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What We Learnt In 2015

The weird, the wacky and the mind-boggling...

What We Learnt In 2015
What We Learnt In 2015
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

“There is nothing, sir, too little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we att  ain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible.”

–Samuel Johnson

  • All mammals larger than rats (from cats to elephants) take roughly the same amount of time to urinate: 21 seconds
  • 1,200 eateries in Hyderabad produce 500 tonnes of the city’s famous biriyani—every day
  • PM Modi eats food with his left hand, suggesting he’s a south­paw who turned right-handed
  • FB founder Mark Zuck­erb­erg does not eat meat unless he has killed the animal with his own hands
  • The recipe for fish and chips first appeared as ‘The Jews (sic) way of preserving salmon’ in Hannah Glasse’s Art of Cookery in 1781
  • Tulsidas used over 1,000 Arabic and Persian words in Ramcharitamanas
  • Wartime British PM Winston Chu­rchill’s waist size was 54 inches
  • Smriti Irani only eats fish procured from a Gujarat fisheries outlet in South Delhi
  • Late US president Ronald Reagan had over 50 partners—all Holly­­wood ­actresses through his 93-year life
  • Lord of the World, a science fiction novel by Robert Hugh Benson published in 1907, shaped Pope Francis’ worldview
  • The rope used to hang Saddam Hussein auctioned for USD 7 mn
  • 132 people have lost their lives between 2002-2012 to witchhunt mobs in Assam
  • India has amended the Cons­titution 99 times in 65 years; US 33 times since 1789
  • Aryabhatta knew about gravity even before Isaac Newton (says the new ISRO chief, no less)
  • Men are most attracted to women with a posterior angle of 45.5 degrees, says a University of Texas study
  • Happy couples have sex at least 11 times a month
  • The Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan has at least 16 million descendants, says a study
  • Pakistan has more nuclear weapons (120) than India (110)
  • 97.4% of all sterilisations perfo­r­­med in India in 2012-13 were on women; only 2.5% were on men
  • Narendra Modi’s ‘achhe din’ slogan was taken from Man­mohan Singh’s last press meet
  • An average Indian consumes 5 gms of sugar a day, against 126 gms by an average American
  • Costa Rica hasn’t used any fossil fuel to generate electric­ity since the beginning of 2015
  • 69 climbers have died on the slopes of the world’s 10th highest peak Annapurna since it was conquered in 1950, making it more dangerous than Everest
  • Only two out of the six James Bond actors—Daniel Craig and Roger Moore—have been Englishmen


(IN)Veritas Fake degrees have meant income for Jodhpur University

  • Jodhpur National University has issued 25,003 fake degrees, charging Rs 10-15,000 per degree
  • A pair of jeans uses up 3,800 litres of water for washes in its lifetime
  • The Victoria Termi­nus spot from where Ajmal Kasab fired on 26/11 used to be ‘phansi talao’—criminals were hanged here
  • German airline Lufthansa’s name is derived from the Sans­krit words for air and swan
  • Jessica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma has a PG from an institute of human rights!
  • The Nepal earthquake released energy equivalent to 100 million kilos of TNT exploding
  • Spread across 7 sq km between Croatia and Serbia is the wor­ld’s newest county, Liberland
  • The Greek philosopher Aristotle beli­eved till his death that women had fewer teeth than men
  • Mozart made almost one composition a month, acco­unting for 792 masterpieces­ in a short life of 35 years
  • You can file nomination for an election even if you are 102 years of age
  • IAS officer Atheela Abdullah of Kerala is the first Indian bure­au­crat to wear a hijab to work
  • At least 1,200 workers from India and Nepal have died so far in the construction of stadiums for the Qatar soccer World Cup
  • 28 lakh adolescent girls miss school in UP every month beca­use they have no access to hygiene products
  • Indian students in the US spend more on tuition than India as a whole spends on education 
  • 24 policemen were ­deployed at former Bihar CM Jitan Manjhi’s official residence to guard the garden’s fruits and vegetables
  • The world’s most digitally advanced country is Estonia, says Wired
  • Descendants of both Napoleon and Duke of Wellington, the two opponents at the Battle of Wat­erloo, work as bankers in Paris
  • At the time of WW II, only 12.5 per cent of India’s population (380 mn) was literate; life expectancy was 26 years
  • Arica in Chile has recorded the world's lowest rainfall at 0.03 inches a year
  • In Bollywood’s 2013 releases, there were five Muslim leading men, four Christians, three Sikhs and one Jain; the other 65 were upper-caste Hindus
  • The Swedish association for sexuality education has come up with a new word for female masturbation: Klittra
  • Modi sarkar has spent Rs 94 cr on advertisements of Swachh Bharat mission in one year 
  • There were 22 custodial deaths during the Emergency; ‘Vyapam’ has accounted for twice more already
  • Telephone took 75 years to reach 50 mn people, radio did that in 38 years, TV in 13; FB did that in a year and Angry Birds in 35 days


Of Stoics Was Nixon’s last lunch as the president deliberately frugal?

  • The day he resigned in 1974, Richard Nixon had a lunch of four pineapple slices, some cheese and a glass of milk
  • Only 46% of the world practises mouth-to-mouth kissing
  • 99 per cent of sea birds will have swallowed plastic by 2050
  • Gabbar Singh (played by Amjad Khan) didn’t feature in DD’s Sanskrit documen­tary on the 40th anniver­sary of Sholay
  • As a chemist, the late UK PM Margaret Thatcher was part of a food industry team that developed the ice-cream scoop
  • Indians are the largest ethnic sperm donors in the United Kingdom, more than African, Chinese and Pakistan men
  • Micromax owner Rahul Sharma gave actress Asin a Rs 6 crore ring when he proposed to her
  • The chances of a Labrador (like Somnath Bharti’s ‘Don’) attacking a potential victim (like Bha­rti’s wife) is “1-2%” (say vets)
  • The requirements of 900 million users of WhatsApp are serviced by exactly 50 engineers
  • Ben Kingsley wasn’t Sir Richard Atten­borough’s first choice to play Gandhi. The offer had gone to Alb­ert Finney and Alec Guinness, both of whom turned it down
  • One out of every three lawyers in the country is “fake” (says the Bar Council of India)
  • Pornographic content was accessed inside the UK’s Parliament 700 times a day last year
  • Year 2015 by the Gregorian calendar is year 104 in North Korea
  • The flagship store of the Nalli silk and sari brand in Chennai is spread over 1.5 acres
  • The Tirupati ‘laddoo’, 250 crore pieces of which are sold every year, is now 300 years old


Bottled Up What was the letter all about? Will it be read out?

  • The world’s oldest mess age in a bottle finally washed up on land—after 108 years.
  • In the last 20 years, there have been some 6,024 acts of terrorism on Indian soil
  • Digital India ambassador Ankit Fadia’s website has been hacked at least nine times
  • 20 towers of the size of Empire State building could have been built in the time mankind has spent watching Psy’s “Gangnam style” on YouTube (2.5 billion times)


Interminable At his old age, this actor is still raking in the moolah

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, 68, will be paid Rs 100 crore to play the android nemesis of Rajnikanth, 64, in Shankar’s Robot 2
  • Women are more promiscuous in colder climates and are happier with monogamy in hotter ones
  • One in five people scans Facebook while having sex (says a Durex survey)
  • Sahara’s jailed boss Subroto Roy has paid Rs 1.23 crore to avail a few “special facilities” in Tihar jail
  • More people have died in gangland killings in Chicago (7,356) than the official toll in the Iraq war (4,424) in the last 15 years
  • Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, the freedom fighter, is film actor Aamir Khan’s great grand uncle
  • Herman Melville’s 1851 classic Moby Dick was based on a real-life incident
  • The sales of platinum is climbing in India thanks to South Indian men, who use it for accessories
  • There is no difference between the male brain and the female brain
  • Britons are the most travelled people in the world, Brazilians the least
  • The Mughal emperor Akbar devised a way of playing polo at night, by setting the balls made of wood of the Palas tree on fire
  • In Binary, 2015 is 11111011111.

 

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