Saturday, May 20, 2006

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. An astonishing 35m Americans are reckoned to be descended from passengers on the ‘Mayflower’ – the legendary ship that in 1620 ferried 102 English pilgrims to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
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2. Most taxis are yellow because John Hertz commissioned a study in 1907 to find out which colour was easiest to spot among a sea of cars. It was yellow and has been yellow since.
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3. Every year 14 billion pencils are produced – enough to encircle the earth 62 times.
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4. Every 10 minutes of commuting cuts your social involvement by a 10th - so 10 percent fewer family dinners, club meetings and other forms of interaction.
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5. Goldman Sachs estimates that the average profit margin for America’s 12 biggest newspaper publishers in 2004 was 21% more than double the average of the Fortune 500 companies.
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6. Henry Ford’s Model T ran on both grain-alcohol and petrol.
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7. Globally, the value of M&A averaged $10 billion a day in the first quarter of 2006.
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8. India has the highest density of retail outlets of any country in the world – more than 15 million compared with 900,000 in America where the market is 13 times bigger (in value terms.)
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9. Though every tree has an outer layer of cork bark, the cork used to bottle wine comes from a specific variety of tree, the cork oak (Quercus suber), only grown in countries that run along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
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10. The No.2 portable mp3 player is iRiver with a 4.8% marketshare. Apple’s iPod has a 73.9% marketshare.
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