These are a few of our favourite facts from 2020 – Part 1

By January 11, 2021 LifeStyle

Sourced with thanks from

2020 was a year where we were all focussed on news about the pandemic and the related developments around it. However, there was a lot happening and there seems to have been many facts embedded in the various articles that appeared in New York Times. Their editors kept track of such facts and have collated in one place to make for some interesting reading that will probably help you look at last year a little differently. In Part 1 those facts gleaned from January to June 2020 are covered. Team RetyrSmart

These are a few of our favourite facts from 2020 – Part 1


  1. Japan’s legal system has a 99 percent conviction rate.
    Carlos Ghosn, at Home but Waiting for the Next Move
  2. Fishing remains the United States’ second most dangerous profession, after logging.
    Overtaken by Frigid Seas, Hours From Help, There Was Little Chance of Survival
  3. McSorley’s Old Ale House, established in 1854 in the East Village, served beer to Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon.
    After 190 Years, the ‘Most Famous Bar You’ve Never Heard of’ Avoids Last Call
  4. The Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania is within an eight-hour drive of one-third of American consumers.
    What the Rebirth of This Old Steel Center Means for Trump
  5. Dog the Bounty Hunter met Beth Chapman, his late wife, in 1986 when he posted her bond after she shoplifted a lemon.
    Dog the Bounty Hunter Is Hunting Alone
  6. The ginkgo is the oldest surviving tree species, having remained on the planet for some 200 million years.
    The Secret That Helps Some Trees Live More Than 1,000 Years

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  1. Around 1,000 to 4,000 orchid plants are used to make a single kilogram of salep, a beloved drink in Turkey that is like a cross between hot chocolate and rice pudding.
    For Many U.S. Turks, Salep Is Beloved but Elusive
  2. In Thailand, the military has staged 18 coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.
    Thai Soldier in Mass Shooting Had Business Clash With His Commander
  3. About 95 percent of Egypt’s population lives on about 4 percent of the land, a green belt roughly half the size of Ireland that follows the Nile as it snakes through the desert, then fans out into the Nile Delta.
    As Egypt’s Population Hits 100 Million, Celebration Is Muted
  4. Twice a day, the low tide of the River Thames drops the water level in some areas by as much as 20 feet.
    Mudlarks Scour the Thames to Uncover 2,000 Years of Secrets
  5. In the 1960s, concertgoers at the rock promoter Bill Graham’s Fillmore theaters in New York and San Francisco were greeted with barrels offering free apples.
    In Trippy Times, Bill Graham Took Care of Reality
  6. For decades after the birth of modern photography in 1839, one of the most common uses of the technology was a professionally shot photograph of a dead family member.
    The iPhone at the Deathbed
  7. The Scott Paper Company was the first company to introduce toilet paper with cardboard rolls, back in 1890.
    My Tireless Quest for a Tubeless Wipe
  8. Fearing they would face a shortage of wood for coffins after the first aerial attack on London in World War II, officials in the British Home Office believed they would have to bury thousands of people in cardboard or even papier-mâché.
    How Churchill Brought Britain Back From the Brink
  9. According to a 2008 study by the United States Institute of Peace, nearly 90 percent of women in Afghanistan will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime.
    They Killed Their Husbands. Now in Prison, They Feel Free.


  1. At one concert in Vienna in 1808, his last public appearance as a pianist, Beethoven unveiled the Fifth Symphony, the “Pastoral” Sixth, the Fourth Piano Concerto and “Choral Fantasy.”
    Review: Beethoven’s Biggest Concert, Now With Heat
  2. One study, published in Nature Climate Change in March, found that more than half of the world’s sandy beaches could disappear by the end of this century.
    The Original Long Islanders Fight to Save Their Land From a Rising Sea
  3. In the 24 years since they appeared together in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick got engaged, married and had three children, but did not act together.
    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker Spend the Night Together
  4. The summit of Mount Everest is about the size of two Ping-Pong tables.
    After Deadly Jam on Everest, Nepal Delays New Safety Rules
  5. Samsung was founded in 1938 as a shop selling vegetables and dried fish.
    Samsung: The Tech Monster That Conquered the World
  6. When the ants of the species Myrmecina graminicola encounter danger while on a slope, they tuck into a ball and roll away, the only ants known to move in this way.
    These Ants Have a Revolutionary Escape Strategy


  1. Years after Wyatt Earp’s famous turn at the O.K. Corral, in Tombstone, Ariz., he rambled around Los Angeles as an unpaid consultant for silent cowboy movies.
    Richard Prince: This Ain’t No Retrospective, It’s a Rodeo
  2. In Finland, a tradition of getting drunk at home in your underwear is so commonplace that there’s a word for it, “kalsarikännit.” The rough translation is “pantsdrunk.”
    Getting Tipsy at Home in Your Underwear
  3. In Britain, the BBC is nicknamed “Auntie” for its staid and reliable reputation.
    How the Beleaguered BBC Became ‘Comfort Food’ in a Pandemic
  4. Some 42 percent of American adults — nearly 80 million people — live with obesity.
    Obesity Linked to Severe Coronavirus Disease, Especially for Younger Patients
  5. King Saud, Saudi Arabia’s second king, fathered 53 sons and 57 daughters with numerous wives and concubines.
    After a Year of Silence, a Jailed Saudi Princess Appeals for Help
  6. Before the Industrial Revolution, the principal sources of noise were thunder, church bells and cannon fire.
    Loud, Louder, Loudest: How Classical Music Started to Roar
  7. Off the coast of the Bronx, Hart Island, now home to a cemetery for the homeless and for unidentified bodies, was once the site of city jails, a Civil War prison camp and an insane asylum for women.
    How Covid-19 Has Forced Us to Look at the Unthinkable
  8. Rats must gnaw, and constantly, because their sharp, hard incisors grow continuously throughout their lives — around four or five inches a year.
    Oh, Rats! Finally Moving Your Car? You May Get a Surprise.
  9. George Washington survived smallpox, malaria (six times), diphtheria, tuberculosis (twice) and pneumonia.
    What the History Books Won’t Tell You About George Washington


  1. If they were a country, cows would rank as the world’s sixth-largest emitter of methane gas, ahead of Brazil, Japan and Germany.
    The Business of Burps: Scientists Smell Profit in Cow Emissions
  2. Disney’s eight movie studios controlled 40 percent of the domestic box office in 2018.
    For Walt Disney Co., a Stricken Empire
  3. In May, Elon Musk and his girlfriend, Claire Boucher, the musician known as Grimes, had a child and named him X Æ A-12.
    Tesla Owners Try to Make Sense of Elon Musk’s ‘Red Pill’ Moment
  4. Richard Scherrer, the engineer listed first on the patent for Lockheed’s F-117 stealth aircraft, had moonlighted in the 1950s to design some of the rides at Disneyland, including Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
    Looking at War Across 2,500 Years
  5. Fungi can be trained to eat cigarette butts, used diapers, oil spills and even radiation.
    Whether You’re Making a Meal or Cleaning an Oil Spill, There’s a Fungus for That
  6. In March, as the coronavirus pandemic intensified, Americans bought two million guns, the busiest month for sales since January 2013.
    Father of School Shooting Victim Takes On Smith & Wesson


  1. There may be trillions of species of virus in the world. Of them, a few hundred thousand kinds are known, and fewer than 7,000 have names.
    Monster or Machine? A Profile of the Coronavirus at 6 Months
  2. Brooks Brothers, which Henry Sands Brooks founded in Manhattan in 1818, is the oldest apparel brand in continuous operation in the United States.
    Brooks Bros., ‘Made in America’ Since 1818, May Soon Need a New Calling Card
  3. Black women, on average, earn 64 cents for every dollar a white man earns, according to research from the Economic Policy Institute.
    The Stark Racial Inequity of Personal Finances in America
  4. A study on voting behavior by the economist Enrico Cantoni found that a quarter-mile increase in distance from a polling booth reduced voting by 2 to 5 percent.
    For Racial Justice, Employees Need Paid Hours Off for Voting
  5. “Gone With the Wind” is still the highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation.
    The Long Battle Over ‘Gone With the Wind’
  6. Over the past five years in Minneapolis, the police have used force against Black people at seven times the rate it has been used against white people.
    Policing in America Is Broken and Must Change. But How?
  7. Only a certain peanut bred for the proper size and the look of its shell makes the cut for the ballpark trade. It’s called the Virginia, grown in that state but also in the Carolinas, Texas and, to a lesser degree, New Mexico.
    Ballpark Peanuts, a Classic Summer Pleasure, Have Been Benched

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