For some reason, blogposting 159 has unleashed a veritable torrent - a deluge - of trivia, some of which is included here. Now read on...

Lawrence Hepple, of piano-tuning, rats and speedway fame (what a combination!), txted me at just after 12.30 on Friday afternoon. He told me that, in a couple of minutes, something would happen that wouldn’t happen again for a thousand years.

And he was right.

It happened at very nearly twenty-five to one; at 12:34:56, to be precise, on 07/08/09.

Got it yet? 12:34:56 07/08/09.


Awesome. Fretting about war, pestilence and hunger is one thing but being taken aback by information like that is quite another and easily worthy of this blog. Thanks, Lawrence.

Another email, this time from Dave Shannon, points out not one but - count them - two further items of worthwhile trivia, namely...
...only one book has been distributed in greater numbers than the Bible; the Ikea catalogue! And...
... it is illegal to purchase or consume Jack Daniels whisky in the town in which it is produced!

Thanks, Dave

Two other truckshunters, who shall remain nameless for reasons which will become obvious, have also emailed lists of trivia to me in the last couple of days. But they are trivia with a difference. Most of them aren’t true.

The best-known example is that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo and that nobody knows why. In fact, of course, it’s breathtakingly easy to prove that a duck’s quack does echo in just the way you would expect. After all, why wouldn’t it?

Factoids like these are known as viral lies. The phenomenon started at, I think, Berkeley University in California in the early 90s. The idea was to put a preposterous, but faintly believable, fact onto the internet to find out how quickly it became accepted as truth.

Amongst the first examples was the explanation given for (excuse the language) ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey ’. The viral lie is that the balls in question were cannonballs and that the ‘monkey’ was a kind of triangular framework on which they were piled up to form a pyramid on the gun deck of a sailing ship. When it was really cold, the cannonballs expanded and toppled each other off the ‘monkey’.

None of that is true.

Another, equally famous, viral lie is that the Great Wall of China is the only manmade object visible from space. It isn’t. Nothing manmade can be seen from space. And that includes the Pyramids of Gizeh as well.

Honeymoon is not derived from the custom of newlyweds eating honey on their first night together. There never was such a custom.

Sleep tight is not derived from the way ropes were tightened to hold mediaeval feather mattresses on beds. They weren’t.

And a duck’s quack definitely does echo in the normal way.

A good source of viral lie debunking is Stephen Fry’s QI programme on tv. Warmly recommended.

I’ve also heard this week from Lorraine in Kuala Lumpur. She used to regale us regularly on The Nighshift with news of her life in that exotic-sounding city (pictured above). Hers were amongst the many ‘international’ emails I missed most when the programme was finally axed.

All these emails to truckshunters@googlemail.com have set me thinking. Why don’t the emailers ‘come out of the closet’ and leave a comment on the blog itself? So, just in case you are on of the many people who appear, or pretend, not to know how to do this (including Paul Wappat)....

Each blogposting has a number. This one is 160, as you can see above.

Scroll down to the bottom of the blogposting (not to the bottom of the whole page).

Click on the word ‘Comments’.

A window will appear as if by digital magic. It will show you what everyone else has been saying and there’ll be an empty box at the bottom for you to add your comments in.

When you’re done, click ‘Publish Comment’ and Bob’s Yer Uncle, Fanny’s Yer Aunt.

...Gilly in Meadowfield?
...Tony in Fenham?
...Chris and Jojo in New Zealand?
...Inga in Arkansas?
If you do, and you don’t want the information to be public, use the email address.

Just a reminder that the next AGM will take place on Sunday 6 September at Tynemouth Station Market at about 1100. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Ellie said...

Morning - Yes, the 12.34.56 on 7-8-9 was wow....sister and I made a wish at the exact time, so it will be interesting to see if it comes true! I love all that stuff.

Hildie said...

Did you know .....

Grey Street has been shortlisted for the 2010
by The Academy of Urbanism?

Anonymous said...

Hello All
I enjoyed the AGM, still reeling in fact. Lovely to meet Hildie, Vivienne and the intrepid Ian.
Ada from Walker (not North Shields)

Hildie said...

Ada .... it was truly lovely to meet you .... looking forward to seeing you again at Tynemouth.
It's fun, isn't it, going on a shunt?! x

Ian Robinson said...

Sorry about the mislocation Ada!

Hildie said...

Guess what happened at my house last night? Two firemen came ... two firemen in a fire-engine ...
no ... in case you're wondering ... I hadn't set fire to my hair again!
In fact, I wasn't even at home.
Imagine that, I was out ... I actually missed them! They came to put smoke alarms in for me. Shucks! Fancy missing them!
Just my luck!
Ah, and this is a very sad thing that happened yesterday, at the place where my son works. A young man, who had had an interview last week and had been given a job, came for his induction day and to sign the paperwork accepting the job. He is epileptic .. but had not had a fit for over a year .... that is ...
until he was about to leave the car showroom yesterday afternoon.
How very, very sad and cruel life
can be sometimes .... of course, because there would have been some driving involved in his new job ... he now doesn't have a job.

Ian ... do you know who Jim Little is? Is he one of our shy Truckshunters? Have you heard from him ever? It's just I noticed he has registered as a follower.

To Jim Little .... a big hello from all of us.