Sunday, January 14, 2007

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. The TT in Audi TT stands for ‘Tourist Trophy’ and not Twin Turbo as is commonly assumed. It gets its name from the famous Tourist Trophy races held on the Isle of Man.
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2. After Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate Scandal, Gerald Ford became the first (and only) US President to hold the office without being elected as President or Vice President. He was already the first Vice President to hold the office unelected after the resignation of Spiro Agnew in 1973.
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3. John Surtees is the only person to have won World Championships both in two-wheeler and four-wheeler racing.
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4. The phrase/definition “democracy is a government of all the people, by all the people and for all the people” was first used by the Reverend Theodore Parker at the Boston anti-slavery convention in 1850. Needless to say, few in the crowd paid attention to the definition then.
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5. Petrichor is the name of the pleasant smell of first rain on dry earth. It is caused by organic plant oils that mix with clay and soil during dry spells and are released during rain.
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6. The pair of parallel lines running at both sides of a tennis court are called tramlines.
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7. Apart from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, the names of all countries beginning with the letter ‘A’ also end with ‘A.’

8. The Beatles’ songs ‘Back In the USSR’ and ‘Dear Prudence’ feature Paul McCartney on the drums instead of Ringo Starr, who had walked out earlier. He was persuaded to return by the others after two weeks. McCartney also played the drums on ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ because only Lennon and McCartney were available during its recording.
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9. Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone shows his birth-date as “April 2, 1743 O.S.” O.S. refers to the “Old Style” Julian calendar which was in effect in England and the colonies until 1752. The newly adopted Gregorian calendar, or “New Style”, added 11 days to the Julian calendar to bring it into line with the astronomical year. Jefferson’s birthday is now celebrated on April 13th, the New Style date.
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10. David Bowie has hetero-chromia, a medical condition where a person has each eye coloured differently. In Bowie’s case, one eye is blue and the other hazel or brownish green.
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