I have been leafing through the QI pages at the Telegraph. Fascinating stuff. Here are a few of my favourites:
Ainu are the aboriginal people of Japan. They believe that the world is supported on the back of a giant trout and that sin is caused by otters.
The metallic smell we experience after handling coins is actually a type of body odour. When we touch the metal, sweat from the skin gains electrons, then reacts with body oils and causes them to decompose, creating the familiar smell.
As at least one linguist has pointed out, if “Saxon” had been adapted over “Anglo” (as it was in Sussex and Essex), the English might now live in Sexland and speak Sexish.
The word “infant” means “unable to speak” – from the Latin in (not) and fari (to speak) – but babies are prodigiously quick learners of language. From about 10 months, they begin to grasp the names of objects, but will assign names to whichever object interests them most.
The modern world’s first international sporting fixture was a cricket match between Canada and the USA in 1844.
In 1887, Kansas property developers and prohibitionists Horace and Daeida Wilcox bought 120 acres in the Cahuenga Valley hoping for some peace and quiet. Daeida named her home “Hollywood” after the summerhouse of a friend.