100 things we didn’t know last year

Interesting and unexpected facts can emerge from the daily news stories and the BBC News Magazine Monitor documents some of them in its weekly feature, 10 things we didn’t know last week. To kick off 2009, here are some of the best of last year. Read more here.

1. Victorians believed smoking cleared the lungs – and struck off Dr Thomas Allinson, who founded the bakery of the same name, for describing nicotine as a “foul poison” and advocating healthy eating.
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2. Police are not required to clean up a crime scene once evidence has been gathered.
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3. Octopuses need mental stimulation.
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4. Etiquette dictates that at dinner parties, a man should always talk to the woman on his left during the first course, and right during the main course.
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5. Both men and women find long legs in the opposite sex attractive, but not too long.
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6. Carrots used to be purple.
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7. Only offal-free versions of haggis are available in the United States.
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8. A bear helped carry ammunition for Polish troops during World War II.
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