22/ix mmxvi


The symbol of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada is the forget-me-not.

Turritopsis Nutricula is a sea-creature that reverts back to polyp stage after breeding, earning the nickname ‘The Immortal Jellyfish’.

Michael Sata, the president of Zambia, previously worked as a cleaner at London Victoria railway station.

The Dutch iet means ‘not nothing’ or ‘an entity of some importance’.

Roland Garros was a French fighter pilot during World War I. He also became the first person to cross the Mediterranean Sea by air in 1913.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Advertisements

8/ix mmxvi


There is a community in Ontario, Canada, called Moose Factory. It is located on Moose Factory Island, near the mouth of the Moose River.

Between 1934 and 1968, the Catholic censorship guidelines that had led to the Motion Picture Production Code forbade Hollywood films to show innuendo, infidelity, nudity, sexual hygiene, prostitution, homosexuality, drugs, interracial relations, white slavery, and ridicule of the clergy.

An excerpt of Sir Roger Moore’s Twitter account description once read 007. Saint. UNICEF Ambassador.

Over 25,000 people died on the First Day of the Somme.

In The Simpsons (Season 5, Episode 5) “Treehouse of Horror IV”, Homer Simpson is put on trial by the Devil. The jury consists of Benedict Arnold, Lizzy Borden, Richard Nixon, John Wilkes Booth, Blackbeard the Pirate, John Herbert Dillinger, and the starting line-up of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

30/vi mmxvi


Eskimos use refrigerators to stop their food from freezing.

Boots fitted with springs were forbidden by the original Queensberry Rules for boxing.

In 2014, a single parking space in London was sold for £400,000.

There is a Canadian skeleton racer called Dave Greszczyszyn.

Paris and Rome have only each other as sister city, following the motto “Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris.”

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Conversations: Genocide and Dogma


Helena
Consider the Holocaust: centuries before the mid 20th century, Christian Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, its roots were religious, and the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued. The anti-Semitism that built the Nazi death camps was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity.

Sappho
Examples aplenty, the Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914. And both Catholic and Protestant churches have a shameful record of complicity with the Nazi genocide.

Galene
Hang on, what is this so-called blood libel? Continue reading

Positive Ticketing


Police forces in Canada have started handing out rewards to people who make healthy, positive choices in relation to their behaviour, decisions or actions. The scheme is called positive ticketing and it aims to reward citizens for doing good things; it also tries to encourage positive interaction between the police and the community using a less authoritative approach.

“Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” – British proverb

In this initiative, police officers may hand out positive tickets to citizens who are seen committing random acts of kindness or exhibiting positive behaviour such as crossing the road safely, picking up litter or even deterring the minor crimes of others. Officers may also use the tickets as icebreakers to start conversations and cement positive relations with people in their patrol areas.

The rewards on offer include free hamburgers, cinema tickets or a chance to see the local hockey team in action, all of which have been donated by local businesses.

“If you reward good behavior, your return on investment will be more good behavior. This is not rocket science; we (especially police officers) simply don’t reward and celebrate positive behavior enough.” – Ward Clapham, Breaking With the Law: The Story of Positive Tickets

Indian Stream


In 1832, a border area between Canadian Vermont and New Hampshire was claimed by both British Canada and the United States.

Even though the United States had secured its independence from Britain through the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the borders were often defined vaguely or based on inaccurate maps.

The treaty established that the border between New Hampshire and Canada would be “the northwesternmost Head of the Connecticut River.” Unfortunately, no-one agreed on which body of water precisely that should be. It was in this geographic confusion that the short-lived nation of the Indian Stream Republic was born.

“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.” ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

In 1832, local settlers converted the disputed lands between Hall’s Stream, Indian Stream and the lakes of the Connecticut River into an independent republic known as Indian Stream. It existed briefly from July 9, 1832 to 1835 when it voluntarily yielded to New Hampshire. American jurisdiction was fully acknowledged in 1836.

See other: Posts on Micronations

Geographic Illiteracy


Over a decade ago, National Geographic organised a global survey to measure the developed world’s geographic literacy.[1]

On average, fewer than 25 percent of young people worldwide could locate Israel on the map. Only about 20 percent could identify international news hotspots like Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.

‘Geographically Illiterate: Someone who sucks at geography.’ – Urban Dictionary

More recent research shows no improvement. When the Russian Federation invaded the Ukraine in 2014, the Washington Post conducted a survey which showed that only 16% of Americans was able to locate the Black Sea nation on a map.[2]

More importantly, it was found that this lack of geographic knowledge is related to preferences and decision-making: namely, the farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.

Whatever your views on this political squabble, the following conclusion is inevitable: whether people are in possession of a certain geographic fact determines their opinion in a certain way.

As for geography, knowledge of the location of places and the physical and cultural characteristics of those places are a requirement to function more effectively in an increasingly interdependent world.

On top of that, knowledge of the geography of past times and how geography has played an important role in the evolution of a society, their ideas, and its environment are not only prerequisites for historical knowledge, but also necessary for making sound decisions in the present.[3]

“If geography is prose, maps are iconography.” – Lennart Meri

These findings only underline the importance of teaching Geography. However, as always with formal education, it does not tell the whole story: besides teaching Geography as a core subject on the national curriculum, National Geographic researchers found that geographic knowledge also increases through travel and language proficiency.

In the highest-scoring countries of the National Geographic Survey (Sweden, Germany and Italy) at least 70 percent of the young adults had travelled internationally in the last three years, and the majority spoke more than one language (at the time, no less than 92 percent of young people in Sweden).

In the U.S. and Mexico only about 20 percent of young people had travelled abroad during the same period and the majority spoke only one language.

“All I ever wanted was a world without maps.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

‘Our daily lives are interwoven with geography. Each of us lives in a unique place and in constant interaction with our surroundings. Geographic knowledge and skills are essential for us to understand the activities and patterns of our lives and the lives of others. We move from place to place, aided by transportation and navigation systems. We communicate using global networks of computers and satellites. We strive to live in healthy physical and social environments. We work to avoid the negative consequences of exposure to natural and technological hazards. We search for interesting destinations and vacations. We observe and learn about our own culture and other cultures around the world. We want to lead satisfying lives and contribute to the welfare of our communities. Geographic knowledge and understanding is fundamental to reaching our goals, and in attaining a higher quality of life.’
Why Geography Is Important (2005), Grosvenor Centre of Education


[1] The National Geographic–Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.
According to Robert Pastor, professor of International Relations at American University, in Washington, D.C., “The survey demonstrates the geographic illiteracy of the United States.”
About 11 percent of young citizens of the U.S. couldn’t even locate the U.S. on a map. The Pacific Ocean’s location was a mystery to 29 percent; Japan, to 58 percent; France, to 65 percent; and the United Kingdom, to 69 percent. Less than 15 percent could locate neither Israel nor Iraq.
“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” – Ambrose Bierce

[2] From March 28 to 31, 2014, The Washington Post asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: in addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, they also asked the survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. The newspaper wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. The survey also found that 5 out of 2,066 Americans thought the Ukraine was located in the U.S. corn belt.

[3] The importance of geographic knowledge is of paramount importance, not only for a better understanding of historical and present geopolitical issues, but also as a scientific measuring device to help humans to make better decisions about the environment. Consider the intellectual poverty of young people who are ignorant of:

  • The basic physical systems that affect everyday life (e.g. earth-sun relationships, water cycles, wind and ocean currents).
  • Relationships between the physical environment and society.
  • How the processes of human and physical systems have arranged and sometimes changed the surface of the Earth – and still do.
  • The fact that the Earth is the homeland of humankind and knowledge of that planet provides insight for wise management decisions about how the planet’s resources should be used.

26/viii mmxv


Whenever the Torah is dropped on the floor, tradition holds that every person in the room must fast for 40 days in atonement.

One in four Canadian children between 7 and 12 are obese.

Approximately half the inhabitants of Indonesia live on the island of Java.

Jeremy Clarkson’s parents ran a business selling tea cosies before they invented the stuffed Paddington Bear.

The hemline index is supposed to predict how the market will fare. Coined in 1926 by U.S. economist George Taylor, the idea has been spookily accurate. When skirts get shorter, the market goes up.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts