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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
10 things we didn't know this time last week
10 THINGS
Platform 10 by Bryce Cooke

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. It's 30 years on Saturday since the world's first barcode was used. It was on a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit at a supermarket in Ohio. The gum is now an exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

2. U2 singer Bono once gave Bill Clinton a copy of WB Yeats' plays signed by Yeats - and by Bono himself, according to Clinton's autobiography.

3. Brazilian scientists have discovered a strain of coffee bean which is naturally decaffeinated. It was only last week that Japanese scientists managed to create a GM coffee without caffeine.

4. The referee whose decisions put an end to England's Euro 2004 dreams once received 30,000 complaining e-mails after a Romanian newspaper, annoyed at one of his rulings, printed his address.

5. Bill Clinton also revealed in his book that he didn't learn to ride a bike properly until he was 22.

10 THINGS ON TV
If you're in the UK, you can see 10 Things at the weekend on Ceefax, page 129 and also on cable, satellite and Freeview
6. To "gitmoize" is a word meaning to make more like Guantanamo Bay - it was used in papers from the White House discussing what conditions were appropriate for detainees in Iraq. Gitmo is a US military nickname for the Cuban base.

7. Another in the long line of food-related formulas: we've had the secrets of biscuit-dunking, marmalade-spreading and gravy-mopping. Now Nottingham scientists claim that they have come up with the formula for the perfect ratio between strawberries and cream.

8. Phrase of the week: sofa-surfing - the skill of living as cheaply as possible by staying on friends' sofas, and moving on to another friend just before being thrown out. Common, apparently, in rural communities, especially where house prices exclude the young (ie just like urban communities).

9. The plural of octopus is not, as recorded in last week's 10 Things, octopi, which would suggest the word was rooted in Latin. In fact the word comes from the Greek, so the correct plural is octopuses or even octopodes.

10. A challenger has emerged for the title of owner of world's longest hair. Tran Van Hay, 67, says his hair is 20.34ft long (6.2m), not having been cut for 31 years. The official record holder, Hoo Sateow from Thailand, has hair a mere 16ft 11ins long.


If you see something you think should be included next week, let us know using the form below. Thanks this week to Ann R and Ethan Johnson.

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