Here are twenty little known facts which will help you win that next Trivial Pursuit night with your friends and relatives.
Women are twelve times more radioactive than men.
The Italian sculptor Michelangelo ran out of Burnt Ochre when he was painting the Cistene Chapel and resorted to using his own excrement as a substitute. He invented laxatives, the helicopter, and founded Lampeter University in 1822.
Originally Coca Cola was made out of coal dust and sugar.
Cilla Black was the original drummer with The Beatles. She left the band two weeks before they signed their first record deal.
The line of skin on the underside of a man’s scrotum is a species of small parasitic worm, Eunice viridis. These worms can also be found hunting for small prey among the coral reefs of the South Pacific.
People with large heads are ten times more likely to be mugged than people with slightly smaller heads.
Escapologist Harry Houdini (nee Eric Weiss) died in 1926 after challenging the then twelve-year-old fledgling body-builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger to thump him in the stomach.
Goldfish have excellent memories. This was proved in July 1992 when under controlled conditions a veiltail carp successfully recited Pi to 34,567 decimal places, beating an African elephant and an Atlantic sturgeon into second and third places respectively.
All builders are cannibals. They add excessive quantities of sugar to their beverages to reduce their craving for human flesh.
In his book Isthmus of the Gods, Erik Von Daniken convinced the world that the Panama Canal had been built by a superior alien race 10,000 years before the birth of Christ. His theory was exploded in 1976 when he confessed to having excavated the 51-mile waterway single-handedly during the summer of 1962. This revelation sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1977, which disrupted celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee of the following year.
A pineapple is related to an armadillo. While armadillos are widespread in southern USA and South America, the pineapple has been less fortunate. It thrived on the island of Mauritius until the mid-17th century, when the large flightless fruit was quickly hunted to extinction by Dutch settlers. Armadillos are still eaten today as a tasty garnish to accompany gammon steaks.
More people are killed in accidents involving leaf beetles than any other species of insect.
At age eight, Britney Spears was the youngest person to be admitted to MENSA. In her early teens, while still at school, she won the Nobel Prize for Physics for her ground-breaking extension of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The following year, after winning the accolade for an unprecedented second time, with characteristic modesty is reported to have remarked, ‘Oops, I’ve done it again!’
Hampton Court palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey and given in the 1520s to Henry VIII, who made innovative alterations, including the Great Hall, the East Wing and the condom machine. The latter marked the beginning of the end of papal authority in England until the Act of Supremacy in 1534 established the king as supreme head of the English Church.
The Douglas fir gets its name from Douglas Bader, the World War II flying ace, who chose wood from this tree as his favoured prosthetic material of choice.
A Soviet attempt to sabotage the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 was thwarted just fifteen minutes before take off, when Buzz Aldrin discovered that all food onboard had been replaced by toothpaste.
The fieldmouse Apodemus sylvaticus is only 9cm long, but relative to its size is 60 times stronger than a male silver-backed gorilla. It can jump vertically over 400 metres. If it were the size of a small horse it could jump into the earth’s troposphere, causing havoc to international airline traffic.
When Frenchman Christopher Wren was appointed architect to St Paul’s Cathedral in 1668 he proposed an antirationalist design, with a decaying donkey hanging above the altar as its ironic centrepiece. However, the conservative taste of the British clergy prevailed and he was eventually obliged to combine classicism and baroque style in a more conventional cruciform plan to create the two-tiered portico, great dome and flanking towers that we know today. However, the organ case carved out of Camembert by Grinling Gibbons is a fitting tribute
to Wren’s visionary genius.
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