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100 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Year 276

Posted by Zonk
from the you-live-you-learn dept.
An anonymous reader wrote to mention a BBC list of 100 topical pieces of information that they've reported on over the course of 2005. While some of them are very Brit-specific ("16. The London borough of Westminster has an average of 20 pieces of chewing gum for every square metre of pavement."), there are some interesting, touching, and humorous stories in there. "20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood. 32. 'Restaurant' is the most mis-spelled word in search engines. 65. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, had a hand in creating the Klingon language that was used in the movies, and which Shakespeare plays were subsequently translated into."
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100 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Year

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  • by jvalenzu (96614) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:31AM (#14373095) Homepage
    Uh, 65 is incorrect. I think we all remember Star Trek VI where Chancellor Gorkon mentions that Shakespeare was originally written in Klingon. I can't believe they let this one through.
    • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:37AM (#14373109)
      Dude, it's New Year's Eve, one of the biggest party nights of the year, and you're correcting some news story about Klingons and Star Trek on a website for nerds. That's so geeky and nonsocial that I have to say... wait a second....%*&@!
    • That wasn't a serious part of the story, that was just one of many lame Cold War references in the movie. (In the 60s, the stereotypical Russian always insisted "We invented it first!" Yes, just like Chekov in TOS.) The lamest reference of all is "Don't wait for the translation!" A free copy of the Vulcan Joke Book to the first person to correctly identify this reference — persons born before JFK was shot are not eligible!
      • In Soviet Russia... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:44AM (#14373234) Homepage
        Russian translates YOU!

        Seriously though:

        Does this have anything to do with the Adlai Stevenson incident?

        "
        "Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba?... Don't wait for the translation! Yes or no?" Zorin responded, "I am not in an American courtroom, sir, and I do not wish to answer a question put to me in the manner in which a prosecutor does-" Then Stevenson interrupted and said, "You are in the courtroom of world opinion right now, and you can answer yes or no. You have denied that they exist, and I want to know whether I have understood you correctly.... I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over, if that's your decision. And I am also prepared to present the evidence in this room."
        "

        (Hilarious site: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/world_language s/36160 [suite101.com])
  • Qapla! (Score:5, Informative)

    by kyouteki (835576) <kyouteki AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:34AM (#14373099) Homepage
    It's been well known for a very long time that Jimmy Doohan helped create the Klingon language. He created the Klingon dialogue for Star Trek 1, which Marc Okrand developed into the tlhIngan'Hol we know today.
    • It's been well known for a very long time that Jimmy Doohan helped create the Klingon language.
      for a in $articles_2005;
      do
      grep surprising_facts $a >> yearly_wrapup
      done

      In other words, this is a list of things one person in the BBC didn't know this time last year.

  • by megrims (839585)
    Why didn't we know the japanese word "chokuegambo" last year?
    Is it a new word? Or are they assuming that nobody here speaks japanese?
  • 101. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:35AM (#14373104)
    32% of all Slashdot stories are duplicates :)
  • by Tezkah (771144) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:36AM (#14373106)
    19. The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".


    16th Century? I'm pretty sure that guy posts on slashdot regularly. "oi got frist psot"
    • 19. The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".

      16th Century? I'm pretty sure that guy posts on slashdot regularly. "oi got frist psot"


      I think they got him confused with someone else. Everyone knows the Welsh language has no vowels and is impossible to understand even to Welsh people.
      • Everyone knows the Welsh language has no vowels and is impossible to understand even to Welsh people

        Welsh has more vowels than English ('w' is a vowel in Celtic languages, equivalent to "oo" as in "spook")*, but it is true that it is impossible to pronounce. Especially the sound corresponding to "LL".

        * - There is a tiny street in a suburb of Sydney called "Clwdyn Place". If you are "clued in" you know how to pronounce it.

    • "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle"

      My five year old spells like that.. maybe there's hope for him yet!

  • Gee... (Score:3, Funny)

    by setirw (854029) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:37AM (#14373110) Homepage
    Bill Gates does not own an iPod. That's odd... Number 101: Steve Jobs does not run Windows!
    • On the subject of wether the PS3 or the Xbox 360 or the revolution would win the next generation war IBM was heared to say "Money money money, were in the money". (If you have been paying attention it is not Sony vs MS vs Nintendo but IBM vs IBM vs IBM. I like a three horse race where there is only 1 horse.
      • ...even funnier if you consider that IBM originally stood for "International Business Machines"... I don't think I'd last very long if I took an Xbox 360 to work.. unless I worked at a game publisher or retailer, I suppose ;-)
  • #39 (Score:2, Insightful)

    I think if #39 was true in America we wouldn't need such a controversial/ineffective/(insert your own adjective here) president to get people to vote more often.

    39. Australians host barbecues at polling stations on general election days.
    • Re:#39 (Score:5, Informative)

      by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:37AM (#14373211)
      Actually, we have em to make money. Polling stations are usually setup at schools. The school gets a couple of parents to come down and organize a barbecue. You get a good couple of thousand people through even a small polling station, that's a pretty darn big market for the cost of gas and a few sausages.

      For what it's worth, the one I go to sells lamingtons.
    • A lot of people in Australia are quite interested in the political process, really. We have election night parties as well - sometimes big piss-ups, like "Don's Party" (a classic play/movie). Do you get them as well in the States, or is that another Australian-ism?
    • That's the most ridiculous thing I've read so far. Of course we knew Australians hosted BBQs at polling booths. Or did the BBC only just discover Australia?
  • bah... (Score:3, Funny)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:41AM (#14373117) Homepage
    bah, Neatorama [neatorama.com] had this many days ago, and they had the sense to hilight No. #78, "One in 18 people has a third nipple".
  • by Kohath (38547) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:41AM (#14373120)
    One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed.

    That must be a pretty sturdy bed.
  • by matt21811 (830841) * on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:41AM (#14373121) Homepage
    32. 'Restaurant' is the most mis-spelled word in search engines.

    There is a lot of money to be made if you could get the top list of mispelled words in search engines.
  • Hmmph. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:43AM (#14373123) Homepage
    Interesting list, but some of the stuff is either bogus or filler. For example:

    "41. Tactically, the best Monopoly properties to buy are the orange ones: Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street."

    I believe they're called New York, Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place. And this is just common sense - their relationship with jail, and the fact that they're on the end of a row (More bang for buck, house/hotel wise, and a 6,8, or 9 after jail yields a hit), makes them ideal.

    "43. The spiciness of sauces is measured in Scoville Units."

    What does this have to do with '05? I've known that for a long time.

    "61. You can bet on your own death."

    That's a safe bet - but what do I get once my win has been confirmed?

    Meanwhile, others are just best LEFT OUT:

    "67. Giant squid eat each other - especially during sex."
    "11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed."
    "78. One in 18 people has a third nipple."

    Thanks for the list, BBC.
    • I believe they're called New York, Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place. And this is just common sense - their relationship with jail, and the fact that they're on the end of a row (More bang for buck, house/hotel wise, and a 6,8, or 9 after jail yields a hit), makes them ideal.

      Not just that:

      The hit rate is further increased by the fact that the most-landed on chance square (hit it with a 12 after leaving jail) is three spaces after New York, and there's a move back three chance card.

      There's also a move to
      • Re:Hmmph. (Score:5, Informative)

        by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i l.com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:26AM (#14373191)
        BTW, if you're curious, here's the rank of the different color groups based upon the average rate of return of that group with hotels. What that means is that every time someone completes a circuit of the board, a player that owns that color group with hotels will make back that percentage of their initial investment. I've also included the dollar amount that translates to. (I tried to space this nicely, but neither tt nor ecode kept whitespace; sorry.)
        # Group %ret $ret
        1 Orange 23.5 484.10
        2 Lite Blue 20.7 221.49
        3 Red 17.8 521.54
        4 Lt Purple 17.7 343.38
        5 Dark Blue 17.3 475.75
        6 Yellow 17.2 524.60
        7 Railroads 16.0 128.00
        8 Green 15.1 591.92
        9 Dk Purple 13.6 84.32
        A Utilities 7.5 22.50
        You can also see from this list that oranges are only best if you're using % return. The way to interpret this is that if you're reasonably early in the game, and people are just building, you want oranges because they are cheap to develop, and you need to get three houses up ASAP. However, if you're late in the game and hotels are already up, you should look to the absolute income for the best property, and there the rank changes:

        1. Green
        2. Yellow
        3. Red
        4. Orange
        5. Dark Blue
        • I always go for the purple ones right by Go. They're cheap, pay decent, and are cheap to get hotels on. Plus, people seem to either land on them or taxes when they pass by (we put tax money on free parking) so it's potentially a win-win.
      • Which is why it makes sense to give the player free money when they land on free parking. Unfortunately, this has never been an official rule AFAIK.
      • Still, I think it's pretty far from "common sense." Once you see it, it makes sense, but if you ask most people what properties they want they'll probably say the dark blues.

        Any property a multiple of 7 away from Go would be the most commonly hit. That's the result that's most likely to result from two die, and, therefore, is common sense.

        • Re:Hmmph. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by EvanED (569694)
          Actually, most commonly hit property is Illinois, because of it's placement two sevens away from jail and a chance card leading right to it. And actually, the most commonly hit space is jail; Illinois is 2. The square seven spaces from Go, the first chance, is actually the LEAST likely square to finish your turn on in the entire game. (Landing on would be higher quite a bit higher because of the 'go to' cards, but not enough to compensate.)

          Interesting how well that "common sense" works out, huh?

          This site [tkcs-collins.com] ha
    • Re:Hmmph. (Score:4, Informative)

      by EoinOL (833833) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:08AM (#14373166)
      "41. Tactically, the best Monopoly properties to buy are the orange ones: Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street."

      I believe they're called New York, Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place. And this is just common sense - their relationship with jail, and the fact that they're on the end of a row (More bang for buck, house/hotel wise, and a 6,8, or 9 after jail yields a hit), makes them ideal.

      It seems to have escaped your notice, but there are about a million different versions of Monopoly, including localised ones for lots of countries. The BBC are obviously using the (main) UK one.

      • It seems to have escaped your notice, but there are about a million different versions of Monopoly, including localised ones for lots of countries. The BBC are obviously using the (main) UK one.

        Not sure why you think the UK one is the "main" version of the board. The original version was the US version [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Hmmph. (Score:2, Funny)

      by kfg (145172)
      . . .what do I get once my win has been confirmed?

      Cremated.

      KFG
    • Re:Hmmph. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:40AM (#14373224)
      I believe they're called New York, Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place.

      No, they're called Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street. The BBC is, funnily enough, British. Why should they use the American version of the game for their list?

      And personally my biggest WTF is #29. When faced with danger, the octopus can wrap six of its legs around its head to disguise itself as a fallen coconut shell and escape by walking backwards on the other two legs, scientists discovered.

      How the hell do they know it was trying to pretned to be a coconut shell? Were these research scientists cast members of Monty Python's Flying Circus by any chance?
    • Meanwhile, others are just best LEFT OUT:

      "67. Giant squid eat each other - especially during sex."
      "11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed."
      "78. One in 18 people has a third nipple."


      Why should they be left out? If they are new discoveries, the world would like to know about them. The fact that they are anatomy/sex related is no reason to leave research out of publication/dissemination.
    • by Master Of Ninja (521917) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @06:57AM (#14373670)
      Having a look at the Wikipedia Monopoly article [wikipedia.org], you can easily see that the London edition was the 2nd edition made, and came out the year after the Atlantic City edition. The London edition (which is also apparently the standard UK and Commonwealth edition) is the one the BBC uses so the street names are correct. Forgetting the localised editions, the 'London" edition would probably be competing with the Atlantic City version in worldwide numbers.
      • Having a look at the Wikipedia Monopoly article, you can easily see that the London edition was the 2nd edition made, and came out the year after the Atlantic City edition. The London edition (which is also apparently the standard UK and Commonwealth edition) is the one the BBC uses so the street names are correct.


        Not all the Commonwealth countries use the UK edition. I know in Canada, we use the American version.
  • Bananas too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:50AM (#14373138)
    "12. Until the 1940s rhubarb was considered a vegetable. It became a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten."

    Funny, but pretty much the same goes for bananas. They are considered fruits, as they really are vegetables (and africans consider them as such, according to what I heard)

    • Re:Bananas too (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:05AM (#14373162)
      Umm no. Fruits contain seeds, vegetables are any other part of a plant.
      Tomatoes are fruit, bananas are fruit, rhubarb is a vegetable. Bananas
      are a staple in many parts of the world, though we don't normally think
      of fruits as staples. More often it's tubers or grains...
      • Re:Bananas too (Score:4, Informative)

        by CthulhuDreamer (844223) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @02:37AM (#14373318)
        Tomatoes are vegetables, according to the U.S. Supreme Court (Nix vs Hedden, 1893). Vegetables are served with dinner, fruits are eaten for dessert. (This also allowed schools to count hamburger ketchup as a vegetable serving in school lunches.)

        "Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, just as are cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas. But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumers of provisions, all these are vegetables which are grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether eaten cooked or raw, are, like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the repast, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert."
  • Gates/iPod (Score:3, Funny)

    by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:06AM (#14373163) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I believe Gates has been a major iPod fanboy [ipoditude.com] for a long time ... going back, it would seem, to the days of the 5-1/4" floppy. Talk about an early adopter!
  • by jakebluez (40824) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:06AM (#14373164) Homepage
    66. The hotter it is, the more difficult it is for aeroplanes to take off. Air passengers in Nevada, where temperatures have reached 120F, have been told they can't fly.

    Funny. I was sure my flight instructor told me this the first day of flight school. I guess this explains the success of the European aerospace industry.
    • I always found it funny that a state that largely consists of hot, arid desert is called "Nevada" ("snowed covered" in Spanish).. of course, it gets the name from the Rocky Mountains (specifically the Sierra Nevada), which are indeed snowed covered.. but I always thought it was a humorous name for the state.
  • by James_G (71902) <james&globalmegacorp,org> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:20AM (#14373181)
    100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

    No Stairway? Denied!

  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:27AM (#14373192) Homepage Journal
    20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.

    Obviously. Had she ever used his software, she would have cut off his head.

  • Queen's Computer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rapidweather (567364) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:57AM (#14373254) Homepage
    20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.
    I take her word for it, no computer in Buckingham Palace.
    Grandmotherly types (like the Queen) tend to say things like that. Basically, they want to make you look good. I'll bet Bill Gates felt 10 feet tall after she said that.
    In this day and age of new discoveries, etc. grandmothers have lots of material. Anyone ever had their grandmother say, "Who would ever have thought of such a thing!" concerning some new technology.
    Having said that, here is a link to a report [royal.gov.uk] that says the Queen apparently knows how to email school children, having set a record for the largest group email the Queen has ever sent.
    The Queen does not really touch the computer though, she has it done...
    But, did anyone see that picture of Pope John Paul II on his laptop?
    They took it down after he died, but he was supposedly answering email when the picture was taken. The top of the laptop had the papal crest, if that is what it is called.
    Here is a link [theworkofgod.org]to a statement from 1989 by John Paul II that has some sections concerning computers. What a great guy he was, we all miss him. Goodbye, 2005!
  • Number 11 (Score:2, Funny)

    by AndreiK (908718)
    "11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed." I wonder if Ikea can take claims to those children as prior art?
  • 100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

    Geez, the music industry is really grabbing every penny it can eh. What about charging a fee on my iPod because I might hum along? Cops patrolling the streets for illegal whistlers?

    I hope in 365 days we will have the following story "top 1000 things that happened in 2006 that nobody cared about: 1000 rampaging citizens slaughterd music execs and

    • Happy new year 1984!
    • And it doesn't really make sense, either - why do music stores have to pay for something that their *customers* do and which they have no control over? A sign saying "please don't use copyrighted tunes and riffs when trying out the instruments" should be more than enough - but even that really *shouldn't* be necessary, because the store is not actually doing anything themselves.
  • All on one page! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Infe (52681)
    Wow! I can't believe all 100 things were on a single page, not even separated by giant ads! Just shows you can make a decent news site if you really want to...
  • "20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood."

    If she had been on a computer, she would see how awful Windows really is, and would have given Bill Gates something else instead of Knighthood.

    "Mr. Gates, we have used Windows, and we are not amused! The screen turned blue, before we could save our document."
  • FTA: The UK's first mobile phone call was made 20 years ago this year, when Ernie Wise rang the Vodafone head office, which was then above a curry shop in Newbury.

    Was the guy on the other end named Watson by any chance?
  • by ultramk (470198) <ultramkNO@SPAMpacbell.net> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @02:46AM (#14373336)
    Personally, I didn't know where my pants were.

    Long story.

    m-
  • She tells Bill Gates she's never used a computer, but according to a number of internet history sources, for instance this one [factmonster.com] she was the first head of state to send email, back in 1976.

    The fact that freaked me out most is that british members of parliament share communal hairbrushes. That's just so very very strange.
  • 100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

    Little things like this make me mad.
  • Ha, I can tell you now that Portsmouth has Westminster beat for chewing gum per square meter. Dropping gum should be punishable by having it picked up and stuck in your hair. Preferably your pubic hair.
  • The National Security Agency has been spying on the communications of people within the United States without a warrant since 2001. Though I suppose the folks at the New York Times knew that this time last year (they just didn't feel like sharing).
  • #7 = Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rikkards (98006) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @10:14AM (#14374054) Journal
    Same with Dogs. My wife had taken in a stray at one point and couldn't get it to sit by saying "Sit" so she said it in French; the dog sat.

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