Something New Every Day: Random & Newly Found Facts

Yithian

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#62
Brilliant little fact:

The name "ladybird" originated in Britain where the insects became known as "Our Lady's bird" or the Lady beetle. Mary (Our Lady) was often depicted wearing a red cloak in early paintings, and the spots of the seven-spot ladybird (the most common in Europe) were said to symbolise her seven joys and seven sorrows. In the United States, the name was adapted to "ladybug". Common names in some other European languages have the same association, for example, the German name Marienkäfer translates to Marybeetle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccinellidae#Etymology
 
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Nemo

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#65
I'm also an English teacher, but I lean more to descriptivism than prescriptivism. However, I get annoyed when people say 'less' when they mean 'fewer'.
I thought that this till was for 10 items or less. ;)
 

Yithian

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#66
I stumbled across this while looking at something else. The Foreign Office papers attached show that the post-war Labour Government was actively considering (and almost got as far as setting up a formal enquiry to examine) the plausibility of large scale emigration of the British population from the British Isles and across the Commonwealth in order to preserve our national stock and improve the chances of defence of the homeland in the event of nuclear war. Figures discussed range from between 3 and 15 million people to move overseas over the next twenty-five years (from 1947).

The genesis of the idea comes from Sir Henry Tizard--a real 'blue-skies thinker', who has Fortean connections. He was one of the movers behind the Ministry of Defences investigatory committee named 'The Flying Saucer Working Party'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Tizard

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Schrodinger's Zebra

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#67
And finally--and this shocked me, being a bear of little brain--baby carrots are A LIE.

View attachment 8715

These things--from the supermarket: Just mis-shapen and imperfect carrots cut down to miniature size, not an actual distinct variety of dwarf carrot.

Am I stupid for not knowing this?
But... but... what... they aren't a real thing? I always thought they were genuine small carrots, like picked when they'd only grown for a bit.

Mr Zebra is equally shocked.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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#68
I stumbled across this while looking at something else. The Foreign Office papers attached show that the post-war Labour Government was actively considering (and almost got as far as setting up a formal enquiry to examine) the plausibility of large scale emigration of the British population from the British Isles and across the Commonwealth in order to preserve our national stock and improve the chances of defence of the homeland in the event of nuclear war. Figures discussed range from between 3 and 15 million people to move overseas over the next twenty-five years (from 1947).

The genesis of the idea comes from Sir Henry Tizard--a real 'blue-skies thinker', who has Fortean connections. He was one of the movers behind the Ministry of Defences investigatory committee named 'The Flying Saucer Working Party'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Tizard

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Interesting. Is this related to the process where a lot of British people were able to emigrate to Australia cheaply in the 1960s? The phrase "ten pound poms" comes to mind I'm sure that's what it was called (not the official name perhaps!)

A certain Gibb family were one of the families who used this scheme - Bee Gees' early career began in Australia.
 

Dr_Baltar

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#69
But... but... what... they aren't a real thing? I always thought they were genuine small carrots, like picked when they'd only grown for a bit.

Mr Zebra is equally shocked.
Partially true. Check the packaging.

Generally speaking, baby cut carrots are larger ones cut down and shaped, baby carrots are, as you say, carrots picked when they are still young.
 
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#72
In a way they are, and yet I quite like 'em, just as I quite like those horrible tinned new potatoes every now and again. I think they remind me of camping in ye olden days - that and tinned macaroni cheese or corned beef hash cooked on a Primus stove with added insects.

Those tinned carrots are a good way of getting fussy children to eat vegetables as they taste weirdly sugary and demand no effort in the chewing of them. Whether that's a Good Thing or not is debatable.
 

Gizmos Mama

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#73
I learn something new (mostly about boating) in every episode I watch of this Australian couple, but this rope trick is amazingly useful. I've hopefully linked to the video at the time the rope tutorial starts, but just in case, it begins at 26:40.

 

Krepostnoi

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#76
Ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey made an expedition to Kenya in 1950. One of the recordings he made was of a song called "Chemirocha", sung by members of the Kipsigis people. The singers though the subject of the song was a kind of faun (to be precise: half-man, half-antelope). In the West, though, he was better known as The Singing Brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers.

The impulse to bring the recording back to the original performers is to be applauded, although perhaps the technical problems encountered could have been foreseen.
 

Krepostnoi

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#81
Far-sighted scientists predict that half the world's population will be myopic by 2050.

In 2013, Naidoo was one of the authors on a groundbreaking paper that forecast that half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050 – almost 5 billion people. In the course of a single generation, across the world, from Inuit communities in Alaska to secondary-school students in Northern Ireland, researchers have recorded a rough doubling in the number of people who become short-sighted as children.

The main reason, as far as anyone can agree, is a reduction in the time that they spend outdoors. Sunlight helps to moderate levels of dopamine, which in turn influence the development of the eye. Too much dopamine means eyeballs grow too long, and become oblong in shape, focusing light in front of the retina, rather than on it. Vision campaigners forecast that the myopia epidemic will put enormous strain on health systems across the developing world, which are already unable to equip their populations with a medical device that has been around since the Middle Ages. “We are barely managing in healthcare systems to provide eyecare,” said Naidoo. He corrected himself. “Not barely. We are not managing. Can you imagine, when those numbers are doubling and tripling, what is going to happen?”
 

henry

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#82
re straw man : a rather inexperienced PM where im working uses this expression to refer to an outline, draft, or starter-for-ten ... despite my remonstrations, it has caught on, alas ...


i might suggest using homonculus instead
 

Analogue Boy

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#83
Roger Moore invented the Magnum Ice Cream.

The sweet-toothed James Bond actor is said to have suggested Wall's create a chocolate-covered ice cream in an interview in the 1960s.

He later received a call from the company's boss and was sent a real-life version of the product, according to pal Chrissy Iley.

She claims he told her: "In the sixties I was doing an interview for some magazine or other and I was asked, 'If you could have one wish to meet one person and ask them a question, what would it be?'

"I said I would like to meet Mr Wall's and ask why they don't have a choc ice with vanilla inside that I had as a child and put it on a stick.

"I didn't know at the time but other people like Claire Bloom were being asked the same question and they wanted to meet Gandhi or Jesus.
 

Swifty

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#87
I've learned the word 'expedite' today .. it means the doctor's making a request for them to hurry up sorting out my kidney stones :).
 

Yithian

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#88
I've learned the word 'expedite' today .. it means the doctor's making a request for them to hurry up sorting out my kidney stones :).
Turns up a lot with American companies that offer premimum 'Expedited Shipping'.

Other than that, the governments seem to do a lot of it when they're feeling well-disposed towards groups and individuals.

Interesting etymology. That 'ex-' is the same as the one in 'exit' and many other words meaning 'out' or 'out from'. And the 'ped' is the same as 'pedal' and 'pedestrian': feet. Stick an English '-ite' on the end to replace the Latin infinitive 'expedire' and you get the rather poetic idea of freeing the feet: to remove impediments.
 
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Krepostnoi

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#89
Interesting etymology. That 'ex-' is the same as the one in 'exit' and many other words meaning 'out' or 'out from'. And the 'ped' is the same as 'pedal' and 'pedestrian': feet. Stick an English '-ite' on the end to replace the Latin infinitive 'expedire' and you get the rather poetic idea of freeing the feet: to remove impediments.
On the same logic, then, why has no-one (to my knowledge, at least) coined the verb exdigitate as a rather scholarly plea to put a little more effort into achieving a desired goal.
 

Yithian

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#90
On the same logic, then, why has no-one (to my knowledge, at least) coined the verb exdigitate as a rather scholarly plea to put a little more effort into achieving a desired goal.
They have.

RAF Slang.

Famously POWs in Burma waiting too long to be liberated wrote the word (I believe with laundry) on the roof of their blockhouse in order to spur their aerial comrades to 'pull their fingers out'.

I think it was mentioned in Slim's Defeat Into Victory.
 
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