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Sunday, 30 March 2014


When Dr. Jane Goodall observed a chimpanzee using a grass stalk to extract termites from a termite hill at the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanzania on November 4, 1960, it was the first recorded case of tool use by animals.

Ham the Chimp was launched into outer space aboard NASA's Mercury-Redstone 2 on January 31, 1961. Not the first animal, or even the first primate in space, it was his 1961 mission - in which he was not merely an unresponsive passenger - that led directly to manned space flight.

He was only given the name "Ham" after successfully completing his mission. The primate was known as Number 65 before that, as NASA believed that it would be bad publicity if a "named" chimp burned up in the atmosphere or otherwise died as a result of mission failure.

Ham died in 1983, aged 26.

Cheeta was Tarzan’s sidekick in the movies in the 1930s-1960s, Cheeta went on to live a happy life as an Ambassador, also playing piano and painting.

Cheetah had more than a dozen incarnations over the years, one of whom died in December 2011, supposedly at the age of 80 making him the oldest non-human primate of all time.

Congo (1954-1964)  the Chimpanzee was known for his "lyrical abstract impressionist" paintings. On June 20, 2005, Congo's paintings were included in an auction at Bonhams alongside works by Renoir and Warhol. American collector Howard Hong purchased three of Congo's works for over $26,000 and Spanish painter Pablo Picasso purportedly hung one of the ape's pictures on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift.

A painting by Congo.

A study in 2004 reported that chimpanzees prefer their own music to pre-recorded tracks.

Bubbles was saved from a life of research by Michael Jackson. One of several chimps owned by the singer, he ended up being taken to live in a sanctuary, following the birth of Jackson’s youngest child.

Chimpanzee babies are cognitively more developed than human babies until the age of six months.

47% of male chimpanzees will reconcile after a fight with another male whereas just 18 per cent of females will make-up after a female-on-female fight.

Chimpanzees understand vengeance. Two zookeepers played contrasting roles: one regularly fed the chimpanzees and the other took their food away. When a third person pretended to beat each zookeeper, many chimpanzees made an effort to watch the "disliked" zookeeper being punished.

Humans have about the same number of hair follicles as a chimpanzee has.

Chimpanzees clear their throats for the same reasons that humans do.

A group of 55 chimpanzees has more genetic diversity than the group of every living human.

Chimpanzees mourn their dead much like humans, staying with them while they’re dying and cleaning and protecting the bodies.

Researchers studying the brain activity of captive chimpanzees have found that the smartest apes also happen to throw their poop most accurately.


The chimney was adopted in Europe of  removing smoke and fumes from living quarters in the 13th century in Europe.

In 16th century England chimneys were a status symbol. Burghley House in Lincolnshire had 76.

By 1630 Chimneys, which previously were only built in larger houses were becoming more common. This was prompted by the increasing use of coal instead of wood for the domestic hearth and increasing availability of bricks to build them.

To save money on chimney-sweeps, skint Victorians used to push a live goose down their chimneys.

Britain's tallest chimney, at 850 feet (259m), is at the Drax power station in North Yorkshire. The biomass and coal-fired plant supplies seven per cent of all electricity in the country.



Chilies were being eaten in Central and South America as long ago as 7,000 BC, which gives them claims to be the world’s oldest condiment.

The small, round Chiltepin chili pepper was used as a tax payment, paid to Aztec emperors.

Aztec women beautified themselves with a skin cream made of chilli powder and urine.

Chilies originated in the Americas. They were brought to Spain in 1493 by Diego Alvarez Chanca, a physician who sailed with Columbus.

Because Chilies are native only to the Americas. India and Thailand didn't have spicy food before Columbus.

When chili peppers were introduced to Japan in the 16th century, they were not eaten—they were inserted into socks to keep their toes warm.

Chilies were introduced to Thai cooking during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries who had acquired a taste for them while serving in South America.

Records dating to the Colonial days show that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew a cayenne pepper of some type, at Mount Vernon and Monticello respectively.

Poor early nineteenth century Mexicans of San Antonio in Texas ate a spicy stew of pork or beef, pinto beans and chilies which they called chili con carne. “Con carne” means with meat.


Chilli Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in February on the grounds that hot food is most needed in a cold month.

African farmers attach chillies to fences to keep elephants away from their crops. Elephants hate the smell of chillies.

Chilli strength is measured in SHUs (Scoville Heat Units). Scoville ratings range from zero for bell peppers to 16 million Scoville units for pure capsaicin (the chemical giving a chilli its heat).

Florida Marlins,baseball infielder Bret Barberie once got chili pepper juice in his eye when putting in his contact lenses. He was temporarily blinded, and missed that day's game as a result.

The world record for eating pickled jalapeno chills is 275 in eight minutes.

The color of a chili pepper is no indication of its heat - usually its the smaller peppers that are the hottest.

The hottest part of a chili is where the seed is attached to the white membrane inside the pepper.

The Carolina Reaper is a red-colored cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species. As of 2013, Guinness Book of Records has dubbed it as the hottest pepper in the world. It is 400 times hotter than a jalapeno.

Carolina Reaper pepper pods harvested in November, 2013 Wikipedia

While the capsaicin (the active ingredient in chilli that makes it spicy) may burn and irritate the flesh of mammals, birds are completely immune to its effects.

Because birds cannot detect capsaicin, it is used as a squirrel deterrent for birdfeeders.

Chili peppers boost your metabolic rate, causing the body to burn 50 more calories a day.

Chili peppers have about 107 mg of vitamin C, compared to an orange’s 69 mg.

The village of Hatch in New Mexico describes itself as the chili capital of the world.

The Scoville scale measures the degree of dilution needed before you can no longer taste the pepper's heat. The capsaicinoids are extracted and diluted until three-fifths of expert tasters cannot taste the heat. The units refer to the number of drops of water used for dilution: one million means one drop of extract requires 1 million drops of water.

In February 2012, a Moruga Scorpion chili was the first to measure over 2,000,000 Scoville units.

Chili grenades made from ghost peppers have been successfully used by the Indian Army to flush terrorists out of caves.

Chilli peppers taste milder in space that on earth.

Sources Daily Express, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce


While the ancient Egyptians may be the best-known mummy makers, they were far from the first. A very sophisticated fishing tribe called the Chinchoros, who lived on the north coast of what is now Chile, were embalming their dead as early as 5000 BC.

The Mapuche Indians of Chile played an early form of hockey, using hard balls of stone or heavy wood, which eventually they covered with hide.

On February 12, 1541, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago, today the capital of Chile, as Santiago del Nuevo Extremo. It was named in honor of St. James, patron saint of Spain. (The name Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctu Iacobu, "Saint James".)

1541 founding of Santiago. Painting by Pedro Lira

In 1808, Napoleon's enthronement of his brother Joseph as the Spanish King precipitated Chile's drive for independence from Spain. A national junta was formed on September 18, 1810 proclaiming Chile an autonomous republic within the Spanish monarchy. The first step towards independence from Spain, in memory of this Chile celebrates its National Day on September 18th each year.

Opening session of the First Junta

Intermittent warfare continued until 1817. On January 19, 1817 a patriotic army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crossed the Andes from Argentina. From there they triumphed at the Battle of Chacabuco and the Battle of Maipú, thus liberating Chile from royalist rule.

On the first anniversary of its victory in the Battle of Chacabuco, Chile formally declared its independence from Spain.

The 1960 Valdivia earthquake of May 22, 1960 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded, rating a magnitude of 9.5. The epicenter was near Lumaco, Chile, south of Santiago, with Valdivia being the most affected city.

The driest place on earth is the town of Calama, in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The Chilean hamlet of Puerto Toro is the southernmost permanent community in the world (excluding research stations in Antarctica). It has just 36 inhabitants - mostly fishermen and their families.

Most peaches that are imported to the United States during winter months come from Chile.

Children's Literature

The first children's book published in English was William Caxton’s edition of Aesop’s Fables in 1484.

The first ever children’s book published in America was Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes in Either England Drawn from the Breasts of Both Testaments for Their Souls’ Nourishment. It was written by Puritan preacher John Cotton in 1646.

The first picture book for children, Orbis Sensualium Pictus (The World Of Things Obvious To The Senses In Pictures) was published in 1658 in Germany. It was written by Czech educator and champion of universal education John Amos Comenius. The English edition taught children that "the Duck quacketh" and "the Crow crieth."

A late 18th-century reprint of Orbis Pictus, published in Pressburg (Bratislava).CommonsHelper2 Wikipedia

Grimm’s Fairy Tales were not originally written for children but were folk tales for adults.

The Governess, or The Little Female Academy (published 1749) was the first full-length novel written for children, It was written by Sarah Fielding the sister of Tom Jones novelist Henry Fielding.

The younger son of Frances Hodgson Burnett (November 24, 1849 - October 29, 1924), Vivian, clamored for something for little boys to read, so Frances wrote Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 and modeled the main character after him. Mrs. Burnett found inspiration for the character in Vivian's blonde curls and Oscar Wilde's style of dress.

Portrait photo of Burnett in her forties

The Boys Own Paper was a magazine that was founded in 1879 by the Religious Tract Society. Though intended to be improving, with an emphasis on manly and Christian ideals, it sold extremely well because of the excitement of its adventure stories and public school serials. It folded in 1967 after 88 years of “things for idle hands to do."

The first issue of the children's comic The Dandy was published on December 4, 1937.  It is the world's third-longest running comic, after Detective Comics (cover dated March 1937) and Il Giornalino (cover dated 1 October 1924).

Front page of first issue

Where the Wild Things Are was originally Where the Wild Horses are before Maurice Sendak realized he didn't know how to draw horses.

Children's Games

The ancient British game played by children "Ring-a-ring o' roses" is said to be a macabre parody on the horrors of the Black Death, or plague.

In the mid nineteenth century English children were playing a game where they held hands and danced in a ring whilst singing the refrain “here we go round the mulberry bush.” There was a similar game with the lyrics “Here we go round the bramble bush.” The bramble bush may be an earlier version, possibly changed because of the difficulty of the alliteration, since mulberries do not grow on bushes.

The game “Chinese whispers” was first played by Victorian children at parties. In this game children, seated in a circle, whispered a message to each other until it arrives back at the person who started, usually changed out of all recognition. It was called “Chinese” because of the exotic connotations, the difficulty of the language and because the process of whispering sounded reminiscent of the language when spoken.

Xu Chong Wei won history's largest game of musical chairs in Singapore in 1989. The game began at the Anglo-Chinese school with 8,238 players.

Source Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Nigel Rees

Children’s Entertainment

Children's Hour was the main children's radio program for two generations in Britain, beginning in the first year of the BBC's existence and broadcast early every evening. There were widespread protests when Children's Hour was brought to an end in 1964.

Blue Peter started transmitting in 1958 on the BBC. The most long-lasting children's programme on British television, it was named after the 'blue peter' signal flag, blue with a white square at its centre, which a ship flies when it is about to leave port. 

Children's Discipline

A Victorian legal ruling in 1850 made it legal to hit children. Chief Justice Cockburn made the ruling, in a case where a father had beaten his son to death.

The Children and Young Persons Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1933 making it legal for a parent to hit a child if it can be shown that only “reasonable chastisement” was intended. Whipping young children was banned.

Sweden became the first country in the world to ban smacking in 1979.

In 1998 The European Court of Human Rights said that English law is failing to protect children from beatings.

It’s illegal in Iceland for parents to threaten children with fictional characters.



It was the custom for ancient Egyptian children to have their hair shaved off, leaving just a single lock on the side of the head. This stopped kids getting lice and nits.

Children of Anglo-Saxons had to be tough to survive. To test their courage they were placed on a sloping roof or the bough of a tree. Laughter meant life; crying brought instant death.

The year after his father Pope Alexander VI had been elected to the papacy, the 18-month-old Cesare Borgia was made a cardinal.

The saint and reformer Teresa of Ávila (1515-82) ran away from home at the age of 7 with her brother Rodrigo to convert the infidel Muslims and achieve early martyrdom.

The average woman in 17th-century America gave birth to 13 children.

Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif (1634– March 22, 1727), second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite dynasty,
 is alleged to have fathered a total of 867 children, including 525 sons and 342 daughters. It is estimated that he had 2,000 concubines. This is widely considered to be the record number of offspring that can be verified.

Moulay Ismail Ibn Sharif

Kate Greenaway's charming illustrations for children's books in the 19th century were responsible for a popular dress worn by little girls. The hero of Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, wore curls and velvet suits, which became the fashion for small boys.

‘Last shake o’ the bag’ was Victorian slang for ‘youngest child’.

Charles Spurgeon had been out preaching, and someone asked him how it went. He said that two and a half people had become Christians. They said, ‘Oh, that’s two adults and a child?’ He said, “No, two children and an adult. A child has the whole of its life to give to God. That is the beauty of getting saved when you are a kid. I’m glad I was.”

Until 1913, children in America could legally be sent by parcel post.

Turkey became the first country to celebrate Children's Day as a national holiday in 1927.

Jackie Coogan (October 26, 1914 – March 1, 1984) was one of the first globally recognized child movie stars, after playing Charlie Chaplin’s irascible companion in The Kid at the age of five. In 1938, he sued his mother and stepfather for squandering his $4 million fortune. It led to the Coogan Law, which put all child earnings into court-administered trust funds.

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid

Children's Day is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5 and is the final celebration in Golden Week. Until 1948, Children's Day in Japan was known as Boys' Day while Girls' Day was celebrated on March 3. It was renamed when the government decreed the holiday should celebrate the happiness of all children and express gratitude toward mothers

When Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from the street just two blocks away from his New York City home, it prompted an international search for the child, and caused  U.S. President Ronald Reagan to designate May 25th as National Missing Children's Day in 1983.

In 2004 the average child engaged in team games or other activities likely to work up a sweat 1.5 times a week. Children in the 1970s did so 3.2 times a week.

The number of children forced into underage labor is estimated to be around 150 million. If they were a country, it would be the ninth largest in the world.


In the late 1940s, the parents of Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn wrote a bestselling book, which was a satire of Baby And Child Care, Dr Spock's famed child-rearing manual. McGuinn recalled to Mojo: "It was called Parents Can't Win and it was based on their experiences trying to raise me using child psychology and how it backfired all the time. It was considered very topical and sold well."

Twelfth Night is the only Shakespeare play that does not contain the words “child” or “children”. 

The average child will have grown to half his or her final adult height by the age of two.

Children grow faster in the springtime.

The average four year old child asks four hundred questions a day.

Half the world’s population is under the age of 20.

Twenty-six per cent of the world’s population are under 15.

On current trends, by 2050, Africa will be home to two in five of the world’s children.

One in four of all Chinese children (61 million) have parents who work in the cities and return home only infrequently. Around 70 per cent of these children don’t see their parents even once a year.

India celebrates Children's Day on November 14th, exactly 9 months after Valentines Day.

Children performing for Independence Day, Alwar district, Rajasthan, India

'Children’ is one of only three words in modern English which are plurals formed by adding the old suffix -en. The others are 'brethren' and 'oxen.'

It is illegal for children in Tokyo to make noise when playing — the legal decibel level city-wide is the same as a library's.

Sources Would You Believe This Too, Daily Express, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.


Childhood was a source of embarrassment to the Romans. A Roman baby did not exist until its father picked it up. It would be born in one room, carried by the midwife next door to the man of the house, and placed on a piece of cloth on the floor. The father then had a right to pick it up or not. If he did not, then the baby was strangled or left out on a dung heap.

The first account of a Caesarean operation that the mother survived is dramatic. It was performed in about 1500 AD by Jacob Nufer of Sigershaufen, Switzerland.. In great distress he watched as his wife, Frau, struggle to deliver her child, possibly because of the baby’s position. He knew nothing about obstetrics but he was an efficient sow-gelder. Fearing for the health of both mother and child, he took a razor and with it cut open the uterus to release the baby.

In later years Frau Nufer gave birth to six other children. The "Caesarean boy" lived to the age of 77.

The first known Caesarean section in the British Isles was performed in 1738, by an illiterate midwife named Mary Donally, in Charlemont, Ireland, using a razor.Tthe baby, sadly, had already died, but the mother survived.

For hundreds of years, royal women gave birth in front of spectators to prove to the court that the child was the fruit of a royal's womb.

The most prolific mother in recorded history was Valentina Vassilyeva, wife of an 18th century Russian peasant. She bore 69 children from 27 pregnancies between 1725 & 1765. They comprised 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

Joseph Stalin imposed a 6% tax on childless men and women in order to bolster the Soviet Union population.

In 1977 Mrs. James Duck of Memphis became history's fastest mother. Her triplets were born naturally in under two minutes.

The world's first test tube baby, Louise Brown, was born on July 25, 1978 at Oldham General Hospital, in Oldham, England. She weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces (2.608 kg) at birth. Her parents, Lesley and John Brown, had been trying to conceive for nine years.

By the time Louise Brown had turned 21, more than 300,000 women worldwide had conceived through IVF.

Elizabeth Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born at 7:46 am on December 28, 1981. She came into this world two and a half years after the world’s first test tube baby, Oldham, England-born Louise Brown.  Elizabeth was delivered at Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, weighing 5 pounds 12 ounces. She is now a journalist.

The world’s first test-tube baboon was born in San Antonio, Texas on July 25, 1983.  As the first non-human primate conceived in a laboratory dish, it was named ET (standing for Embryo Transfer).

IVF procedures are actually generally performed in a Petri dish, not a test tube.

In 1993 President Clinton signed the Family Leave Bill, which allowed workers to take time off to deal with the birth or adoption of a child.

In 1998 a 40-year-old Florida woman gave birth to a son in the first-ever live birth on the Internet before an audience estimated by a cable health network at two million people.

When Leo Blair was born to Tony and Cherie Blair in 2000, he became the first baby born to a sitting Prime Minister in 150 years.

World-wide 83 in every 1,000 babies died before their first birthday in 2006.

Average age at which British mothers have their first baby: 29.7.

There are at least 5 confirmed cases of women successfully giving themselves Caesarean sections. One involved a Mexican village woman with no medical training, who after 12 hours of labor pains, took three shots of liquor, cut into her uterus with a kitchen knife, and retrieved her baby alive after an hour.

Almost half of all babies in China are born by Caesarean section.

Sources Daily Mail, Daily ExpressChronicle of The World, Europress Family Encyclopaedia 1999

Sunday, 23 March 2014


The Aztecs or Toltecs of ancient Mexico raised tiny dogs, thought to be the forebears of the chihuahua, to feed the large carnivores in the private zoos of the Aztec rulers.

It was believed by the ancient Aztecs that this chihuahua ancestor breed safely guided the human soul through the underworld, fighting off evil spirits. Sometimes one of these dogs was burned with a human corpse because it was believed that the human's sins could be transferred to the canine.

Christopher Columbus wrote a letter to the King of Spain referencing the tiny dogs. It's possible that he brought some chihuahuas back from his travels.

A progenitor of the breed was found in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes in the Mexican state of Chihuahua from which the dog gets its name. The Chihuahua became popular in Mexico City in about 1895.

The smallest of the recognized dog breeds, the Chihuahua is 15 cm/10 inches high and may weigh only 1 kg/2.2 lb.

The world’s smallest dog (by length) is Heaven Sent Brandy. She is just six inches (15.2cm) from her nose to the tip of her tail and weighs 2lb (0.9kg). Brandy lives with her owner, Paulette Keller, in Florida.

The Chihuahua is also the breed of dog that usually lives the longest.  It can live anywhere between 11-18 years.

Relative to their bodies, Chihuahuas have the biggest brain in the dog world. They're easy to train, but not, however, easy to housebreak as a result of a tiny bladder and a willful personality.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998,

Chief Executive Officer

In 1987 Clifton Reginald Wharton, Jnr became the first African-American to become Chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company (TIAA-CREF).

According to a study by Carola Frydman of MIT, there has been a rapid increase in the share of MBA graduates acting as CEOs; from approximately 10% of CEOs in 1960 to more than 50% by the end of the century.


The chickpea was regarded by the Romans as a food for peasants and poor people. At festivals chickpeas were frequently thrown over the heads of people and were caught with much hilarity.

In ancient Gaul chickpeas was a common ingredient in vegetable soup.

In 1282 the Sicilian Vespers started a rebellion against the rule of Charles I of Anjou and all identifiable Frenchmen were massacred. The unfortunate French were betrayed by their inability to pronounce  the local word “ceci” meaning chickpeas.

India is the world’s largest producer of chickpeas followed by Pakistan.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Chicken (Food)

The Roman Republic passed a law on 161 BC banning fattened chickens and limiting the consumption of others consumption to one per meal. The law was issued because of fears of moral decay caused by excessive luxury.

In 1948, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, or A&P, sponsored the "Chicken of Tomorrow” contest to give the world a better chicken. Almost all chickens eaten today came from the winner of competition whose genetics now dominate poultry farms worldwide.

A new chicken dish, Coronation Chicken was invented by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume of Le Cordon Bleu School in London in 1952. It was served at a luncheon for heads of state visiting after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In the early 1960s, chicken meat was considered a luxury. Less than 8 billion broilers were sold worldwide in 1963. By 2003, sales had increased to 49 billion.

The first Buffalo Wings were the brainchild of Teressa Bellissimo and made at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York on October 3, 1964 - hence the name.

As president Bill Clinton had a weakness for spicy Indian dishes. The White House kitchen cooked some for him and his wife Hilary at least once a week. Frequently when they get the opportunity to eat out, the Clintons would go to a local Washington Indian restaurant for a chicken tandoori.

Competitive winner Molly-Schuyler won 2016 Philadelphia's Wing Bowl in front of a sold out crowd of 20,000. Schuyler, who weighs 125 pounds, ate 429 chicken wings in 30 minutes, consuming a total of 77,650 calories to take the crown Philadelphia’s annual eating contest.

In Gainesville, Georgia, the “Poultry Capital of the World”, it is illegal to eat fried chicken in any way other than with your fingers.

Americans will eat about 1.23 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday — that's enough to give everyone in the US three pieces.

If we cooked every living chicken in the world, the chicken would fill enough KFC 16-piece buckets to stack to the moon and back 3 times.

Chickens account for over 90% of the nearly 10 billion land animals killed for food each year in the U.S.

The unnatural diets and lack of exercise of today's battery-farmed chickens means they contain more than twice the fat and about a third less protein than 40 years ago.

In an average lifetime, a person will eat 2,222 chickens.

The FDA uses the term "wyngz" when describing boneless white meat chicken fritter products that are made of chicken, but not wing meat.

Chicken soup improves the performance of cilia, the hairlike structures in the nose that prevent contagions from infiltrating our bodies.

According to Chinese custom, eating chicken at a person's funeral helps the departed soul fly to heaven.

Chicken (Animal)


According to archaeological records, chickens were first domesticated in the cities of the Indus Valley in about 3000 BC.

Until the late 18th century, a male chicken was generally referred to as a cock, a young cock was a cockerel. The word rooster originated in the United States in 1774, and the term is widely used throughout North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

In the early 1910s, the New Zealand town of Brightwater had five electric street lights powered by a hydroelectric generator which was auto-controlled by a flock of chickens. At night, the chickens would go inside their coop and their weight would close an electric circuit, turning on the street lights.

In 1946, a local poultry farmer offered 100 chicks for each homer the Nashua Dodgers hit. Newcomer Roy Campanella hit 14 in his first season and shipped to his father, who promptly began a thriving farming business on the outskirts of Philadelphia.

Authorities began to kill, disinfect and bury every chicken in Hong Kong on December 29, 1997 — an estimated 1.25 million — to prevent the spread of deadly bird flu.

The UN estimated there were nearly 16 billion chickens in the world in 2002, with China having the most.

In 2004, the chicken became the first bird to have its genome sequenced. Genetic differences in strains of chicken are monitored by the International Chicken Genome Consortium.

Chickens are now frequently bred according to predetermined breed standards set down by governing organizations. The first of such standards was the British Poultry Standard, which was first published in 1865 by the original Poultry Club of Great Britain. The current edition, published in 2008, is the sixth in the current numbering.


The world's average stock of chickens is estimated to be 25 billion, meaning there are about three and a half times as many chickens as there are people in the world. It is thought there are more chickens than any other bird species.

In Brunei, there are 40 times as many chickens as people.

Chickens outnumber people in the US state of Delaware more than 200-1.

The world’s oldest chicken, according to the Guinness Book of Records, died of heart failure aged 16- normally they live for six to eight years.

In the mid 1940s a chicken named Mike lived for 18 months after his head was cut off.

Research has shown that a chicken can learn to recognize the faces of over 100 individuals.

The chickens' beak, with numerous nerve endings, is used to explore, detect, drink, preen, and defend.

The dangly bit on a rooster’s chin is a wattle. Wattles seem to play a role in courtship behaviour.

Chickens can see long distance and close-up at the same time in different parts of their vision. They can also see a broader range of colors than humans.

Research has shown that chickens can distinguish between over 100 different faces of people or animals.

Hens talk to their chicks in soft tones while they are still in the egg, and chicks can be heard peeping back from inside the shell.

A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs, and a chicken with white earlobes will produce white eggs.

Nine egg yolks have been found in one chicken egg.

Baby chickens use their right eye to look for food and their left eye to look out for predators.

A group of chickens is called a brood or peep.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken lasted 13 seconds.

Chickens can travel up to nine miles an hour.

Ayam Cemani is a completely black breed of chicken from Indonesia. Its beak, tongue, comb, wattles, and even its meat, bones and organs appear black thanks to excess pigmentation caused by fibromelanosis.

Cemani rooster By Kangwira - my farm

Alektotophobia is the fear of chickens. American Pie actress Shannon Elizabeth is terrified of the birds.

Source Treehugger.comDaily Mail, Daily Express 


In late 1674 French Jesuit missionary Father Jacques Marquette and his party became the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago. As welcomed guests of the Illinois Confederation, the explorers were fed ceremonial foods such as sagamite.

On December 4, 1674 Father Jacques Marquette founded a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan to minister to the Illiniwek. The mission would later grow into the city of Chicago.

Monument marking where Marquette spent 1674–75  winter in what is now Chicago. By Roger Deschner

Chicago was incorporated on March 4, 1837, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed.

The name Chicago is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum (wild garlic), from the Miami-Illinois language.

On its 1856 opening, the Illinois Central Railroad's Great Central Station was the largest building in Chicago.

The Great Chicago Fire begun on October 8, 1871. It caused an estimated $200 million of damage, that's more than $3 billion now, killed up to 300 people and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.

While the 1871 fire of Chicago did start in the O’Leary's cow barn, there is no evidence that a cow actually started it. Michael Ahern, a reporter, admitted to creating the cow story to make his article more interesting.

The address of the cow barn where the Chicago fire allegedly started in 1871, is now the address of the Chicago Fire Academy.

Artist's rendering of the fire. The view faces NE across the Randolph Street Bridge.

The tallest building in the world in 1885 was The Home Insurance Company in Chicago. It was nine stories tall.

Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships voted on June 29, 1889 to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest United States city in area and second largest in population at the time.

In 1889, the State of Illinois enacted a law enabling creation of the Sanitary District of Chicago for safeguarding Chicago's water supply. It would do so by constructing canals to make the Chicago River flow backwards, away from Lake Michigan, whose water had been contaminated by sewage. Today, Chicago River is the Only River in the World that Flows Backwards.

The Monadnock Building is a skyscraper in the south Loop community area of Chicago. The north half of the building was built in 1891, and its decorative staircases were the first use of aluminium in building construction. When completed, it was the largest office building in the world.

George Washington Gale Ferris Jr (1859-96) designed the first Ferris wheel. He created it for the 1893 World’s Fair, which was held in Chicago. Over 1.4 million people paid 50 cents for a 20-minute ride on the first ever Ferris wheel over the first 19 weeks it was open to the public.

"Windy City" is the most widely recognized nickname of the city of Chicago. First recorded in 1876, the earliest known references to the nickname are ambiguous as to whether they allude to its meteorological characteristics or to its blustering self-confidence.

The term "Windy City" came into common usage when it was popularized by New York City editor, Charles Dana, in The Sun during the bidding for the 1893 Chicago World Fair. Dana was displeased that the "Windy City" won the Exposition.

The Fountain of Time, a sculpture by Lorado Taft, opened in in southeast Washington Park, Chicago on September 1, 1920. It was created as a monument to the 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the Treaty of Ghent.

The Chicago Theater (see below) opened on October 21, 1921. Its distinctive marquee, "an unofficial emblem of the city", appears frequently in film, television, artwork, and photography.

Marina City is a mixed-use residential/commercial building complex in Chicago. The property was designed in 1959 by architect Bertrand Goldberg and completed between 1964 and 1968 at a cost of $36 million, Marina City was the first building in the United States to be constructed with tower cranes.

The Sears Tower, an 108-story, 1,451-foot skyscraper was completed on May 3, 1973. It surpassed the World Trade Center towers in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years.

The Sears Tower contains enough steel to build 50,000 automobiles.

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Chicago.

Four states are visible from the top of the Sears Tower: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The concrete core of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was topped off at 1,389 feet on August 16, 2008. It surpassed the city's John Hancock Center as the building with the highest residence (apartment or condo) in the world, and held this title until the completion of the Burj Khalifa.

Trump Tower  Wikipedia Commons

Millennium Park, considered Chicago's first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, was opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2004.

The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 4-3 on November 2, 2016 to win the World Series for the first time since 1908.

Union Station during the Cubs 2016 World Series run

The Chicago Cubs World Series celebration of 2016 was the largest human gathering in U.S. history and the seventh largest in human history.

The city of Chicago has warming centers that open from December 1 to March 1 each year. They are available for all those in need of seeking shelter from the bitter cold.

Launching a nuclear weapon within the City of Chicago is punishable by up to 30 days' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Here's a list of songs about Chicago.

Chewing Gum


Nine thousand years ago, chewing gum was being made in Sweden by heating birch bark inside a sealed container to make a chewy tar. Children and teenagers were the main users, and its purpose was help get rid of milk teeth.

The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum  was found in Sweden in 1993, still bearing the teeth marks of a Stone Age youth.

For centuries Native American Indians chewed spruce tree resin, to ease hunger pains. When the New World colonists arrived, they started copying them.

State of Maine Spruce Gum, invented by John B Curtis in 1848 was the first chewing gum to be sold commercially in America. However it was not a success as it’s taste was too harsh, texture too tough and it needed frequent dipping in powdered sugar to stay sweet.

In 1850 John B Curtis started selling flavoured paraffin gums, which were more popular than spruce gums.

The Mexican president, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna who led the sacking of the Alamo fortress in San Antonio was exiled in Staten Island, New York. In 1871 he asked his secretary Thomas Adams to find a substitute for rubber. Adams experimented with chicle and while he found it unsuitable as rubber, it was superior to all existing chewing gums and he started manufacturing it.

An Ohio dentist, William F Semple, added sugar to chewing gum. On December 28, 1869 William F Semple filed a patent for his improved chewing gum. He described his creation as “the combination of rubber with other articles adapted to the formation of an acceptable chewing gum.”

John Colgan, a druggist from Louisville, Kentucky added in 1880 licorice flavor to chicle, thus introducing flavored chewing gum.

Queen Victoria was addicted to cocaine infused chewing gum. She was even believed to have shared some with a young Winston Churchill.

In 1888, the first practical vending machine was introduced selling the Thomas Adams’ Tutti-Frutti brand of chewing gum on an elevated platform in a New York subway station.

In 1891 William Wrigley went to Chicago as a soap distributor, founding William Wrigley Jr. Company on April 1, 1891. Wrigley started offering baking powder as a premium with each box of soap, and when baking powder proved to be more popular than soap, he switched to the baking powder business. One day Wrigley got the idea of offering two packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The offer was a big success. By the following year he had decided that chewing gum is the product with the potential he had been looking for, so he begun marketing it under his own name.

The first brand of Wrigley's chewing gum was called "Vassar", after the New England woman's college. Next were "Lotta" and "Sweet Sixteen Orange."

In 1915 William Wrigley collected every telephone directory in the United States and mailed three sticks of Wrigley Gum to every name and address listed. The ploy worked and sales skyrocketed.

William Wrigley passed away on January 26, 1932 at the age of 70 with an estimated net worth of $34 million or about $582 million today.

William Wrigley, Jr. on the cover of Time in 1929.

In 2012, Britain saw a spate of chewing gum theft because it was being used as a currency in Romania.


Peanut butter is an effective way to remove chewing gum from hair or clothes.

The chewing gum Juicy Fruit has ten calories. This is approximately the same as a bite of whole wheat bread.

Juicy Fruit gum doesn't have an official flavor—the company says the taste is comprised of lemon, orange, pineapple, and banana notes.

Disneyland doesn't sell chewing gum as Walt Disney didn't want guests inconvenienced by stepping on gum in the park.

Since 2004, it's been illegal to import chewing gum into Singapore, because it's not clean to have it on the streets.

When British jockey Frankie Dettori rode in Hong Kong on January 4, 1992, he was cautioned by the stewards for chewing gum.

Chewing gum can help speed up your metabolism, making it easier to burn calories and lose weight.

You can chew gum while chopping onions to keep yourself from crying.

Your body can't digest gum because gum's rubber polymers can't be broken down by an enzyme or dissolved by stomach acid.

374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made every year.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce


Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors founder William C. Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Car Company on November 3, 1911.

By the mid-1910s, Louis Chevrolet had shifted into the racing car industry, partnering with Howard E. Blood of Allegan, Michigan, to create the Cornelian racing car,

Chevrolet died on June 6, 1941 bankrupt and poor working as a mechanic for the company he started.

Durant used the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger occurring on May 2, 1918, which propelled him back to the GM presidency.

The "bowtie" emblem, introduced in 1913.
GMC commercial grade trucks were rebranded as Chevrolet in 1919, and used the same chassis of Chevrolet passenger cars and building light-duty trucks.

The Chevrolet brand to become the volume leader in the General Motors family, selling mainstream vehicles to compete with Henry Ford's Model T in 1919 and overtaking Ford as the best-selling car in the United States by 1929.

The first car commercial on television was for Chevrolet. It aired on June 9, 1946.  The ad was the start of the car company's sponsorship of a series of variety shows that aired in four cities on the DuMont network.

The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, Michigan. on June 30, 1953. That early 'Vette' sold for $3,250.

1954 Corvette Convertible

The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors on September 29, 1966 as a competitor to the Ford Mustang. The car was discontinued in 2002, but returned as a 2010 model car.

1968  Chevrolet Camaro 

Camaro is a French slang term for "friend" or "companion."

General Motors was baffled that its Chevy Nova was not selling in Latin America in the 1970s, until somebody pointed out that ‘Nova’ means ‘it doesn't go’ in Spanish.

Chevrolet's use of Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" to sell trucks was planned to last 3 to 6 months. It proved so powerful the campaign ran for 13 years between 1991 and 2004.


Chestnuts became a staple in the mountainous regions around the Mediterranean Sea thousands of years ago, in part because most cereal grains couldn't grow in these areas.

During ancient times in the mountainous areas of the Mediterranean where cereals do not grow well, if at all, the chestnut was a staple food. Galen, a Roman physician to various emperors, wrote of the flatulence produced by a diet that centered too closely on chestnuts and commented on the nuts’ medicinal properties, which supposedly protected against such health hazards as dysentery, poisons, or the bite of a mad dog.

Chestnut pie dates back to the 15th century in Italy, having been documented in an early cookbook written by Bartolomeo Platina.

There used to be four billion American chestnut trees, but they all disappeared because of a fungus that kills them as saplings.

Roasting the nuts causes them to lose their bitter taste and take on a sweeter one.



Chess had evolved in India by the 6th century AD as a game of war: to illustrate and rehearse army movements.

The Persians adopted the game of chess from India, and when the Arabs conquered Iran, they made chess part of their life and carried it wherever they went. That is how, with the spread of Islam, chess also extended as far West as Spain, as far North as Turkistan, as far East as the Malayan Islands, and as far South as Zanzibar.

The word "checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah-Mat," which means the king is dead.

Vikings enjoyed board games such as chess where there are two sets of pieces attackers aiming to capture the King and defenders aiming to get him safely to the edge of the board. Game boards have been found scratched into floors and rocks. Pieces could be stones, shells, carved of wood or ivory, clay figures or anything like that.

In the early days of chess, the Queen could only move diagonally, one step at a time. As real-life queens gained power, so did the piece.

In 1561, a Spanish priest named Ruy López de Segura published his celebrated chess strategy book, Libro de la Invencion liberal y Arte del juego del Axedrez. The tome recommends playing with your back to the sun to blind your opponent. If playing at night by a fire, it advises you to cast a shadow over the board with your hand, so your opponent "will not be able to see where to play his pieces."

Shakespeare’s only reference to chess is in Act 5, scene 1 of The Tempest, where Prospero finds Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess".

The first international chess tournament opened in London on May 26, 1851. The tournament was conceived and organised by English player Howard Staunton, and marked the first time that the best chess players in Europe would meet in a single event. German chess master Adolf Anderssen won the sixteen-player tournament, earning him the status of the best player in Europe.

Adolf Anderssen

Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti ruled in 2016 that chess is forbidden in Islam, claiming that the game encourages gambling.


The film director Stanley Kubrick financed his early movies by playing illegal chess for money in New York parks.

Leading American chess master Donald Byrne and and 13-year-old Bobby Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) played a famous chess game called The Game of the Century on October 17, 1956. Fischer beat Byrne and won a Brilliancy prize.

Bobby Fischer in 1960 

Fischer won the World Chess Championship in a Cold War battle against the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky in Reykjavik in 1972.

In 1992, the U.S. authorities issued an arrest warrant after Fischer beat Spassky in an unofficial rematch in Yugoslavia, when that country was under UN sanctions. They were seeking income tax on his winnings.

22-year-old Garry Kasparov, of the Soviet Union became the youngest World Chess Champion on November 9, 1985 by beating Anatoly Karpov, also of the Soviet Union.

Kasparov is considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked world No. 1 for 225 out of 228 months.

Garry Kasparov Owen Williams, The Kasparov Agency. - Wikipedia Commons

In 1996 Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer 'Deep Blue,' to win a six-game match 4-2 in Philadelphia.

Deep Blue won the first game on February 10, 1996. It was the first game to be won by a chess-playing computer against a reigning world champion under normal chess tournament conditions. During the game Deep Blue made a move that puzzled Kasparov so much, it made him believe the machine had superior intelligence. It threw the grandmaster off his game, and ultimately cost him the match. The move was the result of a bug in Deep Blue's code.

Deep Blue was heavily upgraded, and played Kasparov again in May 1997. The computer won the six-game rematch 3½–2½  becoming the first computer system to defeat a reigning world champion in a match under standard chess tournament time controls.

Deep Blue IBM chess computer. By James the photographer

A critic of President Vladimir Putin, Kasparov retired from chess in 2005 to campaign for democracy in Russia and moved to New York in 2013 to avoid arrest.

Czech chess Grand Master Vlastimil Hort once played 201 games simultaneously in 30 hours and losy only ten.

Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen is a Norwegian chess Grandmaster and former chess prodigy whose peak rating of 2861 achieved in January 2013, surpassed Garry Kasparov's 2851 rating record (set July 1999).

The late actor Heath Ledger was an avid chess player, winning Western Australia's junior chess championship at the age of 10.

Actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan had never played a game of chess in their lives until the movie X-Men required them to do so.

Latvian politician Dana Reizniece-Ozola whose roles include being the country's Minister of Finance is also a chess player. She holds the title of Woman Grandmaster (2001), the second highest-ranking chess title that exists for females.


The longest tournament chess game ever played was between Ivan Nikolic and Goran Arsovic in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1989. The game took 269 moves, lasted 20 hours and 15 minutes — and ended in a draw.

Iceland has more chess grandmasters per head of population than any other country.

The most expensive chess set in the word is the Jewel Royale Chess Set which costs $9.8 million.


The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000.

There are more possible outcomes to a 40-move chess game then there are atoms in the known universe.

The longest chess game that is theoretically possible has 5,949 moves.

Chess in a mandatory subject in Armenian schools. Children aged 6 and up are taught chess as part of the mandatory curriculum.

Her's a list of songs on with chess pieces in the title.



Cherries are part of the Rosaceae family, which includes almonds, apricots, peaches and plums. Black cherry (Prunus serotina) trees are deciduous and native to eastern North America, and the cherries have a tart taste compared to other, sweet varieties.

The Chinese ate cherries around 600 BC but sweet cherries date back only to around 70 BC.

The word ‘cherry’ comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus, which was famed for its cherries.

The earliest known mention of cherries is in the History Of Plants by Theophrastus (372-272 BC). However, cherry pips have been found in Stone Age caves.

In 73 BC the Roman general Lucullus brought sour cherry trees to Rome from Turkey after his victory over Mithridates 6th, King of Pontus in North East Asia Minor. Lucullus named the cherry tree ‘Cerasus’ after a town of that name in what is now Turkey.

The ruby-red color and tangy taste of cherries ensured their popularity amongst the Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Indeed General Lucullus committed suicide in 58 BC when he realized he was running out of cherries.

It is said old Roman roads can be traced by the wild cherry trees that grew from the stones spat out by legions as they marched across the country.

The cherry was brought to Britain by the Romans in the 1st century AD.

The oldest-known cherry recipes were in The Forme of Cury. Written around 1390, The Forme of Cury was the first cookbook written in English. The book advised to pick cherries on June 24th and “do away with the stones.”

The nickname ‘Cherry-pickers’ was given to the 11th Hussars after they were attacked by the French while raiding a cherry orchard in Spain during the Peninsular War in 1811.

On November 18, 1938, 150 ladies protested on the construction site of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. because it was disturbing the cherry trees.

The expression “to cherry pick”, meaning to select only the best, dates back only to the 1960s.

Hot cherry stones were once used in bed-warming pans.

Since the 1930s, the UK has lost over 95 per cent of its cherry orchards. Most are now imported.


The world record for spitting a cherry stone is 93 feet 6.5 inches. It  was set by Brian Krause at the Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship at Eau Claire, Michigan, in 2003.

Cherries can lower levels of inflammation in the body sufficently enough to alleviate arthritis symptoms and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and Diabetes.

There are more than 1,000 varieties of cherry worldwide.

Turkey produces more cherries than any other country. The United States comes second.

The cherries from an average cherry tree are enough to make 28 cherry pies.

Serving ice cream on cherry pie was once illegal in Kansas

Sources Daily Mail, Daily Express, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Chernobyl disaster

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine. At that time, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

The accident occurred when the fourth reactor suffered a huge power increase. This led to the core of the reactor exploding. Due to this explosion, large amounts of radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere

Because there was no containment building to trap the radiation, radioactive fallout drifted over parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, and the eastern United States. Large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated.

About 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus. 20% of the country was contaminated with radiation, affecting hundreds of thousands of people and mutating thousands of new born. Its far reaching effects mean even today the people of the country having a high rate of cancer and birth defects.

The Chernobyl disaster released approximately 400 times more radioactive fallout than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The Soviet Union announced the disaster a few days later, after Scandinavian countries reported abnormally high radioactivity levels in their skies.

David Bowie wrote the lyrics to his 1987 song "Time Will Crawl" after hearing of the Chernobyl disaster, and later chose the song as one of his favorites from his entire career.

It took until 2000 for the Chernobyl nuclear plant to be taken entirely offline.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who oversaw the dismantling of the USSR, has said that the Chernobyl explosion was “perhaps the real cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

About 5,000 people still work in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone—to keep their radiation levels low, they only work there for 15 days at a time.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactor number 4. By Matti Paavonen - Wikipedia

Wildlife in the area around Chernobyl has flourished after the disaster, implying that severe radiation is more manageable to animals than humans.

"Chernobyl" is the Ukrainian word for "wormwood." Many Christian commentators have linked the disaster to a prophecy in the New Testament Book of Revelation 8 v10-11: "The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter."

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Chequers is an old house in the Chilterns, to the west of London. It was largely rebuilt in the 16th century and was given neo-Gothic trimmings in the 19th century.

Chequers was bought in 1909 by Arthur Hamilton Lee (1868–1947, Conservative MP for Fareham 1900–18, later Viscount Lee of Fareham) and his American wife, Ruth as a country home. During World War I the house became a hospital and then a convalescent home for officers.

Following the end of hostilities and the reinstatement of Chequers as a country home the childless Lees formed a plan for the now restored and refurbished house, giving it to the nation as a country retreat for the serving Prime Minister.

The Lees left Chequers on January 8, 1921 after a final dinner at their country home. A political disagreement between the Lees and Lloyd George soured the hand-over, which went ahead nevertheless.

The first prime minister to use Chequers was David Lloyd George. 


Cheques (or checks in American English) were first used in the English Civil War when the wealthy stored cash in goldsmiths' safes.

The first known cheque was written (for £400) on February 16, 1659. It was merely a slip of paper with a payment instruction from merchant Nicholas Vanacker to his scrivener (17th century forerunners of bankers).

The first traveler's cheques,went on sale in London on January 1, 1772. They were issued by the London Credit Exchange Company and could be used in ninety different European cities.

Cheques became common among the upper classes from the 1820s. The first literary use of the word cheque book was in the 1848 novel Vanity Fair.