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1 January

1st January


A diastema is a space between two teeth which occurs most commonly between upper incisors (i.e. the front teeth). It is caused by either a shortening of the tissue which connects the lip to the gum or by an unequal relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



2nd January


Adult bedbugs grow to the size of an apple seed. They prefer to feed on exposed skin such as the face, neck, and arms of their sleeping host. Noticeable black spots on the mattress act as an indicator of their existence; these could be their dried faeces.


A mattress may be home to anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.


10% of the weight of a pillow used for just two years can be accounted for by dead mites and their faeces (perhaps that’s why ancient Egyptians used slabs of stone as pillows!). 


Besides living in a bed, they also take up residence in furniture and behind wallpaper.


Under certain cool conditions, bed bugs can live without feeding for over a year.


Nearly 100,000 dust mites can live in one square yard of carpet.

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




3rd January


Aspartame is a non-saccharine artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute primarily in soft diet drinks. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist, was testing anti-ulcer drugs.


It received approval for use in dry goods in 1981 and carbonated drinks in 1983.


It has been surrounded by adverse publicity which claims that it accounts for over 75% of adverse reactions from food additives reported by the FDA; reactions include seizures, migraines, tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, and even death. Some researchers have listed it as a chemical poison.


As a result of the unfavourable publicity, it has become one of the most rigorously tested food ingredients and subsequently deemed safe for human consumption by over 100 regulatory agencies.


It does not cause tooth decay!


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




4th January


Otolaryngology is the study of ear, nose, and throat conditions. Otolaryngologists diagnose and manage diseases of the ears, nose, sinuses, larynx, mouth, and throat, as well as structures of the face and neck.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




5th January


Pipping is the process that takes place when a chick is ready to hatch. It starts to break open the eggshell from the inside with an eggtooth.


The average time between pipping and hatching ranges from 12 to 18 hours. The eggtooth falls off within a few days after hatching. 


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




6th January


Dendrocnide moroides, (aka the stinging bush or Gympie stinger), is a large shrub native to rainforest areas in north-eastern Australia.


Not only is it one of the most toxic species of stinging trees in Australia, but it is also one of the most poisonous plants in the world as it delivers a potent neurotoxin when touched. A report dating back to 1866 states that after getting stung a horse went mad with the pain and died within two hours.


There are stories of horses jumping off cliffs because of the agony from a sting, and forestry workers drinking excessively to dull the intense pain.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



7th January


The debate as to why a wine bottle has a punt in the bottom remains unsettled. Some argue that it a continuation of when wine bottles were traditionally handmade; some believe that it is to trap sediments while others assume it helps to give structural integrity to the bottle which is required to be strong enough to hold in the pressure of bubbly wine.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



8th January


Male mice sing to females to attract attention. They tend to save their best tunes for females they haven’t even met yet.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



9th January


The original name for Mickey Mouse was Mortimer Mouse but, following advice from his wife, Walt Disney changed it to Mickey.


Mortimer was later introduced as Mickey’s antagonistic rival for Minnie’s attention.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




10th January


Nutella was invented during World War II. Due to the chocolate rationing, an Italian pastry-maker mixed some hazelnuts into chocolate to extend distribution.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



11th January


Unlike most other living creatures, the lower jaw of a flamingo is fixed, while the upper jaw isn’t - this explains why flamingos eat with their heads upside down.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



12th January


Someone who suffers from cherophobia believes that a negative event occurs soon after a happy experience. For this reason, a sufferer is afraid to be happy or to have fun. 


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



13th January


Research into the incident when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 landed on the Hudson River in 2009 confirmed that the brace position used during emergency landings actually does protect passengers.


It was previously rumoured that this position was only used to protect passengers’ teeth to make body identification easier.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



14th January


William Shakespeare’s wife was Anne Hathaway, and together, they had three children. Their only grandchild, Elizabeth, died without any family which resulted in Shakespeare not having any descendants.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




15th January


Until 1983, the 1980 episode of Dallas in which J.R. Ewing was shot was the most-watched television episode in history.


Larry Hagman, the actor who portrayed J.R. Ewing, left The U.S.A. during contract negotiations. He made himself indispensable to the show by making public appearances and building hype around the character; this led to him becoming one of the highest-earning television actors of all time. He was the only cast member to appear in all 357 episodes of the original show.


The show was also translated and dubbed in 67 languages in over 90 countries - a record that still stands for an American TV show.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



16th January


Most humans are trichromats, i.e. their retina contains three types of colour receptors with different absorption spectra, which results in normal colour vision as they can see the three primary colours - this helps explain why there are three primary colours (yellow, red, and blue), which produce three secondary colours (orange, purple, and green).


When a primary colour is mixed with the nearest secondary colour, it produces a tertiary colour of which there are six: - yellow-orange, red-orange, red, violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



17th January


Stars seem to twinkle because their light travels through the earth’s atmosphere. Turbulence in the atmosphere affects the way the light is seen on earth.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



18th January


The big five game animals in Africa are the buffalo, the elephant, the leopard, the lion, and the rhinoceros. The name does not have anything to do with their size but rather the fact that they are the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot.


Three of them fall into the category of the fastest African animals; the lion ranks second as it can run as fast as 50.3 miles per hour, the black rhinoceros ranks ninth as it can move at 27.9 miles per hour, while a charging elephant can reach 24.8 mph (the same speed as the white rhinoceros).



Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



19th January


Sinkholes usually occur in an area known as karst terrain, which is an area of land where soluble bedrock, such as limestone or gypsum, can be dissolved by water.


For both cover-subsidence and cover-collapse sinkholes, the bedrock becomes exposed and over time becomes gradually worn down.


Presently the largest sinkhole is in the Chongqing district in China and measures 662 metres deep by 626 metres wide.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge


20th January


In 1624 Louis XIII started wearing a wig to disguise his premature baldness; this began a fashion trend.


Eventually, the fashion accessory edged its way into the courtrooms around 1660 and has remained part of the dress-code until the present day (hence a person who is of particular importance, or who thinks he is, is called a bigwig).


By the beginning of the 18th century, the custom had become so popular that it became almost universal for upper and middle-class European men to wear one.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



21st January


Darby and Joan were first mentioned in a poem in 1735. It is a phrase used for an elderly, happily-married couple who are devoted to each other and content to lead a quiet and uneventful life together. 


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



22nd January


The Christmas tree displayed each year in Trafalgar is a present to the people of London from the city of Oslo, Norway. It is to show their continued appreciation for the British support to the Norwegian resistance received during World War II.


Norway also presents a Christmas tree to Washington D.C. which acts as a symbol of friendship between the two and as an expression of gratitude for their assistance during the Second World War.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



23rd January


In 1896 “The Kiss” was a film produced by (Thomas) Edison Studio’s and one of the first movies ever shown in public; it was a re-enactment of the kiss in the final act from the stage musical “The Widow Jones”.

The movie lasted approximately 47 seconds and caused a scandalised uproar due to the content!


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



24th January


The full name for the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World”.


Her face is said to be modelled on the sculptor’s mother.


Her shoe size is 879 while her waist-line is 420 inches (35 feet).


Although quite a few have attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the statue, only two people have been successful.


The stairs in the torch have been closed to the public since 1916 after a German explosion damaged the torch-bearing arm.


The Statue of Liberty was initially meant to be a gift to the Egyptians from France, but the Egyptians refused the offer.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge


25th January


The longest word published in the English dictionary is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis, which refers to a lung disease, also known as silicosis. It can be an occupational lung disease caused by exposure to substances such as asbestos.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



26th January


Henry Ferguson (Henry George Ferguson 1884 – 1960) was born in Dromore, County Down, Northern Ireland. He was the first Irishman to build and fly his own aeroplane; he developed the first four-wheel-drive formula one car and played a significant part in the development of the modern-day agricultural tractor.


He is probably most famous for engineering a three-point linkage hydraulic system known as the Ferguson System which is still in use today. Located at the back of a tractor it enables the driver to raise and lower accessories (such as a plough).


Ferguson died by an overdose of barbiturate (a drug that sedates the central nervous system), but it was undetermined at the inquest whether or not this was accidental.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



27th January


The direction given to the north geographic pole from any given location is known as true north.


A compass will rarely point exactly north given the complex shape of the earth’s magnetic field.


The angle between true north and magnetic north is called magnetic declination; magnetic declination varies from place to place and changes over time.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



28th January


Lake Michigan, which measures 307 miles by 118 miles, is the third-largest lake and the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the world.


With a reputation similar to the Bermuda Triangle mysterious events have been recorded such as in 1891 when a schooner and its seven-man crew disappeared without a trace; an extensive search failed to discover what had been the cause of the disappearance.


There have been reports of strange weather phenomena, a sense of uneasiness, and strange lights in the sky, but the case considered the most mysterious of them all is the disappearance of the “Rosa Belle” in 1921. All eleven people on board vanished, and the ship was found floating upside down. On examination, it was suggested that the vessel had been involved in a collision, but there was not any such event reported by another ship; the bodies of the missing were never found.


The mystery was heightened when a similar accident occurred after the “Rosa Belle” was rebuilt. 


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge




29th January


Soap is made from a combination of animal fat (or plant oil) mixed with sodium hydroxide and water. Saponification occurs, i.e. the three ingredients combine and chemically change into soap.


When soap manufacturing began in England during the 12th century the soap makers were billed with high tax amounts; to ensure no illegal production took place the lids of the soap boiling pans were locked every night by the tax collectors.


Due to the manufacturing and tax costs, it was considered a luxury item and therefore not affordable for everyone; common usage only started around 1853 when the tax was repealed.


Roman sources claim that soap dates back to around 600 B.C. when it was initially produced from goat’s tallow (a rendered form of meat/fat) and wood ash.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge



30th January


Recent research concluded that the waves of the bubonic plague, which began with the Black Death in medieval Europe and ended with the Great Plague of London, were more likelyto have been fueled by gerbils rather than rats. Scientists added to this by suggesting that diseases were repeatedly imported from Asia.


The Black Death claimed the lives of over 30% of the European population within the first six years of the 13th century with bouts of the disease lasting until the early part of the 19th century.


To avoid the risk of getting ill, people tried to avoid those that were sick, e.g. doctors refused to see patients, shop-keepers closed their stores, and priests refused to administer last rites.


Some considered that the diseases were a punishment from God and to recover favour, they had to purge communities of heretics and troublemakers. For this reason, many thousands of Jews were massacred during 1348 and 1349. Some men joined processions of flagellants and engaged in public displays of penance and self-punishment.


Animals were also affected by the plague; so many sheep died that there was a shortage of wool.


The Great Plague of London (1665-1666) claimed almost 25% of London’s population (approximately 100,000 people). It was the final major spate of the plague to occur in Britain.


Some people believe that the Great Fire of London (1666) put an end to the epidemic.


During excavation for London’s Cross Rail project in 2015, a mass grave was uncovered. On examination of the 25 bodies, it was concluded that they were victims of the Black Death. This particular grave had been recorded in history, but its exact location had remained unknown until now.


Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge


31st January


In January 1929, the spinach-guzzling cartoon character, Popeye, made his comic strip debut. The fictitious character was based on a real-life person, Frank “Rocky” Fiegel (1868-1947), who lived in Illinois. Fiegel was allegedly excessively strong and often participated in fights. Both Fiegel and Popeye were toothless and smoked a pipe.


Popeye claimed that he was a descendant of Hercules.


On many occasions, Popeye and his arch-nemesis, Brutus, would be friends at the start of the cartoon but quickly became enemies again once Brutus would double-cross Popeye to gain the romantic interest of Olive Oyl.


In a story issued during the Second World War, Popeye and Brutus joined forces - they shared a can of spinach before fighting Japanese soldiers. The episode has since been regarded as racists and subsequently banned.


The 1980 film entitled “Popeye” was shot on location in “Popeye Village” which is situated at Anchor Bay in Malta. The film set has become one of the major tourist attractions on the Maltese islands.


Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

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