Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Some Bits and Pieces For 2004

Here are a few interesting little factoids picked up from the news this year, some of which show serious problems in society, some of which are just pointless!

  • Brazilians are the nationality most likely to read spam.
  • Some pigeons follow roads and turn off at motorway junctions to navigate their way round.
  • The opening lines of the Communist Manifesto - "A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism" - were initially translated as "A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe".
  • Up to 65% of children with a father in jail get imprisoned themselves, according to Home Office figures.
  • Having breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone may seem cutting edge, but the Daily Express pioneered the service back in 1914, offering personal war updates via telegram for a shilling each.
  • The bookmakers William Hill loses 80,000 little pens a day - the sort used to fill out betting slips.
  • "Square eyes" might be real - Australian researchers have found that children who spend a long time inside watching television or on computers become more susceptible to short-sightedness.
  • Poets die young... "On average, poets lived 62 years, playwrights 63 years, novelists 66 years and non-fiction writers lived 68 years," according to California State University's James Kaufman.
  • In the past decade, four people in the UK have died in cemetery accidents, crushed by falling tombstones.
  • There are a third more children at grammar schools now, under Labour, than there were 10 years ago under the Tories (150,750 now compared with 111,846 in 2003.)
  • Matt Groening's father - the inspiration for Homer Simpson - has only complained once about his alter-ego's actions. It was an episode in which Homer badgered Marge into walking some considerable distance on a hot day to fetch him something.
  • One in four 16- and 17-year-old girls in the UK is on the contraceptive pill - more than ever before.
  • Bill Clinton sent just two e-mails while he was president.

    Thanks to BBC News Online for these interesting bits and pieces. You’ll find many more on their site.

    Here’s to another year of pointless information in 2005!

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