Sunday, September 17, 2023



Peacocks aren't actually called peacocks!

The colourful birds are actually the male of the species and therefore known as peacocks. The species as a whole is called peafowl, and lady peafowl are called peahens. A baby peafowl is a chick or a peachick. A group of peacocks is called an "ostentation" or a "muster".

The two Asiatic species of peafowl are the blue or Indian peafowl originally from the Indian subcontinent, and the green peafowl from Southeast Asia. The colourful plumage of the peacock is especially prominent in the Asiatic species, which have an eye-spotted "tail" or "train" of covert feathers, which they display as part of a courtship ritual.

The functions of the elaborate iridescent colouration and large "train" of peacocks have been the subject of extensive scientific debate. Charles Darwin suggested that they served to attract females, and the showy features of the males had evolved by sexual selection. More recently, Amotz Zahavi proposed in his handicap principle that these features acted as honest signals of the males' fitness, since less-fit males would be disadvantaged by the difficulty of surviving with such large and conspicuous structures.

A peachick


McDonald's invented a sweet-tasting type of broccoli

It sounds like one of Willy Wonka's rejected ideas: Bubble gum-flavored broccoli. But the creation was far from fictional: It was a concoction whipped up by the fast-food giant McDonald's in 2014, the motivation being to create a way to get kids to eat healthier.

However, apparently adding a sweet flavor to broccoli doesn't make it any more appetizing to kids, who were confused by the taste.

The fast-food chain is under pressure to create healthier options. Instead of introducing candy-flavored veggies, it's now focusing on tactics such as reducing the size of its fry servings and adding low-fat yogurt to its Happy Meals.


Apple pie isn't American

Apple trees are not native to America. They originated in Central Asia and were grown in Asia and Europe long before European colonists brought them to North America.

However American-grown apples and American-style apple pies eventually became renowned for having a special sweetness and flavor. That led to the term “American apple pie,” which was used to distinguish American-style apple pies from pies made in other countries.

By the 1920s, the phrase “as American as apple pie” was floating around. By the 1940s it had become a common idiomatic expression.

There is a 1967 notorious variation from black activist H. Rap Brown, who gave a speech at a press conference in Washington, D.C. that is widely cited as the origin of his well-known quote “Violence is as American as cherry pie.”

What Brown said:
“I say violence is necessary. Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie. Americans taught the black people to be violent. We will use that violence to rid ourselves of oppression if necessary. We will be free, by any means necessary.”
What it became shortened to and quoted:

Ironically, at the time, Brown was Director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

At his speech, Brown also added “If you give me a gun and tell me to shoot my enemy, I might just shoot Lady Bird.” (Referring to President Johnson’s wife, Claudia, whose popular nickname was “Lady Bird.”) Brown went on to call President Johnson a “white honky cracker” and “a mad wild dog” and said that if America’s cities didn’t “come around” they “should be burned down.”

None of his comments that day gained the lasting notoriety of his cherry pie aphorism.

He is currently serving a life sentence for murder following the shooting of two Fulton County, Georgia, sheriff's deputies in 2000,


The first speeding fine took place in 1896

On 28 January 1896, Walter Arnold (UK), drove his "horse-less carriage" through the village of Paddock Wood, Kent, at more than four times the speed limit – a reckless 8 mph (13 km/h)! He was chased down by a police officer on a bicycle who charged him with breaking the law on four counts:
- using a locomotive without a horse on a public road;
- allowing said locomotive to be operated by fewer than three persons;
- travelling at a greater rate than two miles per hour; and
- failing to clearly display his name and address on the locomotive.

He was brought before a local magistrate on 30 January and found guilty on all four counts. He was fined £4 7s in total of which 10 shillings was for the speeding charge.

In the late 19th century, motor vehicles — which had not yet reached widespread use — were regulated in the U.K. by a series of laws called the Locomotives Acts. The 1865 Locomotives Act, in particular, contained a section that effectively imposed a two-part speed limit: 4 mph in the countryside; and 2 mph in cities and towns.

The 1865 act was sometimes colloquially known as the "Red Flag Act" due to its third section, which required no fewer than three individuals to operate any non-animal-powered locomotive, one of whom had to walk "not less than 60 yards" ahead of the vehicle, waving a red flag and "[warning] the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotives."

Later in 1896, the U.K. parliament duly increased the speed limit to 14 mph.

During the Commons debate over the liberalization of the speed limit, some members warned of an inexorable upwards rise in the speeds of horseless carriages. One member reportedly "asked the House to fancy these things going along at 18 miles an hour," while another member provoked laughter when he "inquired whether they could not look forward to going 20 or 25 miles an hour some day."


A dog was once voted as a mayor four times!

Duke, a Great Pyrenees dog, held office in the village of Cormorant, Minnesota. He served four one-year terms – that's 28 years for a dog – after a fun community vote took a serious turn when the pooch became a viral sensation.


The abbreviation OMG was used over 100 years ago

It was first used during the First World War by an admiral named John Arbuthnot Fisher. In a letter to Winston Churchill dated 9/9/17, he wrote "I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis – O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) – Shower it on the Admiralty!"

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