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10773.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:06 pm Reply with quote


This man in the shop told me, and I seem to remember learning it long ago in my Chinese studies, that paper was invented by the Chinese.

Of course paper was very different back then, it was hard and thick. The Chinese found that itcould be used for shielding the armies from arrows.

Slowly and surely the managed to produce the same paper in a much lighter manner, and it kept going and going until someone decided to do some painting on one. They found that this was a most excellent way in which to preserve their writings and drawings. (No more of that cave rock wall business)

Finally they brought it down to what it now is and the damn white Europeans stole it from them.

But paper was originally used as body armour.

Source: Chinese man in the bookshop.

Good eyes Jack, how did you manage to read my profanity its so small.

10774.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:09 pm Reply with quote

I have just read, after having scoured the Index of 1421, that on the Cook Voyage there was -on board- a sketch artist by the name of Sydney Parkinson could it be that the city was named after him?

10775.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:09 pm Reply with quote

I only read it by cutting and pasting it and enlarging the font (I was that keen to see what it said- as you can imagine it was a bit disappointing).

10776.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:10 pm Reply with quote

My Dad was known in the Royal Navy during World War II as 'Cat's-Eyes Lloyd' the man with the sharpest eyes in the fleet.

He won a medal for spotting a German warship at night which no one else could see, even with binoculars.

And well done about the paper. That deserves a medal too. Very QI.

10777.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:15 pm Reply with quote

Re 10774.

Sydney, Australia was, I gather, named after Viscount Sydney, Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1787.


10778.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:20 pm Reply with quote


Sydney wasn't named after Sydney parkinson.

The first convict settlement in Sydney was set up by Arthur Phillip in 1788, and he originally named it: New Albion But for some reason it was just changed (Just like George to Uranus) to be named after the British Home Secretary Thomas Townshend. who changed his name to Baron Sydney to pay homage to a relative.

Source: Wikipedia

10780.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:22 pm Reply with quote

I'm going to confess to there being no Chinese man in the bookshop in a few pages time. So brace yourself all. Guilt has ripped it out of me.

Breaks down weeping

I broke Rule one!

10781.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:25 pm Reply with quote

OK. You're forgiven.

10782.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:26 pm Reply with quote

But don't let it happen again

10783.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:26 pm Reply with quote


10792.  Mon Nov 15, 2004 7:16 pm Reply with quote

Belize is the only country in Central America without a Pacific coastline.

It has the longest coral reef in the Western hemisphere.

Its population is estimated to be only a tenth of what it was during the Classic period of Maya civilization.

s: Belize, the Bradt Travel Guide

10821.  Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:04 am Reply with quote

Who knows what a dew pond is? Not me, until today (although I have one in the garden).
High on the chalk downs of Sussex, parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire, reliable natural water supplies are very scarce. Here are found small, generally circular 'dew ponds' surviving apparently unaided despite long-standing use (until a few decades ago) for watering stock. Ponds of similar design, not always on chalk, occur in small numbers in Dorset, Hertfordshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Dew ponds were once popularly believed to be of miraculous origin ('dew' considered a corruption of 'Dieu'), or to be man-made in Neolithic times, or to be literally topped up as much as necessary by periodic heavy dews. These theories were systematically demolished in 1939 by A J Pugsley, whose Dewponds in Fable and Fact surveys their location, design and history and shows that they are, invariably, rain ponds.

A few dew ponds can be proven to be very old, such as Oxonmere on Pewsey Down which is recorded in the Domesday Book. Most were built sometime between the end of the medieval period and the 19th Century, and as late as the 1930s they were still occasionally constructed by professional pond makers. Many are situated below the lip of a rise or next to a road which acts as a catchment, providing some runoff water, but some on the open tops depend on direct rainfall exclusively. Many have gone dry over the years due to lack of maintenance and, now that piped water has replaced them for farm use, grassed-over hollows may soon be all that remain. Those which seem truly everlasting turn out, on inspection, to be old brickholes. These sometimes occur high on the chalk where clay pockets were quarried for local use. The resultant flooded pits were adapted for livestock. This may have given the first dew pond makers the idea, but from then on techniques developed on their own.

10822.  Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:41 am Reply with quote

Quite interesting, Flash, though my researches lead me to believe that the word 'dew' comes originally from the Old Norse for 'dew' which is dogg, rather than Godd.

s: ODE

10823.  Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:45 am Reply with quote

In the course of browsing I also discovered that the word dessert is from the French verb desservir, to clear away the dishes, so dessert is the fruit that happens after that.

Also that the word satellite is from the Latin satelles, satellitis, 'an attendant'.

s: ODE s: ALD

10824.  Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:53 am Reply with quote

I seem to recall a Woody Allen gag about a heavy Jew lying on the grass.

That site has a lot of Quite Interesting stuff about the formation of lakes and ponds generally:

Q: which is Britain's deepest lake? Not Loch Ness but Loch Morar (328m), though Loch Ness has a greater mean depth.

The Norfolk Broads were created by human activity: peat-quarrrying until the end of the 13th century: "Once abandoned, their origins were soon forgotten and, until recent painstaking historical research and detailed corings proved otherwise, they were assumed to be natural features."

Wooden cart wheels used to dry out and shrink during the summer, and in order to swell them enough to fit their metal components properly the carts were left to stand in ponds, which were sometimes lined with brick or flat stones for them to stand on.


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