For a bit of fun, I thought I would share with you some random facts and explanations I’ve found from searching across this, here, interweb.
1. Apples are more effective than caffeine at keeping a person awake.
It’s true! A lot of people may ask how an apple can be as good as caffeine. But it’s not about the actual food. The effort of biting into the apple and chewing on it is enough to make you feel awake.
2. Belgians have tried to deliver mail by cats. It didn’t work.
It was the year 1879 in a place called Liège that Belgians decided to train up 37 cats to deliver letters. Anyone who knows cats will know that training cats to do most things is near impossible and even if you can, they won’t always do it on command the way you can train dogs. So naturally it failed, the cats were too disobedient.
Other animals that have been used over the years are camels (in the Australian outback), dogs (pulling sleds in Alaska and Canada) and pigeons. The latter is probably the closest we’re going to get to pretending we’re in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
3. A female dude is actually called a dudine.
For a long time I (and many others) have considered the word dudette to be a suitable female alternative to dude, and naturally, we are wrong. The word dude originates in America with early definitions of ‘a man excessively concerned with his clothes, grooming and manners’. Over the years the definition has been adjusted and has a few different meanings. Female variants of the word are dudine and dudess, though dudette has become an acceptable version as it’s been used so much.
4. There are more mobile (cell) phones than people in the USA.
So says the Washington Post, and it’s hard to disbelieve them. Mobile (or cellular) phones are popular and with the introduction of smart phones some years ago, carrying a wireless device is becoming increasingly popular. So much so, that in 2011 the number of mobile devices reached 327.6 million, overlapping the 315 million population of the US (and territories). I suppose even when some people don’t own a phone, there are others who have two or three for work purposes. It’s a crazy world we live in, but it’s also an ever connected world. It wouldn’t surprise me if this number has increased since 2011, or if other countries are in similar states.
5. There are more sheep than humans in New Zealand
Following on from the phones in the US, this is one of my favourite random facts. The number of sheep in New Zealand is more than the number of people. In all fairness, it’s quite a small country when you look at the population. In 2011 there are over 4 million New Zealanders, and over 30 million sheep. That is quite a difference in population. In fact, to put it into further context, Australia has not many more than 22 million. If you added up the population of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you still have to triple it to be anywhere near New Zealand’s sheep population. That’s an awful lot of sheep.
6. Louis XIV owned 413 beds.
For some reason, Louis really loved staying in bed (something which I’m sure many people would agree with). He even supposedly held Royal Court in his bedroom. I’m not sure beds of his era were even that comfortable, at least not in comparison with today’s fancy mattresses. All the same, if Louis spent every night in a different bed he would have one year, one month (of 30 days), two weeks and four days in different beds before he would have to use the same bed twice. I’m not sure about you, but I’m awfully fond of my own bed and would rather not have to change beds too often.
7. When Shakespeare moved to his new home he called it New Place.
Some people opt for names like Dove Cottage, The Granary or The Nook. In fact, naming your house goes back a long way to the days of manor houses and castles. It wasn’t until 1765 that the numbering of houses was introduced, probably for the best considering the number of houses we have. Nowadays people choose names for their homes to improve on their character or for the fun of being able to call a house by its name. When Shakespeare moved to his new home he gave it the very simple name of New Place. Well, it does what it says on the tin. I wonder what happened after a decade living there, do you think he renamed it Old Place?
8. There is such thing as an exclamation comma and a question comma.
This is news to me! Apparently, just because you’re excited about something, doesn’t mean you need to end a sentence. It makes sense. Sometimes a word needs an exclamation and yet, it doesn’t need to be the final word in a sentence (I’m forever asking questions that end mid-sentence and never knew what to do with the,). Insert the exclamation comma. Perfect. Except, how does one create one on a computer keyboard? (I did attempt to find one in the symbols section of Microsoft Word but was unable to, perhaps a sign that, whilst useful, the exclamation and question commas are in the same place as Shakespeare – no longer living.)
9. Refrigerated rubber bands last longer.
I wish I had more to say on the matter, but the fact is, I don’t. It is what it is. Try it and see. Freezing them also works, apparently. Don’t quote me on that though, I haven’t actually tried to do so.
10. Someone living in New York could eat out every night of their lives and never eat at the same place twice.
I haven’t checked this fact as I can’t find an exact figure on the number of places to eat. But what I have found is big enough. On Trip Advisor alone there are 10,600 establishments listed that serve food. That’s enough to last a person for almost 30 years. USA Today’s travel tips suggest that Manhattan has a whopping 3500+ restaurants, from top class posh nosh to the cheap and nasty; whilst Brooklyn has around 800. I’m not sure who is the most accurate, but whatever number there is, it would take you a few years to get around them all – whether that’s every day from your child’s birth to the day they start middle school or from your birth to the day you die.
*NB: I cannot guarantee the reliability of all of these facts or the information I have found across the internet. I’ve only done my best to find facts which appear to be somewhat trustworthy.