Thursday, 4 April 2013

Astonishing Things You Never Knew

The original Fozzy Bear from the Muppets is now used as the Standard International Kilogram, and kept in an airless canister in the International Bureau for Weights and Measures in Paris. Due to shedding, it gets c 4µg lighter every year.

The entire population of Slovenia is left-handed, except for foreigners and a man called "Roger", which means "Righty" in Serbo-Croat.

The first generation of interballistic missiles were guided by cats, who were trained to be attracted to specific Eastern European cities. A large tabby called Geordi, for example, was trained always to be attracted to Gdansk. In the event of World War 3, the Western effort could have been seriously derailed by a Soviet spy  armed with a tin of anchovies.

Due to Continental Drift and peat drying out, Peterborough gets three feet closer to King's Lynn every year. Nobody is very happy about this - especially the people of Wisbech, who are wondering where the end of it all will be.

When archaeologists dug up the skeleton of Goliath of Gath, he was only 5'11", leading experts to conclude that the ancient Israelites were on the short side.

The future Pope Francis and Margaret Thatcher met at an international Chemistry Graduates' convention in 1954. When Margaret licked a litmus paper, it went blue.

The Moomintroll stories were originally based on a family of hippos living in the Zambezi. When Nordic crime stories became popular, the author cashed in.

St Paul's injunction on women speaking in church was a reaction to his mother and Peter's mother-in-law being in his congregation. They would sit at the back, discussing which of Peter and Paul had the best job during sermons.

The composer Engelbert Humperdinck was originally called Ernest Hemingway. Needing a new stage name to avoid confusion with the author, he chose the name of a young singer, who he never thought would amount to anything.

Swallows fly south in autumn, because their beaks are magnetised.

Averaged over a three-year period, wind turbines are a pointless eyesore.

"Noggin the Nog" is illegal in Norway and Iceland. But compulsory in Sweden.

The "Lambeth Walk" was originally the official method of walking procession used in Southwark Cathedral for four centuries. It was abolished when all churches in south London adopted the Sarum Rite.

Mother Julian was a pretty handy brick-layer, with just one flaw. She could never remember which was "outside".

The male cast of "Last of the Summer Wine" was entirely made up of people who failed in the last round of Papal Elections.

Bluebottles are allergic to lint.

Of the 48 strains of Influenza known, three can only be caught from reindeer.

The best way to keep religion out of politics (and vice versa) would be to build a church on the Moon. And then not fly anybody up to it.


  1. You missed 1st of April but I am sooo glad you posted it anyway.
    I'd love a copy of your Encyclopaedia some time, your world is so much more interesting than (the real one) mine.
    A true gem Archdruid.

  2. I am profoundly grateful to learn such useful trivia, but I think you may have made a mistake. Even in the Beaker universe, I can't believe Margaret Thatcher's saliva was alkaline.


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