20 Interesting Factoids From 2016

By Malcolm Taylor

A smorgasbord of factoids that fascinated the easily amused Business Breakfast team:

1. German tourists can travel to more countries without a visa than any other nationality.

…With a German passport, travellers can enter 177 out of 218 countries and territories without a visa, according to the 2016 Visa Restrictions Index. Sweden is 2nd, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom tied for 3rd, and the US came 4th.

2. There are about three million shipwrecks lying on the floors of the world’s oceans!

…with around a quarter of them in the Atlantic.

…Spookily enough, three Dutch and three British WW2 ships have vanished from the bottom of the Java Sea.

3. YouTube was originally meant to be an online dating site.

…Co-founder Steve Chen said “We always thought there was something with video there, and we thought dating would be the obvious choice. The idea was for single people to make videos introducing themselves and saying what they were looking for. After five days no one had uploaded a single video, and so YouTube’s remit was widened to the site we know today!”

4. Air Rage is more common on flights with a first-class cabin.

…New research shows that the mere presence of a first-class cabin on a plane, and the experience of having to shuffle through it on boarding, contributes to air rage among economy passengers! But it’s not just economy passengers. First class passengers don’t like the Hoi Polloi traipsing through the cabin they’ve paid a lot of money for, which in turn makes them more liable to commit an air rage offence.

5. Sadness causes more road accidents than tiredness.

6. The US Marine Corps policy on tattoos is 32 pages long.

7. Exercising four hours after learning can help you remember information.

8. Extroverted CEO’s make their companies less money.

…Researchers found that companies run by CEO’s with high openness to new experiences spent more on Research & Development, R&D being a form of corporate learning. Companies led by highly conscientious CEO’s had lower growth, as conscientious people are ‘dutiful & respectful of convention’, making them effective in government or military, but less so in innovation-oriented private companies.

9. Only about half of perceived friendships are mutual.

…Recent research indicates that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual. That is, someone you think is your friend might not be so keen on you. Or, vice versa, as when someone you feel you hardly know claims you as a bestie.

10. It would take 112,000 years to fly to the nearest Earth-like world travelling at 25,000mph.

…The star closest to the sun is home to an Earth-sized planet with temperatures suitable for water – if any exists – to pool on its surface. But don’t pack your bags for “Proxima b” just yet. Although the 25 trillion-mile journey is a stone’s throw by celestial yardsticks, it would take more than 112,000 years to get there traveling at 25,000 mph, the speed of the Apollo moon rockets.

11. If you’re visiting a malaria area always take a chicken with you!

…Apparently mosquitoes carrying malaria are repelled by chickens.

12. The new Bank of England £5 note is not suitable for vegetarians…

…The notes contain tallow (a hard fatty substance made from rendered animal fat, and formerly used in making candles and soap), and has been banned by various groups not wanting anything to do with meat products.

13. …But you can use the £5 note to play vinyl records!

…The material and shape of the note enables it to hold its form and get in between the grooves on the record, and create an accurate sound of what’s on the vinyl. It doesn’t quite provide the ‘warmer’ tones that vinyl buyers often boast about, but it’s pretty mind-blowing nonetheless. On the Business Breakfast this week we’ve been playing an example where the note played “Money money money” by Abba on a 7” single.

14. Fidel Castro’s obituary cost the New York Times more man and woman hours over the years than any other article in the newspaper’s history.

15. More than 200 drivers in the UK are over 100 years old.

…which has led the Business Breakfast team to speculate how many that would project out to on a global basis. Certainly in the many thousands!

16. People spend 1.3 years of their lives on average deciding what to watch on television! Eeeek.

17. Riding a rollercoaster can help you pass kidney stones.

18. You can run over a golf ball with a steamroller and still not damage it.

19. Rainbows can also occur at night.

20. Women can improve their chances of winning board games against men by playing rock music in the background.

A study showed that men became more distracted, and made far more errors if they were forced to listen to a rock track compared with classical music, or none at all.


Compiled by the BBC from various sources.

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