5


In order to celebrate Knowledge Guild’s 5th anniversary we are going to take a closer look at the number 5. Do not worry, it is not as dull as it sounds.

  • The number of people killed by sharks since records began is equal to just five per cent of the number of toilet-related injuries in the USA in 1996.
  • In the 18th century, 75% of all children died before they were five years old. 90% of children born in workhouses died before they were five years old.
  • As a trick, the writer Arthur Conan Doyle once sent a letter to five friends that read, “We are discovered. Flee immediately.” One of his friends disappeared and Doyle never saw him again.
  • An enzyme found in pineapples called “Bromelain” destroys fingerprints. It was used as a plotline in an episode of Hawaii Five-O. This enzyme can also get rid of mouth ulcers.
  • Chelmsford was capital of England for five days in 1381 during the Peasants Revolt.
  • The Punjabi for the number “5” is “4”.
  • The most dangerous sport for American women is cheerleading. In 2002, 22,900 children between five and eighteen years of age went to hospital for cheerleading related injuries.
  • Charles Darwin is one of only five people who are not royal to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
  • Smoking takes five years off your health expectancy on average. However, as a man, removing your testicles adds thirteen years onto it.
  • The Hebrew for the number “5” is pronounced “Hey”.
  • The average height of an Eskimo is 5’4″ and the average life expectancy is 39. If you put five Eskimos in car, every Eskimo in the world could fit into the Los Angeles International Airport car park.
  • The best thing to do with an old Christmas tree is to contact your local zoo and see if they want to give it to their animals for food. In Germany people often feed Christmas trees to elephants, which can eat five of them for lunch. In Dresden Zoo they also give Christmas trees to giraffes, rhinos, camels, deer and sheep.
  • In Alexandre Dumas’ novel La Dem Aux Camelias, the main heroine, Marguerite Gautier, wears a white camellia for 25 days of month when she is available for sex, and a red one for five days when she is not available because she is having her period. The novel caused scandal in 19th century France when it was published and the flowers popularity grew.
  • The five appendages on most starfish exhibit pentamerism.
  • Only five people died in the Great Fire of London.
  • India has no speed limits and every car in the country within five years will be involved in a fatal road accident. The UK has the largest number of car thefts in the world.
  • Five pound notes are made out of a mixture of cotton and linen. Wooden paper is too fragile.
  • There are only five places in America which have an apostrophe in them which are Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Ike’s Point, New Jersey; John E’s Pond, Rhode Island; Carlos Elmer’s Joshua View, Arizona; and Clark’s Mountain, Oregon.
  • In the British Army, you can tell which branch of the Brigade of Guards a soldier is in by the gaps between the buttons. If they are evenly spaced, they are in the Grenadiers Guards. Pairs mean they are Coldstream Guards, threes are Scottish Guards, fours are Irish Guards, and fives are Welsh Guards.
  • The ideal way to kiss a Frenchman depends on what region of France you are in. Two kisses are normal in central and southern France and four in northern France. However, in Corsica it can be as many as five kisses. In Belgium and the Netherlands, three kisses is the usual amount.
  • Anchovies are now mainly used for feed salmon in fish farms. For every salmon, five kilograms of anchovies are killed. Therefore, salmon farming is not really sustainable.
  • Each country in the world has their own idea of how many portions of fruit and veg you should eat every day. The reason it is five in Britain is because doctors are of the belief that you cannot persuade the public to eat more than that. In Japan they recommend eating nine portions of fruit and veg, in Denmark it is six, in France it is ten.
  • A Fitzroy is a bastard child of a royal. Charles II had five Fitzroys from his mistress Barbara Palmer.

See other: Anniversaries

Pictographs of Peru


The Nazca Lines are mysterious geoglyphs that span a vast swath of the rugged Peruvian desert between the towns of Nazca and Palpa. Etched in the surface of the desert sand, the Nazca people created more than 1,000 figures of varying sizes, from a sundial 150 meters (500 feet) long to whales, foxes, and pelicans of 40 meters (130 feet) in length.

nazcalinesmapThey also etched human figures, apparently representing a family, each measuring 30 meters (100 feet) long, most are clearly visible from the air and remain an enigma.

Since their discovery, they have inspired fantastic explanations from ancient gods, a landing strip for returning aliens, and a celestial calendar created by the ancient Nazca civilization, suggesting the creation of the lines between 300 BC and 600 AD.

The lines have managed to remain intact for hundreds of years thanks to the region’s arid climate, which sees little rain or wind throughout the year. They cover an area of some 50 miles, and were designed by scraping away the copper coloured rocks of the desert floor to expose the lighter-coloured earth beneath. People are now banned from going there.

Some believe the Nazca Lines are sacred paths to walk for specific rites. Others believe that the Nazca Figures were inspired by, and intended to be seen by, the (so-called) Eye of God that is manifested during total solar eclipses. An extraordinary series of solar eclipses coincided with the construction of the Nazca lines.

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Erich von Däniken suggested, in his 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods, that the lines were built to attract ancient astronauts to a landing strip, as only from the air, is it possible to discern a design. The astronomer Carl Sagan claimed in response that if aliens used vastly superior spacecraft to ours, why would they need a runway? The Nazca Desert is one of the driest places on the planet. However, the lines were damaged due to people coming to see them after Däniken’s book was published.

“I don’t want to go to Peru.”
“How do you know? You’ve never been there.”
“I’ve never been to hell either and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go there.” – Richard Paul Evans, The Sunflower

Alkaloid‏


Alkaloids are chemical compounds that can be made naturally. They contain basic nitrogen atoms and make up various stimulating compounds.

‘He smiled at my vehemence. “Perhaps you are right, Watson,” he said. “I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment.”’ ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

Strychnos Nux Vomica or Strychnine Tree

The name comes from the word ‘alkaline’ and was used to describe any alkaline containing nitrogen.

Alkaloids are made by a large variety of organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and are part of the group of natural products (also known as secondary metabolites).

Many alkaloids can be purified from basic substances by acid-base extraction. Also, many alkaloids are toxic to other organisms.

All of the following alkaloids are produced by flowering plants. Because of their bitter taste, the alkaloids are one of the main ways plants reduce or avoid being eaten by herbivores:

  • Cocaine, used as an anaesthetic and a stimulant, is an illegal drug when it is not used medically.
  • Caffeine, used as a stimulant, is used as something addictive in coffee or tea. In this case and the following, herbivores can eat the leaves but they get heart palpitations if they eat too many.
  • Nicotine, used as a stimulant in cigarettes, can also be used to treat certain forms of epilepsy.
  • Morphine is widely used to subdue severe pain. In a special slow-release form, it is sometimes used to help people get away drug addiction.
  • Quinine, used to treat certain forms of malaria, is sometimes used to give food a bitter taste.
  • Curare, the poison dart substance, is originally a plant product from Strychnos toxifera, which is later concentrated in poison dart frogs.
  • Strychnine and Brucine are toxic alkaloids produced by Strychnos nux-vomica.

5/xii mmxii


Mormonism is the fastest growing faith in the world.

Arthur Conan Doyle Español: Arthur Conan Doyle...

Arthur Conan Doyle

The use of the word fall or the fall to mean autumn is commonly assumed to be an Americanism, but in fact it is found in the works of Michael Drayton (1563-1631), Thomas Middleton (1580-1627) and Sir Walter Rayleigh (?1554-1618).

Arthur Conan Doyle and WB Yeats both believed in fairies.

Local attractions in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, include the Grottoes of the Pygmies and the cigarette factory.

German politician Käte Strobel broke a taboo in 1967 by promoting sex education with a school book and the government-sponsored film Helga.

A Salute To Epitaphs


“A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.”
– Alexander the Great

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”
– Winston Churchill

“There goes the neighborhood.”
– Rodney Dangerfield

“Steel true blade straight.”
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

“I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”
– Robert Frost

“Do not walk on the grass”
– Peter Ustinov

“I was what I am not.”
– Fernando Pessoa

“174517” (It was his number in Auschwitz.)
– Primo Levi

“The Stone the Builders Rejected” (Psalm 118:22)
– Jack London

“Eadem mutata resurgo.” (Though changed I shall arise the same.)
– Jakob Bernoulli

See other: A Salute To …