Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 10 January 2013

  • The UK’s state pension age would have to be 80 if it were to be restricted to the same percentage of people as received the original old age pensions provided in 1908, according to a study by Longevitas. Also vaguely interesting that the original pension age was set at 70 – fully two years more than will be reached by pension reforms that will take the state pension to age 68.
  • Cuts to the UK’s military budget mean that the number of regular soldiers in the British Army has gone from 102,000 in 2010 to 82,000 today. The British Army is now the smallest is has been since before the start of the Napoleonic wars, over two hundred years ago.
  • Only four of the 50 constituent states of the United States of America officially use the name “Commonwealth” instead of State. These are the Commonwealths of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
  • During the Second World War, a Great Western Railway passenger train was pursued by a German aircraft along the main line to Wales. The train successfully escaped into Severn Tunnel and remained hidden under the River Severn until the driver judged that the danger had passed. The train was struck by several bullets during the chase but there were no serious injuries.
  • Despite the all important initial French assistance in the American War of Independence, the first embassy of the United States was actually in the Dutch Republic. John Adams purchased a house at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 in the Hague in 1782 and, after the Dutch formally accepted his credentials, the house became the USA’s first embassy. They were, however, not the first country to recognise the USA’s independence: in December 1777, Morocco became the first nation to recognize the United States.