100 things we didn't know this time last year
Via BBC here's a choice few:
- Brussels sprouts have three times as much vitamin C as oranges.
- The word "electricity" was first used in English in about 1600 by Elizabeth I's physician.
- The full names of Scooby Doo's Mystery Inc members are: Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Scooby "Scoobert" Doo. Shaggy is actually Norville Rogers.
- Herrings break wind to communicate and keep the school together.
- A "jiffy" is 10 milliseconds in computer science terms.
- Reports of UFOs have dwindled since the late 1990s. In the UK, sightings have gone from about 30 a week to almost zero; it's a trend echoed in the US and Norway.
- Ducks have regional accents. London ducks shout out a rough quack to be heard above the urban din; those in the West Country make a quieter, softer sound.
- Freak conditions above Everest can cause the sky to "fall in". An analysis of weather patterns in May 1996, by University of Toronto researchers, said eight people died when the stratosphere sank to the level of the summit.
- More than 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide each year. The first was Bridget Driscoll, knocked down by a car travelling at 12mph in London on 17 August 1896. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and warned: "This must never happen again."
- Dom Perignon, the Benedictine monk, was originally employed by his abbey to get the bubbles out of the champagne, according to Gerard Liger-Belair's new book, Uncorked: the Science of Champagne.