10 Random Facts


10 Random Facts

 

William Carstares (1649-1715) was the last man in Britain to be given the thumbscrew. As torture was illegal in England, he had to be taken to Edinburgh.

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The whole of Shakespeare contains only about 20,000 different words – less than half the vocabulary of the average English speaker today.

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“Trombone” is French for paperclip.

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The word “gasoline” doesn’t come from “gas”. It comes from Cazeline – after John Cassell, founder of the publisher Cassell & Co who was the first to sell it commercially.

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A snowflake that falls on a glacier in central Greenland can take 200,000 years to reach the sea.

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For 48 years after tinned food was invented, people who wanted to eat it had to use a hammer and chisel. The can opener wasn’t invented until 1858.

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At the outbreak of the Second World War, zookeepers killed all the poisonous insects and snakes in London Zoo, in case it was bombed and they escaped.

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The boa constrictor is the only living animal whose common name is exactly the same as its scientific name.

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Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, it is explicitly illegal in Britain to use a machine gun to kill a hedgehog.

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In ancient Greek the word “idiot” meant anyone who wasn’t a politician.

 

 

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5 thoughts on “10 Random Facts

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    1. I have to confess that I have a little book that I looked these up in! I am fascinated by facts like these, and I just wanted to share some with you. I love the fact about the trombone – my son plays it, and my brother is a professional trombone player for the Welsh National Opera so you can imagine the teasing he will be getting about THAT!!

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  1. “it is explicitly illegal in Britain to use a machine gun to kill a hedgehog.” Makes you wonder exactly what prompted this to get worked into the law!

    These were fascinating! If you have any more factoids like these I’d love to read them. 🙂

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