Facts + Figures March 2013
Words Anna Whitehouse
Illustrations Sam Vanallemeersch
Londoner Patrick Kiely has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after trying to steal a classic rhino head worth €500,000 from Castle Museum in Norwich. He was part of a gang of four that smashed the glass case and took off with the animal head. "As they attempted to escape with the head, staff and visitors stood firm and would not let him leave. They dropped the head, partially damaging it," prosecutor Peter Gair told Norwich Crown Court. Kiely apparently wanted it for the horns, which he believed would fetch a mighty sum on eBay.
"Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have"
Grieving pet owners in Singapore can soon express their feelings about their furry, finned or feathered friends in the city state’s largest newspaper.
The Straits Times pet section now allows owners to publish farewell messages to their pets alongside a photo of Fido in happier times. More than 80% of the population lives in government-run flats that restrict residents to just one small pet, so each animal is truly cherished.
Wheels Of Fortune
129 years old
A French car called the De Dion Boutin Et Trepardoux Steam Runabout (quite the mouthful) is the oldest known motor still in running order. The 129-year-old vehicle took part in the first car race, in 1887, and recently even entered the current London-to-Brighton run where, as the oldest car in the field, it was allowed to start first. It did, however, come last.
The owner of a monkey that became a media sensation after running around a Toronto department store parking lot in a classic trench coat (and baby’s nappy) wants her pet back. Yasmin Nakhuda, who was fined the equivalent of €184 for breaking numerous animal bylaws, has enlisted lawyers to get the ape, called Darwin, back. "I know what is best for him," she argued.
‘You know, whatever’ has been voted the most annoying phrase of 2012 by a recent US survey. In the Marist Poll, more than 32% of adults decided it was a classic example of a language in demise. Runners up included the words ‘twitterverse’ and ‘gotcha’. ‘Seriously’, which has regularly been a contender in the poll, dropped off the radar entirely. Whatevs.
Blind in one eye and missing his arm from a naval scrap, British Admiral Horatio Nelson also suffered severe seasickness, according to a recently discovered letter. In a note to the Earl of Camden in 1804, Nelson mentioned he’d been suffering from the affliction since he was 12 and was unable to beat it in his 30 years at the helm. Unsurprisingly, he wrote that the affliction put him ‘confoundly out of humour’.
US researchers have named a newly discovered prehistoric lizard Obamadon gracilis in honour of the 44th president’s toothy grin. The small insect-eating lizard was discovered in eastern Montana, and scientists from Yale and Harvard decided to combine the Latin Obamadon (‘Obama’s teeth’) and gracilis, which means slender.
The grape escape
Italian hooligans recently destroyed 62,000 bottles worth of vintage Tuscan wine worth €110 a bottle.
The Brunello di Montalcino wine, at the Case Basse vineyard in Tuscany, was in ten large vats, which were deliberately opened to let the wine flow down the drain. "This is beyond me.
I can’t get into the minds of the people who did this," said founder Gianfranco Soldera, who also vowed, "we will carry on."
When Russian businessman Dmitry Stroskin sent builders to renovate his 18th-century Chateau Bellevue in Bordeaux, he didn’t expect them to demolish it. A miscommunication meant the classic building was reduced to rubble by the time he arrived. "I will rebuild Bellevue exactly as it was," he said stoically, even though the rebuilding contract is allegedly pegged at €1.5 million.
"I never really had the classic struggle. I had faith"