Friday, May 05, 2006

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. The ‘union jack’ was designed to be a maritime flag - there exist many rules that govern its use at sea but there isn’t a single law that throws more light on how it should be used on land.
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2. Outside of primates, only vampire bats have been known to trust non-relatives on a routine basis.
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3. In 1987, at the top of the market Kerry Packer sold Channel Nine to Alan Bond for an unheard of A$ 1 billion. Three years and a market crash later he bought it back for a quarter of the price quipping, “You only get one Alan Bond in your life.”
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4. It takes ten Jews to form a ‘minyan’ – the quorum for communal prayers.
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5. Ray Kroc launched the McDonald’s restaurant chain at the very young age of 52, and built it up over the next 30 years of his life!
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6. Wheat cells contain a whopping 16 million base pairs of DNA - 40 times as many as rice, 6 times as many as maize and 5 times as many as human beings.
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7. Studies on corruption in Indonesia show that of the money spent on infrastructure and building roads, an average 28% goes missing.
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8. Graves in Singapore are exhumed 15 years after burial, and the remains are cremated or re-buried.
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9. The world’s first low-cost no-frills airline was the Laker Skytrain introduced in 1977 and flew London to New York for just $206.
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10. Gibraltar was named Jebel Tarik - Tarik’s mountain - by Moorish settlers in honour of their leader Tarik ibn Zeyad. The last syllable was lost over time.
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