24 FACTS WE LEARNT IN 2007:
1. Saddam Hussein’s codename while in US custody in 2004/5 was “victor”
2. The word “jaywalking” came from the US slang “jay”, a term popular in the early 20th century meaning a rustic newcomer unfamiliar with city ways.
3. Astronauts wear nappies during launch and re-entry because they can’t stop what they’re doing should they need to urinate.
4. Adults use maths skills 14 times daily on average and literacy skills 23 times a day.
5. Chimpanzees make their own spears for hunting.
6. Martina Navratilova has spent four years secretly working as an artist.
7. Drinking, drug-taking teenagers are in the decline, according to a survey by the information centre.
8. There is mobile phone reception from the summit of Mount Everest.
9. Kryptonite exists. A new mineral matching its unique chemistry-has been identified in a mine in Serbia.
10. Peanuts can be made into diamonds. Peanut butter is being turned into diamonds by scientists with a technique that harnesses pressures higher than those found at the centre of the earth.
11. Domestic cats can trace their descent to the Middle East. A study suggests the progenitors of today’s cats split from their wild counterparts more than 10,000 years ago- much earlier than once thought.
12. Antony and Cleopatra were ugly. A study of 2,000-year-old silver coin found in the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by Elizabeth taylor, had pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.
13. CDs were nearly called mini-racks. The first compact disk was produced exactly 25 years ago in a factory in Germany after years of development by Philips and Sony.
14. Left-handed people are called sinistral. Scientists say many excel in supports like tennis, baseball, cricket and swimming.
15. There are seventeen surviving versions of the Magna Carta – or 17 Magnae Cartae.
16. Books used to be bound in human skin. A book alleged to be bound in the skin of a Jesuit preist executed over the 1605 Gunpowder Plot was sold at an auction.
17. Sleeping on the job is tolerated in Japanese work culture, as long as you remain upright and obey certain other rules. It’s called inemuri.
18. The word Blighty comes from “bilayti”, the urdu for homeland.
19. Until the late 1990’s the RAF’s Nuclear bombs could be activated using a bicycle lock key.
20. Cats can be police constables. Cat were recruited to patrol station to keep it rodent-free.
21. King Tut had buck teeth. Archaeologists placed it in a climate-controlled case inside his tomb in luxor’s valley of the kings.
22. Ip address will ru out in 2010. A new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years.
23. The romans had roadmaps. The tabula peutingeriana is one of the Austrian National Library’s greatest treasures shows the network of main Roman roads from Spain to india.
24. Osama Bin Laden is known to fellow Jihadists as Abu Abdullah.