April

 

1st April

 

The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit (an ancient Indo-Aryan language) word svástika which means good fortune. The motif was used thousands of years ago in Neolithic Eurasia and is still a sacred symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Odinism.

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the swastika was used throughout Europe as a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness before it was adopted by the Germans as a symbol of nationalist pride. After World War I some far-right nationalist movements adopted the swastika, and it became known as a symbol of a racially pure state. By the time the Nazis had gained control of Germany, the connotations of the emblem had changed forever.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

2nd April

 

Many years after his death, Alan Turing (1912 to 1954) became famous and is known today as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During the Second World War, he devised several techniques to speed up the process of breaking German cyphers. He played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many critical engagements. As a computer scientist, mathematician, and cryptanalyst, he was able to decrypt the Enigma machine which had been designed by the German engineer, Arthur Scherbius, to send coded information securely. The cracking of the Enigma code was accredited with shortening the war and saving countless lives.

Following the war, Turing designed what would today be considered as a digital computer which stored programs in its memory. Alongside that, he also issued a report detailing software issues and predicted future non-numeric applications of computers.

 

In 1967, Turing was prosecuted for having an affair with another man. Rather than face prison, he accepted probation on the condition that he would be chemically castrated. His security clearance was revoked, which terminated his work in the governments code-breaking department; he was barred from continuing his cryptographic consultancy for the government. To escape British law, Turing moved to Norway and then on to Greece.

 

On the 8th June 1954, Turing was found dead. An inquest determined that he had committed suicide. However, his mother believed that his death was accidental, but others theorise that Turing orchestrated his death to look accidental on his mother’s account.

 

In December 2013, Turing was granted a posthumous royal pardon which formally cancelled his criminal conviction. The petition calling for Turing’s posthumous pardon reached 37,000 signatures and was supported by scientists Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

3rd April

 

There are at least one hundred different types of cabbage grown throughout the world. China is the greatest manufacture while Russia consumes the most. It can be used for medicinal purposes such as the treatment of intestinal ulcers, engorged breasts, sore throats, rheumatism, and can also be used as a laxative. Cabbage is up to 93% water and has a powerful diuretic benefit.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

   

 

4th April

 

According to widely circulated reports in 1947/1948, many ships in the trade route of the straits of Malacca picked up a series of SOS signals from a vessel known as the Ourang Medan. Due to the urgency in the distress message, the captain and crew of the Silver Star headed towards the ship requiring assistance.

 

As the Silver Star neared the Ourang Medan, the crew noticed

that there was not any sign of life on deck. Upon boarding the ill-fated ship, the Silver Star’s crew found dead bodies strewn everywhere - the eyes and mouth on all the bodies were wide open with the faces twisted into visages of agony and horror.

In an attempt to tow the ship back to port a tow line was attached. However, the rescue team noticed billows of smoke blasting up from the lower decks, in particular from the Number 4 hold. With scarcely enough time to cut the towline, the Ourang Medan exploded before swiftly sinking.

 

Many theories surround the event which includes the idea that there was an invasion of the paranormal, or that methane rose quickly from the ocean floor and consequently poisoned the crew.

 

Researchers and historians continuously come to a dead-end when trying to solve the mystery. The major stumbling block was the fact that no official documents existed for the Dutch freighter. Professor Theodor Siersdorfer pursued the case for the best part of fifty years. One piece of evidence that he did discover hinted that the Number 4 hold may have contained exceedingly harmful and highly illegal substances which might explain the demise of the crew and the subsequent explosion. The contents might have been on their way to a laboratory where they were to be used in the development of chemical and biological weapons. This reason would explain why the ship’s paperwork could not be found as it would have been an embarrassment to any government.

 

Since there were not any crew members to come forward to tell the tale, many believe that it was all a hoax. Regardless of whether it was true or not, it has still remained one of the most frightening maritime stories to date.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

 

5th April

 

Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, also known as Ondine’s Curse, requires the afflicted to consciously focus on breathing all the time. This rare lifelong and life-threatening disorder affects the central and autonomic nervous system which controls many of the body’s automatic functions such as the heart rate, blood pressure, bowel and bladder control, and the sensing of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It is estimated that there are between 1,000 to 1,200 sufferers worldwide.

 

The most recognised symptom is the inability to control breathing which can result in the need for life-long ventilator support while sleeping; bedtime is particularly dangerous as without the essential breathing support the person would simply stop breathing and never wake up.

 

In a French folktale written by Friedrich de la Motte Foaqué, Ondine was a nymph who was a water goddess of extreme beauty. Humans were a danger to nymphs and should the two species ever marry the nymph would lose her eternal youthfulness and begin to age. However, Ondine met and married Palemon and together they had a son. As Ondine’s youthful beauty began to fade, Palemon rekindled his relationship with his first-love, Berta, whom he had previously been engaged to before he met Ondine. When Ondine found out about his affair, she was consumed with anger and regret. With just enough magic left, she cursed her husband so that if he ever fell asleep, his breathing would stop.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

6th April

 

The bacterial infection, Syphilis, is generally transmitted through sexual contact. Symptoms include sores, ulcers, a blotchy red rash, white patches in the mouth, as well as tiredness, headaches, joint pain, and swollen glands. A course of antibiotics will usually cure the problem, but if it is left untreated, it can spread to the brain and cause serious long-term problems.

 

Al Capone (1899 to 1947) was promoted to leader of Chicago’s underworld organisation when he was twenty-six years old. From many illicit activities, which included bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution, his gang pulled in an estimated $100 million a year. Although the authorities knew about his actions, he avoided prosecution for years by keeping some police officers and other officials on his payroll, and by threatening witnesses. In 1931, the government were finally able to charge him with income-tax fraud, and he was fined $50,000 as well as being sentenced to serve eleven years’ imprisonment (during which time he was transferred to Alcatraz).

 

During his time in prison, Capone’s behaviour changed. He reportedly mumbled to himself and talked like a baby; he would often hunker down in the corner of his jail cell, and he failed to recognise people that he knew. At first, it was thought that the experience had broken him, but it was soon discovered that his brain was being eaten away due to advanced syphilis which he had contracted at the age of 18.

After being released, Capone spent his last years on his estate in Miami where he would sit for hours beside the swimming pool with his fishing rod hoping to catch imaginary fish. His physician stated that he had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old.

Despite Capone’s imprisonment, and all the other efforts that the government made to reduce bootlegging, the flow of liquor into Chicago never even slowed down.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

7th April

 

The first porn movie was made it 1896. The seven-minute French film was entitled “Le Coucher de la Mariée” (which translates as “Bedtime for the Bride”) and it showed a woman performing a striptease in the bathroom before she had a bath and got dressed again. Today, all that remains of the silent movie is the first ninety seconds.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

8th April

 

Although many believe that one of the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A., Benjamin Franklin, invented the rocking chair, no one really knows who the creator was. Franklin was only a young child when they first appeared.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

 9th April

 

The Cairn de Barnenez (which is referred to as Barnenez Mound or Barnenez Tumulus) is a prehistoric monument located in Brittany, France. The first phase of construction is dated from 4,850 B.C. to 4,500 B.C., and the second phase began in 4,200 B.C., indicating that it is two-thousand years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

 

It measures 236 feet long, between 65 and 83 feet wide, and 29 feet tall.

The cairn was used as a quarry until the middle of the twentieth century. It was at that point that the monuments archaeological value was realised, and excavation and restoration work began.

 

This megalithic building is considered as the oldest building in the world as well as one of the very first buildings in Europe.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

10th April

 

In 2012, just eight years after Facebook had been created, thirty million of its users had died. Some estimates suggest that more than eight-thousand users die daily. If the popularity of the platform takes a dip, it is estimated that there will come the point in time that the majority of its 1.5 billion users will actually be dead. Statisticians debate what year this will occur, but the earliest suggestion is 2065.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

11th April

 

Ear wax, which is scientifically known as cerumen, has natural antibacterial properties and is produced to protect ears from infections, dust, bacteria, and other micro-organisms.

Genetics create two different types of earwax: -

  • dry earwax, which is made up of 18% fat and 43% protein, and

  • wet earwax, which contains about 50% fat and 20% protein.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

12th April

 

Ellen Kelly was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1832. Nine years later her family emigrated to Australia where she met and married John “Red” Kelly – a convict who had been sentenced to Australia for theft.

 

As a widowed mother of twelve children (to three different men) it was her eldest son, Ned (who later became Australia’s most notorious outlaw), who became the undeclared head of the family when he was just 12-years-old. With the stress of being a single parent to so many and the struggle to make a living from inferior farmland, Ellen became notorious for her violent temper, which resulted in various court appearances.

 

Her son Dan was in the horse-thieving business, but when the police tried to arrest him, Ellen was blamed for attacking the constable resulting in her being charged with attempted murder. Although she always denied the incident and pleaded innocent, she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

 

The night before Ned’s execution, Ellen was allowed to visit but was shocked to see the grimness in his face. Apparently, the last words Ellen said to her son were “mind you die like a Kelly, son”.

 

While in prison, the woman once branded as a notoriously bad woman became known as a model prisoner and later a respected member of the community. On her release, Ellen was left to raise some of her grandchildren as seven of her twelve children died. Ellen passed away in 1923 at the age of 91.

While one son had become Australia’s most infamous outlaw, another, Jack Kelly, became a highly-decorated policeman and a worldwide star on the rodeo circuit.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

13th April

 

In an interview in March 2017, Ed Sheeran was asked what was the worst injury that he had ever suffered. He replied that it was the time when he put his foot in a pool of boiling water when he was climbing up a volcano.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

14th April

 

John Edwards is a former drug addict and alcoholic who has been sober for more than two decades. He described the turning point in his life as an incredible encounter with God after which he set up a Christian rehabilitation centre and homeless shelter.

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Edwards continually seeks to find new and innovative ways to reach out to people. In March 2017, he was buried alive for three days in the graveyard of Willowfield Church in Belfast. The event was broadcast live on social media and Edwards communicated with members of the public by receiving phone calls, texts, and emails. His message from the grave was to raise awareness of addiction and suicide and to extend the message of hope by trusting in God.

 

The coffin, measuring 8 feet long by 3.5 feet high, and 4 feet wide, was specially adapted and equipped with a portable toilet, ventilation, and had access to food and water supplies.

 

Word spread as far as China where it was even broadcast on the news.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

15th April

 

Gloria Ramirez (1963 to 1994) was a California woman who was dubbed as The Toxic Lady due to events leading up to her death.

 

Ramirez, who had been diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer sometime earlier, was rushed to hospital in respiratory and cardiac distress. Approximately fifteen minutes after her arrival, she went into full cardiac arrest. Following standard “code blue” procedures, a nurse took a blood sample but on doing so noticed a foul odour and passed out. Immediately after that, all staff within close proximity collapsed.

The emergency department was sealed, patients were evacuated, and the decontamination unit was ushered in. Attempts to resuscitate Ramirez failed, and she was pronounced dead about forty-five minutes later.

 

Investigations into the event took nine months to complete at which time it was concluded that the cause of death was that the chemical warfare agent, Dimethyl Sulfate, had been created by an unusual confluence of chemical reactions. One theory is that when the paramedics administered oxygen, it mixed with dimethyl sulfoxide (which the patient had been prescribed to help relieve various arthritic pains) to become dimethyl sulfone. Then, when the nurse drew a sample of blood, the dimethyl sulfone experienced a quick change in temperature, thus creating dimethyl sulfate.

 

There are other theories too, one of which is that Ramirez had been abducted by aliens and chemical reactions were as a result of extra-terrestrial experiments.

Some of the staff who had been affected spent several weeks in hospital as they developed shortness of breath, involuntary muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.

 

Sadly, Ramirez is remembered as the Toxic Lady and not the 31-year-old woman who lost the battle with cancer and is buried in an unmarked grave.

 

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

16th April

 

Mauro Prosperi (b. 1955) was 39 years old when he took part in the 1994 “Marathon des Sables” – a six-day 155-mile (c 250 km) race through the Sahara.

On the fourth day, the Italian runner found himself battling a storm and eventually found a sheltered spot to wait for the storm to pass. Eight hours later, he surfaced to discover a transformed landscape. He immediately realised that he had no idea where he was exactly or what direction to head, so he began to take survival precautions which started with urinating in his spare water bottle to help with dehydration. After a few days of wandering, he came across a marabout (a Muslim shrine) where he was able to take shelter. Inside he was accompanied by a holy man in a coffin, and some bats hanging in the tower. Capturing twenty of the bats, he cut their heads off, mushed up their insides with a knife, and sucked them out.

Frustrated that a helicopter and aeroplane flew over without spotting him, Prosperi decided that suicide was his only option. However, when his wrists were cut, the blood would not drain as it had thickened. With that plan crossed off the list, he woke up the next morning and headed towards the clouds on the horizon (advice given to him before the race). On the eighth day after getting lost, he found an oasis where he was able to get a fresh supply of water. The following day he was found by a young shepherd girl and eventually rescued. He was 181 miles off course, suffered liver damage, and it took almost two years for him to fully recover. Four years later he was back at Marathon des Sables and has completed it eight times since.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

17th April

 

According to records of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, there were twenty survivors pulled alive from the rubble. Genelle Guzman-McMillan was the last person to be pulled out alive after waiting twenty-seven hours before being found.

 

Sixty-one foreign countries were affected; Britain had the second-largest loss of life, accounting for 67 people from a total of 372 foreign nationals.

Most of the 185,101 tons of metal left at Ground Zero was recycled with the majority of it being shipped to China and India. The rest was used as material to create memorials across all fifty states.

 

 Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

18th April

 

Nagoro, which is also known as Nagoro Scarecrow Village, lies on the island of Shikoku in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. In August 2016, the remote mountainous area had a population of just thirty people.  Japanese artist, Tsukimi Ayano, moved back to the village to care for her elderly father. After he passed away, Ayano made a scarecrow for the garden, which was meant to resemble her father doing something that he enjoyed. This gave her the idea that she could repopulate the village with dolls/scarecrows that looked like former residents.

 

Ten years later, the scarecrow population had increased to 350 with each individual strategically placed where Ayano recalled seeing the actual living person. The village has become a tourist attraction where visitors can see the creations either working in the fields, sitting at the river fishing, positioned at the roadside carrying out essential maintenance, learning at school, or simply relaxing on their front porch. Check it out on Google Earth!

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

19th April

 

An element is a substance that can not be broken down any further.

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743 to 1794), a French nobleman and a chemist, wrote the first extensive list of elements and published a paper which set forward the theory of elements. However, it was a Russian chemist called Dmitri Mendeleev whose version was adopted as he used a method of predicting the existence of substances which, at that time, were still not discovered.

 

Legend has it that Mendeleev was utterly exhausted by the conundrum of trying to sort the elements into an order that he fell asleep and had a dream in which he saw in front of him a table where all the elements fell into place as required. When he woke up, he wrote down the design which revealed a hidden periodic pattern.

The way to establish if something is an element or not is to conduct experiments on it, e.g. heating the object to see what wavelengths of light come out of it or to put different voltages of electricity through it to observe how the current changes.

Ytterby is a village on the small island of Resarö in the Stockholm archipelago, which has benefitted economically from a mine which contained feldspar – a product used to make Chinese porcelain. Anything else that the miners found was dumped into a refuse heap, but soon geologists and chemists heard stories about the rare minerals turning up in Ytterby and began experimenting with them. Seven new elements were eventually discovered; four of them were given names after the village where they were found – ytterbium, yttrium, terbium, and erbium. Two were named after Stockholm, i.e. holmium, and thulium, while the last was named gadolinium after the Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin.

 

Ytterby is the only place in the world where four new elements were found and the only place that has elements named after it. It is also the only place in the world with streets named after elements which makes knowledge of the periodic table useful for getting around town.

  

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

20th April

 

Infrasound is any soundwave under 20 hertz that can make the listener feel various emotions - it is like a deep bassline in music which can physically affect a person by making them have goosebumps or think that they feel the presence of someone standing beside them.

 

The use of infrasound has become more frequent amongst film producers in a bid to manipulate the viewer into experiencing the movies’ events to the full. This is especially evident in horror movies which historically relied on orchestral scores to fill in the silence and create an atmosphere. Now with infrasound, the horror-movie underscore can cause a more direct sense of danger, making the audience become a passive participant. Infrasound induces anxiety, extreme sorrow, heart palpitations, and shivering.

 

The 2002 French movie “Irréversible” was a psychological horror film that followed two men through the streets of Paris as they sought to avenge a brutally raped girlfriend. An American film critic warned that the movie was so violent and cruel that most people would probably find it unwatchable. His prediction was correct as a lot of viewers headed for the cinema exit within a short time of the movie beginning. However, this wasn’t necessarily because of what was seen on screen but because, as explained by the director Gaspar Noé, a 27-Hz frequency of bass had been used to induce panic and anxiety.

 

The 2007 horror movie “Paranormal Activity” used a similar technique which also led to viewers rushing out of the movie theatre because they were so frightened.

  

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

21st April

 

The American actor, James Dean, was the first actor to receive a posthumous “Academy Award” nomination for best actor. To date, he is the only actor to have had two posthumous nominations.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

22nd April

 

Voodoo originated in Africa and is described as a blend of magical and religious practices that takes on different characteristics depending on the location it is being practised.

 

There are three variations and each draw on the culture

around it: -

 

  • West African voodoo is still practised by an estimated 30 million people and is the version that remains mostly untouched by outside influences.

 

  • Louisiana Voodoo has been heavily influenced by the practices of the Creole population as well as by French and Spanish Settlers.

 

  • Haitian Voodoo (also known as Vodou) has been shaped by French influence, but it has also taken on some practices from Christianity. An alliance was formed with the Catholic Church when Pope John Paul II attended a Voodoo ceremony in 1993.

 

Rada Voodoo is viewed as a peaceful practice, while Petro is considered as a more dangerous version. Although those that practise Voodoo do not think of it as either black or white magic, they do refer to the dark element as red magic because when a practitioner allows an evil spirit to take possession, their eyes turn red.

A former chemistry student in New York, Max Beauvoir (1936 to 2015), had a promising career planned out as a biochemist when his grandfather passed away. On his death bed, the grandfather unexpectedly anointed Beauvoir as his successor as a houngan – a voodoo priest. As a result, Beauvoir left his career behind and dedicated his life to Voodooism. He was elected by Haiti’s houngans as the Supreme Chief for the newly formed National Confederation of Haitian Vodou. During his lifetime, he lobbied for official recognition for the houngans as healers. He also sought to transform Hollywood’s image from that of “shaman with suspicious practices” to that of priests who bond body and soul together and welcome the idea of reincarnation.

 

Beauvoir founded the “Peristyle of Marian”, a voodoo temple which doubled as a medical clinic and research centre.

 

Since the religious syncretism between the Catholic Church and Vodou, it is difficult to estimate the number of Vodouists in Haiti.

 

A female priest is referred to as a mambo.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

 

23rd April

 

Tsunamis, which is Japanese for harbour waves, are usually caused by an underwater earthquake, a volcano eruption, or a landslide, but they can also be the result of a massive meteor.

 

The earthquake regarded as the most powerful caused the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred on 26th December 2004. It was estimated to have the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs and killed approximately 230,000 people (although the estimated death toll could be as high as 283,000).

 

They can travel at speeds up to 500 miles per hour (805 kph) and retain the same level of energy while they travel across an entire ocean.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

24th April

 

A Google Doodle is a temporary alteration to the Google logo visible on the search engine’s homepage. It is intended to celebrate events, achievements, people, and other special occasions.

 

Google began in 1996 as a research project for two students at Stanford University – Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Less than one week before Google officially became incorporated as a company, they both decided to attend the “Burning Man” festival. As a way to let people know that they were out-of-the-office, they added a stick figure to the Google logo – the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate significant events was born. Since then, more than two thousand doodles have been created for homepages around the world.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

25th April

 

There is an area covering approximately 39 miles² (101 kms²) in France (in comparison, Paris is 40.7 miles² (105.4 kms²)) from which the public is strictly prohibited due to the vast number of unexploded chemical weaponry that have yet to be recovered from the battlefields of both World Wars.

Known as “Zone Rouge” (the Red Zone) the once well-maintained village and farmland district became an unrecognisable dense forest. Until 2004 the area was regularly used by hunters until it was discovered that the arsenic level in the soil was hazardous – it had actually increased by tens-of-thousands compared to the levels previously recorded. Water was infected by 300 times the tolerated amount and hunters discovered that wild boars had damaged livers as a result. The Authorities finally prohibited access to the area in 2012.

 

During the early stages of the “clean-up”, thousands of bombs were destroyed without taking into consideration the effect that this would have on the ground and water. Scattered debris contaminated the soil with lead, mercury, and zinc; it is reckoned that these elements will continue to pollute the area for at least another 10,000 years.

 

Contamination aside, optimistic experts believe that at the current rate of clean-up it could take anywhere between 300 to 700 years to complete the clearance work while others argue that it will never be fully completed.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

26th April

 

The colossal squid can grow up to 46 feet in length and has eyes that measure approximately 27 cms across (which are comparable to the size of a football). Its eyes are considered to be the largest in the animal kingdom.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

27th April

 

Bears are the only animals that do not urinate nor defecate during hibernation. The shorter days on the run-up to hibernation trigger biological changes which help the animals to prepare for the event. During the five to seven months of hibernation, the bears’ intestinal secretions and cells start to slough off and form a plug which can expand up to 15 inches long in diameter. This plug is basically faecal matter that has remained in the intestine for so long that the intestinal walls have absorbed the fluids leaving it hard and dry.

 

On examination, the plugs also contain hair and plant material which can be explained by the fact that bears tend to groom themselves during hibernation. As they groom, they lick fragments of bedding (such as leaves, grass, and tree bark) off their fur which passes through the digestive tract unchanged. Also, the calloused soles of their feet shed, and as this happens, they are inclined to lick their tender feet ingesting pieces of the pads.

 

This activity does open up the question, though whether bears have “true” hibernations.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

28th April

 

Although the first sperm donation took place in Philadelphia in 1884, there was little record of its success nor were detailed reports available for procedures that took place during the next sixty years.

 

In 1945, the “British Medical Journal” published the first modern account of sperm donation. However, the research paper, which had been submitted by Dr Mary Barton, was regarded by the majority as controversial and resulted with politicians and church leaders around the world calling for donor insemination to be made illegal. However, although the Pope deemed it as a sin, and the Archbishop of Canterbury called for Parliament to make the procedure illegal, there was not any action taken which left it neither legal nor illegal.

 

For the next 25-years, couples who conceived by artificial insemination kept it a private matter. That was until society’s opinion began to change during the 1970s when laws were passed in the U.S.A., which made the process legal and allowed husbands to be treated as the legal father of the child. Twenty years later the U.K. also made donor insemination legal.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

29th April

 

Cartographers (also known as mapmakers) often place a small piece of incorrect information in their work to prevent illegal reproductions. This is known as a copyright trap and may even be as simple as adding their initials in the corner of a city park.

 

Copyright traps are also found in dictionaries – the most famous is the word zzxjoanw, which is defined as a Maori word to mean drum, fife, or conclusion. It first appeared in a dictionary containing 250 words for various musical instruments and phrases. However, the word has taken on a life of its own and has appeared in several novels.

 

Lillian Virginia Mountweazel (1942 to 1973) was a photographer and author. She became famous for her portraits of the Sierra Miwok and for her collection of rural American mailbox photographs. Although it was reported in 1973 that Mountweazel had been tragically killed in an explosion it was later revealed that she had been a fictitious character created to protect the contents of the 1975 “New Columbia Encyclopaedia”. The word mountweazel has taken on a life of its own and is used to describe a copyright trap.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

 

30th April

 

In the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy asked what kind of colour-changing horse it was that pulled her and her friends along in a carriage. She was told that it was the horse of a different colour and the only one of its kind.

To make the horse a different colour in each scene, it was planned to use various substances to coat the horse. However, as a result of protests by animal rights activists, it was agreed that food colouring would be used. However, that idea had to be scrapped as not only did the horse keep licking the product off but the colours did not appear as vibrant on camera as producers had hoped for. In the end, a paste of Jell-O powder was used.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge