Trivia, lies, and Torchwood

Some more bits of trivia that are probably lies, but who can say for sure in this world of uncertainty?

Eyeglasses, as we know them today, were first developed in 11th century Syria. The prohibitive cost in making them, however, meant they were rare to the point of non-existent until cheaper and mroe efficient methods of lens grinding were developed centuries later.

Most town charters in the United States require at least one Freemason lodge.

While four out of five dentists once chose Trident gum… these days five out of five dentists prefer their patients not chew gum at all.

In the original Transformers cartoons, it is not explained where Optimus Prime’s trailer goes when he transforms from truck to robot. The writers originally meant for it to be explained as a hologram projection as the trailer is never used to haul anything. This was dropped as it was feared it would be too complicated for a young audience to follow, and unnecessary.

Freshly cut mint keeps bats away.

The ratio between the length of the sides of the Great Pyramid of Giza and its height is the same as the ratio of lengths to heights of the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and the White House.

Bees cannot see the color red.

People who wear wristwatches with the face on the bottom of their wrist are five times more likely to suffer from accidents than people who wear their wristwatches with the face on the top of their wrist. If the person is wearing a wristwatch on their “off” hand, the liklihood of accidents increases tenfold.

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Work is work. Whittling it all down and doing Great Things. That said… here’s other news:

Looks like everyone is armed and ready to go.

Torchwood is back!

For those who don’t know, Torchwood is this quirky spin-off of Doctor Who. It lasted on the BBC-Wales for three seasons and went from an odd “band of idiots led by a moron” to a pretty dark and grim SF drama that pulled no punches.

Just when we thought the world could catch a break at the end of its third season (more of a short mini-series than series by the end) the Torchwood weirdness is back with another earth-shattering story and a bunch of new characters to replace the ones that got killed off over the previous seasons. Captain Jack Harkness is back, as is Gwen Cooper and her husband, but precious few others… so far. Fans are holding out for old favorites like Ianto or Rhys.

The first two episodes feature (not spoilers) the “Miracle Day” in which death takes a vacation and now the world is dealing with the consequences. Kudos to David Tennant and the other writers for really fleshing this out. The rest of it is the process in which the Torchwood Institute gets tangled up with the American CIA.

So far, so good. Production qualities are much higher than the previous seasons–probably because this is a joint BBC-Starz production. Bigger budget, and some of the usual cheesiness that goes with a Doctor Who brand just won’t fly with an American-involved production. I wouldn’t be surprised if they downplayed some of the sexual openness that was so prevalent in the original series. Harkness is still a randy bisexual, but I’ll be surprised if we see him jam a tongue down some dude’s throat in this version. (Same with Gwen.)

The American players include Mehki Phifer (of ER), Bill Pullman (haven’t picked him out yet… I keep looking for Bill Paxton) and Alexa Havins (who I don’t know).

So far, it has great potential. And ten episodes looks like a respectable season length for something involving the BBC.

I recommend it. If you haven’t seen the first three seasons, they should be available on Netflix.


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