Monday, June 13, 2005

Things I have learnt this week

I have learnt that Israeli researchers say they have succeeded in growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed.

The seed was found buried during an excavation of an ancient mountain fortress - so they unburied it, sat around wondering what to do with it for a while before burying it again.

There is no truth in the rumour that upon discovering the seed the lead excavator said:

"seed? bloody seed?, we've spent millions searching for hidden treasure and all you can bring me is a poxy seed" before hurling it in temper into the deepest hole he could find, which was by coincidence the one that he was stood next to.
I have learnt this week courtesy of the BBC's Springwatch programme that cuckoo spit isn't what I thought it was, i.e, the spit of cuckoos. This revelation has left me a little embarrassed. Why did I not realise this? It would have taken a moments thought to realise that birds don't go around trying to goz on people's heads - they aim with a much more toxic ablution than mere spittle. What other stories have my parents forgot to tell me the truth about? Oh, not the tooth fairy - please no.

I have gone through my life thinking - not everyday granted, that would be worrying - that the spit (not spit) found on the grass is that of phlegming motherhood avoiders. But no, cuckoos don't spit apparently - the ex spit is defined: as a frothy secretion found upon plants, exuded by the larvae of certain insects, for concealment.

Insects spit? Oh no.
I have learnt that the prison service is set to end a 50-year-old tradition of distributing free newspapers to prisoners.

Sid Golder, 82, a former prisoner last released in 1971 after serving 15 years for bank robbery, said the few newspapers that found their way into prisons before the service was formally introduced in the 1950s were heavily censored. "Staff would black out any reference to sex in case our passions got aroused," he said.

"References to crime or penal issues, were also cut" he went on to say.

"We went for years thinking that The Sun was a blank A4 page" he should have added. But didn't.
I have learnt that more than 100 cyclists have ridden around London naked in a mass protest against dependency on the oil industry

Riders were protesting at the "destructive effects of car culture" and celebrating "the power and individuality of their bodies".

It was unfortunate that no-one was around to observe this, as confronted with the sight of over 100 hippies riding bikes with their kit off, most of the population of London decided to hop in their cars and drive as far away as possible.