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100 things we didn't know last year

00:00 UK time, Tuesday, 1 January 2008

100_things3_07_416.jpgThe most interesting and unexpected facts can emerge from the daily news stories and the Magazine documents some of them in its weekly feature, 10 things we didn't know last week. To kick off 2008, here are some of the best of last year.

1. Coach travel is the safest form of road transport in the country.
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2. Saddam Hussein's codename while in US custody in 2004/5 was "Victor".
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3. Adding milk to tea negates the health-giving effects of a hot brew.
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4. 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.
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5. Cloudy apple juice is healthier than clear, containing almost double the antioxidants which protect against heart disease and cancer.
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6. Dishcloths are purged of 99% of their bacteria during two minutes in a microwave.
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7. A haddock's mating call starts as a slow knocking sound, before turning into a quicker hum similar to a small motorcycle revving its engine.
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8. Newcastle is the noisiest place in England.
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9. The people who built Stonehenge lived at an ancient village in Durrington Walls.
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10. Brazil nuts are seeds encased in an outer shell that weighs more than 1kg.
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11. Astronauts wear nappies during launch and re-entry because they can't stop what they're doing should they need to urinate.
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12. Georgic is a punishment dished out to Eton pupils which involves the copying out of hundreds of lines of Latin.
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13. Tony Blair does not keep a personal diary.
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14. Antony and Cleopatra were ugly.
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15. 10% of university work from across the UK is plagiarised.
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16. Chimpanzees make their own spears for hunting.
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17. Two cups of spearmint tea a day is thought to control excessive hair growth for women.
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18. Burglar alarms, traffic wardens and crowded buses are good news for home owners, signalling an area is on the up.
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19. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosts a daily radio phone-in show.
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20. More than half (52%) of smokers haven't told their parents about their habit.
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21. Only about half of China's population can speak the national language, Mandarin.
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22. The brief flowering of the cherry blossom tree is taken so seriously in Japan that forecasts are used to plan festivals, and travel agents use them to plan tours.
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23. To be found attractive, women should sway their hips and men their shoulders (although researchers call this a "shoulder swagger").
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24. The are 30,000 wild parakeets in London.
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25. Martina Navratilova has spent four years secretly working as an artist.
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26. Harvesting rhubarb in candlelight helps preserve its flavour.
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27. Drinking, drug-taking teenagers are in the decline, according to a survey by the Information Centre.
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28. Designer discount retailer TK Maxx is called TJ Maxx in the US.
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29. The average duvet is home to 20,000 live dust mites.
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30. Serving anything more than tea and biscuits at a political meeting is an offence called "treating" and punishable by a year in prison or an unlimited fine, under the the Representation of the People Act 1893.
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31. There is mobile phone reception from the summit of Mount Everest.
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32. Anti-Americanism began in Paris in the 18th Century.
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33. Female civil servants in India are questioned about their menstrual cycle as part of their appraisal.
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34. Kryptonite exists.
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35. Denmark is the happiest country in Europe; Italy the unhappiest. (The UK was 9th out of 15.)
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36. A water-tight denial by a politician – as opposed to one that leaves room for later manoeuvre - is known as a Sherman pledge. The other sort is called a non-denial denial.
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37. Spiralling obesity rates are forcing councils to upgrade their crematoria, to take wider coffins.
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38. Gerry Adams doesn't own a credit card, so gets a friend to download songs from the internet.
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39. The secret to happiness is accepting misery.
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40. A new three-bedroom house must have at least 38 plug sockets.
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41. There are 1,200 exhumations every year in the UK, but not all of those are part of criminal cases.
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42. Nearly seven out of 10 (69%) of adults are still in touch with at least one childhood friend.
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43. Bernard Manning worked as an armed guard watching over senior Nazis locked up in Berlin’s Spandau prison.
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44. Europe has a vodka belt comprising Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark and Sweden, although the drink is also made in countries such as Britain, France, Italy and Spain.
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45. Domestic cats can trace their descent to the Middle East.
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46. Peanuts can be made into diamonds.
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47. The prime ministerial Jaguar is called Pegasus.
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48. You can be arrested for using someone's wi-fi network without permission.
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49. CDs were nearly called mini-racks.
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50. Left-handed people are called sinistral.
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51. Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems' new leader, once took a road trip across the US with his friend Louis Theroux.
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52. There are 17 surviving versions of the Magna Carta - or 17 Magnae Cartae.
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53. Renowned atheist Professor Richard Dawkins likes singing Christmas carols.
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54. The Australian town of Eucla has its own time zone.
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55. Books used to be bound in human skin.
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56. Eddie Irvine is Britain's wealthiest sports star – beating the Beckhams into second place by £30m.
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57. 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.
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58. The Romans had roadmaps.
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59. The word Blighty comes from "bilayti", the Urdu for homeland.
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60. The Queen took her corgi on honeymoon.
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61. Janet and John were named Alice and Jerry in the United States.
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62. Until the late 1990s, the RAF's nuclear bombs could be activated using a bicycle lock key.
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63. Cats can be police constables.
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64. King Tut had buck teeth.
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65. The Italian Mafia have commandments.
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66. Gun ownership per person in Finland is the third highest in the world.
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67. The brain can turn down its ability to see in order to listen to complex sounds like music.
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68. Of the waste in UK landfills, 0.1% is plastic carrier bags.
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69. Dogs occasionally shoot their owners in the US.
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70. IP addresses will run out in 2010.
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71. An ai is a three-toed sloth from South America (and the word that clinched Paul Allan the title of national Scrabble champion).
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72. Dumbledore is gay.
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73. UN population projections go as far as 2300.
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74. Sheffield FC is the world’s oldest football club.
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75. CO2 emissions from shipping are twice the level of aviation.
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76. George Clooney and Pierce Brosnan have had Bell's Palsy - a nerve condition that can result in paralysis on one side of the face.
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77. Leeches are used as treatment for cauliflower ears.
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78. A bdelloid rotifer is a pond-dwelling organism that has survived 80 million years without sex.
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79. Woodwork lessons are known as "resistant materials" in schools.
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80. Adults use maths skills 14 times daily on average and literacy skills 23 times a day.
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81. The opening bars to the theme tune of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em spelt the title of the series in Morse code.
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82. The children who sang on Pink Floyd's number one hit Another Brick in the Wall (Pt 2) couldn't appear in the video because they didn't hold Equity cards.
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83. Jack Straw has intervened in alleged crimes four times, apprehending a person on three occasions.
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84. On average a UK commuter travels the equivalent of two-and-a-half times around the globe over a full working career.
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85. A 23.8lb baby was born in the US in 1879, but it only survived 11 hours.
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86. There is a monastery in every village in Burma.
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87. Relocating crocodiles doesn't work - they come back.
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88. Deep-voiced men have more children.
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89. Being born without an ear is called microtia.
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90. Chickens can be diagnosed with depression.
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91. In Iceland, 96% of women go to university.
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92. Zsa Zsa Gabor is related to Paris Hilton.
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93. Dinosaurs had creches.
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94. Osama Bin Laden is known to fellow jihadists as Abu Abdullah.
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95. In Ethiopia the start of the year 2000 was celebrated in September.
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96. Bees can detect explosives.
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97. There have been at least two children given the name "Superman" in the UK since 1984.
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98. Prison officers are on average assaulted eight times a day.
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99. Each slug eats twice its body weight a day.
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100. Dogs can have two noses.
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