Thursday, 30 January 2014

The widest avenue in the world

Buenos Aires, Argentina, features the widest avenue in the world.

At over 300 feet wide, 9 de Julio Avenue occupies a gap of an entire block in the city grid, hence its incredible width.

Crossing the avenue at street level often requires a few minutes, as all intersections have traffic lights.

Under normal walking speed, it takes pedestrians normally two to three green lights to cross its twelve lanes of traffic.

See more on record-setting roads at

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Vaughans's Ruling

Chief Justice Vaughan’s ruling explains how it is never possible for those outside the jury to ascertain by what private thoughts or evidence a Juror or Jurors may decide that the verdict of Not Guilty is the only one which is just and appropriate.


Monday, 27 January 2014

Mars Bar - Scar

A scar, usually found on the facial features.

"Franko got chibbed by the Tongs and noo has a big mars bar across his face."

From the Scottish Vernacular Dictionary at

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Sling your hook

‘Sling your hook’ is polite way of telling someone to go away. 

This term has a nautical origin.  ‘Hook’ was a name given to the ship’s anchor, and the ’sling’ was the cradle that housed the anchor.  Therefore, to ‘sling your hook’ meant to lift anchor, stow it and sail away.


Thursday, 23 January 2014


Sagas are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, the battles that took place during the voyages, about migration to Iceland and of feuds between Icelandic families.

They were written in the Old Norse language, mainly in Iceland.

"Saga" is a word originating from Old Norse or Icelandic language. Saga is a cognate of the English word say: its various meanings in Icelandic are approximately equivalent to "something said" or "a narrative in prose", somewhat along the lines of a "story", a "tale", or a "history".


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Types of nails

Using nails is an effective way of fixing or joining pieces of softwood together. Hardwoods can be difficult to join with nails as they tend to bend under the impact of the hammer. Below is a range of nails that can be used depending on the type of wood and the nature of the work to be attempted.

  • ROUND WIRE NAIL - This is used for general work. It is not attractive in shape and it can split wood when hammered in position
  • OVAL WIRE NAIL - This is a long nail and care must be taken when it is hammered into the wood. It is unlikely to split the wood.
  • LOST HEAD NAIL - This is ideal if it is necessary to hide the head of the nail as a punch can be used to hammer the head beneath the surface level.
  • PANEL PIN - A very popular way of joining woods although glue is usually included as part of the join.
  • TACK - Can be used for fixing textile materials to wood for example, fixing upholstery to furniture.
  • SPRIG - This no head and is generally used for fixing glass to glass in wood frames.
  • ANNULAR NAIL - The teeth of this nail hold it in place firmly. Therefore, it is used for fixing plywood and other materials.
  • HARDBOARD PIN - The diamond shaped head is hidden when used in materials like hardboard   
  • CORRUGATED FASTENER - This will hold the corners of wood frames firmly together


Sunday, 19 January 2014

Mirrors as portals to other dimensions

Mirrors are viewed by many as portals to other dimensions and with this comes the added risk of meeting the unknown.

Here are some of the things said about mirrors:

  • Mirrors have the ability to suck out souls therefore they must be removed from a room where an ill person lies as they are more vulnerable at this time.
  • People were warned never to look into a mirror at night or by candle light. If you did so you would be certain to see ghosts, demons and portents of death - even your own!
  • When a person died in a room the mirrors had to be covered or turned to face the wall. Failure to do so would result in the deceased person's soul being lost - or they may even turn into a vampire.
  • Even while asleep, it was thought best to cover your mirror as you could be vulnerable to attack from negative spirits or demons during the dark hours. Also, never place your bed in a place where it is reflected in a mirror.
  • In order to prevent mirrors being used as a portal by supernatural entities, the mirror should be frequently moved to different areas of the room. Mirrors with a solid backing placed in the same position for a long period of time, are more likely to become spiritual portals

More on Spirit Reflections at

Friday, 17 January 2014

My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine Planets, etc

My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine Planets. The order of planets in average distance from the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

Toronto Girls Can Flirt, And Other Queer Things Can Do. The order of Mohs hardness scale, from 1 to 10:  Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, Orthoclase feldspar, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond.

Cows Often Sit Down Carefully. Perhaps Their Joints Creak? The order of geological time periods:  Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent.

See more List Order Acronyms at

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Saga of Noggin the Nog

Noggin the Nog is a popular British children's character appearing in his own TV series (of the same name) and series of illustrated books, the brainchild of Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin.

The TV series is considered a "cult classic" from the golden age of British children's television.

Noggin himself is a simple, kind and unassuming King of the Northmen in a roughly Viking-age setting, with various fantastic elements such as dragons, flying machines and talking birds.


Monday, 13 January 2014

Within, without, outwith, outside, inside

Q: What is the opposite of within?


Don't tell me outside (which is opposite of inside).

Any one word that can be used?


A: You might not want me to tell you this, but the opposite of within is "outside of" (in English). Inside basically means the same as within.

Interestingly, we Scots (Scottish English is the variety of English spoken here) have come up with a different word which the English (of England) don't use. The word is "outwith" and it is the opposite of "within". "Without" actually means "lacking" or "minus".

Don't use "outwith" outwith Scotland or no one will know what you're talking about!



Saturday, 11 January 2014

What is a kenning?

A kenning is "a concise compound or figurative phrase replacing a common noun".

It comes from the Anglo Saxon era, where swords had names like "death-bringer" or "wound-maker".


Thursday, 9 January 2014

The ‘Sometimes, Always, Never’ 3-Button Rule

A few years ago, we published a guest post on suit buttons, and one of the best things I got out of it was a handy way to remember the right way to button a three-button suit jacket.

It’s called the “sometimes, always, never” button rule.

Starting with the top button and working your way down:

  • it’s sometimes appropriate to have the top button buttoned along with the middle one
  • it’s always appropriate to have the middle button buttoned
  • and you should never button the last button

Sometimes, always, never. Easy.

See full post at

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Ptolemy, Copernicus & Galileo

Ptolemy. Ptolemy was an astronomer and mathematician. He believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe. The word for earth in Greek is geo, so we call this idea a "geocentric" theory. This flawed view of the Universe was accepted for many centuries.

Copernicus. Well over a thousand years later, Nicolaus Copernicus came up with a radical way of looking at the Universe. His heliocentric system put the Sun (helio) at the center of our system. His ideas, including the revelation that the Earth rotates on its axis, were too different for most of the scholars of his time to accept.

Galileo. He had his own ideas on how motion really worked, and devised a telescope that could enlarge objects up to 20 times. He was able to use this telescope to prove the truth of the Copernican system of heliocentrism. He published his observations which went against the established teaching of the Church. He was brought to trial and, although he made a confession of wrong-doing, he was still imprisoned for life.

Extracted from

Sunday, 5 January 2014


1. An embankment or dike, especially in India.

2. A street running along a harbour or waterway, especially in the Far East.


Friday, 3 January 2014

The Orders of Chivalry

The Orders of Chivalry are a means whereby the Sovereign may bestow an honour on his or her subjects, either as a mark of personal favour or at the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Originally the fusion of knightly and religious ideals, brought together by the Crusades, the Orders of Chivalry were founded by European kings as a means of binding their great nobles to the royal cause as Companions of the King'.

In Great Britain the older Orders of Chivalry (Garter, Thistle, Bath, St Michael and St George, the Royal Victorian and the British Empire) all carry the honour of knighthood.


Complete Name, Ranks / Letters

The Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight (KG), Lady (LG)

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Knight (KT), Lady (LT)

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCB), Knight/Dame Commander (KCB/DCB), Companion (CB)

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG), Knight/Dame Commander (KCMG/DCMG), Companion (CMG)

The Distinguished Service Order, Companion (DSO) - plus bars

The Royal Victorian Order, Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCVO), Knight/Dame Commander (KCVO/DCVO), Commander (CVO), Lieutenant (LVO), Member (MVO)

The Order of Merit, Member (OM)

The Imperial Service Order, ISO

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GBE), Knight/Dame Commander (KBE/DBE), Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE), Member (MBE)

The Order of the Companions of Honour, Companion (CH)


Thursday, 2 January 2014

New York’s Finest, Bravest, Strongest, Boldest

These terms are used quite often, especially after 9-11.

FINEST—police department

BRAVEST—fire department

STRONGEST—sanitation department

BOLDEST—corrections department

The "finest" is probably the oldest. Most sources claim that it was coined by police chief George W. Matsell. "Finest" ("best" was also used) probably dates to at least July 1874, when Matsell said, "I intend, sir, to make of this the finest police force in the world." The comedian Gus Williams starred in the play One of the Finest in the early 1880s. I believe that "the finest police in the world" is meant to be a similar phrase to Civil War General Joseph Hooker's "finest army on the planet."

The "bravest" probably dates from the 1890s.

The "strongest" and "boldest" are much newer; the first New York Times citation for "boldest" is in 1996, the first hit for "strongest" is in 1981.

See full article at

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Percentage v Percentage Points

The term "percentage point" is used to get around an ambiguity in English when we are comparing two different percentages. The problem is that "percent" implicitly refers to a relative change (some fraction of an original amount, like a salary increase of 10%) rather than an absolute change (some specified amount, like a salary increase of $1000). What do we say when we want to treat a percentage as an absolute amount?

If, for example, the current tax rate were 10% and we increased it to 12%, we might say that we increased it by 2 percent. But that would be taken to mean that we increased it by 2% of the original 10% (that is, by 2/100 of 10%, or 0.2%), to 10.2%. The question is, are we using "percent" to mean one of the units called percent, or a percentage of that percentage? To avoid this problem, we say instead that we are increasing the tax rate by "two percentage points". This unambiguously refers to the number 2% itself as a unit, rather than to 2% of something else.

See full article at