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Minus 40 degrees Celcius is the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the Indonesian island of Krakatoa erupted on 27 August 1883 it hurled rocks 55 km (34 miles) into the atmosphere. It also destroyed 163 native villages.

A London Transport double-decker bus can lean an amazing 32 degrees from upright without falling over.

The most polluted lake in the world is Lake Krachay in the Chelyabinsk province of Russia. It has accumulated 120 million curies of radioactivity and absorbed 100 times more strontium 90 and caesium 137 than was released at Chernobyl in 1986. If a person stood at the edge of the lake he or she would be dead in an hour. The pollution came from a nearby soviet nuclear facility, which was shut down in 1990.

Around 45 000 thunderstorms occur throughout the world every day. That's five every second!

The Atlantic swordfish can swim at an incredible 109 km/h (68 mhp), which means it can cover 91 metres (100 yards) in only three seconds.

The speed of sound varies with altitude and at sea level is 1 224 km/h (761 mph), but at 10 700 metres (35 000 ft) it is 159 km/h (99 mph) slower.

On 10 September 1621 King James of England 'sold' Canada or Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander for one Scottish penny.

In 1999 around 90 000 trees in Paris were fitted with tiny glass and carbon-fibre microchips. This is so the city's tree surgeons can analyse the trees' health and precisely identify which trees are in need of treatment. About 1 200 trees in Paris die annually due to pollution, dehydration and other causes.

The world's oldest known mother is 65-year old Satyabhama Mahapatra, who gave birth to her first child in 2003. Satyabhama is a retired indian schoolteacher.


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