In 2011 I resolved to learn something new every day. Sadly, I didn’t. In fact, I probably forgot more things than I learned, which leaves me at a net loss for 2011. I’m hoping to recoup some of this in 2012. Here are some of the fascinating facts I learned in 2011:
7. The Scottish term ‘ned’ is actually an acronym derived from Non-Educated Delinquent.
10. The phrase ‘get ducks in a row’ means to get one’s affairs in order or organized.
12. Five rovers have been sent to Mars: Mars 2, Mars 3, Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity. Only Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity have been successful. Only Opportunity is still communicating.
13. AFAIK is internet slang for as far as I know.
14. Most British bread is made from American wheat.
16. I learnt how to tie a ‘lark’s head’ knot.
27. Robbie Burns didn’t treat women very well.
28. Finland, with 179,584 islands, has the most in the world.
5. Faustina Asprilla owns a second division Columbia club called Athetico Faustino Asprilla.
20. Someone who studies snakes is called a Herpetologist.
21. One of the girls on the cover of the Smashing Pumpkins album Siamese Dream has now become a bass player in the band.
24. Iceland’s Prime Minister is a lesbian.
4. Rembrant supposedly painted more self-portraits than any other artist.
14. Micahelangelo designed the swiss guard’s uniform.
15. Napoleon designed the Italian flag.
16. Your kidneys clean all your blood every 4 minutes.
17. It’s not just Paddy’s day, it’s also the anniversary of the reunification of Italy.
24. A rattle snake’s rattle is there to distract attention away from the fangs.
25. Tennesse Williams is a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D Roseavelt, George W Bush.
27. Scientists once believed in a planet called Vulcan, that was invisible from Earth and supposedly effected Mercury’s orbit.
28. Tennesse Williams was called Tennesse as a term of ridicule at school, because of his extremely strong accent.
4. George Washington never lived in Washington.
6. Godfather author, Mario Puzo, wrote the screenplay for Superman I & II.
11. There are approximately 9,500 Greek islands, of which only 227 are inhabited and only 70 have more than 100 inhabitants.
12. May 5th of 1961, Alan Shepard became the second person — and first American — to enter space, just three weeks after Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth.
13. Butterflies taste with their feet. A butterfly’s sense of taste is coordinated by chemoreceptors on their tarsi (lowest part of leg) and works only on contact. It is used to determine whether an egg-laying insect’s offspring will be able to feed on a leaf before eggs are laid on it.
18. You can use the Fibonicci sequence to convert miles to kilometers.
19. Marie Antoinette never said ‘Let them eat cake’.
Potatoes have more Vitamin C than an orange. [This turned out to be false.]
21. Children of identical twins are first cousins by law but half siblings genetically. And if a pair of identical males were to marry a pair of identical females and have children, all children would genetically be full siblings regardless of which couple was their “real” parents.
22. Over — I have finished talking and I am listening for your reply. Short for “Over to you.”
23. The Winlevoss twins in The Social Network were played by one guy.
1. There’s no such thing as a jellyfish.
2. Denmark is the happiest country in the world.
5. Marlon Brando had 13 children.
6. J.D. Salinger Landed on the Normandy beaches with an unfinished draft of Catcher in the Rye in his pocket.
7. The red juice in raw red meat isn’t blood. Red meats, such as beef, are composed of quite a bit of water. This water, mixed with a protein called myoglobin, ends up comprising most of that red liquid.
8. The War Studies students at King’s College London compete against the Peace Studies students from the University of Bradford in an annual football match called the Tolstoy Cup.
9. Only 9.5% of the United Arab Emirates’ population are Arab.
10. 50% of the population of Uganda is under 15.
12. Denver has more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks coffee shops.
25. A thundercloud weighs 1.1 million tons.
26. Scottish banknotes aren’t actually legal tender in England.
27. Coke goes flat in approximately 34 minutes.
28. God creating Adam on the Sistine Chapel looks like a human brain.
29. Less than 1% of the world’s languages have the American “r” sound.
1. Kill Bill was the first Quentin Tarantino movie to use “the f-word” less than 100 times.
2. The dot used in lowercase “i” and “j” is called a tittle.
20. In a survey conducted in two provinces of Afghanistan, 92% of people aged 15-30 had never heard of the events of 9/11.
21. The first recorded usage of the word ‘swagger’ is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
4. More people die a year from falling coconuts than shark attacks.
5. Women didn’t get the right to vote in Switzerland until 1971.
6. A tortoise from the HMS Beagle’s 1835 expedition was given to the Australian Zoo. She died in 2006.
7. The highest recorded temperature on Earth was 136°F (57.8°C) in 1922 in Aziziya, Libya.
8. Shell gas actually started out selling shells.
9. Brazil is home to the largest population of Japanese people outside of Japan- more than both America and Canada.
12. Mount Everest is growing by 2.4 inches per year.
13. A first class ticket on the Titanic cost $4,375 in 1912 (almost $100,000 today).
14. Mosquitoes have killed more than half the humans that ever lived.
15. Henry Ford was given the Grand Cross of the German Eagle by the Nazis.
16. It’s called a “second” because it’s the second division of an hour by sixty.
[P.S. Most of these were from reddit, so there’s no need to point that out.]