With Schott's Almanac, you need never lose a pub quiz again

Highgate resident Ben Schott has produced the second edition of his cultural, social and political barometer of the year: Schott s Almanac. Published by Bloomsbury price £16.99, it is a self-proclaimed almanac to be read and an antidote to the dryer ver

Highgate resident Ben Schott has produced the second edition of his cultural, social and political barometer of the year: Schott's Almanac.

Published by Bloomsbury price £16.99, it is a self-proclaimed "almanac to be read" and an antidote to the dryer versions of yearly round-ups.

With précis on world events, celebrity doings, prizes, elections and a wealth of fascinating facts and tables, it is a highly collectible purchase for all

trivia and pub quiz fans.

Random fascinating facts include:

o The RNID ear of the year went to Charlotte Church and

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David Tennant.

o X Factor winner Shayne Ward became the first reality TV participant immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds.

o A Peace Alliance survey found 29 per cent of London schoolchildren admitted

carrying a knife.

o 2006 words of the year include Muffin Top - a roll of abdominal fat that spills from the top of tight jeans, and The Poodle Problem - Whitehall slang for the perception that Tony Blair is a cipher for George Bush.

o New terms surrounding detention and interrogation include the comment by Guantanamo Bay camp commander that the suicide of three inmates was an act of "asymmetrical warfare", and the term "Futility Music", including Metallica and Barney the Dinosaur, to denote violent aggressive repetitive music played at high volume to terror suspects

o By the end of September 2006 2,938 troops had been killed in Iraq and an estimated 47,651 civilians.

o Amnesty International reported that in 2005, the USA executed 60 prisoners - five more than Pakistan and Yemen put together.

o American magazine Parade published a list of the world's worst dictators analysing their record of human rights abuse. Omar al-Bashir of Sudan came top and Britain's trading partner King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia seventh.

o Only Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and Luxembourg hit the UN target of giving 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to overseas development aid, according to the Organisation for Economic

co-operation and Development.

o Latest figures for the proportion of foreigners within the UK is 4.8 per cent. 91.9 per cent of the GB population is white, 4.1 per cent Asian and two per cent black. The remaining two per cent are mixed, Chinese or other.

o In 2004 there were 61 shark attacks worldwide, including seven deaths. UK Department of Health statistics show 81 people were hospitalised after being struck by lightning in 2004-2005 and four following contact with a venomous spider.

o Hurricane names for the Atlantic basin in 2007 include Chantal, Karen, Tanya and Wendy.

o The Economist Intelligence Unit, which charts the cost of living in cities worldwide, named Oslo the most expensive with Tokyo second and London seventh.

o The average age of UK mothers rose to 28.9 in 2004 with women on average just over 27 by the time they have their first child - up from 23.7 in 1971.

o The Angel of the North, a cup of tea, the SS Empire Windrush and The Routemaster bus were suggested as English icons by a Department for Culture Media and Sport panel of experts and academics.

o A Learning and Skills Council survey of 16 to 19-year-olds found Richard Branson and JK Rowling the top two role models, with Tony Blair in fifth ahead of Frank Lampard and Ms Dynamite. Worryingly, 16 per cent of those polled believed they would become famous in the future and 10 per cent said they would quit school if given a shot at fame.

o Just 32.2 per cent of UK marriages take place within a religious ceremony.

o A sex poll conducted by Durex found 26 per cent of Icelanders had participated in three-in-a-bed romp and 13 per cent of Chinese have had sado-masochistic sex.

o 23 per cent of the UK population is classed as obese compared to 30 per cent in the US and just 9.4 per cent in France.

o Meeting the Media, a manual for US military personnel, includes the advice: "In this technologically advanced era, reality is not what actually exists but what is perceived to exist." Soldiers are also advised to avoid using overly emotive words to journalists such as "massacre" "deaths" or "corruption".

o Research by Dr Eelco Wijdicks published in Neurology in May 2006 found only the 1990 film Reversal Of Fortune and the 1998 movie The Dreamlife Of Angels accurately depicted coma victims. Other films were criticised for miraculous awakenings with no lasting side effects and comatose patients remaining tanned, muscular and well-turned out.

o The Bookseller's Oddest Book Title of the Year voted by the book trade went to Gary Leon Hill's People Who Don't Know They Are Dead How They Attach Themselves To Unsuspecting Bystanders And What to Do About It.

o In 2006, the RPI, which measures the cost of living via a basket" of goods and services, removed items such as minced lamb, flea drops and frozen gateau and added nanny fees, an MP3 player, musical downloads and a bottle of lager in a nightclub.

o Britain's favourite car colour is silver with 823,000 vehicles sold in 2005, according to the society of Motor Traders. Just 4,184 pink cars are on British roads.

o A Feb 2006 New Woman magazine poll of the 100 sexiest men put Tory leader David Cameron at 92 - ahead of Hollywood hunk Russell Crowe.