July Lessons


Grasshoppers can bite.


The GM food scare may well have started from a discredited scientific study that poisoned mice with potatoes. All the study really showed was that potatoes contain poisons (which incidently are contained on the outisde 6mm of a potato).


People have the ability to take a football predicting octopus seriously. Incidently a German win today would at last show that octopodes cannot predict football results! (Something surely we should all know!)

Unfortunately for my desire for rational explanations Spain won and the octopus was correct.

Even worse news is that it predicted the final but if it hadn’t a parakeet would have been celebrated for its psychic powers!


On Saturday it is the 31st annual “Moon Amtrak” day, when people gather by the side of a railway in Orange County and bare their backsides at passing trains. This annual event occurs on the second Saturday in July every year.


If you have 8 railings and remove the 2nd 3rd 6th and 8th railings, running a stick down the 1st 4th 5th and 7th at an even speed will give you a tango beat. (incidently if you have 30 railings leave 1 4 6 8 9 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 26 27 28 29 30 and you will get the rhythm for the Simpsons theme)


The Monty Hall dilemma actually dates to the 30s, and not to Monty Hall himself. Monty Hall never gave contestants the opportunity to swap doors.


Annabel Chong was from Singapore… something they don’t seem to advertise much.

June 14th-20th lessons (many about male anatomy)


The barnacle has a penis 40 times its own body length. (Not surewhether to be impressed, jealous or take pity as what I would do with one over 240 feet?  Maybe use it as a scarf.) They also have testes near the back of their head, and maybe it is a throwback to this sort of anatomy that makes us men sometimes think with our testicles.


The Naegleria Fowleri is a single celled organism that occasionally can enter the nose and meander up the nervous system and start feeding on the human brain. This is how it has got its other name the “brain eating amoeba”.  It is enough to put you off swimming in lakes in the Czech Republic, New Zealand and the USA. Probably best I didnt know about that before I did go swimming in lakes in Eastern Europe and the US! (Of course if one has swum up my nose and eaten my brain would have been better to know…)


This is turning out to be penis length fact week. Humans have the largest penis size of any ape (I vaguely may have known this). A result of this is for the phrase to be “hung like a gorilla” is considered an insult in some african countries. (They have a penis as thin as a pencil but maybe they know what to do with it as that is what matters!)


A promethean interactive whiteboard can be set up (accidently) to autohide the toolbox.


Most birds do not have a penis, although ducks do. A breed of duck jas one twice its body length.


I learnt today a good way to grow mushrooms, decided it is a smelly business though so might just let Tescos grow mine.


Taunton is at longitude 3.1 degrees west (I have known the latitude was 51.0 for some time as this is useful for telescope setting up, longitude less so). The sun sets about 13 minutes after it does in London.

More lessons to learn around the Maypole (10/5 – 16/5)


The axolotl never grows up and will not undergo metamosphosis in its natural state. However a cheeky iodine injection can make its balls drop and bring it into an adult form.


The Oxford English Dictionary since 1911 has incorrectly dephined a siphon as something that moves liquid using atmospheric pressure. (Gravity has been doing all the work and getting none of the credit).


Today was the first day that I could picture Nick Clegg in my mind, without needing to see a picture of him. More useful is probably the knowledge that Van Helsing’s first name was Abraham.


The RSPB was set up to protect the great crested grebe. Also parakeets have set up home and living in the UK wild and free from BNP politicians.


Nick Clegg once burnt a professor’s cacti when an exchange student in Germany at the age of 16 and had to do community service.


In cricket if the ball hits a helmet on the way to a boundary you score 5 runs only, you do not score 9 (5+4). I knew about the 5 runs but was not sure about whether like wides and no balls you would get a further 4. Also Boobby McFerrin’s voice is the only sound you here on a certain track of his, no instruments. So “Don’t worry, be happy”.


Until today England had never won an ICC world cup of any type. Now they have won one. I found out the name of the Schengen agreement, which is suprisingly the Schengen agreement. I also found out what Montgomery Glands are.

More April Lessons 19th – 25th

Monday – I learnt that there is a new organisation the YPLA (lets hear it for the YPLA! Young Persons Learning Agency) that replaces the LSC. Possibly the dullest lesson of the year so far, A toxophilite being an archery lover is a far more interesting fact.

Tuesday – It takes about 9 months to get to Mars and rockets need to leave the earth at a minimum speed of 17000mph

Wednesday – Franck Ribery has been accused of inappropiate activity with an inappropiately aged call girl – so it looks like he is Chelsea bound. Also if the voting in the general election makes the lib dems have the most votes, the conservatives 2nd and labour 3rd it will probably result in the reverse when it comes to seats (I think I suspected this anyway). Also nice guys outperform nasty guys in tasks (apart from women attracting possibly as they are often less exciting!)

Thursday – I learnt zebras arent good subjects for limericks due to the various pronouncitaions

Friday – Shakespeare may not have been born on St George’s day

Saturday – Robbie Savage was a trainee at Manchester United before moving to Crewe  Alexandra

Sunday – Reneee Walker will not be in any future series of 24. I am surprised that my addiction to finding out what happens before it does in a lot of tv series didn’t make me learn about her death earlier (i.e. I will read a spoiler if I come across one)

March 8th – March 14th

Monday – A golden raspberry award costs £3 to make, congratulations to Sandra Bullock for getting hers (oh and the oscar I suppose too). The most expensive ticket for the Wigan v Liverpool game was £28. Also it is commonwealth week. I only realised today that Singapore is a member of the commonwealth.

Tuesday – We live in something known as the Goldilocks Zone, (or more boringly known as the habitable Zone). it is where a planet is neither too hot nor cold for life, but just right. Canada is the worlds second biggest nation.

Wednesday – There are 460 Bingo Halls in the UK

Thursday –  Anti-wrinkle cream is an outrageous con. It works by adding acid to the skin, irritating it and swelling it to get rid of the wrinkles. Apparantly you might as well be rubbing vinegar in.

Friday – Lewis Carroll invented the word chortle (from Jabberwocky)

Saturday – Learnt that my brother fell into a ditch on his way home from a night out last December and had great difficulty getting out. In fact was lucky to but it is funny now that we know he survived the experience.

Sunday – 2 ingredients that are not listed in Morrisons Dandelion and Burdock are dandelion and burdock (however it does contain carrot)

The first lessons of March

Monday – Cheating husbands are less intelligent than those that do not cheat. Ashley Cole, John Terry should take note you dirty dogs

Tuesday – Bambi was Austrian

Wednesday – Invertase is the enzyme used to make soft centres in sweets. Apparantly comes from yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae as noone knows it by.

Thursday – A63 paper is hard to come by (as is A62). This is due in part to A63 paper being smaller than a single carbon atom

Friday – Edgar Dijkstra came up with the Bankers Algorithm

Saturday – In finger spelling the left hand is the vowels. Also Jurassic park was full of non Jurassic dinosaurs.

Sunday – Hush Puppy boxers should be washed at 30 C, the shortest gestation period of a mammal is 12-13 days (Virginian Opposum and Yapok). As if I had not learnt enough, I also found out that flour can be useful when making a cottage pie.

Last 7 Educational Moments of February (22nd to 28th)

Monday – Berol fibre tipped pens can survive for 14 days without their cap on, unlike some of my students.

Tuesday – Found out how to sort out a rogue US keyboard impersonator on a PC (one of those things I possibly should have known already)

Wednesday – The patron saint of mathematicains job shares his work with being the patron Saint of hunters, opticians, metalworkers and used to be involved in rabies curing. Saint Dismas the patron saint of criminals only seems to have the one job…

Thursday – I learnt an immature trick with a Casio scientific calculator (a sort of modern version of the 5318008 = boobies one).  (.)A(.) then move the cursor back to the A and you have your very own

Friday – When decomissioning a nuclear missile you deal with the warhead first

Saturday – Marmite have developed an extra strong version due out in early march

Sunday – Stick insects have become naturalised in Devon and Cornwall

Lessons for Valentines day week…

Apart from being a time to reflect on appalling treatment by ex-gfs and how they don’t deserve you etc etc (not really, I didn’t deserve them)  I have learnt the following excellent things this week…

Monday – Ser is Polish for cheese, one of the many things I learn during my monday maths teaching

Tuesday – I found a way of making a happy/sad queen banknote. Also one thing I learnt is that the idea “there is always one exception to a rule” is self defeating, as there must be  an exception to this rule rendering it useless (which it is anyway). Also the exception to everyone being unique has to be 2 or more people…

Wednesday – unfortunately forgot what was going to go in here first as I decided to do an anti-valentines day rant! Did learn however there is no v in the polish alphabet (although there is a strange letter lingering around l in their alphabet that seems to do the same job. Incidently also learnt experimentally what I knew academically that ranting is counter-productive)

Thursday – I found that a ten pin bowling shape USB device aimed at the frustrated single male sells for $300 but that an alternative can be made from a nintendo game glove, and some wet sponge

Friday – Dorset has no Motorways, something I sort of knew before but had never really thought about

Saturday –  You can actually get ginger hair dye. Apparantly the ginger one in sex and the city isnt a natural ginger. Also Kim whats it (the non shoe faced blond) is in Bath being theatrical at the moment

Sunday – You can get pyjamas with hoods


February, New Month, New Week more things to learn

Monday – I actually found out what macrame is. heard the name, knew it was some sort of craft thing that I would never do but wasn’t sure if it was done with card, tissue paper or paint. Turns out you need cord but I am probably the only one who didn’t know this. (I don’t know if it is possible to make macrame clothes actually…)

Tuesday – The fastest hatrick in the FA Cup was 3 minutes in 1968 by Billy Best of Southend. Also the 22nd and 24th President of the USA was the same man.

Wednesday – It is possible to make macrame clothing – and some people do not know that pigs have male and female

Thursday – If I got two promotions I would not have to make my own tea

Friday – Sainsbury’s in Taunton has a resident robin

Saturday – Holding a pencil between your teeth can make you happy

Sunday – there are 28 varieties of rabbitfish, and they are probably all uglier than rabbits


This weeks lessons (week beginning 18th January)

So I don’t hassle everyone with a thing I learn everyday I have decided to do a week at a time…

Monday : Learnt how to use the Fake Call feature on my phone

Tuesday : learnt that Sgorio on S4C on 14th December officially had 0 viewers, and the Swiss shot down 11 German planes in WW2

Wednesday : Found out that SOLA stands for Specific Off-Label Approval, but havent the foggiest quite what that might mean. Also found out there is a sheep “smiley” on MSN messenger

Thursday : Alliumphobia is the fear of garlic but can be extended to include onions (I also rediscovered the recipe for a good french onion soup to keep people with this disorder away). Not convinced about Anatidaephobia but I really hope there is a fear of a duck watching you – although must be a nightmare…

Friday : Didn’t want to learn similar things on consecutive days but apparantly some cruel b*st*rd came up with aibohphobia as the fear of palindromes, making sufferers fearful of admitting to what they are fearful of, and leading them to a desperate cycle of despair and doom. Incidently Aracnophobia I think is a justified fear. Aracnophilia is surely something that is more in need of treatment.

Saturday : Found out that I need to add an extra rule to my NYR which forbids me from cheating and looking at the learn something new everyday website, that I didnt know existed until today. Also learnt the longest recorded fart was 2 minutes and 45 seconds

Sunday : Learnt how to make an origami swan