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Fifty Amazing, (but Completely Useless), Facts

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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.

 
crissdee
1361998.  Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:04 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
suze wrote:
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. 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


Just for the sake of completeness, if anyone but me is interested, here is an example of things going the other way.

 
Brock
1368082.  Sun Dec 13, 2020 11:49 am Reply with quote

If this is the thread for debunking "fascinating facts", I'd be interested to know how many of the following are true in a list of "39 surprising things Queen Elizabeth II owns". I don't think it's anything like 39!

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/39-surprising-things-queen-elizabeth-ii-owns?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB

Here are my judgements:

1. "All the Swans on the River Thames" - false. She only owns the ones not owned by the Vinters and Dyers livery companies, as determined at the annual "swan-upping" ceremony (see https://www.royal.uk/swans ).

2. "A Pair of Dorgis" - true, I assume.

3. "All the Dolphins in the United Kingdom" - not sure. A 1324 statute is cited which classes whales and sturgeons as "royal fish". Wikipedia says that the definition was extended to porpoises and dolphins in Ireland, but not elsewhere.

4. "Nearly All of London's Regent Street" - only true in a technical sense. As the article says, it's part of the Crown Estate, which though legally owned by the Queen is effectively Government property.

5. "Half of the UK's shoreline" - Crown Estate (see 4).

6. "Six Royal Residences" - two of them belong to the Queen personally, but the others are Crown Estate.

7. "More than 200 Launer Handbags" - true as far as I know.

8. "A private ATM" - surely this belongs to Coutts Bank rather than the Queen? (Coutts Bank, being part of RBS group, is now largely taxpayer-owned, but that's incidental.)

9. "The Best Seat in the House at Wimbledon" - false. The Royal Box belongs to the All-England Club; the Queen and other guests have to be invited (see https://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/about_wimbledon/royal_box.html ).

10. "The Tower of London" - again, only true in a technical sense. "The palaces in Historic Royal Palaces’ care are all owned by The Queen 'in Right of Crown'. This means that Her Majesty holds the palaces in Trust for the next monarch and by law cannot sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any interest in the palaces" (see https://www.hrp.org.uk/about-us/history-of-historic-royal-palaces/#gs.nfp98t ).

11. "150,000 Works of Art (Many of them Priceless)" - held in trust, as the article says.

12. "Queen Victoria's Sketchbook" - as 11 (I assume).

13. "A Winning Team of Race Horses" - true as far as I know.

14. "A Car Collection Worth More Than $10 Million" - true as far as I know.

15. "A Tiara Covered in 1333 Diamonds" - presumably held in trust (it was made for George IV).

16. "A Massive Fabergé Collection" - true as far as I know.

17. "Westminster Abbey" - it's a "royal peculiar", which means it's responsible directly to the Queen rather than to any diocese. Does that mean that the Queen owns it? I didn't think so, but I'm not sure who does.

18. "Hyde Park" - part of the Royal Parks, hereditary possessions of the Crown. Since they're technically private property, I'll let them have this one.

19. "A Gold Record" - true, and actually quite surprising!

20. "A Bat Colony" - in Balmoral Castle, so presumably true.

21. "The World's Largest Clear-Cut Diamond" - part of the Crown Jewels, owned by the Queen "in right of the Crown".

22. "Three Crown Dependencies" - self-governing possessions of the British Crown. Does the Queen "own" them? Could she sell Jersey to France if she was a bit hard up? I don't think so.

23. "An Aberdeen Angus Cow" - true, I imagine.

24. "Two Tortoises From the Seychelles" - true.

25. "Her Own Flag" - true, but so what? I could create my own flag if I wanted to.

26. "Four Guinness World Records" - surely not. She holds the record for world's oldest reigning monarch, she doesn't own it. When she dies it'll automatically pass on to Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei (according to Wikipedia).

27. "A Gold Blue Peter Badge" - I can believe that!

28. "The British Seabed" - Crown Estate (see 4)

29. "An Offshore Wind Farm" - ditto

30. "The Continental Shelf" - ditto

31. "All of Scotland's Gold Mines" - Crown Estate Scotland

32. "25,000 Acres of Forest" - Crown Estate

33. "Trafalgar Square" - ditto

34. "Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress" - part of the Royal Collection, held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the nation. It is not owned by her as a private individual (see https://www.royal.uk/the-royal-collection ).

35. "Henry VIII's Armour" - ditto.

36. "Queen Elizabeth II's Own Tartan" - true, I suppose, as it can only be worn with the Queen's permission.

37. "Millions of Square Feet of Retail Space" - Crown Estate

38. "A Baptismal Font" - Royal Collection

39. "A National Collection of Mulberries" - in the garden at Buckingham Palace, and planted at the Queen's personal request, but clearly not her personal property, as the word "national" indicates!

 
Efros
1368091.  Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:42 pm Reply with quote

It's a mental floss piece so not worth the paper it wasn't written on.

 
Brock
1368097.  Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:34 pm Reply with quote

It was one of those things that Firefox gave me that are "recommended by Pocket". I don't usually take much notice of them but occasionally browse some of the articles if I'm bored. If they're all as inaccurate as that one I don't think I'll bother any more!

 
duglasbell@hotmail.co.uk
1388003.  Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:59 am Reply with quote

Here are 50 more facts doing the rounds online:

1. Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Colorado all have higher average snowfall than Alaska.

2. In Hungary the word 'hello' can also mean 'goodbye'.

3. King James II of Scotland is the last twin to succeed to any British throne.

4. Crocodiles are known to exist in the Sahara desert.

5. Gorillas are famous for picking up frogs and then petting them.

6. MI6's Q branch developed an exploding safe to destroy any secret documents quickly.

7. Croatia has its own sphinx, brought to Split by a Roman emperor.

8. Before 1925, in the field of astronomy, a date began at noon rather than midnight.

9. The Atacama experienced a rare period of rainfall in 2015, resulting in colourful flowers blooming all over the desert.

10. The Taj Mahal has been camouflaged three times - in World War Two, in 1971 and after 9/11.

11. You can take a train from Vancouver, British Columbia to Vancouver, Washington, USA.

12. In Uganda, children who lose their teeth give them to a Tooth Rat rather than a Tooth Fairy.

13. The first VCR was made in 1956 and was the size of a piano.

14. NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars has a built in oven.

15. The Arab world's only Jewish museum is in Casablanca.

16. All letters addressed to Santa in the US go to Santa Claus, Indiana.

17. Tom Cruise split with all three wives when they were 33.

18. When Queen Elizabeth II took King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia for a ride in her Land Rover on the Balmoral estate she drove so fast that he implored his translator to tell her to slow down and concentrate on the road.

19. When filming Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Ewan McGregor kept imitating the noise of the light sabre during his fights.

20. The first German to die in World War Two died in combat whilst leading Chinese fighters.

21. In 585 BC a solar eclipse occurred in the middle of a battle between the Lydians and the Medes - they promptly ceased fighting and signed a peace treaty.

22. Fire fighting and kite flying were featured events at the 1900 Olympics.

23. Juneau is larger than the entire state of Delaware.

24. St. Edward's Crown has only been used by six monarchs since the restoration of 1660.

25. A steep learning curve means that the subject is easy to learn - not hard.

 
Efros
1388007.  Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:19 pm Reply with quote

Number 20 is an interesting one, it seems to refer to the death of a German killed by the Japanese in China in 1937, before the axis powers tripartite agreement in 1940. The date of the start of WWII pretty much depends on who you talk to, most will agree to 1939. Some will take it as far back as 1935 and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.

 
duglasbell@hotmail.co.uk
1388011.  Sat Aug 21, 2021 12:43 pm Reply with quote

In addition:

26. Guinea-pigs and hamsters will happily eat their own young if stressed.

27. The top US Navy command was called CINCUS.

28. Israel is the only country to revive an unspoken language and use it as its national tongue.

29. Over 70% of Haiti's beaches are still virgin.

30. The letter A is an upside-down ox-head - its from an ancient Egyptian symbol of an ox.

31. It is illegal in Salem, WV to eat candy less than half an hour before church service.

32. The urine of ginger-haired boys was prized in medieval Europe for making stained glass.

33. Tiramisu literally means 'pick-me-up' because two of its ingredients are coffee and cocoa.

34. Until 1954 stop signs were yellow.

35. The largest brick building in the Americas is located on an uninhabited island 68 miles west of Key West.

36. The 20th of September is an official holiday in China called 'Love Your Teeth Day'.

37. When a male bee climaxes its testicles explodes and it dies.

38. Space invaders was so popular it Japan that it is reported that it caused a national coin shortage.

39. A tiger's legs are so powerful that they can remain standing even when dead.

40. Professors during the Vietnam War inflated students' grades in order to help them avoid the draft.

41. A month after the atomic bomb struck Hiroshima Typhoon Ada struck the prefecture killing c. 2000 people.

42. All astronauts have to learn how to speak Russian and all cosmonauts have to learn how to speak English.

43. Red is the first colour that a baby sees.

44. Pigeons sometimes backflip when flying.

45. The French used to call their doughnuts Pet de Nonne which means Nun's Farts.

46. Over half the world's cork is produced in Portugal.

47. Hitler's private train was called Amerika.

48. Elephants use dirt as sunscreen.

49. 'Ona' in the Venetian dialect means the female sexual organ or someone who isn't very bright.

50. Hong Kong uses seawater to flush toilets.

 
Efros
1388018.  Sat Aug 21, 2021 2:12 pm Reply with quote

41 is Ida not Ada

 
suze
1388048.  Sun Aug 22, 2021 7:27 am Reply with quote

Ooh, we've not had one of these lists for a little while!

1. is too broadly defined to mean very much. But for instance, yes, Bangor ME seems more snowfall per annum than Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) AK. The High Arctic doesn't see very much precipitation, just as Antarctica doesn't. Anchorage AK gets plenty of snow, though.

2. Hungarians really do use helló, a loan from English - and yes, it can mean either "hello" or "goodbye". It's rather slangy and older Hungarians pretend not to understand it, perhaps in the same register as something like "yo" in English.

They also use szia - pronounced exactly like cya, tho not a loan from English - with the same two meanings. That one is a better bet should you ever be in Hungary. So yes, true.

3. is true.

4. is true. As you'd expect, the crocodiles live at oases - but it is not unknown for dead crocodiles to be found in the sands, suggesting that they don't actually know that they need water. A paper

5. seems only to be mentioned in trivia lists, not serious gorilla sources, so it may be struggling. Goliath spiders, on the other hand, really do keep pet frogs. Frog doesn't taste very nice and frogs eat ants - which spiders find a nuisance - so why not.

6. This was claimed as true in an article in the Daily Telegraph (22 Sep 2010). MI6 isn't given to commenting in public on precisely what it does, so that's probably the best we can do.

7. is true.

8. is true. A statement on the matter from the time

9. is true. I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert, it was once said, but in a flowering in the Atacama occurs about once every five years. A freight train makes its way through the fuchsias in 2015

10. is true.

11. used to be true, but the Cascades train which serves Vancouver WA now runs only between Portland and Seattle.

12. is well known to the Interwebs, though serious sources for it appear thin on the ground.

13. is true. Photo

14. is true. It's for conducting chemical analyses, not for feeding the Martians.

15. appears to be true, although there is a current proposal to create a Jewish Museum in Alexandria.

From that first third, this particular list of "amazing facts" looks to be rather more firmly based in fact than many such lists which do the rounds.

More later.

 

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