1,227 QI facts to blow your socks off

Here is a selection of trivia culled from the most recent QI book:

One in ten European babies is conceived in an IKEA bed.

10% of all the photographs in the world were taken in the last 12 months.

The words written on Twitter every day would fill a 10-million-page book.

In 2008, a man in Ohio was arrested for having sex with a picnic table.

The world’s population spends 500,000 hours a day typing Internet security codes.

More than 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic, hired for their superior problem-solving and spatial-awareness skills.

The designer of Saddam’s bunker was the grandson of the woman who built Hitler’s bunker.

The US tax code is four times as long as the complete works of Shakespeare.

Psychologists cannot agree on what ‘personality’ means. Anthropologists cannot agree on the meaning of the word ‘culture’ or on the meaning of the word ‘meaning’.

In 1894, The Times estimated that by 1950 London would be nine feet deep in horse manure.

The same man invented heroin and aspirin in the same year: Felix Hoffman, 1897.

There are more than three times as many PR people in America as there are journalists.

British spies stopped using semen as invisible ink because it began to smell if it wasn’t fresh.

The United States of America maintains a military presence in 148 of the 192 United Nations countries.

Aerosmith have made more money from Guitar Hero than from any of their albums.

A typical microwave oven uses more electricity keeping its digital clock on standby than it does heating food.

Each year, drug baron Pablo Escobar had to write off 10% of his cash holdings because of rats nibbling away at his huge stash of bank notes.

Arabic words are written right to left, but Arabic numbers left to right. Arabic speakers reading anything with a lot of numbers in have to read in both directions at once.

Trombone is French for ‘paperclip’.

Margaret Thatcher was part of the team that invented Mr Whippy ice cream.

When Einstein published his Theory of General Relativity, the New York Times sent their golfing correspondent to interview him.

A full Kindle weighs a billionth of a billionth of a gram more than a brand-new one.

The word ‘unfriend’ first appeared in print in 1659.

Durham University offers a Harry Potter module. It includes the topic ‘Gryffindor and Slytherin: prejudice and intolerance in the classroom’.

85% of the clicking on web ads is done by 8% of the people. Since 2008, the number of clicks has halved.

Sending a man to the Moon and finding Osama Bin Laden cost the US government about the same amount of time and money: ten years and $100 billion.

The American TV sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer trained as an Israeli sniper.

Russian has no word for ‘bigot’.

Chemotherapy is a by-product of the mustard gas used in the First World War.

Google earns $20 billion a year from advertising, more than the primetime revenues of CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX combined.

20% of people in the UK believe they have a food allergy, but only 2% actually do.

The American secret service tried to spike Hitler’s carrots with female hormones to change him into a woman.

40% of all bottled water sold in the world is bottled tap water.

More than twice as many people are killed by vending machines as by sharks.

The inventor of ‘Best before’ dates, originally for milk, was Al Capone.

‘Influenza’ is Italian for ‘influence’: heavenly bodies were once thought to affect our own.

Henry VIII had a Groom of the Stool whose duty was to see that ‘the house of easement be sweet and clear’: in other words, to wipe the king’s bottom.

In the last 60 years, more than 23,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea. Only two Koreans have gone in the opposite direction.

Gatwick, the name of the UK’s 2nd-largest airport, means ‘the farm where goats are kept’.

There is at least ten times as much crime on TV as there is in the real world.

The first Olympian disqualified for banned substances was Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall of Sweden. In the 1968 Mexico Games, he had two beers to calm his nerves before the pistol shooting.

The first recorded incidence of air rage involved a passenger in First Class who shat on the food trolley after being refused another drink.

In 2003, six monkeys were funded by the Arts Council of England to see how long it would take them to type the works of Shakespeare. After six months, they had failed to produce a single word of English, broken the computer and used the keyboard as a lavatory.

Leo Tolstoy’s wife wrote out the drafts of War and Peace for him, in longhand, six times.

Within 200 yards of the flat in Islington where George Orwell had the idea for 1984,there are now 32 CCTV cameras.

In 2008, an MI6 officer appeared on The One Show. Halfway through, his moustache fell off.

The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the USA.

Sir Charles Isham, a vegetarian spiritualist, introduced garden gnomes to England in 1847. He hoped that they would attract real gnomes to his garden.

The use of the English word ‘gay’ to mean homosexual is older than the use of the term ‘homosexual’ to mean gay.

All Bran is only 87% bran.

When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he ordered all Monopoly sets to be destroyed.

Nelson Mandela was not removed from the US terror watch list until 2008.

11 of the 12 men to have walked on the Moon were in the Boy Scouts.

The National Health Service is the world’s 4th-largest employer after the US Defence Department, the Chinese Red Army and Walmart.

In online dating sites you are more likely to come across a teacher or lecturer than someone from any other profession.

The founder of match.com, Gary Kremen, lost his girlfriend to a man she met on match.com.

More than one in five Americans believes that the world will end in their lifetime.


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