Did you know?
1. James Bond, also known as 007, is a fictional British spy created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953. Fleming wrote a numerous novels and short stories based upon the character and, after his death in 1964, further literary adventures were written by Kingsley Amis, John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson.
2. The Monopoly game was invented by Charles Darrow in 1933. He sold the rights to George Parker in 1935, then aged 58. Parker invented more than 100 games, including Pit, Rook, Flinch, Risk, and Clue.
3. The title Mona Lisa stems from the Giorgio Vasari biography of Leonardo da Vinci, published 31 years after Leonardo’s death. In it, he identified the sitter as Lisa, the wife of a wealthy Florentine businessman Francesco del Giocondo.
4. Of the seven wonders of the ancient world, only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance. The lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors it ensured a safe return to the Great harbour. For architects, it meant even more. It was the tallest building on earth. And for scientists, it was the mysterious mirror that fascinated them most. The mirror which reflection could be seen more than 50km off shore.
5. The first Oxford dictionary was published in April 1928, 50 years after it was started. It consisted of 400,000 words and phrases in 10 volumes. The latest edition fills 22,000 pages includes 33,000 Shakespeare quotations, and is bound in 20 volumes. All of which is available on a single CD.
6. The largest statue in the world is Mount Rushmore, the heads of four US presidents carved into the Black Hills near Keystone. The heads are 18m tall.
7. The great pyramid of Giza is the only one of the seven wonders of the world that still survives. The other six are : Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis, Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria.
8. The decorated Christmas tree can be traced to the ancient Romans who during their winter festival decorated trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honour of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.
9. The concept behind neon signs was first conceived in 1675, when the French astronomer Jean Picard observed a faint glow in a mercury barometer tube. When the tube was shaken a glow called barometric light occurred, but the cause of the light was not then understood.
10. The first vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria around 215BC. When a coin was dropped into a slot, it’s weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of water.