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The ‘ladybird’ name comes from the fact that in medieval times their spots reminded people of the Virgin Mary’s red cloak. Ever the innovator, da Vinci had ignored tried and tested fresco techniques and used the wrong paints on the wrong surface, meaning it decayed quickly.Centuries later, Napoleon’s soldiers supposedly tied their horses to the convent wall it was painted on, and the building’s roof was torn off by a bomb in World War II, so it was exposed to the elements for three years. ‘Lully-prigging’ was stealing clothes from washing lines when they’d been put out to dry.It has been estimated that to fill an Olympic-size pool with printer ink would cost about £4.3 billion. In 1951, tourists visiting for the Festival of Britain were put up in the shelter below Clapham South – the same place where Caribbean immigrants had been temporarily housed in 1948.In World War II, the Central line was converted into a fighter aircraft factory that stretched for more than two miles, with its own miniature railway system. One of its first names was ‘tewaarathon’, meaning ‘the little brother of war’ – supposedly because of the endurance and aggression it developed in its players.And in 2014 a company bought the shelter at Clapham North so it could be used to grow vegetables with artificial light. It was very violent – one of the players’ primary duties was to disable the opposing team before even trying to score a goal.As with traditional English football, teams could have hundreds of players, and the goals were miles apart – meaning games could go on for days. The painting is on canvas, which is woven from hemp, the Greek for which is kannabis, from which we get both the English word ‘cannabis’ and the word ‘canvas’.

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See the difference between accurate and precise measurements in the bull’s eye figure below.Tommy Atkins was used as early as 1743 – there’s a myth that the Duke of Wellington came up with it – and for decades specimen forms for enlisting soldiers were filled in by a fictional ‘Tommy Atkins’.During World War I, many British troops hated the name and they only used it derisively. With almost implausibly good fortune, Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, hit 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars (then worth about £2,600) on the lottery in 2000.In the sciences, it is important to distinguish between precision and accuracy.If we use the analogue of a clock we can investigate this further.

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