Magazine

100 things we didn't know last year

Girl looking at a goldfish Image copyright Thinkstock

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.

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2. Traditionally, police horses in England's Thames Valley force can be called Odin, Thor or Hercules, but not Brian.

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3. Barack Obama calls David Cameron "bro".

Find out more (Time)

4. The first sports bra was made from two jockstraps.

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5. One in 10 of Britain's train carriages still flush toilet waste straight on to the railway tracks.

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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.

Find out more (Washington Post)

7. You don't have to speak French to become French-language Scrabble world champion.

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8. Kolo Toure, the Ivory Coast and Liverpool defender, hasn't touched his own dog for seven years.

Find out more (Metro)

9. An egg can be unboiled.

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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.

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11. A 51-year-old software engineer named Bryan Henderson has edited Wikipedia 47,000 times to remove the ungrammatical term "comprised of".

Find out more (Backchannel)

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12. Buzz Aldrin claimed $33.31 in travel expenses connected to his trip to the moon.

Find out more (Daily Telegraph)

13. Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond once played a ghost in a Bollywood soap opera.

Find out more (Buzzfeed)

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.

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15. Roughly 56% of average monthly earnings in Malawi are spent on mobile phone charges, compared with about 0.11% in Macau, China.

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16. Quentin Tarantino still records films from TV on VHS cassettes.

Find out more (Independent)

17. Lollipop men and ladies who "high five" pedestrians may be breaching official protocol.

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18. Squid can fly - but they tend to do it under cover of darkness.

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19. It's possible to trick the brain into thinking it can hear Mariah Carey sing All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Find out more (New Scientist)

20. King Arthur may have been Glaswegian.

Find out more (The National)

21. A man-sized lobster lived 480 million years ago.

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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.

Find out more (Financial Times)

23. Vicars and priests have the highest job satisfaction of all UK workers.

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24. Narwhals' long tusks - an exaggerated front tooth used for courtship - are super-sensitive.

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Image copyright John Murphy

25. There is only one concert grand piano in Gaza.

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26. Boston in Lincolnshire is one of the most neurotic places in Great Britain while Orkney is one of the least.

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27. Michael Jackson made a series of prank calls to Russell Crowe.

Find out more (Guardian)

28. Breaking Bad is the show people most often lie about having watched.

Find out more (Radio Times)

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.

Find out more (Daily Mirror)

30. People who swear have larger vocabularies.

Find out more (Toronto Sun)

31. The Queen likes to have her pre-lunch gin and Dubonnet in front of BBC Two's The Daily Politics.

Find out more (Daily Mail)

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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.

Find out more (New York Times)

33. There is little international trade in onions - about 90% are consumed in their country of origin.

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34. Chewing something can partially excise earworms - songs that stick in the mind.

Find out more (the Times)

35. Former UK Liberal Democrat party leader Lord Ashdown told his successor that he used to eat hedgehogs.

Find out more (Evening Standard)

36. In north-eastern England, Conservative candidates used to wear red, Liberals blue and Labour green rosettes until the 1970s.

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37. Larry King tweets by calling a dedicated voicemail, which is listened to by an assistant who then transcribes his thought to Twitter.

Find out more (Vox)

38. Mali has two tax rates - 3% and 30% - and you might be asked which you'd rather pay.

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39. The world's favourite colour is blue.

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40. Radiohead's Thom Yorke appears on the front of an Iranian self-help book about marital and sex problems.

Find out more (Daily Mirror)

41. Tom Cruise advised Nasa on how to design their website.

Find out more (Daily Telegraph)

42. Drug dealers in Marseille offer loyalty cards.

Find out more (The Local)

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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.

Find out more (AsapSCIENCE)

44. The chances of a successful bank robbery are higher in the morning - but it's also among the least lucrative crimes.

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45. Iceland has the world's happiest gay men.

Find out more (Planet Romeo)

46. Chinese authorities consider the phrase "your mum" too coarse for the internet.

Find out more (Bloomberg)

47. There are only three non-gentrifying neighbourhoods in New York City.

Find out more (Gawker)

Image copyright AP

48. Reddit has a very detailed 9,000-word guide to the dos and don'ts of giving away Game of Thrones spoilers.

Find out more (Reddit)

49. Oliver Cromwell supposedly called the Magna Carta the "Magna Farta" - he didn't like it.

Find out more (New Yorker)

50. Most kangaroos are left-handed.

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51. Marvel Comics stipulates that Peter Parker must be white and straight but Spiderman can be of any ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Find out more (Washington Post)

52. The word "twerk" dates back to 1820.

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53. Heaven exists but hell does not, according to the theology of Sepp Blatter.

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54. UK officials discussed plans to relocate the entire 5.5 million population of Hong Kong to Northern Ireland in 1983.

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55. Three-times F1 world champion Niki Lauda swapped his trophies for unlimited free car washes.

Find out more (Reuters)

56. Playing Tetris for 12 minutes the day after a traumatic event can reduce flashbacks.

Find out more (Smithsonian magazine)

57. There are four main personality types into which people can be categorised when drunk: "Mary Poppins", "Hemingway", "Nutty Professor" and "Mr Hyde".

Find out more (the Drinks Business)

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58. Minions are all male because their creator believed they were too stupid to be female.

Find out more (The Wrap)

59. Nando's is one of the biggest buyers of contemporary South African art.

Find out more (FT)

60. In Ohio, it's illegal to disrobe in front of a man's portrait.

Find out more (Slate)

61. A UK court can determine how short your shorts should be.

Find out more (Caerphilly, Ystrad Mynach and Bargoed Campaign)

62. Butt-dials aren't considered private conversations in the US.

Find out more (Slate)

63. A baby is born on its predicted due date just 4% of the time.

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64. For three months, Leicestershire police didn't investigate attempted burglaries if they occurred at odd-numbered properties.

Find out more (The Times)

65. Reindeer migration is a major live television event in Norway.

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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.

Find out more (Quartz)

67. MI5 erroneously suspected novelist Doris Lessing of running a brothel.

Find out more (Independent)

68. US Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders released a spoken-word folk album in 1987.

Find out more (Dangerous Minds)

69. It is possible to have orgasms in your left foot.

Find out more (New York magazine)

70. The formula for the perfect poohstick is PP = A x I x Cd.

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71. Silk can be made from the solidified saliva of a clam.

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72. Gorillas have individual tastes in music.

Find out more (Discover Magazine Blogs)

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.

Find out more (Psychology Today)

74. The producer who was Gordon the Gopher's puppeteer ended up as the BBC's head of editorial standards.

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75. Bill Cosby was the first choice to play Sam Malone in Cheers, ahead of Ted Danson.

Find out more (Hollywood Reporter)

76. In their spare time, US fighter pilots play a mash-up of pool and rugby called crud.

Find out more (New York Times)

77. Scots have 421 words for snow.

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78. Lies are more convincing when the person telling them needs to urinate.

Find out more (Daily Telegraph)

79. Spotify's shuffle is not truly random but sprinkles different genres evenly across a playlist and alternates songs by the same artist.

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80. The English composer Benjamin Britten wrote a national anthem for Malaysia, only for it to be rejected in favour of a cabaret tune.

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81. Elephants almost never get cancer.

Find out more (Nature News)

Image copyright Getty Images

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.

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83. People who like their coffee black are more likely to be psychopaths.

Find out more (Huffington Post)

84. American toddlers shoot one person a week on average.

Find out more (Washington Post)

85. Biff Tannen's older self, as portrayed in Back to the Future Part II, was based on Donald Trump.

Find out more (Daily Beast)

86. The US used to relocate beavers by parachuting them out of planes.

Find out more (Mashable)

87. Dancing to Gangnam Style could raise people's pain thresholds.

Find out more (Wired)

88. Pregnancies conceived in December have the best chance of success.

Find out more (Netmums)

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89. Men with beards have a greater tendency to hold sexist attitudes than their clean-shaven counterparts.

Find out more (Mental Floss)

90. Footballers have worse teeth than the general population.

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91. It's possible to hallucinate a foreign accent.

Find out more (Brain Decoder)

92. Victoria's Secret Bombshell perfume is almost as good at repelling mosquitoes as commercial insect sprays containing Deet.

Find out more (Daily Beast)

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93. Germaine Greer wrote a 30,000-word love letter to Martin Amis in 1976.

Find out more (the Guardian)

94. You're So Vain definitely is about Warren Beatty (and two other men).

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95. A 17th Century scientist planned to paint the bubonic plague on to hats to create a biological weapon.

Find out more (New Scientist)

96. The Churchill household spent around £1,160 each year on wine, £104,400 in today's money.

Find out more (the Economist)

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97. A cow's flatulence could fill a 55-gallon (250-litre) bag with methane in one day.

Find out more (Grist)

98. It would cost £11,602.25 to send a letter to Mars from the UK.

Find out more (Daily Mirror)

99. Text messages that end with a full stop are seen to be less sincere than those that don't.

Find out more (Wired UK)

100. Employees who say they love following the rules are the ones who are most likely to be fired for breaking them.

Find out more (New York Magazine)

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