- A no-lone zone is an area that must be staffed by two or more qualified or cleared individuals. Each individual must be within visual contact with each other and in visual contact with the critical component that requires a no-lone-zone area designation. (via Penn’s Sunday School)
- On June 11th, 1997, Philippe Kahn created the first camera phone solution to share pictures instantly on public networks. The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn’s daughter, when he jerry-rigged a mobile phone with a digital camera and sent photos in real-time. (via Vimeo)
- Just below the summit of Everest there is an area known as “rainbow valley” because it is littered with the dead bodies of climbers still wearing their colourful winter gear. (via Dying for Everest: David Sharp Left for Dead)
- During the French Revolution Marie Tussaud claims that she would search through corpses to find the severed heads of executed citizens, from which she would make death masks. (via Ask A Mortician)
- Cisco built the Great Firewall of China. (via After On Podcast)
- Tom Hanks bumped into a bride and groom having their wedding photos taken while he was jogging in Central Park. Tom posed for a selfie with the couple. They said that the accidental meeting was the “icing on the cake” to a beautiful wedding. (via BBC)
- George Clooney has surprised an 87-year-old fan with a bouquet of flowers for her birthday. (via BBC)
- David Lee Roth personally donated $10,000 to a fundraising campaign launched by Michael Anthony’s family. The former Van Halen bass player’s two-week-old grandson died of heart disease. (via BlabberMouth.net)
- Marc Haynes, as a 7-year-old in 1983, met Roger Moore at the departure gate in Nice Airport. (Via DaringFireball.net, Text)
- Pop star Adele paid an unexpected visit to some of the firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower blaze in west London. (via BBC)
- The singular form of confetti is confetto, the Italian for “sweetmeat”. (via The Big Bang Theory)
- The clippers used during the opening scenes of Full Metal Jacket were bought to clip the coats of Stanley Kubrick’s pets. He didn’t use them on his animals as he thought that the clippers would frighten them. (via Stanley Kubrick and Me)
- “Tinkerty tonk old fruit & down with the Nazis” was how the Queen Mother once closed a letter. (via Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review)
- Bud Cort, Harold from Harold and Maude, was the stripper at Jamie Lee Curtis’ bachelorette party. They haven’t spoken since. (via Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show)
- The Otis Elevator Company, the world’s oldest and biggest elevator manufacturer, claims that its products carry the equivalent of the world’s population every five days. (via The New Yorker)
- In The Wire Omar Little’s character had a trademark whistle of “A Hunting We Will Go”. Michael Kenneth Williams‘ attempts were so poor that the whistle was provided by Susan Allenback. (via IMDb)
- Donnie Andrews, the inspiration for Omar Little in The Wire, actually jumped from a balcony two floors higher than Omar did during a gunfight. (via What’s Alan Watching)
- Moose antlers can grow up to an inch per day. The fastest growing bone mass on the planet. (via Meet the Moose Family)
- The busiest RNLI stations aren’t situated on the U.K. coastline, they are on the Thames in London. (via Saving Lives at Sea)
- Stinging insects detect your movements and breath. So try not to breathe heavily as you’re running away waving your arms about. (via Penn’s Sunday School)
Joseph Heller, the author of Catch-22, once was at a party in the Hamptons. A guy came over to him and pointed at a young, 25 year old standing in the party who worked for a big hedge fund. Heller’s “friend” said to him, “see that guy over there? He made more money last year than you will ever make with all of your books combined.”
Joseph Heller said, “Maybe so. But I have one thing that man will never have.”
His friend was skeptical. “Oh yeah, what?”
Heller said, “Enough.”
- SWAT Teams carry Tyan Wedgie Doorstops in the front pocket of their tactical uniform, so that when they run through a door they can easily run back out. (via Penn Radio 06/02/2007)
- The first Space Shuttle Enterprise was originally called Constitution but was renamed after a letter-writing campaign by Star Trek fans. (via NASA Space Shuttle - Documentary)
- If you could fold a piece of paper 50 times it would be 70 million miles high. (via The Bryan Callen Show)
- An ant colony will divide into two when the total population reaches 80,000. (via The Bryan Callen Show)
- Both Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh have never had a cup of coffee in their lives. (via Empire Magazine November 2015)
- When Nik Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope in June 2012 he was required to carry a passport ready to present it to Canadian border guards on the Canadian side of the falls. (via SModcast)
- Richard Dawkins published his bicycle lock combination in a book and his bike has never been stolen. (via Penn’s Sunday School)
- The actual name for spats was spatterdashers. You fastened them over your ankles, to prevent the spatter dashing you according to P. G. Wodehouse. “It’s a shame when things like spats go out.” (via Paris Review)
- The term soft mouth is used by breeders and users of hunting dogs to refer to a behavioural tendency to pick up, hold, and carry quarry gently. (via Penn’s Sunday School)
- Bette Nesmith Graham was the inventor of Liquid Paper which at one time had 95% of the correction fluid market. She was also the mother of musician and producer Michael Nesmith of The Monkees. (via Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast!)
- Jerry Lewis developed an early version of Video Assist which allows a filmmaker to view a video version of a take after it has been filmed. (via Talkin Walkin)
- Slash is a huge dinosaur nerd. (via Nerdist Podcast)
- Bill Wyman, former Rolling Stones bass player, has his own Signature Metal Detector. (via Gweek Podcast)
- John Goodman bought his mansion in New Orleans from Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails. (via Empire Magazine January 2014)
- A camel is so efficient at conserving water that its dung can be used as fuel without drying. (via Wil Wheaton)
- Sir Terence Conran brought the duvet to Britain after sleeping under one with a girl in Sweden in the 1950s. (via Desert Island Discs)
- Laurence Olivier once taught Julie Goodyear how to vomit on cue. (via Desert Island Discs)
- London’s Black Taxi Cabs have a turning circle of just 25 ft (8 m) so that they can drive around the roundabout outside the Savoy Hotel. (via Top Gear)
- In the early twentieth century, piano tuners outnumbered members of any other trade in English insane asylums. (via A Romance on Three Legs)
- The word prepone is used by English speakers in India to mean “move forward in time”. (via Triangulation)
I signed up for James' newsletter and read Transform Your Habits.
Time for a little backstory. I’ve wanted to start developing iOS applications in my spare time. I have the equipment, the books, development knowledge, I sit in front of my Mac for hours and hours during any given week and never achieve anything.
In the morning I check email, RSS feeds, BBC News and Digg to see what has happened to the world while I was asleep. After work I sit on the sofa and read a book, but then I check email, RSS feeds, BBC News and Digg before I start making something to eat. After I’ve washed the dishes, when I should be writing applications in Xcode, I check email… well you get the idea. Time passes, one thing links to another, an hour later I’m thinking that there’s no point trying to start anything now I may as well look at Buzzfeed, watch a little TV then go to bed. So by the end of the week I have nothing to show for it.
It’s just a habit. I can break it. Just check email and RSS feeds once a day. The rest of the time do something constructive.
James also wrote that he set himself a task, to write for his blog every Monday and Thursday. That’s his habit, sit down and write.
With most things in life it’s best to start with small steps.
- When film director Stanley Kubrick purchased a Dymo label machine he labelled one draw THINGS. This was later changed to IMPONDERABILIA as part of the Kubrick classification system. (via Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures)
- The nickname “Bunk”, given to Detective William Moreland in The Wire, comes from the military meaning your bunk mate. (via Maxim)
- The “Naughty. But nice.” advertising slogan for cream cakes was the creation of Salman Rushdie, before he became an author. (via Desert Island Discs)
- Cutting paper with fabric scissors can blunt them. (via Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project)
- When Ernie Wise met Eric Morecambe for the first time, Ernie was taller. (via Desert Island Discs)
- The chances of someone shuffling the same pack of cards the same way twice are 1 in 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000. (via QI)
- Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, the Tasmanian Devil and many other cartoon characters has the phrase “That’s All Folks” on his gravestone. (via Radio Lab)
- James Mason wanted his luxury item to be the gold Snoopy that he wore around his neck when he appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1981.
- Tom F. Wilson, Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future movies, carries his own personal FAQ to hand out to inquiring fans.
- The voice of Woody, the Toy Story doll, isn’t Tom Hanks it’s his brother Jim. (via Wittertainment)