As we navigate our way cautiously through this period of confusion and uncertainty, I thought I would use this month’s blog to entertain and expand your knowledge! One thing I am really passionate about is information. I love learning new things, soaking up facts and stories like a sponge!
While I do struggle with short term memory issues from the MS, I have developed this amazing ability to actually take on and remember little pieces of interesting but sometimes, rather pointless facts. These nuggets of information can be from conversations, documentaries and in particular over the past few years, books. My family have heard me regurgitate them over and over again, and I am sure there a few of you who know quite a few of them, if not all of them. I have tried my best, when necessary, to ensure the authenticity of all these facts so please bear with me if you disagree. That said, they are all quite interesting and at times, quite amusing.
DID YOU KNOW:
1.) The King of Rock and Roll never performed outside of North America Elvis Presley had one performance in Canada but other than that, he never sang outside the USA.
2.) The Apostle of Ireland, St Patrick, was neither an Irish priest nor was he ever formally canonized by the catholic church – which means he is not a saint – he should only be known as Father Patrick
4.) History’s Cruelest Leader? JOSEPH STALIN – this is based purely on the amount of deaths during his reign which actually supersedes Hitlers’ (around 20 million).
5.) Speaking of Russia – where does the title TZAR or TSAR originate from? The title TSAR is derived from the Latin title for the Roman emperors, CEASAR…it was first used by IVAN IV (otherwise known as – yip – Ivan the TERRIBLE!) because he admired the accomplishments of the most famous Roman ruler – Julius Cea(T)SAR
6.) Plastic surgery was invented and performed during World War 1 to assist with facial injuries caused by shrapnel.
7.) Why is it so offensive to show someone the Middle finger? One story traces it back to the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. As the story goes, French soldiers would cut off the middle finger of captured British archers, thus leaving them unable to sling their arrows. However, when the French failed to capture any bowmen, the British would flash this precious digit to taunt their enemies.
8.)Bluetooth This ground breaking 20th Century technology was actually named after the 10th Century Danish King, Harald Bluetooth. The good king was credited with uniting Denmark and Norway (wirelessly?) – two countries separated by the North Sea. Last bit of interesting information. The Bluetooth logo is a combination of an ancient Scandinavian alphabet of Harald’s initials ᚼ and ᛒ.
9.) Roads from Mainland China into Hong Kong. When Lord Patten (the last Viceroy/Governor of Hong Kong) left Hong Kong in 1997 (after the 100 year lease the British had on Hong Kong with China ended), the new Chinese government had a number of interesting challenges that still continue today. One of the main challenges is driving between Hong Kong and China. While China drive on the right-hand side of the road, Hong Kong drive on the left-hand side of the road. The problem was actually easy to overcome – simply build an incredibly beautiful and simple bridge or flyover that allows you to seamlessly change over. I remember doing this for the first time about 10 years ago.
10.) Youngest language in the world – Afrikaans
11.) Newest country in the world – BOUGAINVILLE – small island granted independence from Papua New Guinea at the end of 2019
12.) Oldest dated and living tree in the world – Methuselah, a 4,845-year-old pine tree in the White Mountains of California.
And to end off…
13.) The deepest point in the ocean on this planet, Challenger Deep in Marian Trench, Pacific Ocean is almost 11km deep! While Mount Everest is nearly 9km higher than sea level, over 5000 people have made it to the top. Less than 10 people have ever made it to Challenger Deep.
So, next time you’re faced with an awkward silence, are in need of an ice-breaker or are playing a general knowledge game, just glance back over this little list and consider yourself a winner!