Tolkein had a gerbil called Gollum

June 2, 2009

The New Statesman has been running a weekly competition for intelligent quips of various types for as long as I have been reading it, which is over 40 years now. Number 4077 asked readers to come up with factoids which means believable comments that become true through repetition. popular examples include the number of words that Eskimo’s have for snow and the frog boiling story. Some of these (the latter in particular) are too good not to be true but never mind! They are a subset of the general category of urban myths. There were some delightful ones in this weeks edition (which is on George Orwell by the way so well worth a quick visit to the newsagents) which I share here (and in the title of this post):

  • There is a Starbucks in the Vatican but none in Italy
  • More people were killed in making Saving Private Ryan than died in the Normandy landings
  • If a penguin stays dry for three days, it turns red
  • Muesli is more carcinogenic than Coco Pops
  • The memory of an average pocket calculator equals that of 100 million earthworms

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