@FACTFILES

The world's tallest man - who also has the largest hands and feet - has been named by Guinness World Records for the launch of its 2010 book. At 8ft 1in (2.47m), Sultan Kosen, from Turkey, is about 4in (10cm) taller than previous title-holder Bao Xishun.The 27-year-old's hands measure 10.8in (27.5cm) and his feet 14.3in (36.5cm).Mr Kosen, whose height is due to the medical condition pituitary gigantism, said he hoped his new-found fame would bring him love for the first time."The first thing I want to do is have a car that I can fit in, but more than that I want to get married," he said."Up until now it's been really difficult to find a girlfriend. I've never had one, they were usually scared of me. I'm hoping now I will find one."He went on: "Hopefully now that I'm famous I'll be able to meet lots of girls. I'd like to get married."

All in (27.9 cm) long egg of the world's largest fish, the rare plankton-feeding whale shark (Rhincodon Typus), contained an infant fish 13 in (33 cm) long.

Hunting the fox became popular in Britain from the second half of the 18th century.

 

Question:Where does the saying "The law is an ass" come from?

The expression has its origin in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. Mr Bumble's wife is accused in commiting fraud and Bumble denies all responsibility, whereupon Mr Brownlow informs him that "the law supposes that your wife acted under your direction".

In response to this, Bumble declares: " If the law supposes that, the law is a ass - a idiot". 'A' before the vowel was then the norm. Bumble added that the law was obviously a bachelor with no experience in such matters and badly in need of having his eyes opened.

Chris Daly

 Question:My reference dictionary defines a billion as a million million but point out that in France and America it is a thousand million. Which of these definitions is currently being used when describing Britain's National Debt or international trade balance?

The word billion originated in 16th century French meaning a million million. It was adopted in English in the late 17th century at around the time that its meaning was changing in France to refer a thousand million. This use of the word had established itself in American English by the 19th century, causing predictable confusion between the US and Britain.

From about 1951, most writers, newspapers and magazines in Britain have adopted the American use, to avoid confusion. The Treasury uses the financial world's accepted meaning of a billion as a thousand million.

Birt Casselmann,Collins English Dictionary, London


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