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Interesting Facts

Did you Know?

  1. 1. 10% of the world's population speak English as their mother tongue (Chinese 21%, Spanish 6%, Russian 6%, Malay 4%, Hindi 4%, Japanese 3%, Arabic 3%, Portuguese 3%, French 2%, German 2%)

  2. 2. Rains of many kinds of living creatures have actually been reported from earliest times and all over the world. On 28th May 1881, during a thunderstorm on the outskirts of Worcester, England, tons of periwinkles and small hermit crabs fell on Cromer Gardens Road and the surrounding fields.

  3. 3. The word "Christmas" comes from the Old English, "Cristes maesse" which means "Christ's mass" on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is traditionally a celebration of family and children.

  4. The modern Christmas tree tradition came from western Germany, from a medieval custom, as a paradise tree -- a tree decorated with apples, wafers (or cookies), and candles representing the Garden of Eden, the host, and Christ.

  5. The alarm clock was not invented by the Marquis de Sade, as some suspect, but rather by a man named Levi Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire, in 1787. Perversity, though, characterized his invention from the beginning. The alarm on his clock could ring only at 4 am. Rumor has it that Hutchins was murdered by his wife at 4:05 am on a very dark and deeply cold New England morning.

  6. If you went out into space, you would explode before you suffocated because there's no air pressure.

  7. Only one satellite has been ever been destroyed by a meteor: the European Space Agency's Olympus in 1993.

  8. 5th Century, Rome Mid February was traditionally the time of the Lupercian festival, an ode to the God of fertility and a celebration of sensual pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate. In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan festival. But he was clever to replace it with a similar celebration, although one deemed morally suitable. He needed a "lovers" saint to replace the pagan deity Lupercus. The martyred Bishop Valentine was chosen as the patron saint of the new festival.

  9. Saint Valentine had been beheaded for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor Claudius. Before execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter. He signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine", a phrase that has lasted through the centuries.

  10. Thumbing your nose (raising your thumb to your nose and fanning your fingers) is a sign of mockery throughout most of the world.
    • In Australia, it is rude to wink at women.

      In Brazil, pulling down the lower lid of the right eye means that the listener doubts what you are saying.

      In Korea, it is rude to keep your hands behind your back or in your pockets.

  11. Mangos have been cultivated in India for about 5,000 years, and were originally small, fibrous fruits, somewhat like plums, with a taste like turpentine. There are now over 500 varieties grown there.

    More fresh mangos are eaten every day than any other fruit in the world.

  12. A man named Sir Henry Wyat was sentenced to the Tower of London, at a time when prisoners generally starved to death. Sir Henry's kitty-cat seemed to understand the situation because she snuck into the Tower bringing him a freshly-killed pigeon every day. When the king heard of this, he must have felt sad for the kitty, because he immediately set Sir Henry free.

  13. The word "ecology" derives from the Greek words "oikos", loosely translating as home and "logie", meaning science or doctrine. The dictionary defines ecology as the discipline that studies the relationships between organisms and their environment, that is to say, between an organism and its home. In a broader sense, ecology deals with the relation between living beings and the planet Earth: our great home, our only home. The word tourism developed from the Hebrew word Tora, which means to study, learn or search.

  14. The Galapagos Islands have lived in virtual isolation for millions of years. In total, they consist of 61 islands and islets, with 13 main islands. Seeming like shadows upon the sea from one another, the 13 main islands are Baltra, Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, Pinta, Pinzon, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Santiago. In total land area, the islands are 4897 sq. miles (7880 sq. km) and in the total geographical area from Darwin Island to San Cristobal and Espanola, 28,000 sq. miles (45,000 sq. km)

  15. Heathrow Airport handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world and offers flights to many international destinations including 33 flights to Paris and 23 flights to New York each day. The most popular country for flights from Heathrow is the United States of America. The busiest routes are New York, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin.

  16. One out of the ordinary punishment of the Elizabethan England was the drunkard's cloak. It was a punishment for public drunkenness; the name of it is somewhat misleading. The flaw in the name comes from the fact that the cloak is less a cloak and more a barrel. The drunk was forced to don a barrel and wander through town while the villagers jeer at him. Holes were cut in the barrel for the person's hands and head, causing it to become like a heavy, awkward shirt.

  17. The Times Square in New York has been the center of worldwide attention for New Year for 96 years. In 1907, for the first time the Ball lowering ceremony was organized and this is now the symbol of New Year worldwide. This event is seen by over 500000 visitors at Times Square every year and over 100 Crore viewers on TV. The Times Square ball is 6 feet in Diameter and weighs over 400 Kgs. It has over 500 Crystals and is lighted with over 600 bulbs. The ball is lowered 77 feet in 60 seconds and the 60th second is at exactly 24:00 Hrs.

  18. The White House is a freestone building in American colonial style and stands in Washington, DC, United States of America. It is the official residence of the President of the USA. The White House is the oldest federal building in the capital. It is officially called the Executive Mansion.

  19. The White House receives approximately 6,000 visitors a day and has 6 floors (two are basements), 132 rooms, including 16 family-guest rooms, 1 main kitchen, 1 diet kitchen, 1 family kitchen, and 31 bathrooms

  20. The people in the United States first decided to make their own currency when they needed money to pay for the Revolutionary War. Before the mid-1800's each dollar was worth a certain amount of gold or silver. Banks printed all the money. There were more than 10,000 different types of dollars that were printed. These bills (notes) were made in various sizes, colors and designs.

  21. There are about twenty modern nations whose currency is called the "dollar." The word apparently derives from "taler," which in turn comes from "Joachimsthal," the name of a place in Bohemia where the taler (a silver coin) was created, with the "-thal" part presumably meaning "valley." (The modern German spelling, by the way, has been changed to "tal," which explains the new spelling of the English word "Neandertal.") So, we use dollars today because certain coins were once minted in a valley.

  22. The flag of Britain, commonly known as the Union Jack (which derives from the use of the Union Flag on the jack-staff of naval vessels), embodies the emblems of three countries under one Sovereign. The emblems that appear on the Union Flag are the crosses of three patron saints: The red cross of St George, for England, on a white ground; The white diagonal cross, or saltire, of St Andrew, for Scotland on a blue ground; The red diagonal cross of St Patrick, for Ireland, on a white ground.

  23. Wales is not represented in the Union Flag because, when the first version of the flag appeared Wales was already united with England. The national flag of Wales, a red dragon on a field of white and green, dates from the 15th century and is widely used throughout the Principality. The dragon as a symbol was probably introduced into Britain by the Roman legions. According to tradition, the red dragon appeared on a crest borne by the legendary King Arthur, whose father Uthr Pendragon, had seen a dragon in the sky predicting that he would be king.

  24. Did you know that on an average day, drying paint releases more smog-forming compounds into the air than all of the area's oil-refineries and gas stations combined? Oil-based paints contain three to five times more polluting solvents than water-based, latex paints.

  25. Businesses in European countries commonly use handwriting analysis in their employment practices. In France and Switzerland, approximately 80 percent of the large corporations use graphology in their hiring procedures.

  26. Graphology is taught in psychology departments of several leading universities in Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland and Israel.

  27. According to Phlegon, a Roman author of the 2nd century AD, the wreath of olive leaves was instituted as the prize for victors at Olympia in 752 BC, on the advice of the Oracle at Delphi. King Iphitos was told by the Delphic Oracle to plant an Olive Tree from which the victor' wreaths for the Olympic Games was cut.

  28. In most TV series, the violence depicted shows no consequences. For example, no physical harm is depicted in 75% of series, no psychological trauma in 90%, and no judgment about the morality of the act in 87%. Positive and negative motives for violent actions were roughly equal (45 and 55 per cent, respectively). "Good guys" were slightly more likely than "bad guys" to be the instigators of violent activities (46 per cent vs. 41 per cent).

  29. The world-famous Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor was built in France. It was France's gift to the American people. Its designer, a Freemason, was Brother Frederic A. Bartholdi (1834-1904) who conceived its design while on a visit to America. As his ship sailed into New York, Bartholdi had a vision of a woman standing on a pedestal, holding a torch and welcoming immigrants to a new life in a free land.

  30. Some people believe that the aurora makes sound that accompanies the ripples and flow of the light. If the aurora does make sound, the sound would have to be generated here on Earth by some electromagnetic effect. Any noise generated by the aurora would take a long, long time to travel all the way to Earth, and the air up by the aurora is much too thin to carry sound.

  31. World wide, about 1.5 million people are killed in road accidents every year. Road accident research has pointed towards driver error in the majority of cases. In the U.S. about 42,000 traffic fatalities occur every year and about 6.5 million injuries annually at a total cost of 200 billion dollars. Almost all of "driver error" can be traced to lack of emotional intelligence behind the wheel.

  32. Taking tea has been a London tradition for more than 150 years. The practice was launched by the Duchess of Bedford in 1830 when she ordered a little something to ward off pangs between lunch and dinner. By the 1840s, wafer thin slices of bread spread with chopped cucumber along with light sponge cakes and freshly brewed pots of tea were being served up with tidbits of gossip all over London.

  33. Alcohol is a depressant—not a stimulant as many people think. Alcohol slows down activity in the central nervous system, including the brain. Depressants affect concentration and coordination, and slow the response time to unexpected situations. In small quantities, depressants such as alcohol cause people to become relaxed and lower their inhibitions. They feel more confident and often act in a more extroverted manner. In larger quantities, depressants can cause unconsciousness and death. Benzodiazepines, heroin and cannabis are also depressant drugs.

  34. There are now 6 million active divers worldwide. They engage in many different types of diving, of which wreck, cave, commercial, and military diving are just a few. The most common form of diving is sport diving, or recreational diving, which is practiced at depths of less than 130 ft (39 m). Diving beyond this limit requires advanced training. The amount of time a diver can remain underwater depends on several elements. The deeper the descent, the more rapidly the diver consumes air. In addition, some people consume air at a quicker rate than others. Several factors influence how efficiently a diver uses air, including diving experience, physical fitness, general relaxation, and a healthy lifestyle that limits tobacco and alcohol intake. Most divers can spend 45 minutes to an hour at 40 ft (12 m) below the surface.

  35. Business letter is a formal document typically sent externally to those outside a company but is also sent internally to those within a company. It is estimated that close to 100 million business letters are written each workday.

  36. In the year 1888, the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen made the first crossing of Greenland, travelling from East to West on skis. The report on his expedition, Paa ski over Gronland, was published in 1890 in both Norwegian and English, and later in German. It aroused great interest in skiing in Europe and the United States, as well as creating a Norwegian national hero.

  37. Lewis Carol who wrote "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Alice through the Looking Glass" lived in Christ Church college, Oxford as a student and lecturer. His real name was Charles L. Dodgeson and he became a lecturer in mathematics. Alice was the young daughter of the Dean of Christ Church and the book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" a Christmas gift for her.

  38. Leonardo da Vinci left fewer than 30 paintings, and these aren’t even all finished.

  39. Mona Lisa has no eyebrows in Leonardo da Vinci's painting because during that time, a woman was considered more beautiful if she shaved her eyebrows.

  40. Leonardo became a vegetarian out of pity for animals and was even known to purchase birds at the market and set them free.

  41. Power from the sun comes to the Earth as heat and light. This heat and light are the effect of the Sun's constant nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei. The process of fusion produces helium nuclei along with large amounts of energy. This energy is expressed as electromagnetic radiation (light is a specific frequency range of this radiation) as well as radiated temperatures of more than 6,100 degrees C. Only a small fraction of these extreme levels of energy that are released by the Sun come into contact with the Earth.

  42. On 1 January 2007, Bulgaria and Romania have officially become part of the European Union. The European Union now boasts 27 nations and 490 million people.

  43. Bulgaria will be the second EU country, after Greece, to use a non-Latin alphabet and the first to use Cyrillic, which originated in the medieval Bulgarian Empire.

  44. 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner of the European Union.

  45. There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. However, about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers. The most widely spoken language in the world is Mandarin Chinese. There are 885,000,000 people in China that speak that language.

  46. St. Valentine's Day has connection with the term "fertility" because it is on the 14th of February when even before the birth of Saint Valentine, the birds used to mate with their partners.

  47. Baba Marta (meaning Grandma Marta in English) is a holiday unique to Bulgaria celebrated on March 1 every year. This day is a celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of springtime. Bulgarians give each other "Martinitsi" (singular "Martenitsa") made of simply twisted red and white threads. They are either pinned on the clothes or worn like bracelets. The Martenitsa is a sign of health and good luck. Learn more >>>

  48. March 20 (March 21 in some years) is significant for astronomical reasons. On March 20, 2008 (March 20, 05:48 Universal Time), the Sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (vernal denotes "spring"). For the Southern Hemisphere, this is the moment of the autumnal equinox.

    * * *

    Literally, equinox means "equal night." Because the sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes.

  49. Winter and summer occur largely because the planet is tilted on an axis running through the poles at an angle of 23.5 degrees. As the planet orbits the sun, each hemisphere receives varying amounts of light and warmth determined by the direction in which it is tilted: summer when tilted towards the sun and winter when tilted away. (Source: National Geographic News)

  50. On the Western (Gregorian) calendar, the Chinese New Year will begin on February 3, 2011 which marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. The Chinese New Year is also called the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival. It celebrates the Earth coming back to life and the beginning of plowing and planting of seeds. The year will be 4709 on the Chinese calendar and the date is celebrated by many others besides the Chinese.

    * * *

    The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The first day of each Chinese year corresponds to the new moon (black moon) and can fall anywhere between January 21 and February 20. Traditionally celebrations last for 15 days, ending on the date of the full moon. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with singing, dancing, fire, lantern shows and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

  51. Saturday March 26th at 8:30PM Eastern Standard Time is the 4th annual Earth Hour. It is a global voluntary symbolic action against climate change. Millions of people from all over the world will turn off their lights for an hour celebrating the earth. Earth Hour is an awareness campaign organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature or World Wildlife Fund) with an important message to be more conscious about our energy consumption. Earth Hour was held for the first time by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia on March 31, 2007 when 2.2 million individuals and over 2000 businesses turned their lights off. The Earth Hour initiative encourages individuals, businesses and governments to take responsibility for their impact on the environment and make behavioural changes to facilitate a sustainable lifestyle.

  52. Enyovden (Enyo’s Day, Midsummer Day) is an ancient pagan holiday in Bulgaria celebrated on June 24th every year and it marks the beginning of the summer season. On Midsummer day the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and after that the year heads towards the winter. On the same date, the Eastern Orthodox church honors the birth of St. Joan the Baptist, and the customs and rituals of both celebrations overlap. The day is highly revered by herbalists and healers, people who used herbs for their job. According to the popular belief herbs gathered in the night of Enyovden (late in the evening of 23rd June and early in the morning of 24th before the rising of the sun) have magical power and can cure more diseases.

  53. In English, the days of the week were named after the giant objects in the sky and the Norse gods (except for Saturday, which is named after the Roman god Saturn). Sunday is named after the sun (Sun's-day), Monday after the moon (Moon's-day), Tuesday after Tiw/Tyr (god of battle and victory), Wednesday after Woden/Wotan (father and ruler of the gods and mortals), Thursday after Thor (god of thunder, sky, and good crops), Friday after Frigg/Freya (wife of Odin; great mother of the gods), and Saturday after the Roman god of agriculture and harvest Saturn, latin: Saturnus.

  54. Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is an English short-story writer, novelist, and poet. He was born December 30, 1865 in Bombay, British India, but lived most of his life in Great Britain. Kipling is best known for his tales about British soldiers in India and Burma, but also for his writing for children such as "The Jungle Book", many short stories, and his poems, including inspirational poem "If". Lines from this poem appear over the player's entrance to Wimbledon's Centre Court. An interesting fact from the biography of Kipling is that he was fired as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. His dismissal letter was reported to have said: "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers."

    Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.

  55. The English word "paper", originates from the word "papyrus", an Egyptian word that actually means "that which belongs to the house" (the bureaucracy of ancient Egypt).

    The ancient Egyptians discovered the need for a writing material other than stone to transcribe upon. They found this in their papyrus plant, a triangular reed which grows in the Nile's fresh water. Papyrus was thin, strong, durable and easy to carry. For thousands of years, there was nothing better for the purpose of writing.

    Besides its use for producing a medium for writing purposes, papyrus was also used for building chairs, tables, and other furniture as well as for mats, baskets, sandals, etc. And the papyrus root was used as a source of food, medicine and perfume.

  56. The ancient Egyptians thought that all major organs in the body (including the heart), possess their own independent will and are capable of moving around inside the body. They also believed that the heart, rather than the brain, was the source of human wisdom as well as emotions and the personality.

  57. Hair fibers or strands, grow from an organ in the area under the skin called a follicle. As soon as a hair is plucked from its follicle, a new one begins to grow.

    A single hair has a lifespan of about five years. It is made mostly of a protein called keratin.

    Hair contains information about what kind of food have you been eating, vitamins, minerals, and everything that has ever been in your bloodstream, including medicines, alcohol and drugs. Hair is one of the most commonly used types of forensic evidence.

    The only thing about you that can't be identified by your hair is your gender - men's hair and women's hair are identical in structure.

  58. Cleopatra, the queen of Alexandria, is remembered for her unique beauty, particularly for her stunning and radiant skin.

    Legend says that she kept her skin looking soft and glowy by bathing in donkey's milk. Every day 700 donkeys were milked to benefit her opulent daily bathing rituals. According to philosopher Pliny the Elder, donkey's milk prevents wrinkles and soften the skin.

    Roman Emperor Nero's second wife Poppaea Sabina also bathed in donkey's milk. According to historians, she believed that it cured disease and preserved the fairness of her skin.

  59. Approximately 2 billion people study English worldwide and some countries find it easier than others to pick it up. Throughout the emerging generations of many nationalities, proficiency is almost ubiquitous as people are becoming more and more serious about language learning.

    :: Who in Europe speaks English best?

    :: English Speaking Countries 2019

    :: Countries Where English Is The Official Language

  60. "Crutch words" are words we turn to when we need to fill in time when thinking or to emphasize the meaning of a statement. These include the words honestly, actually, basically, seriously, literally, like, etc. They add no meaning or value to a sentence that they are present in. Try to improve your English communications by minimizing these words in your everyday conversations.

  61. The UK is short for The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is a sovereign state in the northwest of Europe and is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is located on a single island that is itself a part of a larger set of islands.

    The Great Britain is the larger of the two main islands in the British Isles. The Great Britain consists of England, Scotland, and Wales.

    Ireland is the smaller of the two large islands in the British Isles. It is divided between the fully independent sovereign state of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom.

    The British Isles is the most common name for the archipelago but it is not used in the Republic of Ireland. They refer to them as either the British-Irish Isles or simply as “these islands”.

  62. Shakespeare wrote during the period now known as Early Modern English (1500–1700). Shakespeare invented over 1700 English common words such as dawn, moonbeam, elbow, green-eyed, etc.

    Robert Cawdrey’s Table Alphabeticall was the first dictionary and in it, he listed and defined just 3000 words. The dictionary was published in 1604.

    Read also: A Brief History of the English Language

  63. In the English language (contrary to the other Indo-European languages) only people and occasionally animals have gender. English doesn't have masculine or feminine nouns unless they refer to the natural gender of a person or animal. (e.g., woman, boy, girl, princess, prince, bachelorette, bachelor, lion, lioness, rooster, hen, etc.) It's important to mention that grammatical gender in English is not always tied to natural gender. For example, words like "doctor" or "teacher" can be used to refer to both males and females, regardless of their gender. We can use gender-neutral pronouns like "they" and "them" to refer to individuals regardless of their gender. Nouns such as "person", "parent", "spouse", "table," "book,", "chair", "dog", "cat", "bear", etc. are considered neuter.

    * * *

    In the Middle English period, the word "girl" was used to mean “child” or “young person” (small boy or girl) regardless of the gender.

    * * *

    There are some nouns such as ships, boats, yachts, countries, and churches, considered as feminine (at least poetic or to show familiarity) and they are given female or male pronouns. It is also correct to use the gender-neutral pronoun (it). Read more: "Feminine and Masculine Words in English", "Noun Gender", and "Grammatical Gender"

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