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In 1995, the number of TV programmes in Britain watched by over 15 million people was 225. By 2004, this had fallen to six.

Biologists cannot agree on definitions for the words ‘species’, ‘organism’ or ‘life’.

Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo all mean ‘capital’, in their respective languages.

Dildos are illegal in Texas.

The amount of water on Earth is constant, and continually recycled over time: some of the water you drink, will have passed through a dinosaur.

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All human sperm rotate their tails anticlockwise when swimming.

The Pink Fairy is a type of armadillo. The Green Fairy is a nickname for absinthe.

Tyrannosaurus rex (65 million years ago) is closer in time to us than to Diplodocus (150 million years ago).

Trinity College, Cambridge, has won more Nobel Prizes than the whole of Italy.

The constitution of the state of Texas allows employers to discriminate against atheists.

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Quail pipe was Victorian slang for ‘woman’s tongue’.

The newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst once wanted an answer to the question ‘Is there life on Mars?’ he asked an astronomer via telegram ‘Please cable 1000 words.’ The scientist’s reply was ‘Nobody knows’ – written 500 times.

Main-belt asteroid 9007 is called James Bond.

In Fort Worth, Texas, the Museum of Science and History is adjacent to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

Dame Nellie Melba, the legendary Australian operatic soprano after who Escoffier named Melba Toast, believed oral sex was good for the voice.

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Clyde (of Bonnie and Clyde) Barrow’s middle name was ‘Chestnut’.

On her eighth birthday in 1936, Shirley Temple got 135,000 birthday presents.

The US states of Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and Maryland have legislation which forbids an atheist from holding public office.

In Danish, the word ‘forgive’ means ‘to poison’.

Because of his squeaky voice, Reinhard Heydrich was called ‘the goat’ at school. He became a heavy drinker and a sex-addict. While serving as an officer in the SS, he opened an exclusive brothel.

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The official US State sport of South Dakota, Wyoming and Texas is Rodeo.

“Waltzing Matilda” is not about dancing, nor about a girl called Matilda. It is Aussie slang for drifting around the outback on foot with a bedroll – your ‘matilda’ – slung around your shoulder.

The Greeks introduced the olive to Italy around 600 BCE.

The 1982 American comedy series Police Squad!, which starred Leslie Nielsen and was produced by ABC, was cancelled after just six episodes. Then-ABC entertainment president Tony Thomopoulos said “Police Squad! was cancelled because the viewer had to watch it in order to appreciate it.” What Thomopoulos meant was that the viewer had to actually pay close attention to the show in order to get much of the humour, while most other TV shows did not demand as much effort from the viewer. In its annual Cheers and Jeers issue, TV Guide magazine quite rightly called the explanation for the cancellation “the most stupid reason a network ever gave for ending a series.”

Catherine the Great was famous for making five mistakes in a word containing only three letters. Not being a native Russian speaker, she once misspelled the word ‘eщё’ as ‘истчо’.

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