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Monday, October 05, 2009

Things of Merit and Demerit

  1. Earlier generations had a taste for very long speeches which demonstrated their learning, and among the most famous of long speeches is that made by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, who delivered an epic oratory in 1927. Not for him a speech measured in mere minutes - he spoke for 36 hours and 31 minutes over six days.
  2. The first of October is "central heating day" in the UK, when many people switch on their radiators for the winter. Far from being a modern invention, there were forms of central heating systems in ancient Greece, and later the Romans perfected what were called hypocausts to heat public baths and private houses.
  3. Urban environmentalists are arguing that tower blocks are more greener than low rise buildings, which they say have a larger carbon footprint than a high-rise office tower - even when the high-rise has no green features at all.
  4. Needlecraft is becoming fashionable with the British again. Supermarket giant Tesco has recently reported that sales of sewing machines had reached two a minute in the UK.
  5. Winner of the 2009 Ig Nobel prize for literature, which honours achievements that "first make people laugh and then make them think," goes to Ireland's police service for writing and presenting more than 50 traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country - Prawo Jazdy - whose name in Polish means "Driving Licence".

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