July

 

1st July

 

Mother Cow Index measures the number of pregnant cows an acre of land could support.

 

A barleycorn has been standardised at 1/3rd of an inch and referred to the difference between each shoe size. The Hoppus foot was introduced in 1736 by the English Surveyor, Edward Hoppus – it was the estimated volume a log would produce of usable timber after wastage was taken into account.

 

A mickey is the smallest detectable movement of a computer mouse (usually between 1/200th and 1/300th of an inch).

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

2nd July

 

The purpose of the handheld hardware device known as a mouse is to control the cursor on the computer screen and to execute commands.

 

Although some believe that the name is an acronym for manually-operated user-select equipment, it was actually called a mouse as the device resembled the rodent with the wire “tail” coming out from under

the user's wrist. Invented in 1963 by the American engineer, Douglas Engelbart (1925 to 2013), the word “mouse” does not appear in Engelbart’s patent.

 

When asked, the inventor stated that no one could remember who first referred to it as a mouse, but it was just taken for granted that it looked like a mouse with a long tail.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

3rd July

 

Pineapple is a perennial plant that flowers only once and produces one pineapple. The fruit starts out as small berries that fuse together to form one mass around the fruit’s core.

 

Once harvested, pineapples don’t continue to ripen. Colours may differ, but it is mostly due to where they have been grown and does not make a difference to the taste.

 

Pineapples contain high levels of a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain which has proven to have health benefits as a digestive aid, an anti-inflammatory, and a muscle relaxant. It also includes chemicals that can interfere with the growth of tumour cells, which suggest that it is an excellent food to help prevent cancer.

 

In Hawaii, when older parents are surprised by a pregnancy, the baby is called a ratoon crop, which is the bonus fruit that grows after a pineapple plant’s initial harvest.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

4th July

 

Apples that are not intended to be sold immediately are picked when slightly unripe and then treated with a chemical called 1-Methylcyclopropene before being waxed, boxed, stacked on pallets, and stockpiled in cold storage warehouses for up to twelve months. These warehouses have a low level of oxygen and a high level of carbon dioxide which stalls the natural process of rotting. Apples treated with 1-MCP stay firm for three to six months longer than untreated ones and stay crunchier for two to three weeks longer after removal from storage.

 

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has registered 1-MCP and allowed its usage on apples, apricots, kiwi, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papayas, peaches, persimmons (also known as Sharon Fruit), plums, and tomatoes, regardless that the chemical is energetically self-reactive and becomes explosive if allowed to become warm in a closed container.

 

Under the Smartfresh label, 1-MCP is marketed as non-toxic and poses no risk to humans, animals, or the environment, yet it comes with instructions for anyone applying the substance to keep all body parts covered and to use chemical-resistant gloves and safety goggles.

 

In a stable form, the substance is not acutely toxic. However, 1-MCP gave negative results in in-vitro and in-vivo genotoxicity assays. When the element is activated, 1-CMP (1-chloro-2-methylpropane) is emitted, which is defined as a clear, colourless, highly volatile and flammable liquid that emits the toxic fumes of hydrochloric acid when heated.

Another impurity that 1-MCP emits is 3-CMP (3-chloro-2-methylpropane) which releases the poisonous fumes of hydrochloric acid and other chlorinated compounds.

 

When 1-MCP binds to the ethylene receptors in fruits, the bond is permanent, which means that when the apple is eaten, so is the chemical. The effects are mostly unknown as the quantity of pesticide consumed varies dependant on how many days post-treatment the fruit is consumed. Only human reactivity data based on inhalation is available which showed that 10% of 1-MCP inhaled into the lungs was absorbed into the bloodstream – the results of blood analysis determined that 1-MCP is not acutely toxic so unlike the apple Snow White ate, there won't be any immediate side effect.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

5th July

 

The first known account of Snow White was written by the Brothers Grimm who published European folktales dating back to the middle ages. In the tale of Snow White, the 16-year old who was banished by a vain, cruel, and jealous step-mother, found herself living deep within a forest with dwarfs who demanded that she worked and cooked for them in return for protection from her wicked step-mother - the Evil Queen. A bounty was placed on Snow White’s lungs and liver to prove that she was dead.

 

Three attempts were made on Snow White’s life. The first was when the Evil Queen tied Snow White up and left her for dead. Fortunately, the dwarfs stumbled upon her and freed her. The second time, the Evil Queen disguised herself as a poor peddler and combed Snow White’s hair with a poisoned brush, but again her plot was unsuccessful. Finally,

Snow White was poisoned by an apple and placed in a glass coffin. However, when the Prince asked the dwarfs to help him move it, the dwarf’s tripped over some tree roots causing the coffin to be violently shaken and the lid to fall open. The sudden movement caused the apple, which was lodged in Snow White’s throat, to move, and she subsequently vomited it up.

 

As punishment, the Evil Queen was forced to dance for hours while wearing a pair of heated iron shoes which eventually burnt her to death.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

6th July

 

Founded in 1952, the British-owned American brand of hotels known as Holiday Inn started as a motel chain and has grown to become one of the world’s largest hotel chains. It is now a subsidiary of ‘InterContinental Hotels Group’ which ranks as the fourth-largest hotel chain in the world.

 

The founder, Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003), was inspired after a trip in 1951 to Washington D.C. when he became annoyed at being charged extra for his five children for accommodation that wasn’t even uncomfortable.

 

The first motel opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1953; the 1,000th opened in 1968. The name was coined by Wilson’s architect, Eddie Bluestein, as a joke in reference to the 1942 Christmas-themed classic movie ‘Holiday Inn’ which starred Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds.

 

The largest hotel chain in the world is ‘Wyndham Destinations’ which has 9,157 hotels across twenty brands in sixty-six different countries.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

7th July

 

The irrational and persistent fear of beards is known as pogonophobia. Phobics regard the unshaven look as unhygienic or that the person is either ill or homeless. The fear of beards increased after the terrorist attack on 11th September 2001 as some of the perpetrators had facial hair.

 

Probably the most famous American President to have a beard was Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). The most recent president to have a beard was Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) who was in office from March 1889 to 1893.

 

A study conducted at the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland in 2019 reported that beards had a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens compared to dogs’ fur. In fact, some of the men were harbouring microbes that posed a threat to human health. However, the founder of the Beard Liberation Front (a British group founded in 1995 which campaigns for the support of beards and opposes pogonophobic discrimination) opposed the findings and argued that it depends on the individual's overall hygiene routine.

 

For Health & Safety reasons, the U.K. based housing and social care provider, Mears Group, issued a letter to its construction workers in 2017 to inform them that beards were banned - the only exception was men who couldn’t shave for religious or medical reasons. The company’s reason was that beards hindered the correct fitting of dust masks, but the trade union condemned the policy and argued that the company should provide a bigger selection of masks.

 

Allegedly born with facial hair, Annie Jones (1865–1902) became known as the Bearded Lady and the most famous female with a fully-grown beard. Before she was even a year old, her parents realised the money-making potential and signed a contract with P.T. Barnum’s exhibition in New York to have their daughter included as part of his freak show.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

8th July

 

From 1860 to 1916, the British Army required every soldier to have a moustache. If a soldier shaved it off, he faced disciplinary action which could include imprisonment. However, the superficial requirement was getting ignored by the men fighting in the trenches during World War I as they found it could sometimes get in the way of having a good gas mask seal. The regulation was subsequently dropped.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

9th July

 

The phrase “speak now or forever hold your peace” used in wedding ceremonies is based upon the marriage liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer. In the past, it wasn’t just asked during the marriage vows but during three consecutive Sunday services before the marriage took place and one final time during the ceremony.

 

The critical part of the sentence is “why this couple cannot be lawfully joined together”. If it were an ex-lover who used the opportunity to announce their undying love, or somebody objecting because they just didn’t think the couple were a suitable match, there wouldn’t be any legal reason to stop the wedding. However, if someone objected on the grounds that either the bride or groom was already married to someone else, or that they were actually siblings, then the officiator would have to stop and investigate the claim. However, with the extent of official information that is now kept on record along with the rigorous process in acquiring a marriage license, it is highly unlikely that such facts would be disclosed at that point of the wedding vows.

 

Although it is used in movies and television shows its existence is really only to create dramatic tension. The phrase is slowly waning from modern-day ceremony scripts.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

10th July

 

There were many versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” before the Grimm Brothers turned it into the familiar story we know today.

 

In the French edition, Little Red Riding Hood was tricked by the wolf into eating part of her grandmother's flesh and drinking her blood; a cat watching her remarked that the slut was shamelessly eating her grandmother.

 

The wolf then had Little Red Riding Hood undress before getting into bed with him. However, nature called, so she left to go outside to relieve herself. The wolf became restless and called after her asking if she was doing a load! Meanwhile Little Red Riding Hood had escaped.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

11th July

 

A Kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was first established in 1909. Traditionally based on agriculture, they have since successfully developed into other areas including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises.

 

An example of a successful item produced by a kibbutz is an epilator - an electrical device used mainly by women to temporarily remove hair at the follicle level. The first version was manufactured in Israel in 1986 and has since sold over 30 million units.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

12th July

 

Although modern-day back-scratchers are made of plastic, they were historically made from whalebone, tortoiseshell, bamboo, ivory, and even tusks from a narwhal.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

13th July

 

One of the most horrific cases of animal experimentation occurred in 1969 when animals were used to test the effects of drugs.

 

Monkeys were trained to inject themselves and supplied a variety of drugs including morphine, cocaine, amphetamines, and alcohol, which they could self-administer whenever they so desired.

 

The animals became so desperate to escape that they broke their arms in the process; they experienced convulsions, tore out their own fur, and ripped off their fingers. Many diedwithin a few weeks of becoming forcefully drug-dependant.

 

Another experiment involving monkeys was to separate young monkeys from their mothers after the bonding process had occurred. The young were then placed in stainless steel vertical chambers and kept in isolation for a year. This experiment was known as the pit of despair from which many became psychotic and did not recover from the traumatic experience.

 

Dr Harlow, an American psychologist, conducted the experiments to prove that breaking social bonds can cause symptoms of depression.  He concluded that his research showed that a happy and healthy childhood was no defence against depression.

 

It is said that the cruelty of this experiment resulted in the creation of the animal liberation movement in America.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

14th July

 

The almond is a species of a tree native to the Middle East and South Asia; it is also the name of the trees’ edible seeds.

 

Almonds are members of the peach family.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

15th July

 

Legend has it that the Buddhist monk called Bodhidharma accidentally fell asleep while meditating in front of a wall for nine years. When he awoke, he was so annoyed at his weakness that he punished himself by cutting off his eyelids which fell to the ground and grew into tea bushes!

 

However, a more credible record of tea drinking dates back to the 3rd century A.D. when it was used for medicinal purposes.

 

During the 1660s, King Charles II married Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza. Portuguese priests and merchants had been introduced to tea by China - once the habit had swept the nation, the tea-drinking princess introduced her practice to the U.K.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

16th July

 

Australian photographer, Peter Lik, set a new world record for the most expensive photo to be sold. He took a black and white image called “Phantom” in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon which sold for $6.5 million.

 

Until 2014 the most anyone had reportedly paid for a photograph was $4.3 million; it was entitled “Rhein II” and was captured by Andreas Gursky.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

17th July

 

Rabbits can see everything behind them and only have a small blind spot in front of their nose.

 

The rabbit is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac; it represents graciousness, kindness, sensitivity, compassion, tenderness, and elegance.

 

The lifespan of a rabbit is around ten years.

 

Rabbits have 28 teeth.

 

The world's biggest rabbit lived in the UK; he weighed 3 ½ stone and measured 4 feet and 4 inches.

 

Rabbits are not able to vomit due to the physiology of their digestive system.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

18th July

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the 32nd President of America and the longest-serving with a total of 4,422 days in office.

 

The 9th President of America, William Henry Harrison, had the shortest time in Office which lasted just 31 days. He was the first U.S. President to die in Office.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

19th July

 

Air travel has become so popular that at any time of the day or night half-a-million people are flying through the world's skies.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

20th July

 

The first non-electric gas-lit set of traffic lights was invented by J.P. Knight, a railway signalling engineer. They were installed outside the Houses of Parliament, London, in December 1868. The following month they exploded killing

the policeman who manually operated them.

 

Modern traffic lights are an American invention first used in Cleveland, Ohio, during 1914. It wasn’t until 1925 that manually operated lights of this type were introduced to Britain.

 

In South Africa, traffic lights are known as robots.

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

21st July

 

Sir Robert Walpole was the longest-serving British Prime Minister who was in Office for 20 years and 314 days (12th October 1715 to 15th April 1717, and again from 4th April 1727 until 12th February 1740.)

 

George Canning was the shortest-serving British Prime Minister who remained in Office for only 119 days during 1827. He was forced to stand down as Prime Minister after suffering a severe stroke.

 

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was in office from the 10th May 1940 until 26th July 1945 and again from the 26th October 1951 until 6th April 1955. He was considered one of the greatest wartime leaders of the twentieth century. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the U.S.A.

 

It was estimated that he smoked over 250,000 cigars throughout his lifetime.

 

During his time as Cabinet Minister, he was attacked by a suffragette called Theresa Garnett. She repeatedly struck him with a riding whip while shouting "Take that in the name of the insulted women of England". Garnett was given a one-month prison sentence for disturbing the peace during which time she refused to eat. In retaliation to being force-fed, she set her prison cell on fire!

 

Winston Churchill passed away at the age of 90 in 1965; Queen Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral.

 

Churchill’s estate was probated at £304,044 (today this would equate to £5.14 million).

 

Source: Clever Knickers – facts & general knowledge

 

 

22nd July

 

Leo Gerstenzang (1892-1973) was a Polish-American inventor who invented Q-Tips. The idea came to him after watching his wife apply cotton wads to toothpicks in an attempt to clean their baby’s ears. They were marketed under the name Baby Gays from 1923-1926; the name changed to Q-Tip Baby Gays, and eventually to just Q-Tips as we know them today. The Q stands for quality.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

23rd July

 

Cleaning your ears with a Q-tip can feel good. Studies have shown that the vagus nerve, a branchlike structure that runs from the brain to the abdomen, can be stimulated via the ear which may play a role in the pleasurable sensation experienced.

 

Ears are self-cleaning, and earwax is an essential part of the self-cleaning mechanism due to its antibacterial properties. Earwax helps prevent ear infections as it traps dirt, dust, and even insects, and enables them all to be dragged out of the canal over time. Using a Q-tip is basically pushing the wax further in where it can become impacted, painful, or infected.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

24th July

 

William James Morrison (1860-1926) from Nashville, Tennessee, was a noted dentist, lawyer, author, and leader in civic and political affairs. With the help of confectioner Jon C. Wharton, he designed and patented what they referred to as an electric candy machine. Their invention had a metal bowl complete with tiny holes - sugar was heated in the container and subsequently turned into a syrup. The dish was spun so fast that it forced the syrup out through the holes causing it to solidify almost immediately into long strands. Formerly known as Fairy Floss, the name Cotton Candy started to be used around the 1920s. In the U.K., Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, it is called Candy Floss.

 

National Cotton Candy Day is celebrated each year on the 7th of December.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

25th July

 

An American paramedic, Matthew McKnight, was helping at an accident scene on 26th October 2001 when he was hit by a car doing 70 mph (112.6 km/h). He was thrown a distance of 118 ft (35.9 m) causing him to suffer a collapsed lung, two dislocated shoulders, a thigh ripped open to the bone, a fractured pelvis, and two fractured legs, yet he made

a full recovery and returned to work a year later. He now holds the Guinness World Record for surviving the farthest car accident flight.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

26th July

 

American businesswoman and co-founder of Mattel, Ruth Handler (1916-2002) is credited with the creation of Barbie which was inspired by the German fashion doll, Bild Lilli. Barbie was named after Handler’s daughter, Barbara.

 

The Ken doll, whose full name is Kenneth Sean Carson, was first introduced in 1961 and was named after Ruth’s son, Kenneth.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

27th July

 

‘Fart Proudly’ is a book containing the writings of the most unexpected author - Benjamin Franklin. Essays included in the book are:- ‘The Letter to a Royal Academy’, ‘On Choosing a Mistress’, ‘Rules on Making Oneself Disagreeable’, along with other jibes which many say reveal the rogue who lived quietly within the philosopher and statesman.

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

28th July

 

The former professional boxer, George Edward Foreman (b 1949), who competed from 1969 to 1977, and again from 1987 to 1997, has twelve children – five sons and seven daughters. His sons are called George Jr., George III, George VI, George V, and George VI.

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

29th July

 

The first record of the word twerk being used was in 1820; used as a noun, it referred to a twisting or jerking movement such as someone twiddling their thumbs, the corners of a long moustache, or even the wagging of a cat’s tail.

 

It took on a new meaning in 2013 following Miley Cyrus’s controversial gyrating at a music awards performance.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

30th July

 

Biblichor is the noun used to describe the faint, musty fragrance of books. The smell comes from volatile organic compounds (voc) which books give off as they decompose over time. In an experiment at the

University College, London, participants were given unlabelled scents to smell - 79% reported that extracts from old books reminded them of chocolate while others said it made them think of coffee. According

to the researchers, aged paper has some of the same voc’s as chocolate and coffee, so it wasn’t surprising that participants were able to identify the aroma.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

31st July

 

The mathematical equals sign (=) was invented by mathematician Robert Recorde who was born in Tenby, Wales, around 1510.

 

Admitted to Oxford University at just 15-years-old, he is not only known for introducing algebra to Britain but also for serving as a personal physician to both King Edward VI and Queen Mary I. He also served as Comptroller of Mines and Monies in Ireland, and as a controller of the Royal Mint.

 

Recorde was sued by a political enemy for defamation and then sentenced to the ‘King’s Bench Prison’ for debt (situated in south London, England, the prison was often used as debtor’s prison until the practise was abolished). He died there during June 1558.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge