23/vi mmxvi


A best-selling 15th century work of fiction was The Tale of the Two Lovers, an erotic novel by the man who later became Pope Pius II.

In 1967, Picoaz, Ecuador, elected a brand of foot deodorant as the town’s mayor.

The word ‘fun’ does not appear in the King James Bible.

At least 109 journeys between adjacent London Underground stations are quicker to walk.

Apostasy, the abandonment of religion, is a capital offence in Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

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14/iv mmxvi


In traditional champagne production, a remueur is someone who, every now and then, slightly turns the bottle to aid fermentation.

Research using rabbits has led to 26 Nobel Prizes for Physiology or Medicine.

The Japanese for ‘handbag’ is handubagu.

Modern homing pigeons find it convenient to, every now and then, follow motorways and ring roads and turn left and right at junctions.

Women make 25% of the films in Iran, compared to, 4% in the United States.

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Unless you are the Mongols


The Mongols are a civilization that are known for being the exception to many historical phenomena.[1] Listed below are some of the most important of those exceptions in a generalised form:

  • Nomads: The downside is that you have to move around a lot because your herd always needs new grass, which makes it hard to build cities, unless you are the Mongols.
  • Civilization: Certain conglomerations of humans are seen as civilizations, where as, say nomadic cultures generally aren’t. Unless you are, say it with me, the Mongols.
  • Early Cities: The city-state period in Mesopotamia ended around 2000 BCE, probably because drought and a shift in the course of rivers led to pastoral nomads coming in and conquering the environmentally weakened cities, and then the nomads settled into cities of their own as nomads almost always will, unless, wait for it, you are the Mongols.
  • Persian Empire: Let’s start with the Persian empire, which became the model for pretty much all land-based empires throughout the world. Except for, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • Silk Road: […] with the growth of the Silk Road, the nomadic people of Central Asia suddenly become much more important to world history. Much of Central Asia isn’t great for agriculture, but it’s difficult to conquer, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.

“A tiger wearing a bell will starve.” – Mongolian proverb

  • Early Christianity: Both Herods ultimately took their orders from the Romans, and they both show up on the list of rulers who are oppressive to the Jews, partly because there’s never that much religious freedom in an empire, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols… or the Persians.
  • Early Islam: It’s common to hear that in these early years Islam quote “spread by the sword”, and that’s partly true, unless you are — wait for it — the Mongols.[2]
  • Dark Ages: [The Abbasids] hailed from the Eastern, and therefore more Persian, provinces of the Islamic Empire. The Abbasids took over in 750 and no one could fully defeat them; until 1258, when they were conquered by, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • Islam in Africa: Until then, most of the people living in the East had been hunter-gatherers or herders, but once introduced, agriculture took hold, as it almost always does. Unless, wait for it, you’re the Mongols.
  • Imperialism: So by the end of the 19th century, most of Africa and much of Asia had been colonized by European powers. […] Notable exceptions include Japan, which was happily pursuing its own imperialism, Thailand, Iran, and of course Afghanistan. Because no one can conquer Afghanistan, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.
  • World War II: So, not to sound jingoistic, but the entry of the U.S. into the war really did change everything, although I doubt the Nazis could’ve taken Russia regardless. No one conquers Russia in the wintertime, unless you are, wait for it, the Mongols.

“A donkey that carries me is worth more than a horse that kicks me.” – Mongolian proverb


[1] Green. J. (2012) Crash Course World History

[2] Actually, as usual, the truth is more complicated. Many people, including the Mongols, but also including lots of people in Central and East Asia, embraced Islam without any military campaigns.

Taarof


There is a social principle in Iran called taarof, it is the concept that describes the practice of politeness through linguistic indirectness and insincerity.

In Iran, people deal with the concept of honesty in a different way than most Western cultures in which directness and bluntness are, to a large extent, accepted and even encouraged communicative principles.

In the context of taarof, Iranians are expected to give false praises and insincere promises. Not out of deviousness, but out of the sociocultural expectation to tell people what they want to hear out of politeness, to avoid conflict, or to offer hope when there is none.

Examples of common taarof situations include: people imploring others to go through a door first; hosts insisting that they do not want customers to pay for dinner; dinner partners refusing to let others share in the cost of a meal; hostesses serving food even though their guests claim they are full; and people being invited to dinner when the host does not really want their company.

“Symbolism and vagueness are inherent in our language. […] Taarof is a sign of respect, even if we don’t mean it.” – Nasser Hadian

22/x mmxv


In the Aztec language, the words for sun and eagle are the same – so are the words for moon and rabbit.

In 2011, ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) surgeons performed 316,848 breast-augmentation procedures.

If you drilled a tunnel straight through the Earth and jumped in, it would take you exactly 42 minutes and 12 seconds to get to the other side.

In Cambodia, male prostitutes outnumber female prostitutes by a ratio of three to one.

Iran is one of the few countries in the world where a couple can have a “temporary marriage” in order to facilitate sex within wedlock – essentially prostitution. These so-called marriages can be valid for as short as an hour.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

12/iii mmxv


Babelavante [Noun.] One who makes feeble jokes.

Cows have about 25,000 taste buds – two and a half times as many as people – but all they eat is grass.

If anything, Greenland is white.

Passengers in Tokyo train stations generate energy every time they take a step. Special flooring tiles capture the vibrations generated by footfalls, which can be stored as energy. Enough energy is captured during the day to light up electronic signboards.

According to Gallup, the religiosity of the US state of Alabama is as high as that of Iran. Ironically, the religiosity of the US state of Georgia, is as high as that of the sovereign nation of Georgia located in the Caucasus.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Age of Consent


The ages of consent for sexual activity vary by country and jurisdiction.

In Europe; Spain has the lowest age of consent with age of 13. Malta and Turkey are at the highest end with the age 18.

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly at all; the national age of consent in Japan is 13.

In Indonesia the national age of consent for heterosexual sexual activity is 19 years for males and 16 years for females. Ironically, the age of consent for homosexuals is 18.

Age of Consent Demonstration ~ London

Age of Consent Demonstration in London

In Iran, sex outside marriage, regardless of age, is illegal. The minimum age of marriage in Iran is 18 for men and 16 for women. However, ways around these regulations include temporary marriages called Nikah mut‘ah; a fixed-term marriage in Shi’a Islam. The duration of this type of marriage is fixed at its inception and is then automatically dissolved upon completion of its term. The marriage is contractual.

The age of consent in Angola is 12 which makes it the lowest recorded legal age of consent in the world. Bolivia however, has no specified age of consent; rather it is defined as puberty.

Tunisia has the highest age of consent; namely 20 years. Although, several Middle-Eastern states rule that sex can only take place in wedlock and any sexual activity outside the marriage is deemed a criminal offence.

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