Oh, and I learned today that I just physically cannot move a pan of boiling water from stove to sink with my bare hands fast enough to avoid being burnt. Indeed, my perception of how fast I can move and how long it takes to be painfully burned are sorely at odds with the reality of the situation. None the less, next time I'm in a hurry and can't find oven gloves, I will no doubt try it again. So actually, today I learned nothing.
Obvious things I learnd the hard way.Never tell the guy cutting your hair hes an asshole,never ever go in to a chinese take away drunk and order in a stupid chinese voice.Man I sufferd for that one.Two bog rolls worth of suffering.Fall asleap on the last bus home.Tell customs at edinburgh airport to hurry up.Three hours for that one.Try for a bit nooky with your woman when you role home after an all day sesh.The gift of a single fish will not melt her heart.(are woman funny or what?)
Pembroke College, Oxford, has an officer called the Lord High Chief of the Bollocks whose job is to shout 'Bollocks!' very loudly when Junior Common Room speakers diverge too far from the point.
Corpus Christi College, Oxford, has a Tortoise.
He dresses as a tortoise for the annual inter-college tortoise race and has to eat a whole lettuce without using his hands before the race.
Last year he obstructed the path of another (real tortoise) entrant and was disqualified.
Trinity College has a Duck Welfare Representative who keeps an eye on the college's three ducks.
Recently I learned that Van Gogh used to eat paint and the famous Victorian fairy painter Richard Dadd cut up his dear old dad with a cutthroat razor into one inch cubes. Oh yes, and Eric Gill, sculptor and font designer, was a real deviant. It's funny how I only remember the real sordid details of artist's lives.
A new thread with the function of spreading those little snippets of eye-opening knowledge that we bump into as we live and learn.
To start the ball rolling.
The etymology of many English words is fairly easy to discern and the meaning can often be deconstructed syllable by syllable, but in some cases it's obfuscated a little.
The English word helicopter comes to us via the French from Greek, but the two units that compose it are not HELI + COPTER, as I'd always supposed, but HELICO + PTER, which originate from the helix (ἕλιξ) "helix, spiral, whirl, convolution" and pteron (πτερόν) "wing", as in pterodactyl.
We’ve all heard phrases like “time immemorial” or “time out of mind”, meaning “ancient before memory or record”. Interestingly “time immemorial” has an actual calendar commencement date: 5th July 1189.
Richard 1 acceded to the throne of England on 6th July 1189. In 1275 the first Statute of Winchester declared that the time of memory was limited to the beginning of Richard’s reign.
The ampersand - & - was a letter in its own right until being relegated to symbol status. The English alphabet has, at times, had as many as 28 (some say 30) letters in it. Some are discontinued but still occasionally apparent, such as Thorn (the "Y" in Ye Olde, actually a hard "th" ), others only in old script. The modern letters U and J only came into common use in the 16th Century, and the modern lower case S (as opposed to the long "f" style) not until the mid 19th Century.
The difficulty of getting pandas to breed in captivity is primarily due to their being in captivity--they are proper sex-beasts in the wild.
It was the legendary zoologist George Schaller who made some of the first observations of real, wild panda sex. In 1981, he'd been tracking a female called Zhen-Zhen, as were two male pandas – one large, one small. "The small male comes near, moaning, and is promptly attacked again, though I only hear growls, roars, and whines like a pack of dogs fighting and see the bamboo shake violently," he wrote in The Giant Pandas of Wolong.
It turns out that threesome or more-somes are pretty standard for giant pandas in the wild, an arrangement that would be hard to replicate in any zoo. In just over three hours, Schaller recorded the large male mating with Zhen-Zhen at least 48 times, roughly once every three minutes.