Five things we learned last month
During our research into the features for our first issue of 2016 we’ve stumbled across plenty of good pub ammo: here are our five favourite facts learned in January.
1) Retired highway maintenance worker Greg Packer has been quoted in the news so often that the Associated Press once sent a memo to its staff telling them not to use him in their articles again. The 53-year-old from Huntington, NY, is said to have been quoted nearly a thousand times since he started his campaign for press coverage in 1995 – even though he has no special expertise. His hunger for media attention in 2007 drove him to sit in line for an iPhone for nearly five days.
2) Last November, the Pew Research Center reported that between 2009 and 2014, more Mexican immigrants returned to Mexico from the US than entered the country. The institute said the net loss amounted to 140,000, with family reunification being the top reason for return.
3) The Soviet Union in 1960 created a highly secret cosmonaut training facility nicknamed ‘Star City’. The base, officially called ‘Military Unit 26266 in closed townlet number one’ was built about 25 miles northeast of Moscow but was not included on Soviet-era maps. Because cosmonauts lived at the base with their families, Star City grew into a proper town with schools, a movie theatre and a post office. In 2008, the small city moved from military to civilian ownership when Russian space agency Roscosmos took control, prompting its first mayoral elections in June 2009.
4) According to a Hansard Society report on the UK lobbying sector, many MPs are approached by lobbyists from charities, businesses and trade unions more than 100 times a week. The authors of the report polled 160 MPs to reach the figure.
5) Murray Jarvik, the co-inventor of the nicotine patch, unknowingly spent time researching a precursor chemical of LSD for the CIA. In the 1950s, the intelligence agency was looking for chemical agents which could be used as truth serums. Dr Jarvik didn’t find out who funded his work on the effect of d-lysergic acid on memory until later.
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