Do You Know? Strange Facts – December 2020: Here’s our latest collection of weird and wonderful facts to win friends and influence people:
- The speed of the wind has fallen by 60% in the last 30 years.
- Scientists discovered in 2015 that there are eight times more trees on earth than we previously thought.
- Despite spending half his acting career in the saddle, Clint Eastwood is allergic to horses.
- Instead of a Foreign Office, the Roman Empire had a “Bureau of Barbarians”.
- Judges recently disqualified a dozen camels from a Saudi Arabian beauty pageant because they had received Botox injections to make them more attractive.
- President Donald Trump asked the Guggenheim Museum to lend him a Van Gogh for the White House. In summary, their counter-offer: a solid gold toilet.
- Research has uncovered that cheese triggers the same part of the brain as hard drugs.
- Alternative names proposed for Canada in 1867 were Borealia, Cabotia, Transatlantica, Victorialand and Superior.
- In Sweden, there’s a shopping centre dedicated entirely to repaired and upcycled* goods.
- In the 1800s, ducks were known as ‘arsefeet’ because their feet are so close to their bottoms.
- The world’s billionaires made enough money in 2017 to end extreme poverty seven times over.
- A male cheetah can make a female ovulate just by barking at her.
- In 1932, Winston Churchill went to a hotel in Munich two days in a row to have tea with Hitler. Hitler stood him up both times and the two men never met.
- There are enough nuclear shelters in Switzerland to house the entire population (8.5 million).
- Benjamin Franklin invented a mechanical arm for reaching books on high shelves.
- A 2018 law in France allows citizens to make mistakes in good faith on documents without being punished.
- The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of killing US President John F Kennedy, was the first known human killing seen live on TV.
- Rock band Oasis took their name from a leisure centre in Swindon.
- The US may have adopted kilometres and kilogrammes if pirates hadn’t kidnapped the scientist the French sent to help Thomas Jefferson persuade Congress to adopt the metric system.
- Star Wars composer John Williams has the record for most Oscar nominations for a living person. He has averaged one nomination a year since his first in 1967.
- The “Share a Coke” campaign – where Coca-Cola replaced its name on bottles with people’s first names – increased Coca-Cola’s US sales by more than 2%, reversing more than 10 years of decline in Coke consumption in the US.
- The film “The Matrix” took five years to write.
- U2‘s vocalist took his stage name from the Latin term “Bono Vox” which means “Good Voice”. His real name is Paul David Hewson.
- In much of the US, it is illegal to buy a new car from the manufacturer.
- Intel employs a “futurist” whose job it is to determine what life will be like 10-15 years in the future.
- According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump made 2,140 false or misleading claims in his first year of presidency.
- Until three million years ago, whales were less than 30 feet long.
- 420,000 people die annually from tainted food.
- Eighty-five per cent of Vakkaru Island in the Maldives is made up of fish faeces.
- Fifty per cent of US territory is under the sea.
- England (50,346 square miles or 130,395km²) is smaller than the state of New York (54,556 square miles or 141,300km²). England’s population, however, is 67. 9 million whereas New York’s is only 19.4 million!
- After South Korean footballer Ahn Jung-hwan scored the goal that eliminated Italy from the 2002 World Cup, Perugia, the Italian club he played for cancelled his contract. Their president went on record saying they “have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer”.
- Prisoners on Death Row in America are given a physical beforehand to ensure they are fit enough to die.
- In the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen, it is illegal to die.
- In 2010, a group of 15 monkeys escaped from a research institute in Japan using trees to catapult themselves over a 17ft high electric fence.
* Upcycling, also known as “creative reuse”, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless or unwanted products into new materials or products. Upcycled products generally have an artistic or environmental value.
We hope you enjoyed reading our ‘Strange Facts – December 2020’ article. Click here for more from our Do You Know? series.