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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
10 things we didn't know this time last week
10 cabbages 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. More than two-thirds of letters sent by the Royal Mail are posted by a business - but it's not all junk mail. The figure includes everything they send, including bank statements and bills too.

2. Essex is the UK's book club capital, with more reading groups than any other county and spin-off events such as a walk-and-talk-about-books club.

3. The gene for red hair is the same gene that gives red setters, red foxes and red highland cattle their colour.

4. Each human carries about 300 genetic mutations which affect their health for the worse. For the most part, these are minor imperfections such as wonky teeth.

5. And each baby inherits mutations from its parents, plus three new abnormalities its mother and father do not have. (Thanks to BBC Radio 4's Start the Week)

6. After the polls closed in 1979, but before the general election results were in, Margaret Thatcher announced she would tidy up her office at home. "She started to rip up paper with all the gusto of a one-woman shredder just trying to get rid of the tremendous nervous energy gripping her," says daughter Carol.
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

7. The new Airbus A380 will, when it's built, do 95 miles per gallon per passenger. Put differently that means it will burn 3 litres to take a passenger 100km, which Airbus claims is "comparable with the best of small modern turbo diesel cars".

8. Noise pollution has made nightingales massively increase the volume of their song so that they can be heard above the din. Dr Henrik Brumm of Berlin's Freie University found the loudest recorded song level was 93 decibels (well above the exposure limit considered acceptable for humans). This comes at a price, however - Dr Brumm has observed some male birds displaying hoarseness and coughing.

9 . When people are in love, weird things happen. Men get more female hormones, and women get more male. Scientist Donatella Marazziti says it's as if nature wants to eliminate what can be different in men and women, perhaps to help the mating process.

10 . Sir Roger Bannister celebrated the anniversary of his sub-four-minute mile this week. Since he did it in 1954, more than 1,000 other male runners have done it too. Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj set the world record in 1999 at 3 minutes 43.13 seconds.

If you see something you think should be included next week, let us know using the form below. Thanks this week to Shirley Munro.

Your e-mail address

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


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