He got the idea from Friedrich II (Frederick the Great), who also had a saddle-shaped office chair.

45. is true.

46. is false. Hockey and lacrosse are both the national sport of Canada.

47. is more or less true. State Religious Affairs Bureau Order #5 (2007), which requires permission for reincarnation, applies only to designated schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The point here is that Beijing wants to be sure that the Dalai Lama is someone "suitable".

48. rather depends how you define a "lake". Finland defines a lake as being at least 500 square meters in area, and under that definition it has 187,888 of them. But it does not dispute that under just about any definition, Norway has more.

49. is true. It's Law #108.

50. is true-ish. It was the first baby to be born at the hospital where TV cameras were waiting for such an event, and was actually born a few minutes before independence. But the mother did indeed tell the TV cameras that she would call her baby the local language equivalent of Independent.

 

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