Monday, March 09, 2009

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. Ronald Reagan is the only US president to have been the head of a trade union. He led the Screen Actors Guild at the height of the McCarthy witch hunts.
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2. Oliver Cromwell coined the phrase ‘warts and all.’ While having his portrait painted, he insisted that the artist not flatter him but instead depict his rough soldier’s visage as it truly was.
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3. The Ikea catalogue is the world’s largest printed publication distributed for free - with 3 times as many copies in circulation as the Bible.
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4. The third brakelight - the one mounted in the rear car window - is known as a chimsil.
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5. Google was initially named BackRub by Brin and Page - because it checked the links back to a page to see how popular it was.
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6. Richard Feynman was also an artist - and used the pseudonym ‘Ofey’ to sign his work.
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7. The Spanish Anthem - Marcha Real - has no officially recognised lyrics.
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8. Humans get a completely new skeleton every 10 years, because of cell renewal.
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9. A professional pronouncer - the BBC employs three of them - is known as an orthoepist.
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10. Author J D Salinger bans publishers of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ from having images on the cover, or describing it as “a classic”.
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