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Joined Up Thinking

Stevyn Colgan

Avocados have a toxin in stone - an oil called persin - which harmless to humans but poisonous for birds and toxic to animals such as cows and goats. Other foods which humans are ok with but which poison animals include chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins.

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Iceland has an unusual naming convention for surnames, which results in members of same family having different surnames. Magnus Magnusson is Magnus, son of Magnus. Bjork Magnusdottir is his sister. Sometimes a child will take her mother's name; so Janet, Mary's daughter, becomes Janet Marysdottir. The system means Icelandic folk usually greet each other by first jname, even in most formal settings. So Bjork is not a stage name like Bono; its actually how she would normally be addressed.

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Paula Yates, partner of rock stars Bob Geldof and Michael Hutchence, and mother of Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily etc, discovered by way of a paternity test, that her natural father was not religious TV broadcaster Jess Yates, but actually Hughie Green, most famous for hosting TV talent show Opportunity Knocks ....

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Frank Baum (who wrote The Wizard of Oz) once described a woman as having a 'roughish' smile when he'd meant to say 'rougish'. Since this was a description of a bride in an Aberdeen newspaper, the husband challenged him to a duel. The two men stood back to back, ready to walk ten paces then turn and shoot. Baum panicked and his ten paces turned into a run, but then a man stopped him and told him the other guy was also running away.

The script of Raiders of the Lost Ark originally called for an extended sword fight on a swing bridge. However Harrison Ford was suffering from dysentry, so director Steven Spielberg suggested that Indy simply pull out his gun and shoot the swordsman. This impromptu rewrite provided one of the film's best comic moments.

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