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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Birth

FAMOUS HISTORICAL BIRTHS

Aristotle believed that the womb is divided into two halves, one for boy babies, the other for girls. 
He said that a woman wishing to conceive a son should lie on her right side, or on her left for a girl.

The Aztecs regarded childbirth as a form of battle—women who died in childbirth were thought to go to the same heaven as male warriors.

In Sigershaufen Switzerland during the early 16th century a pregnant woman Frau Nufer was having considerable trouble delivering her child, possibly because of the baby's position. In great distress her husband Jacob watched his wife's labor going from bad to worse, without her being able to give birth. A sow-gelder, by trade on the spur of the moment he took a razor and cut open the uterus to release the baby. Legend has it that Julius Caesar was delivered this way and it is thus being referred to as a Caesarean operation.

Virginia Dare, granddaughter of governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, became the first English child born in the Americas on August 18, 1587.

Nicholas Guy (fl. 1612 – 1631) was one of the first settlers at the London and Bristol Company's Cuper's Cove, colony in Newfoundland. He was the father of the first English child born in Canada. 

The first successful Cesarean in Britain was performed on farmer's wife Alice O'Neal in January 1738.

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were both born on February 12, 1809.

Dr Alexander Lion, from Nice France, who devised the first incubator for premature babies in 1891, helped 137 babies to survive in the equipment’s first three years. To encourage interest in the technology, he also began displaying newborns in their incubators to the paying public

Mrs Margaret Evans of Miami became the first mother to give birth on an aircraft flight on October 26, 1929. She named the baby Airlene.

The first quintuplets to survive infancy were born in 1934 near Callander, Ontario, to Oliva and Elzire Dionne.

Peruvian Lina Medina became on May 14, 1939 the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of at the age of five years, seven months and 17 days. Medina's son weighed 6.0 lb at birth and was named Gerardo after her doctor. Gerardo was raised believing that Medina was his sister, but found out at the age of 10 that she was his mother. The biological father who impregnated Lina was never identified.



Jerry Springer was born in a London Underground station during World War 2.

Leontina Albina of San Antonio, Chile, gave birth to her 55th child in 1981, making her the world’s most prolific mother.

John Buster and the research team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced in 1984 history's first embryo transfer, from one woman to another resulting in a live birth.

America's Bobbie McCaughey holds the record for giving birth to the most surviving children from a single birth. She gave birth to the first set of surviving septuplets (four boys and three girls) in November 1997, at the University Hospital, Iowa, US.

Jayne Bleackley gave birth to Joseph Robert on September 3, 1999, and Annie Jessica Joyce on March 30, 2000. The babies were born only 208 days apart, setting the record for shortest interval between two children.

Omkari Panwar, a 70-year-old grandmother from India gave birth to twins on June 27, 2008, setting the world record for the oldest mother. Omkari delivered a boy and a girl  after she underwent IVF treatment, which cost 350,000 rupees (£4,375 or $9,000) - a small fortune in India. To pay for it Charan mortgaged his land, sold his buffalo, spent his life savings and took out a loan.


Rajo Devi Lohan is the world's oldest first-time mother. She gave birth in November 2008, following controversial IVF treatment, at the age of 69, then nearly died from complications with the delivery.

The shortest woman to give birth is American Stacey Herald, who is 28.5in tall (2ft 4in). She gave birth to three children, Kateri, Malachi and Makya. At birth, Makya was 18in long, more than half her mum’s body length, and weighed 4lb 7oz.

FUN BIRTH FACTS

255 people are born every minute, according to UNICEF.


Worldwide, the average woman gives birth to an estimated 6.89 children.

The highest fertility rate is in Niger, where women give birth to an average of 6.62 children in 2016. The lowest is Singapore at 0.8 per woman.

The population was fewer than 1 billion in 1800, 3 billion in 1960 and 6 billion as recently as 1999. It is now over 7 billion.

When your mother was born, she was already carrying the egg that would become you.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth but our nose and ears never stop growing.

You once held a world record when you were born for being the "Youngest Person on The Planet."

Only 4% of babies are born on their actual due date.

Aphids can give birth 10 days after being born themselves.

The chances for a mother giving birth to quadruplets (four Childs) are almost 1 in 600000.

Normally there are born 94 females to 100 males. But among quadruplets there are 156 females for every 100 males.

More babies are born in August than in any other month.


Human babies are born two months prematurely for our size and lifespan, to accommodate for the fact that we have large brains during birth.

In China, the day a child is born it is considered one year old.

While just 1.36% of U.S. babies born in 2012 entered the world at home, about 95% were born at home in 1900.

Approximately one out of every 55 women from Canada give birth in their car on the way to the hospital or clinic.

22% of American women aged 20 gave birth while in their teens. In Switzerland and Japan, only 2% did so.

A 41-gun salute is the traditional salute to a royal birth in Great Britain.

Pixar lists all children born during the production of their movies in the credits as "Production Babies".

Sources Greatfacts.com, International Business Times, Daily Express

Biro

Whilst working with a magazine, Hungarian journalist Laszlo José Biró (1899-1985) noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge-free. He tried using the same ink in a fountain pen but found that it would not flow into the tip. Eventually Biró had the idea of replacing the nib with a metal ball which delivered the ink more evenly.

Biró kept the patent for the world's first ballpoint pen, his estate (he died in 1985) would be worth billions. As it happened, Biró sold the patent to one Baron Bich of France in 1945 and it soon became the main product of his Bic company.

The success of the biro was helped by it’s being offered to Royal Air Force airmen in the Second World War as it didn't leak at high altitudes.

Bíró moved to Argentina to develop his invention and he died in Buenos Aires in 1985.

Birome advertisement in Argentine magazine Leoplán, 1945. Wikipedia Commons

Argentina's Inventor's Day is celebrated on Bíró's birthday, September 29th.

American entrepreneur Milton Reynolds came across a Bíró ballpoint pen during a business trip to Buenos Aires. Recognizing commercial potential, he purchased several ballpoint samples, returned to the United States, and founded Reynolds International Pen Company.

His product Reynolds' Rocket ballpoint pens went on sale at Gimbels department store in New York City on October 29, 1945 for $12.95, the equivalent of $164 today. Reynolds advertised it as the pen "to write under water." It was immediately successful: $100,000 worth sold the first day on the market.

Bíró was responsible for several other inventions, including a lock, a heat-proof tile, and a device for recording blood pressure.

Biró's name is pronounced to rhyme with “hero” not “giro."

The Frenchman Marcel Bich (1914-94) took over the invention in 1958 and created a disposble version, the Bic.

Research in 2008 revealed that the average Bic ballpoint can draw a line three kilometers long.

Ballpoint pens are widely referred to as "biro" in many English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.

Today around 14 million Bic "Biros" are sold every day, perhaps making the pen the world's most successful gadget.

Sources The Independent 3/11/07

Birmingham

Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era. After the Norman Conquest, Birmingham passed into the possession of the Bermingham family, and it was mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086), valued at 20 shillings.

By the end of the 13th century, a market town had grown up around the Bull Ring, the meeting point of several roads. Birmingham remained in the hands of the Bermingham family until 1527, when John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, gained control of the town.

The first building society was set up in Birmingham in 1775.

Birmingham grew to international prominence in the 18th century at the heart of the Midlands Enlightenment , which saw the town at the forefront of worldwide developments in science, technology and economic organisation, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world."

John Cadbury first began selling tea, coffee and later chocolate on Birmingham’s Bull Street. He was listed in the 1828-29 Directory of Warwickshire as a tea dealer.

Birmingham was not represented in parliament until 1832.

Birmingham became a borough, electing its first town council in 1838, and it was made a city in 1889.


Until the ballpoint was invented in 1938, Birmingham led the world in pen nib production. In the 1850s, Birmingham produced half of all the world’s pens.

There are many miles of restored canal walks, with Birmingham known as ‘Britain's Canal City’. The city is often noted for having more miles of canal than Venice.




The Birmingham Mint (1850) is the oldest continuously operating mint in the country, and is still the biggest private mint in the UK.

Birmingham is the second-largest city in the UK with 1,073,000 residents (2011 census).


Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction, officially the Gravelly Hill Interchange, serves 18 routes on five levels, as well as crossing a canal, two railways and a river.

Birmingham City Council is the largest local authority in Europe with 120 councillors representing 40 wards.


Sutton Park covering 2,400 acres is the largest urban nature reserve in Europe.

Birmingham Central Library is the largest non-national library in Europe.

Source Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.


 

Bird

BIRD HISTORY

The subjects of the Roman Emperor Augustus would train birds which made complimentary greetings to him. Augustus would then bury them.

Leonardo Da Vinci was known to buy up whole stocks of live birds and set them free.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was founded in Manchester, England in 1889. It was originally called The Plumage League, and was set up to campaign against the use of great crested grebe feathers in women’s clothing.

The modern technique of bird banding was worked out by a Danish schoolmaster, Hans Mortensen. He was the first to attach aluminum rings to the legs of various European birds. His report in 1899 gave birth to the bird-banding movement in America.

The term 'birdwatching' to describe the practice or hobby of watching birds in their natural habitat was first recorded in 1901. It was used as the title of a book by E. Selous, Bird Watching, as a 'homelier' equivalent of the specifically scientific ornithology.

The first federal bird reservation was created by executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt on March 14, 1903. It was located on Pelican Island in the Indian River Lagoon east of Sebastian, Florida. The reservation was created to protect egrets and other birds from extinction through plume hunting.


During World War I, U.S. citizens were encouraged to feed wild birds so they could survive and eat insects that threatened America's crops.

BIRD RECORDS

The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird. The bird is 2.24 inches long.

The Arctic Tern, which is a small bird, can fly a round trip from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. This can be as long as twenty thousand miles per year. This is the longest migration for a bird.

The average adult male ostrich, the world's largest living bird, weighs up to 345 pounds and has an average height of 9 feet (274 cm.)

Despite only living in Africa, the red-billed quelea (see below) is the world's most abundant wild bird species, with some estimates of the overall population being as large as 10 billion.

  Photo by Bernard Dupont
                                   
The highest flying bird in the world is a type of vulture. The Rüppell’s vulture, or Gyps rueppellii, is found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa, which has been found at confirmed elevations of 37,000 feet.

The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon. It can fly at a speed of more than 215 miles per hour.

 BIRD EATING HABITS 

A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.


To survive, every bird must eat at least half its own weight in food each day.

A bird 'chews' with its stomach.

The scarlet tanager, a songbird native to Illinois, can eat as many as 2,100 gypsy-moth caterpillars in one hour.

Depending on the species, birds may have fewer than 50 or up to roughly 500 taste buds, while humans have 9,000-10,000 taste buds.

BIRD BEHAVIOR

Birds sing in the morning to get the clearest, crispest sound quality they can.

Certain songbirds, including the blue-capped cordon-bleu and the red-cheeked cordon-bleu, tap dance while waving twigs to attract mates.

There is a species of bird, Antpitta avis canis Ridgley, that barks like a dog.

BIRD ANATOMY

A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2% of its weight—proportionally, that’s the largest of any bird’s.

The hummingbird is the only bird that can hover and fly straight up, down, or backward!

Birds lack a sense of depth, so they have to move their heads to judge positions of objects against backgrounds.

Birds can see the Earth's magnetic field.

Kiwis are the only known bird to have nostrils located at the tip of their beak.

The kiwi, ostrich and emu appear to have no wings but have vestigial wing bones.

Bird excrement is 11 to 16 percent nitrogen, 8 to 12 percent phosphoric acid, and 2 to 3 percent potash.

Fossilized bird droppings are one of the chief exports of Nauru, an island nation in the Western Pacific.

FUN BIRD FACTS

The penguin is the only bird that can't fly but can swim.



About 20% of bird species have become extinct in the past 200 years, almost all of them because of human activity.

The Australian Night Parrot is the most elusive and mysterious bird in the world - only three people have had a confirmed sighting in over a century.

The Yao tribe in Africa uses the Greater Honeyguide bird to help them find bees. They have learned to communicate with the small oranged-beaked creatures, using a "Brrr-Hm" grunt, which the birds know means "lets go find honey."

About 80 percent of all bird species in the world inhabit wetlands.

Outdoor cats are the number one threat to bird populations. They have contributed to the extinction of 33 bird populations and are responsible for roughly 2.4 billion in bird losses per year.

Wind farms kill approximately a half-million birds per year in the United States.

The remains of birds hit by airplanes in flight are known as 'snarge'.

Nippon Airways announced in 1988 that bird collisions had decreased by 20% since it painted eyeballs on its jetliners.

Source Greatfacts.com

Biography

The earliest biographical dictionary in the accepted sense was that of French philosopher Pierre Bayle (1696).

The term 'autobiography' was first used by the writer Robert Southey in 1809 in the Quarterly Review in which he predicted an 'epidemical rage for autobiography.'

The biography of Thomas Crapper, the British sanitary engineer who invented the modern flush toilet in 1878, was called Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper.

Bingo

Bingo is derived from a 16th century Italian lottery game Lo Giuoco Del Lotto D’Italia. The rules have changed little.

It was later called beano in the US because players used beans to cover numbers on their cards. It became bingo in 1929 when New York toy salesman Edwin S.Lowe overheard someone yell “bingo” instead of “beano”.


The word bingo probably imitates the 'ping' of a bell formerly rang to announce a win.

Bingo has been played in Britain from the 18th century when it was known as 'lotto' and later in the early 20C as 'housey-housey'. Bingo halls swept Britain in the 1960s and 70s, but the game's popularity has declined.

On a bingo card of 90 numbers there are approximately 44 million possible ways to make bingo.

Thirty percent of all bingo players are under the age of 35.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born on March 10, 1957 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a son of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a billionaire construction magnate with close ties to the Saudi royal family and Mohammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Hamida al-Attas (then called Alia Ghanem).

He was the 17th of 52 children in total of  Muhammad Awad bin Laden.

The bin Laden family made $5 billion in the construction industry, of which Osama later inherited around $25–30 million.

As a teen, Osama Bin Laden formed an a capella singing group with some of his friends.

Bin Laden was a keen footballer in his youth, playing centre forward and he supported the English club Arsenal.

Bin Laden went to Afghanistan in 1982 to help the mujaheddin in their struggle against the Russian invaders. While there he set up and funded an organization to train the many Arabs who had come to join him in the cause. It becomes known as al-Qa'ida ('the base').



A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declared accused terrorist Osama bin Laden "a man without a sin" on November 20, 1998 in regard to the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

On September 11, 2001, two hijacked aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, while a third smashed into The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The series of coordinated suicide attacks were led by 19 members of al-Qaeda. In total 2,996 people are killed.

The north face of Two World Trade Center (south tower) immediately after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration announced a War on Terror, with the stated goals of bringing bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice and preventing the emergence of other terrorist networks

Anti-American demonstrators protesting in Bangladesh after the 9/11 terrorist attacks carried posters of Osama bin Laden sitting alongside Bert, a beloved Sesame Street Muppet character.

Bin Laden fathered between 20 and 26 children with his five wives. Many of Bin Laden's children fled to Iran following the September 11 attacks.

Family Guy broadcasted an "Osama Bin Laden trying to make it through airport security" joke, before 9/11.

Osama Bin Laden was obsessed with Whitney Houston and wanted to make her one of his wives.

The FBI described bin Laden as an adult as tall and thin, between 6 ft 4 in and 6 ft 6 in (193–198 cm) in height and weighing about 160 pounds (73 kg). Bin Laden had an olive complexion and was left-handed, usually walking with a cane. He wore a plain white turban and he had stopped wearing the traditional Saudi male headdress.

The actor Bruce Willis personally offered $1 million to any civilian who captured Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.



Barack Obama announced on May 1, 2011 that Osama bin Laden had been killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Due to the time difference between the United States and Pakistan, Bin Laden was actually killed on May 2.

The Navy Seals who carried out the Bin Laden kill mission, forgot to bring a tape measure and had to measure Laden's height by making a six feet tall Seal lie down next to Laden's corpse.

Situation Room, in which members of the Obama administration track the mission that killed bin Laden

Bin Laden's hideout compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where he was killed is known locally as the Waziristan Haveli mansion.

Of the 38 full-length English language books Osama Bin Laden had in his possession upon arrest, half of them were conspiracy theory books.

27.9 million tweets were sent in the 2.5 hours following President Obama’s announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Billy The Kid

William H. "Billy the Kid" Bonney (1859-1881) was born William Henry McCarty, Jr on November 23, 1859. Some scholars claim he was born in Brooklyn, New York, though no records that prove that he ever lived there have ever been uncovered.

Bonney’s mother was Catherine McCarty but his father is unknown. She is believed to have immigrated to New York from Ireland during the time of the Great Famine. Bonney moved west with his family to Indiana and then New Mexico.

Bonney was 5'8" (173 cm) tall with blue eyes, a smooth complexion, and prominent front teeth. He was said to be friendly and personable at times.

Portrait of American gunman Billy the Kid (1859–1881). 

He was arrested for the first time for stealing a basket of laundry on September 23, 1875, six days after his 16th birthday.

Bonney killed his first victim at age 18. According to legend, the outlaw killed 21 people, one for each year of his life. But the New Mexico Tourism Department puts the total closer to nine.



He was sentenced to death for murdering a sheriff, but escaped (killing two guards), and was finally shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881 despite being promised clemency by then Governor Lew Wallace for testifying in a murder case.

A campaign led by Albuquerque attorney Randi McGinn in 2010 to give Billy a posthumous pardon failed after Governor Bill Richardson decided it was not warranted. The pardon was considered to be a follow-through on the purported promise made by Wallace in 1879  in return for evidence. But Governor Bill Richardson said that the notorious outlaw would not be forgiven.

A tintype purchased in 2010 for US$2.00 at a memorabilia shop in Fresno, California, appears to show Bonney and members of the Regulators playing croquet in NJew Mexico in 1878.  In early October 2015, Kagin's, Inc., a numismatic authentication firm, determined the image to be authentic after a number of experts examined it for over a year.

Detail from a larger photo alleged to show Bonney (left) playing croquet

Source Wikipedia

Billionaire

The richest man that ever lived, Mansa Musa, had a fortune of $400,000,000,000 at the time of his death in 1331.




John D. Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American oil industry business magnate and philanthropist. He was America's first-ever billionaire (not even including inflation) and is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time and the richest person in modern history.

Despite dying worth more than $2 billion, billionaire oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976) was a miser, installing a payphone in his Surrey mansion and ‘dial-locking devices’ on other phones.

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (1957-2011) was a son of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, a billionaire construction magnate. The bin Laden family made $5 billion in the construction industry, of which Osama later inherited around $25–30 million.

Bill Gates became a billionaire (US dollars) at the age of 31. He has endowed a foundation that has given several billion dollars to various charitable and educational projects.

Bill Gates

BET founder Robert L. Johnson became the first black billionaire in 2000.

In 2004, Forbes named J.K. Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.-dollar billionaire by writing books.

There are over 1,200 billionaires in the world.

The University of Pennsylvania has produced 25 billionaires, the most of any college in the world.

More billionaires born in New York City than anywhere else in the world.

London has the most billionaires of any city in the world.

One in three billionaires don't have college degrees.

As of 2017, of the richest 200 billionaires, only 18 are women, and only 1 of those women are self-made.

At the age of 24, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel’s net worth was $1.5 billion, making him the world’s youngest billionaire.

.K. Rowling was the youngest self-made female billionaire. She is also the first person who lost her billionaire status because of giving huge sum of money in donations.

Rowling at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 2010

China's richest man with a worth of US $21.8 billion, Zong Qinghou, eats the same meals as his workers and lives on only $20 a day.

Due to an error with PayPal, a man was credited with 92 trillion dollars making him briefly the richest man ever.

For every three million people on Earth, there is one billionaire.

2014 saw an extra 341 billionaires, bringing the global total to 2,089.

Billiards

The origin of billiards is not definitely known. It may have begun in France, Italy, Spain, or China. It also resembles an old English game called pall-mall, played on the ground with a four-inch wooden ball and a mallet.

Billiards had been adopted as a pastime both in England and France by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Its name is French and is derived from billiart, a word describing a little staff or stick. It is the diminutive of bille, which means "log."


The earliest actual code of rules, framed about 1517 is attributed to Henrique Devigne (also spelled De Vigne), a French artist who lived during the reign of Charles IX. He also designed billiard tables. It was these traditions that led some authorities to regard him as the real father of the game.

The sport of billiards was pioneered in 1565 in America by a family which had settled from Spain at the site of present-day St. Augustine, Florida.
 
Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) owned one of the world's first billiard tables. The game was popular in 16th-century France, where Mary probably acquired a taste for it, and she continued with the pastime on her return to Scotland. After she was imprisoned she was allowed to keep a table in her Tower of London cell and she was a keen exponent of the game right up to her death. In fact whilst awaiting her execution she complained of being deprived of her billiard table.

The game of billlards Mary Queen Of Scots would have olayed would have been with just two balls, which were struck with the edge of an implement resembling a hockey stick. The wooden table was covered in a green woollen cloth, and the cushions stuffed with strips of felt.

William Shakespeare’s reference in his play Antony and Cleopatra to Cleopatra playing billiards (“come, let us play billiards” Act Scene 5) is probably a joke as billiards hadn't been invented in Cleopatra's time.

Louis XIV (1638-1715) played  billiards under Doctor's orders as it was recommended that the exercise of stretching across the billiard table would improve his digestion.

The modern form of billiard cue, using the tip to strike the ball, emerged in France about 1735, and the third ball was introduced there some fifty years later. But other familiar features had to wait until the 19th century. Rubber cushions and the heavy slate bed of the table were novelties in the 1830s.

The dome in Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home concealed a billiard room. Billiards was illegal in Virginia at the time.

The first public billiard room in Britain was opened at the Piazza, Covent Garden, London, early in the nineteenth century.

London furniture-maker John Thurston came up with the idea in 1836 of adding slate to a table base to create a perfectly flat surface for the game of billiards.

At Queen Victoria's request, a billiard table was set up in Windsor Castle.

In 1843 two French gentlemen, Lenfant and Mellant, quarelled over a game of billiards and drew lots to see who should first throw the red ball at the other. Mellant won and hurled the red accurately at Lenfant’s forehead, killing him instantly.

The first big American billiards match was held at Malcolm Hall in Syracuse, NY in 1854 White and George Smith participated in the event for a $200 prize. White pocketed the award as winner of the match.

The billiard ball was patented by American inventor John Wesley Hyatt in 1865. He is mainly known for simplifying the production of celluloid, the first industrial plastic.


In 1873, a billiards match was played between the American Mr Jefferson and the British William Dufton. Dufton played as normal, but Jefferson played the balls with his nose and won by 47 points.

The Scottish philosopher, Herbert Spencer, one of Britain's greatest thinkers, was passionately fond of billiards. Until his health began to wane, he daily went to the Athenaeum Club to enjoy a game. He could be seen with his coat off, as intent on scoring a victory on the billiard table as he was known to wrestle with a controversialist in the philosophical arena.

It was Spencer who came up with the maxim "Proficiency in billiards is a sign of a mis-spent youth."

The first man to be convicted of a crime in the UK by fingerprint evidence was Harry Jackson in 1902. He stole some billiard balls.

Tom Reece completed the largest ever break in billiards with a score of 499,135 in 1907. The break lasted almost five weeks and brought him a check for £125.

Billiards used to be so popular at one time that cigarette cards were issued featuring players.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

Bikini

Four days after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on deserted Bikini Atoll in 1946, Motor Engineer-turned-designer Louis Reard introduced a new 2-piece woman’s swimsuit at a outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris on July 5, 1946. He proclaimed the suit the "ultimate" concept and called it the bikini, naming it after the atomic bomb test site, as he meant it to be “highly explosive”.

When the bikini made it's debut, Louis Reard couldn't get any of the usual models to wear it and so he hired 19-year-old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini[ from the Casino de Paris to model it.

Micheline Bernardini modeling Réard's first ever bikini at the Piscine Molitor. Wikipedia Commons


The first appearance of the term bikini was in the magazine Le Monde Illustre in 1947.

Reard didn't create the idea of the bikini; drawings of bikini-like suits have been found on wall paintings dating back to 1600 BC.

At Newquay, Maisie Dunn became the first to wear a bikini on the beach.

When the bikini was introduced, no models were willing to wear such revealing swimwear, so the designer had to hire a stripper to model it.

Ursula Andress made the famous white bikini that she wore in Dr No herself as she was unhappy with what she was given to wear.



Fashion designer, Rudi Gernreich, has been credited with introducing the first thong bikini.

Bigamy

Benito Mussolini married Ida Dalser sometime in 1914 at a church in Milan. She was the daughter of the mayor of Sopramonte, and had been supporting him financially. Not long after however, they became estranged, but they never divorced. This didn't stop Mussolini marrying Rachele Guidi in December 1915, with whom he was to have five children. After becoming the Italian leader Mussolini tried to erase Ida from history and she was confined to a mental hospital.

In 1922 24-year-old Theresa Vaughn was tried for bigamy in England. In five years she had accumulated 62 husbands.

Conman Giovanni Vigliotto had at least 104 bigamous marriages around the world before he was jailed in 1983. A court in Phoenix, Arizona, sentenced him to 28 years for fraud and bigamy, but he died, aged 61, in 1991.