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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
10 things we didn't know this time last week
10 snails - by Alistair Parrington

It's easy to lose track of the news. So at the end of the week, it's good to keep an eye on some of those things which shouldn't go unnoticed.

If you spot something you think should be included next week, send it to us using the form at the bottom of the page.


1. Google, five years old this week, was originally called BackRub.

2. Blogs are just the thing, aren't they? Well, no offence intended, but no. Research by analysts Forrester has confirmed that blogs have a mighty long way to go before they can possibly be thought of as mainstream. Just 21% of Americans who have internet access had heard of a blog and fewer than 2% visited them regularly.

No shortage of takers
3. Who would go on a show like Jerry Springer, and open themselves up to ritual humiliation? Plenty of people, apparently. The man himself said this week: "I don't make people come on the show. It's up to them. We get more than 2,000 calls a day from people wanting to come on the show."

4. The late Roy Castle and his wife Fiona were introduced to each other by Eric Morecombe, at least according to actor Charles Collingwood, who as Brian Aldridge in The Archers has a claim to be the most famous bastard in England.

If you're in the UK, you can now see 10 Things at the weekend on Ceefax, page 129

5. The 23rd largest tree in the world is called Adam. He's 35,017 cubic feet, 247.4 feet high, 94 feet girth. He's a Giant Sequoia and he lives in Sequoia National Park in California. (Thanks to BBC Two's new quiz, QI, the spiritual counterpart of 10 Things, for this.)

6. It's time to challenge stereotypes. Germans are more dishonest than Brits. Research revealed at the British Association found 20% of Germans had padded their insurance claims, compared to 7% of people in England and Wales. Half of Germans have paid cash in hand to avoid paying tax but only a third of people on this side of the channel. "So much for the English being a nation of shopkeeper,s and the proverbial 'Prussian values'," said researcher Professor Susanne Karstedt.

7. In June, 10 Things reported the ban on picture phones being implemented in changing rooms in Australian swimming pools (pervs snapping kiddies in trunks being the risk). But now, reports the Register, technology has been developed which could turn particular areas, such as leisure centres, into picture-phone-free-zones. It would send a message to phones as people walked through the door, automatically disabling them. Then another message to re-enable them would be sent, by the exits. (Sadly, however, it will only work with the next generation of phones. Which don't yet exist.)

8. Stereotypes again - 36% of Italian children are overweight, the highest figure in Europe. Despite the Mediterranean diet being celebrated as one of the best in the world, the Italian health minister has told Italians to halve their consumption of pasta to 80g.

9. A new Network Rail directive that maintenance workers will have to wear hard hats on the railways at all times will cost 1m in new hats and 3m in signs reminding workers to wear them.

10. Ducks' quacks echo.

If you see something you think should be included next week, let us know using the form below.

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