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The opening theme to the American 1970’s television show M*A*S*H was called Suicide Is Painless.

The Latin palmo means ‘I print the palm of the hand’ or ‘I tie up a vine’.

In 1994, there were only ten lawyers in Cambodia.

The Great Barrier Reef is the greatest organism-made structure on the planet. It covers 350,000 square kilometres (135,000 square miles), an expanse greater than Poland.

According to Deuteronomy 22:24, if a woman did not scream loud enough while being raped, she was deemed to be part of the evil that must be purged; it was therefore ruled she must be stoned together with the rapist.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

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The smell of freshly baked bread releases oxytocin in the brain.

In Ancient Greece, the priestess at Delphi was called the Delphic Bee; also, the Quran has a chapter titled The Bee.

Spekglad, literally ‘bacon slippery’, is Dutch for most slippery.

Poland is one of the few countries in the world, where courteous hand-kissing is still a relatively common practice.

Erotic films are pink in Japan, blue in the United States, green in Spain, and yellow in China. In fact, the Chinese produced a porn film called The Happy Yellow Handkerchief.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Exonym


Exonyms are names used in a particular language to refer to a foreign nation or country; they can be completely different from the name that country uses (in its particular language) to qualify itself. Quite often, they can be of interest from a historical point of view because they can be surprisingly conservative. The exonym is sometimes preserved for hundreds of years after the political or ethnic entity it originally referred to ceased to be.

One of the best-known cases is Germany. Many nations share their linguistic origin with the German term Deutschland, even though they have sometimes assumed a quite different form i.e. Duitsland, Tedesco or Tyskland – from the Proto-Germanic Þeudiskaz. The Slavic peoples call the Germans Niemcy or similar which means ‘a mute’, someone who does not speak Slavic. The French and Spanish, among others, employ the name of the Alamanni tribe. The English, Italians and Russians, to name a few, use a derivative of the Latin Germania or Greek Γερμανία. And the Finns and Baltic states either refer to the name of the Saxon tribe or employ a word of unknown origin, like the Latvian Vacija or the Lithuanian Vokietija.

Consider these other cases:

  • The Latvians call Russia Krievija, referring to an ancient Slavic tribal union, the Krivichi;
  • The Turks call Greece Yunanistan and the Greeks Yunan, another very old exonym which probably has for origin the word ‘Ionia’, that is the Greek region on the coast of Asia Minor;
  • In a kind of an opposite logic, Russia was called Muscovy by the Poles, and then by other Europeans as a way to deny the claim of the Moscow-based government on the totality of Russian lands;
  • The Japanese used to call China Tang even hundreds of years after the end of that dynasty. In the late 19th- and early 20th century they resorted to an even older and more obscure word Shina, which had the advantage of being similar to the equivalent Western terms.

Also, there is something particularly curious about Roman exonyms; it seems the Romans gave completely random names to any people they encountered. A people that called itself Rasenna received the name Tuscans or Etruscans. The inhabitants of Carthage became Punics, and the Hellenes or Achaeans were Greeks. Celts became Galli or the Gauls.

“Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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The December 2013 FIDE rating list recorded 1441 chess players holding the Grandmaster title, out of those 31 were women.

The Latin haedus means both ‘child’ and ‘young goat’.

Bonnie Prince Charles had a Polish mother, princess Maria Klementyna Sobieska, and spoke English with a Polish accent.

The phrase ‘OMG’ meaning ‘Oh my God’ dates back to 1917.

According to research conducted by the Daily Mail, British women spend 474 days putting on their make-up; this translates as three hours, 19 minutes each week in front of the mirror. The power of make-up is so strong that 27 per cent admit feeling ‘vulnerable’ without it. It also found losing expensive cosmetics now costs the typical British woman £248 a year. In fact, women mislay so much make-up they spend a staggering £15,872 replacing it during their lifetime.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Wojtek The Bear


In the spring of 1942, a new Polish Army was being formed in the Middle East under the command of the British and on their way to the organization area, a group of Polish soldiers came across a little bear in the mountainous region of Persia.

The cub was an orphan following the death of his mother at the hands of hunters and he was traded to the soldiers by a shepherd boy who kept the bear in a sack.

Wojtek The Bear

Wojtek with a Polish soldier

Eventually, the bear was taken to the 22nd Transport Company, Artillery Division, Polish 2nd Corp where the men would become his companions for the next few years. He was given the name Wojtek.

In Palestine, Wojtek became a hero one night by capturing a thief who had broken into an ammunition compound where the bear was sleeping. The Arab was shocked to find himself confronted by the animal and the commotion that ensued resulted in his arrest. Wojtek was rewarded with a bottle of beer.

As the Polish Army prepared to enter the war zone in Italy during 1943,  the problem confronting the Polish soldiers was the question of Wojtek’s status. Animals were not permitted to accompany the army during the fighting. By giving the bear his own paybook, rank and serial number there would be no question that he was now officially a soldier.

In Italy, the Polish 2nd Corps prepared to break through the German defences at Monte Cassino where it successfully captured the stronghold after much bitter fighting.

Wojtek as mascot of the Polish 22nd Transport Company

During the conflict, Wojtek found himself at the artillery firing line where he was seen to move crates of ammunition close to a truck where he was chained. Always inquisitive and willing to copy what the soldiers were doing, he began picking up the crates and moving towards the cannons.

After the battle, the official badge of the 22nd Transport Company became a likeness of Wojtek holding a shell. This symbol appeared on vehicles, pennants and on the uniforms of the soldiers.

Wojtek survived the war and after the demobilisation process he found a home at Edinburgh Zoo.

Wojtek the bear died at Edinburgh in 1963. His death was mourned by many; numerous newspapers published an obituary to the beloved mascot. Today, statues of Wojtek have been erected both in Edinburgh, Scotland and Kraków, Poland.

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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Mark David Chapman had a copy of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye on him when he murdered John Lennon in 1980. He believed a large part of him was Holden Caulfield, the novel’s protagonist.

Try to avoid talking about ‘preservatives’ in Poland as the Polish word prezerwatywa means ‘condom’.

In ancient times, the root part of the carrot plant that we eat today was not typically used.  The carrot plant however was highly valued due to the medicinal value of its seeds and leaves. For instance, Mithridates VI, King of Pontius (around 100BCE) had a recipe for counteracting certain poisons with the principle ingredient being carrot seeds. It has since been proven that this concoction actually works.

The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.

Two large studies conducted in Australia and the US between 2004 and 2011 concluded there is evidence to suggest that the more frequently men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Our Debt to Mme. Curie


Marie Skłodowska-Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.

Marie-CurieShe was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

Her achievements included a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium (which she named after her native Poland) and radium. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today. During World War I, she established the first military field radiological centres.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Curie died in 1934 at the sanatorium of Sancellemoz (Haute-Savoie), France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by exposure to radiation.

Interestingly, Marie Curie’s notebooks, from the 19th century are still too radioactive to be handled without protection. They will continue to be so, until at least the year 3511.