QI facts

John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin in The Telegraph:

Pencils_2727185cWhen we came to write our first volume of facts – 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off – last year, we set ourselves the goal of producing 1,000 nuggets of information that seemed to us unforgettable. We pooled 10 years of extraordinary comparisons (there are 1,000 times as many bacteria in your gut as there are stars in the Milky Way); astonishing statistics (a single male human produces enough sperm in two weeks to impregnate every fertile woman on the planet); unexpected truths (the Bible is the most shoplifted book in the United States) and memorable absurdities (Richard Gere’s middle name is Tiffany), and then counted up what we had. It turned out we had a file of 1,227 facts, which seemed both more interesting and more appropriate than the 1,000 we’d originally targeted. In the course of editing and arranging that material we discovered something surprising: the facts seemed to have a mind of their own. Far from being inert bits of trivia, they behaved much more like molecules, bristling with energy and a desire to form strong attractions with other facts to make longer and more meaningful sentences. All we had to do was keep trying the best combinations.

…Once you are in the Fact Zone, everywhere you look, astonishing new facts seem to demand inclusion. And, to adapt a line of Groucho Marx: if you don’t like them, we’ve got others….

All the mountains on Saturn’s moon Titan are named after peaks in The Lord of the Rings.

Women look their oldest at 3.30pm on Wednesdays.

Agatha Christie was a keen surfer.

Speed dating was the brainchild of a rabbi.

There is enough carbon in your body to make 9,000 pencils.

More here.