100 things we didn't know last year
Interesting and unexpected facts from daily news stories are picked out by the Magazine for its weekly feature, 10 things we didn't know last week. Here's a selection of 2015's best.
1. It costs £300 to operate on a constipated goldfish.
2. Traditionally, police horses in England's Thames Valley force can be called Odin, Thor or Hercules, but not Brian.
3. Barack Obama calls David Cameron "bro".
4. The first sports bra was made from two jockstraps.
5. One in 10 of Britain's train carriages still flush toilet waste straight on to the railway tracks.
6. Jamaica, Colombia and Saint Lucia are the only countries in the world where a woman is more likely to be a boss than a man.
7. You don't have to speak French to become French-language Scrabble world champion.
8. Kolo Toure, the Ivory Coast and Liverpool defender, hasn't touched his own dog for seven years.
9. An egg can be unboiled.
10. There are four different ways to pronounce diplodocus, and the way children say it is probably more technically correct than the academics' preferred option.
11. A 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson has edited Wikipedia 47,000 times to remove the ungrammatical term "comprised of".
12. Buzz Aldrin claimed $33.31 in travel expenses connected to his trip to the moon.
13. Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond once played a ghost in a Bollywood soap opera.
14. "Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialised!" is an official slogan of North Korea.
15. Roughly 56% of average monthly earnings in Malawi are spent on mobile phone charges, compared with about 0.11% in Macau, China.
16. Quentin Tarantino still records films from TV on VHS cassettes.
17. Lollipop men and ladies who "high five" pedestrians may be breaching official protocol.
18. Squid can fly - but they tend to do it under cover of darkness.
19. It's possible to trick the brain into thinking it can hear Mariah Carey sing All I Want For Christmas Is You.
20. King Arthur may have been Glaswegian.
21. A man-sized lobster lived 480 million years ago.
22. At Hotel Football, run by ex-Manchester United players, Gary Neville is represented in the bathroom by blackcurrant-extract shampoo while brother Phil is a bar of soap.
23. Vicars and priests have the highest job satisfaction of all UK workers.
24. Narwhals' long tusks - an exaggerated front tooth used for courtship - are super-sensitive.
25. There is only one concert grand piano in Gaza.
26. Boston in Lincolnshire is one of the most neurotic places in Great Britain while Orkney is one of the least.
27. Michael Jackson made a series of prank calls to Russell Crowe.
28. Breaking Bad is the show people most often lie about having watched.
29. The UK's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency does not permit the wearing of colanders on heads in driving licence photos, even for religious reasons.
30. People who swear have larger vocabularies.
31. The Queen likes to have her pre-lunch gin and Dubonnet in front of BBC Two's The Daily Politics.
32. In September 1944 the New York Times explained pizza to its readers and included a rare use of its plural "pizze" - there was an earlier article but it only mentioned pizza in passing.
33. There is little international trade in onions - about 90% are consumed in their country of origin.
34. Chewing something can partially excise earworms - songs that stick in the mind.
35. Former UK Liberal Democrat party leader Lord Ashdown told his successor that he used to eat hedgehogs.
36. In north-eastern England, Conservative candidates used to wear red, Liberals blue and Labour green rosettes until the 1970s.
37. Larry King tweets by calling a dedicated voicemail, which is listened to by an assistant who then transcribes his thought to Twitter.
38. Mali has two tax rates - 3% and 30% - and you might be asked which you'd rather pay.
39. The world's favourite colour is blue.
40. Radiohead's Thom Yorke appears on the front of an Iranian self-help book about marital and sex problems.
41. Tom Cruise advised Nasa on how to design their website.
42. Drug dealers in Marseille offer loyalty cards.
43. The worst times to drink coffee are between 08:00-09:00, 12:00-13:00 and 17:30-18:30. The best is about an hour after waking up, regardless of the time.
44. The chances of a successful bank robbery are higher in the morning - but it's also among the least lucrative crimes.
45. Iceland has the world's happiest gay men.
46. Chinese authorities consider the phrase "your mum" too coarse for the internet.
47. There are only three non-gentrifying neighbourhoods in New York City.
48. Reddit has a very detailed 9,000-word guide to the dos and don'ts of giving away Game of Thrones spoilers.
49. Oliver Cromwell supposedly called the Magna Carta the "Magna Farta" - he didn't like it.
50. Most kangaroos are left-handed.
51. Marvel Comics stipulates that Peter Parker must be white and straight but Spiderman can be of any ethnicity or sexual orientation.
52. The word "twerk" dates back to 1820.
53. Heaven exists but hell does not, according to the theology of Sepp Blatter.
54. UK officials discussed plans to relocate the entire 5.5 million population of Hong Kong to Northern Ireland in 1983.
55. Three-times F1 world champion Niki Lauda swapped his trophies for unlimited free car washes.
56. Playing Tetris for 12 minutes the day after a traumatic event can reduce flashbacks.
57. There are four main personality types into which people can be categorised when drunk: "Mary Poppins", "Hemingway", "Nutty Professor" and "Mr Hyde".
58. Minions are all male because their creator believed they were too stupid to be female.
59. Nando's is one of the biggest buyers of contemporary South African art.
60. In Ohio, it's illegal to disrobe in front of a man's portrait.
61. A UK court can determine how short your shorts should be.
62. Butt-dials aren't considered private conversations in the US.
63. A baby is born on its predicted due date just 4% of the time.
64. For three months, Leicestershire police didn't investigate attempted burglaries if they occurred at odd-numbered properties.
65. Reindeer migration is a major live television event in Norway.
66. Real Paleolithic people, contrary to some of the followers of the fashionable modern diet named after them, appear to have eaten plenty of carbohydrates.
67. MI5 erroneously suspected novelist Doris Lessing of running a brothel.
68. US Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders released a spoken-word folk album in 1987.
69. It is possible to have orgasms in your left foot.
70. The formula for the perfect poohstick is PP = A x I x Cd.
71. Silk can be made from the solidified saliva of a clam.
72. Gorillas have individual tastes in music.
73. The simpler and more repetitive a song's lyrics, the more likely it is to reach number one in the Billboard Hot 100, debut in the top 40 and climb the chart more rapidly.
74. The producer who was Gordon the Gopher's puppeteer ended up as the BBC's head of editorial standards.
75. Bill Cosby was the first choice to play Sam Malone in Cheers, ahead of Ted Danson.
76. In their spare time, US fighter pilots play a mash-up of pool and rugby called crud.
77. Scots have 421 words for snow.
78. Lies are more convincing when the person telling them needs to urinate.
79. Spotify's shuffle is not truly random but sprinkles different genres evenly across a playlist and alternates songs by the same artist.
80. The English composer Benjamin Britten wrote a national anthem for Malaysia, only for it to be rejected in favour of a cabaret tune.
81. Elephants almost never get cancer.
82. Actor Brian Blessed says that he delivered a baby in a park, bit through the umbilical cord and then licked the infant's face clean.
83. People who like their coffee black are more likely to be psychopaths.
84. American toddlers shoot one person a week on average.
85. Biff Tannen's older self, as portrayed in Back to the Future Part II, was based on Donald Trump.
86. The US used to relocate beavers by parachuting them out of planes.
87. Dancing to Gangnam Style could raise people's pain thresholds.
88. Pregnancies conceived in December have the best chance of success.
89. Men with beards have a greater tendency to hold sexist attitudes than their clean-shaven counterparts.
90. Footballers have worse teeth than the general population.
91. It's possible to hallucinate a foreign accent.
92. Victoria's Secret Bombshell perfume is almost as good at repelling mosquitoes as commercial insect sprays containing Deet.
93. Germaine Greer wrote a 30,000-word love letter to Martin Amis in 1976.
94. You're So Vain definitely is about Warren Beatty (and two other men).
95. A 17th Century scientist planned to paint the bubonic plague on to hats to create a biological weapon.
96. The Churchill household spent around £1,160 each year on wine, £104,400 in today's money.
97. A cow's flatulence could fill a 55-gallon (250-litre) bag with methane in one day.
98. It would cost £11,602.25 to send a letter to Mars from the UK.
99. Text messages that end with a full stop are seen to be less sincere than those that don't.
100. Employees who say they love following the rules are the ones who are most likely to be fired for breaking them.
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