On Western Civilisation


“What do I think of Western civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea.”

– Mohandas Gandhi

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A baby puffin is called a puffling.

The peak weight of Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari was 610 kg. In August 2013, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ordered him to be hospitalized and lose weight.

The brain cannot feel pain, even if you stick a knife in it.

The Parsi people of India leave their dead to be eaten by vultures.

Crocodile dung, blacksmith water, Weasel’s testicles, mercury, animal intestines, cola and other carbonated drinks, an acacia and honey tampon, an opium or lemon diaphragm and brewed tea with Beaver testicles have all been used as contraceptives.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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Henry IV of France promoted green parks in Paris. He is responsible for a street called the Street of the Bridge of Cabbages.

10,113 Americans insured themselves against giving birth to the messiah at the millennium.

The 10th President of Nigeria (that is, the 3rd President of the Fourth Nigerian Republic), was called Goodluck Jonathan.

Scorpions navigate by starlight.

More than 50% of the world’s languages are located in just eight countries: India, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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According to the Greek Historian Herodotes, king Xerxes I of Persia had the Dardanelles (also known as the Hellespont) whipped three hundred times and branded with red-hot iron rods for the crime of ‘breaking two bridges’. He also had the architects beheaded.

37% of all the people in the world are either Indian or Chinese.

The longest English name on record is Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache. He was a captain in the British Army who died during the First World War in 1917, aged 32.

Bambi, Dizzy, Squiffy, Puddin, Lord Cupid, The Blubberer, Jack Boot, Hubble-Bubble, The Coroner, Stalin, and The Great She-Elephant are all nicknames for British Prime Ministers.

When a Mormon church elder told writer and comedian Stephen Fry he would be reunited with his entire family after death if he become a Mormon, he replied “What happens if you’re good?” He was asked to leave Salt Lake City immediately.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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About 7,000 litres of blood are pumped through the human heart each day.

A Spotted Hyena or Crocuta Crocuta

An average healthy human can urinate 1,4 litres a day. That amounts up to 511 litres a year. It would take over 13 years to urinate the same amount of fluid the human heart pumps in a day.

The ancient Egyptians trapped hyenas as pets and fattened them for the table. In the Ethiopian city of Harar, ‘hyena men’ still feed on wild hyenas at dusk.

In Japanese, two different sets of characters spell out the word danshoku meaning either warm colour, or male homosexual sex.

Assuming an average healthy man over 24 produces a tablespoonful of 15 millilitres of sperm by ejaculating two or three times a day, he will produce about 5.5 litres (5.475) of sperm a year. At this rate it would take an average 24-year old over 454,545 years to fill an Olympic swimming pool; it would take 166,666,666 men to fill it in a day – about all Indian men between the age of 24 and 27.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Good Friday 1930‏


Good Friday, April 18th 1930, BBC News had nothing to report.

As a result, ten minutes of light piano music were played instead.

Apart from football, there was a small rebellion in Chittagong, India. Where some telegraph stations were made inoperative. This only happened after ten o’clock, so it was to late for the news in London.

A newsless report never occurred again.

Juggernaut


In British English, a Juggernaut is both a literal or metaphorical force or object regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.

The term originated in India. It was a huge wagon bearing an image of the god Krishna. Especially at the town of Puri, it was drawn annually in procession in which devotees allowed themselves to be crushed under its wheels in sacrifice.

The word is altered from Jaggernaut, a title of Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu), from the Hindi Jagannath, literally “lord of the world”.

A History of Prostitution‏


Contrary to the old cliché, prostitution is almost certainly not the world’s oldest profession – that would be hunting and gathering, perhaps followed by subsistence farming – but it has been found in nearly every civilization on Earth stretching back throughout all recorded human history. We can say with some confidence that wherever there have been money, goods, or services to be bartered, somebody has bartered them for sex.

18th Century BCE: Hammurabi refers to prostitution

The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi includes provisions to protect the inheritance rights of prostitutes, the only category of women (except for widows) who had no male providers:

‘If a devoted woman or a prostitute to whom her father has given a dowry and a deed therefore […] then her father die, then her brothers shall hold her field and garden, and give her corn, oil, and milk according to her portion […].’

‘If a sister of a god, or a prostitute, receive a gift from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as she pleases […] then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases.’

6th Century BCE: Solon establishes state-funded brothels

Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761–1845).

Woman refusing money offered by a gentleman who has assumed she is a prostitute

Greek literature refers to three classes of prostitutes: pornai, or slave prostitutes; freeborn street prostitutes; and hetaera, educated prostitute-entertainers who enjoyed a level of social influence that was denied to nearly all non-prostitute women. Pornai and street prostitutes, appealing to a male clientele, could be either female or male. Hetaera were always female.

According to tradition, the Athenian statesman Solon established government-supported brothels in high-traffic urban areas of Greece – brothels staffed with inexpensive pornai that all men, regardless of income level, could afford to hire.

Prostitution would remain legal throughout the Greek and Roman periods, though later, Christian Roman emperors strongly discouraged it.

Circa 590: Reccared I bans prostitution

The newly-converted Reccared I, Visigoth King of Spain, banned prostitution as part of an effort to bring his country into alignment with Christian ideology. There was no punishment for men who hired or exploited prostitutes, but women found guilty of selling sexual favors were whipped 300 times and exiled, which in many cases would have been tantamount to a death sentence.

1161: King Henry II regulates but does not ban prostitution

In the medieval era, prostitution was accepted as a fact of life in most major cities. King Henry II discouraged yet permitted it, though he mandated that prostitutes must be single and ordered weekly inspections of London’s infamous brothels to ensure that other laws were not being broken.

1358: Italy embraces prostitution

In 1358, the Great Council of Venice declared prostitution to be:

‘Absolutely indispensable to the world.’

Furthermore, government-funded brothels were established in major Italian cities throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.

1586: Pope Sixtus V mandates death penalty for prostitution

German prostitute, Erotikakademie Berlin

German prostitute, Berlin

Penalties for prostitution (ranging from maiming to execution) were technically in place in many European states, but generally went unenforced. The newly-elected Pope Sixtus V grew frustrated and decided on a more direct approach, ordering that all women who participate in prostitution should be put to death. There is no evidence that his order was actually carried out on any large scale by Catholic nations of the period.

1802: France establishes bureau of morals

Following the French Revolution, the government replaced the traditional bans on prostitution with a new Bureau of Morals – first in Paris, and then throughout the country. The new agency was essentially a police force responsible for monitoring houses of prostitution in order to ensure that they complied with the law, and did not become centers of criminal activity. The agency operated continuously for over a century before it was abolished.

1932: Forced prostitution in Japan

“The women cried out, but it didn’t matter to us whether the women lived or died. We were the emperor’s soldiers. Whether in military brothels or in the villages, we raped without reluctance.”
– Yasuji Kaneko, Japanese WWII veteran

During World War II, the Japanese government abducted between 80,000 and 300,000 women and girls from Japanese-occupied territories and forced them to serve in so-called comfort battalions, militarized brothels that were created to serve Japanese soldiers.

To this day, the Japanese government has denied responsibility and refused to issue an official apology or pay restitution.

1956: India almost bans sex trafficking

Although the Immoral Traffic Suppression Act (SITA) theoretically banned commercialized sex trade in 1956, Indian anti-prostitution laws are generally enforced, and have traditionally been enforced, as public order statutes. As long as prostitution is restricted to certain areas however, it is generally tolerated.

1971: Nevada permits brothels

However Nevada State politicians have consistently held the position that they personally oppose legalized prostitution, they do not believe that it should be banned at the state level. Subsequently, some counties ban brothels and some allow them to operate legally. At the time of writing, it is the only US state where prostitution is legal.

1999: Sweden takes a feminist approach

Although anti-prostitution laws have historically focused on the arrest and punishment of prostitutes themselves, the Swedish government attempted a new approach in 1999. Classifying prostitution as a form of violence against women, Sweden offered a general amnesty to prostitutes and initiated new programs designed to help them transition into other lines of work.