Tag Archives: top ten

Top Ten: Great Danes

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Evening blogosphere!

So, the big news in my life this week is that yesterday I booked a holiday to Copenhagen, and since I’m massively excited about it I thought I’d write a Denmark-themed blog post. Especially useful as after booking I realised that it’s a country I know very little about – other than it’s cold, they make bacon, and it’s near Sweden. It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘top ten’, so here are my Top Ten Danes – enjoy ūüôā

The Australians liked Denmark so much, they created their own.

The Australians liked Denmark so much, they created their own. Photo courtesy of BaroBert.

1. Hans Christian Anderson:¬†writer of fairytales such as The Ugly Duckling and The LIttle Mermaid. If you don’t know who he is, I’m not sure you had a childhood.

2. ¬†J√łrn Utzon¬†(1918‚Äď2008): ¬†architect. This is the guy that designed the Sydney Opera House, one of the most recognisable buildings on the planet. And it’s a long way from Denmark.

3. Hamlet:¬†Ok, he might be fictional, but he’s still one of the most famous Danes in the world. Telling the story of a Danish Prince struggling with his own sanity and the need to revenge his father’s death, this is Shakespeare’s longest play, and most-performed.

4. Niels Bohr:  A physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922. His work in theoretical physics and quantum theory shed new light on atomic structure, and whilst some of his ideas have been overtaken, the principles behind them are still valid. During the Second World War he helped refugees in Denmark before fleeing to Britain and later becoming involved in the Manhattan Project. Later he called for international co-operation on nuclear power and helped set up CERN. On the whole, a pretty impressive bloke.

5. Ole Kirk Christiansen:¬†All you need to know about this man is that he is responsible for the development and mass production of LEGO. ‘Nuff said.

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LEGO! Photo courtesy of Alan Chia

6. Queen Margrethe II:¬†She might be the current Queen of Denmark, but that hasn’t stopped her having multiple other careers. She’s fluent in 5 languages and has helped translate books, including Lord of the Rings. Her links with Tolkien don’t stop there, as she also provided illustrations for the Danish version of the book – she is a talented artist and holds regular exhibitions of her work. Not to mention that she designs clothing and has worked as a costume designer for ballet and film. As well as, y’know, being Queen and having to open hospitals and all.

7. Viggo Mortensen: Any man who plays Aragorn is alright in my book.

8. Poul Le Cour: Back in the 1890s, he developed wind turbines that could generate electricity. La Cour was the first to discover that fast rotating wind turbines with fewer rotor blades were the most efficient in generating electricity and in 1904 he founded the Society of Wind Electricians. Denmark now has the largest wind turbine in the world.

9. Bjorn Lomberg:¬†Environmentalist, writer. Sometimes a controversial figure,¬†Lomborg has campaigned against¬†measures to cut carbon emissions in the short-term, and argued instead for spending money on research and development for longer-term environmental solutions.¬†In 2008 he was named “one of the 50 people who could save¬†the planet” by the UK¬†Guardian, and in November 2001, Lomborg was selected “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the¬†World Economic Forum. Although there are those that disagree with his views as a “sceptical environmentalist”, nobody can deny that he has opened up the debate on climate change a great deal.

10. Nielsen: I couldn’t write a top ten without including a musician… Also a skilled conductor and violinist, Nielsen’s said to be Denmark’s greatest composer. He wrote 6 symphonies, an opera and a large collection of chamber works which have become an integral part of Danish national heritage. He even made it onto Danish banknotes for a while before being ousted ¬†in 2009 (anyone else seeing a similarity between him and Elgar, who was also unceremoniously dumped from ¬£20 notes?).

Credits: Thanks to Wikipedia and various other websites for this information – too many to list, but nothing written above is directly quoted from other websites in any case.

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

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After a fairly depressing few days (weeks) of battling with teenagers, I couldn’t bring myself to blog about teaching this week.

Having said that, however, this morning I was at a really inspiring assembly about reading. Yes, really.  And it got me thinking about where my love of all things literary came from, stories particularly.  As a child, I always looked forward to bedtime stories (my love of sleep was also present from an early age), and the ones my Dad told were spectacular. He created his own stories, based around the life of a character called Freddy Рa frog who lived in the pond at the bottom of our garden, had a racing driver for an uncle, and whose favourite snacks were chocolate covered flies or crispy lily pads.

Therefore, in honour of my dad Рand the memory of Freddy the Frog cheering up a horrible week Рhere are my top ten facts about frogs.  Ribbit.

  1. Frogs can see forwards, sideways and upwards all at the same time. They never close their eyes, even when they sleep.
  2. Certain frogs can jump up to 20 times their own body length in a single leap.
  3. Frog bones form a new ring every year when the frog is hibernating, just like trees do. Scientists can count these rings to discover the age of the frog.
  4. One type of desert frog can wait as long as seven years for water by surrounding itself in a type of transparent bag that becomes its first meal once the rain comes.
  5. The golden dart frog is the most poisonous frog on earth and the skin of one frog could kill up to 1,000 people. a single touch of its skin can kill ten humans.
  6. Frogs can retract their eyes and when they do, they bulge inward in their mouths and help them swallow their food.
  7. A frog can only see moving things. It could literally starve to death with live prey in front of it if the prey never moved.
  8. The North American Wood Frog is the only species of frog found above the Arctic Circle and in winter it actually freezes, its heartbeat stops, and it thaws again in spring, coming back to life.
  9. A tadpole is also known as a polliwog (like Pokemon!)
  10. Australian Tree Frogs emit a chemical substance that heals wounds on humans.
English: A green frog on a palm frond.

English: A green frog on a palm frond. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources:
http://www.gardenbuildingsdirect.co.uk/article/fun-facts-about-frogs
http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/animals/frog.html
http://lefo.net/documents/main/3klass/1kala/interesting_fact_about_frogs.htm

List: Odd London Encounters

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I love London. Yes, it has it’s downsides – it takes forever to get anywhere because it’s so big, for example – but it’s worth it for the wealth of experiences you get. And one of the reasons I love London in particular is because you never know what you’re going to see from one day to the next; just pottering around the city during your daily life, you can come across the most surreal and mind-boggling sights. So here’s a few of my favourites from the past year (off the top of my head!). What is your favourite/most bizarre London encounter?

  1. The man standing on top of a car next to Wandsworth Road… just standing, staring into the middle distance. As you do.
  2. The middle-aged woman walking down the King’s Road in Kensington with a parrot on each shoulder.
  3. My route home from the bus stop being turned into the set of a low budget zombie movie at 2am. At least I hope it was a movie.
  4. Grown men and women running around the Science Museum dressed up as cockroaches, chanting ‘scuttle, scuttle, scuttle’. Apparently this is a regular occurance.
  5. This sheep – spotted outside the station in Wimbledon.261395_10152546737580234_1165374424_n
  6. A woman putting her washing out to dry in the middle of one of the Royal Parks.
  7. Walking past a woman that looked the SPIT of Cruella Deville. Stripey hair and everything.
  8. That one day when for some reason it seemed that everybody except us was dressed in animal onesies. Except the man wearing a leather business suit.
  9. Wandering through Leicester Square one day, when I walked past a man in a suit wearing a Mr Bean mask, holding a teddy bear and dancing on the spot. This was bizarre enough in itself, but about 5 yards away there was a man singing down a traffic cone. Are these the two worst buskers in London?
  10. The wonderful ways in which some people travel to work – on rollerblades, children’s scooters and tandems, amongst others – and always¬†whilst wearing a posh suit. Totally what Boris’s Cycle Super Highways should¬†be used for.

Today’s Top Ten…Grrrr!

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So, today’s post was going to be some kind of angry diatribe about Michael Gove (top ten reasons to hate him, top ten pictures of him looking silly, top ten completely unsubstantiated views he’s put forward about education, etc etc).

But then I thought, why spoil a good day by reminding myself of the many reasons why I think he’s a muppet? So instead, here is my Top¬†Ten Facts About Bears. Of course. Because that’s a natural progression from thinking about Michael Gove… Enjoy!

  1. Bears can run up to 40 miles per hour, fast enough to catch a running horse. Usain Bolt can only run 27mph.
  2. Black bears are not always black. They come in a variety of colors from black to reddish brown (cinnamon bears), light brown or white.
  3. Unlike many mammals, bears can see in color.
  4. A swimming polar bear can jump 8 ft. (2.4 m) out of the water to surprise a seal (probably not a flowers-and-hugs kind of surprise…)
  5. In 2004, a black bear was found unconscious in a campground in Seattle, Washington. It had broken into a cooler and used its claws and teeth to open dozens of beer cans. Although it sampled other types of beer, it chose to drink all the cans of only one type of beer.
  6. Most types of bears are born without fur…¬†Only polar bears and giant pandas are born with thin white fur. N’awww.

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  7. Bears lose most of their heat from their paws. While most bears have bare feet, the paws of polar bears have fur on the bottoms and between the toes.
  8. During hibernation, bears don’t poo. Its body can somehow recycle body waste into protein‚ÄĒa process scientists still do not understand.
  9. Teddy Bears are so named after U.S. President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, who refused to shoot a black bear cub on a hunting trip.
  10. Baloo, from The Jungle Book, is a sloth bear.