Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Things you never needed to know (probably)

To misquote Shakespeare : I am a snapper up of unconsidered bits of information which no one needs to know. It's just a habit I picked up I know not where. For example, this morning I learned that scientists may have discovered why shoelaces come undone. If you pull on your sneakers of a morning and prepare for your jog, you might find that, along the way, the laces open and passers by will call your attention to this or you'll stand on the trailing bit of shoe lace and nearly trip up.
Apparently the scientists at California Berkeley University looked into this "shoelace knot failure". And now you want to know the answer, right? It's what keeps you awake at night. Well, the answer is interesting: the forces of a foot striking the ground stretches and then relaxes the knot, while a second force caused by the leg swinging, acts on the ends of the laces like an invisible hand. The expression "may the force be with you" has even more intriguing possibilities than I ever imagined.

Here's another bit of riveting stuff - and then I'm done, promise! Researchers at the University of Sussex and University College London found that the word "please" was used nearly twice as much by the British compared to Americans. Not surprising from a nation which likes to form orderly queues or lines to use the American term. I have my doubts, though. Let's face it, if you travel on the Underground in London, the word "please" is used countless times as in "Please mind the gap!"

There is nothing like dropping one or two of these bits of information into your conversation the next time you are stuck for small talk. I remember telling someone that, according to statistics, it rains in England on Fridays more than any other day of the week. I was actually escorting this person from Reception to my (big) boss's office and was a bit desperate how to keep the conversation flowing and it was a Friday and it was raining...  Anyway, he was so amused that he repeated it to my boss who thought it showed remarkable intelligence on my part - but I won't go in to that.

Happy Easter / Happy Holidays to all my readers.


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