Something New Every Day: Random & Newly Found Facts

Bad Bungle

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I picked up a series of Lunchtime London Walks booklets (3s 4d) from the 1930's, but unfortunately some of the routes were obliterated by the Blitz. The one on the 'London Wall' should be still walkable (when I get an opportunity) and of interest as I went to Poly in Aldgate, with an offsite campus at Tower Hill (section of Wall still visible) and external exams held at Bishopsgate.
 

Sid

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I picked up a series of Lunchtime London Walks booklets (3s 4d) from the 1930's, but unfortunately some of the routes were obliterated by the Blitz. The one on the 'London Wall' should be still walkable (when I get an opportunity) and of interest as I went to Poly in Aldgate, with an offsite campus at Tower Hill (section of Wall still visible) and external exams held at Bishopsgate.
https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Londons-Roman-City-Wall/
 

Bad Bungle

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Peripart

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I have a passing interest in unusual coins and banknotes, so I'm surprised that I've only just discovered the existence of Zero Euro banknotes. The better-travelled amongst you will naturally have come across these before - they're a range of notes sold at tourist sites, and if not actually recognised by the main European banks, they seem to be officially tolerated, even to the point where they are made to similar standards to "real" Euro notes. Unlike proper Euro banknotes, which show the same design across the continent, the whole point of these zero-value ones is that they have a design relevant to the visitor attraction at which they are sold.

https://www.banknoteworld.com/zero-euro/

Wikipedia entry
 

Bad Bungle

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I was interested in 'Hobo nickels' on Ebay last year, not realising that these were newly minted coins and not the original Depression era Tramp-art. Until I looked a bit closer - there's a whole world of artists and collectors out there.

Liberty.jpg
 

JamesWhitehead

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Re: Zero Euro notes.

"Here is my contribution to your post-Covid treat in Europe . . . "

Worth fitting a wee camera in the card to catch their little faces lighting up and dimming . . . :evil:
 

Mythopoeika

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I was interested in 'Hobo nickels' on Ebay last year, not realising that these were newly minted coins and not the original Depression era Tramp-art. Until I looked a bit closer - there's a whole world of artists and collectors out there.

View attachment 34865
Hobo nickels are not actually minted. They're carved and engraved from silver coins that are no longer in circulation.
 

Souleater

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Thanks for posting this. This myth has been around for a long time including of course an appearance on QI, so it's good to have an English-language refutation.

oxo
Yes i saw it on QI a while back, but i though on the programme they said it was Europes biggest supplier of bananas, which is not the case, but is probably the biggest supplier of bananas grown in Europe.
 

oxo66

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Yes i saw it on QI a while back, but i though on the programme they said it was Europes biggest supplier of bananas, which is not the case, but is probably the biggest supplier of bananas grown in Europe.
No. Also not true. It must be a long time since I researched this, because I had difficulty before finding production stats by country, but now it's all on the FAO website
Assuming we exclude the Canaries and Madeira for being African, Guadeloupe and Martinique for being Central American, and Turkey for being Asian then the top countries are Greece and Cyprus, each producing around 5,000- 6,000 tonnes a year.
 

flannel

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It was in Mythconceptions in FT395 - to summarise the 'truth': They only grow slowly in Iceland as they need both heat and light. It seems the memory survived as folklore and that Iceland mostly imports.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Nelson had no time for anti-vaxxers - in 1801!

The famous admiral was not only a brilliant military strategist, who re-wrote the book of naval warfare, but was a man well ahead of his time.

A recently discovered letter revealed that, in an era where vaccination had only recently emerged and was regarded with deep suspicion, Nelson urged his mistress Emma Hamilton to have their baby daughter vaccinated against smallpox.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-to-give-their-baby-girl-new-smallpox-vaccine
 

maximus otter

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A couple of amusing facts I've just learned about the well-known Carry On film actor, Peter Butterworth:

Peter_butterworth_1.jpg


1. Before his acting career started, Butterworth served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War. While flying in an attack on the Dutch coast off Den Helder in 1940 his Fairey Albacore was shot down. After a forced landing on the island of Texel he was captured, becoming a prisoner of war (POW). Sent to the Dulag Luft POW transit camp, he later escaped, covering 27 miles over three days before a member of the Hitler Youth captured him. Afterwards he joked that he could never work with children again.

2. He was subsequently sent to Stalag Luft III, the scene of The Great Escape.

Whilst at Stalag Luft III he met Talbot Rothwell, who later went on to write many of the Carry On films. Butterworth formed a duo with Rothwell and sang in the camp shows. They delivered a song. The performance was followed by some comic repartee which provoked enough boos and hisses to have the desired effect of drowning out the sounds of an escape tunnel being dug by other prisoners‘ escape party.

3. Butterworth was one of the vaulters covering for the escapers during the escape portrayed by the book and film The Wooden Horse. Butterworth later auditioned for the film in 1949 but "didn't look convincingly heroic or athletic enough" according to the makers of the film.

:clap:

maximus otter
 

Bad Bungle

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Charles Fort's House, 39A Marchmont Street, London

I bought a small bag of soil for the Secret Garden from the Bloomsbury Building Supplies at lunchtime today (£2.99).

charles-fort-londo.jpg Fort_Marchmont.jpg

"Satirist, inconoclast and writer on anomalous phenomena, Charles Fort lived here with his wife Anna from 1921 and 1928, close to the British Museum. There's a plaque on the wall, placed there by forteans.. "

Thank you @gordonrutter
 

Souleater

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The word 'sincere' comes from Spanish 'sin cera', meaning without wax, thought to alude to marble sculptures, that when finished perfectly were sin cera, the act of repairing mistakes when carving marble statues with wax was common and not always admitted to by the artist. So next time you are signing off, just say 'without wax' :p
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The word 'sincere' comes from Spanish 'sin cera', meaning without wax, thought to alude to marble sculptures, that when finished perfectly were sin cera, the act of repairing mistakes when carving marble statues with wax was common and not always admitted to by the artist. So next time you are signing off, just say 'without wax' :p

As an old student of European languages, that was something I'd never come across before and it intrigued me enough to look it up.
Sadly though, it appears to be a folklore legend not based in fact and the real etymology of sincere is from the Latin sincerus meaning clean, pure, sound, itself derived from the ancient Indo-European root *sm̥kēros" meaning of one growth, hence pure, clean.

Reminds me a bit of the once common belief that the word Kangaroo meant "I don't know" in an aboriginal dialect. It's a great story, that an English explorer, on reaching Australia, asked one of the natives what that bizarre animal was and took the man's ignorant response as the animal's name. Again though, that has been thoroughly debunked (and I know I'm an old killjoy for pointing these things out).
 

escargot

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As an old student of European languages, that was something I'd never come across before and it intrigued me enough to look it up.
Sadly though, it appears to be a folklore legend not based in fact and the real etymology of sincere is from the Latin sincerus meaning clean, pure, sound, itself derived from the ancient Indo-European root *sm̥kēros" meaning of one growth, hence pure, clean.

Reminds me a bit of the once common belief that the word Kangaroo meant "I don't know" in an aboriginal dialect. It's a great story, that an English explorer, on reaching Australia, asked one of the natives what that bizarre animal was and took the man's ignorant response as the animal's name. Again though, that has been thoroughly debunked (and I know I'm an old killjoy for pointing these things out).

And I s'pose 'boomerang' doesn't mean 'You come back!' either? :chuckle:
 

Souleater

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As an old student of European languages, that was something I'd never come across before and it intrigued me enough to look it up.
Sadly though, it appears to be a folklore legend not based in fact and the real etymology of sincere is from the Latin sincerus meaning clean, pure, sound, itself derived from the ancient Indo-European root *sm̥kēros" meaning of one growth, hence pure, clean.

Reminds me a bit of the once common belief that the word Kangaroo meant "I don't know" in an aboriginal dialect. It's a great story, that an English explorer, on reaching Australia, asked one of the natives what that bizarre animal was and took the man's ignorant response as the animal's name. Again though, that has been thoroughly debunked (and I know I'm an old killjoy for pointing these things out).
I heard the Aboriginal name for sheep was thought to be 'no bloody idea' :p
 

Souleater

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As an old student of European languages, that was something I'd never come across before and it intrigued me enough to look it up.
Sadly though, it appears to be a folklore legend not based in fact and the real etymology of sincere is from the Latin sincerus meaning clean, pure, sound, itself derived from the ancient Indo-European root *sm̥kēros" meaning of one growth, hence pure, clean.
I stand corrected and humble, although on researching i not that the legend has been around since the 1600, merely 70 odd years after the first recorded use of sincere in the 1530's.

"But that old “without wax” myth has lived on—and on and on. We’ve found versions of it dating back to the early 1600s."

https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/03/sincere.html
 

blessmycottonsocks

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This discussion reminds me of the first time I heard my late French father-in-law use the word "vasistas" to refer to a transom window (small decorative or ventilation window above a door).
It comes directly from the German "Was ist das" (meaning what is that?) and dates back to the 18th century when, presumably, some German queried the purpose of such a feature found in French houses and the French, with their notoriously small vocabulary, readily adopted the term.
 
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Bad Bungle

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Reminds me a bit of the once common belief that the word Kangaroo meant "I don't know" in an aboriginal dialect. It's a great story, that an English explorer, on reaching Australia, asked one of the natives what that bizarre animal was and took the man's ignorant response as the animal's name. Again though, that has been thoroughly debunked (and I know I'm an old killjoy for pointing these things out).

I take a lot of 'facts' from QI with a large pinch of salt.
 

Souleater

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I take a lot of 'facts' from QI with a large pinch of salt.
All facts on QI are correct (at the time of filming) according to the credits on the show, and broadcasting standards agency are pretty hot on shit like that, just saying :p
 
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