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Friday, August 30, 2013

Twenty Things: Did You Know...?

Time to Tango
Time to Tango at World Championships in Buenos Aires/AFP

  1. British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad regime in Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons, by a majority of 13 votes. It effectively rules out British involvement in any US-led strikes against the Assad regime. (Read more)
  2. It's been 10 years since Skype came on to the scene, as it confirms the development of 3D video calls.
  3. Miniature "human brains" have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders, while a research team claims to have created the world's fastest spinning man-made object. Elsewhere practical science lessons are being squeezed out by exam pressures on schools, says a science advisory body.
  4. A six-year-old English boy has become the star of his village cricket team.
  5. You can hypnotise a shark with a nose rub.
  6. You can cook in your dishwasher.
  7. The owners of a small village tea shop in England had dozens of cockroaches posted through their letterbox, while a Japanese fast food company has decided to combine the hamburger and pizza to create the Megaburgerpizza.
  8. The cause of the Victorian "Elephant Man" condition that gave him his malformed head, curved spine, "lumpy" skin and overgrown right arm and hand has never been definitively explained.
  9. The new Library of Birmingham in England is believed to be Europe's largest public library.
  10. The last wishes, thoughts and concerns of more than 230,000 soldiers who died on the frontline during World War I are to be made available online.
  11. A romantic comedy set in the world of gay and lesbian five-a-side football is the latest play by Tom Wells, who is tipped as one of Britain's best young writers.
  12. A fake James Bond offered women "spy training" in return for sex in Spain, while developers on the InTempo tower in Benidorm forgot to include lifts to the top.
  13. Wal-Mart, the largest private sector US employer, is to offer health insurance to the same-sex partners of its staff, while the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires débuts same-sex couples.
  14. British comedian David Walliams has said that sexuality can change for people over the years, while Mike Winters, who became a household name in a comedy double-act with his brother Bernie, has died in Gloucestershire aged 82.
  15. The wife of a convicted terrorist has lost a major challenge against the British police's power to stop and question people at airports.
  16. British tourists run the risk of causing unwitting offence with their hand gestures, according to a survey, with some facing fines or worse for feeding pigeons, playing bingo (in Portugal) or eating while sitting on a monument, the Foreign Office has said. Meanwhile, a study has found that among the most common complaints made by expats living Britain were sarcastic humour, heavy drinking and the miserable weather.
  17. The number of immigrants arriving for study in the UK is now similar to the estimated number of people arriving in the UK for work. About 180,000 arrived in the UK for formal study in the year to December 2012, compared with 232,000 the previous year.
  18. Chinese longevity records are not generally recognised internationally, as there was no reliable system for certifying most births until after the Communist Party took power in 1949, while China is also in the news for trying to "purify social media" by targeting Chinese activist bloggers.
  19. A German policeman claimed damages for "temperature trauma" caused by chasing a peeping Tom in a sauna, while a Russian man has "outwitted" his bank with a hand-written credit contract on his terms. In other news a joyriding blind man who crashed a friend's car into a boulder said he "felt safe at the wheel".
  20. Honey can save lives.

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