Sunday, November 29, 2009


In November 2009 a media advisory stated that over 300 U.S. citizens, nearly all male, have identified themselves to law enforcement in about 100 cities as self-proclaimed "super heroes"  -  these individuals don costumes akin to comic book characters like Batman and Superman, and proclaim to be keeping watch over the streets of their cities at night  to prevent and report crimes  -  law enforcement have issued statements urging the public to not take on such roles that can lead to violence on the part of the "super hero" against an alleged criminal or can, in some cases, lead to the beating of the character by those who feel threatened or attacked by a man in a dark costume following them at night

Every one thousand years, Spring gets two-thirds of one day shorter

Percent of American men who claim that t.v. has taught them more about life than their parents: 22%

95% of all creatures on earth are smaller than a chicken egg

Half of all Americans will receive food aid (commonly known in the U.S. as "food stamps"), at least temporarily, before age 20  -  the rate for Blacks in the U.S. is 90%

36 million Americans currently receive food aid, but while the term "food stamps" is still commonly understood to mean financial aid for non-taxable food purchases, the name enacted by Congress purportedly to remove the stigma of receiving such aid was changed officially to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)  -  SNAP benefits reach about 75% of those eligible in the U.S.  (The government estimates that nearly half of the U.S. population may be eligible for SNAP but either do not want to apply due to social stigma, are unaware that they are eligible, or reside in areas where funds have become limited)

Globally, more than a billion people survive on less than $1 a day

Over a span of five years, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spent more than $10 million to develop an "acoustic kitty"  -  the money was spent on training a cat to not run away or be distracted, and to implant audio-detection devices in the cat's body so the agency could deploy the cats in various areas as "operatives"  -  the implanted equipment included a battery and an antenna placed in the tail  -  the program was finally discontinued when, during a field test, the final feline in the experiment became startled, darted under a taxicab, and died

Odds that a married couple reports "enjoying sex" with each other during the first three years of marriage:  1 in 1.15 (87%)  -  Odds decrease to 1 in 3.45 (29%) after these same couples were interviewed after ten years of marriage

Odds that a U.S. Congressperson has experience as a state legislator are the same that a person 12 years or older in the U.S. will drink alcohol in a month:  1 in 2 (50%)

32 million Americans take 3 or more prescription medications per day

In the U.S., Blacks are 6 times more likely to be murdered than whites

Where in the world you are most likely to be murdered: Columbia, South Africa, Jamaica, Venezuela, Russia, Mexico, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus

Where in the world you are most likely to end up behind bars: United States (the U.S. incarceration rate is higher than any other nation with 1 out of every 99 people locked up  -  1 in 78 Americans are either in jail, prison, on probation or on parole)

From 1973-1992 the gun supply in the United States doubled while the homicide rate remained unchanged

On average, 2 countries per year have abolished the death penalty since 1976

Number of Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO: 10

The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (1/4 of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest individuals combined

In 1999, Harvard University conducted a study called "Gorillas in Our Midst"  -  test subjects were instructed to watch people pass a basketball back and forth  -  meanwhile, more than 80% of the time subjects failed to notice a person in a gorilla suit walking around the room

Percent of Americans who can name the Three Stooges when asked to do so spontaneously: 60%
Percent of Americans who can name three past or current Supreme Court justices: 17%

An official census of Panama City in 1610 listed 548 citizens and more than 3,500 African slaves

Less than 1% of human flatulence is made up of the chemicals that cause odor but they are so pungent that most people can smell them at 1 part per 100 million

Butterflies taste with their feet

It is impossible for a solar eclipse to last longer than 7 minutes, 58 seconds

Plants that are thirsty emit a high pitched sound that the human ear cannot hear

The custom of shaking hands when greeting originated as a way for men who were strangers to demonstrate they were unarmed

Air becomes liquid at -190 degrees Celsius  -  liquid air looks like water with a slight bluish tint

More than 35 million people in the U.S. used an illegal drug last year

To lose one pound of fat, a person must burn about 3,500 calories

Average weight of a newborn in the U.S.: 7 lbs., 6 oz.

Worldwide, only 4% of babies are born on their due date

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow  -  when the project was completed he was so taken with its beauty he had the architects blinded so that they would never be able to build anything else more beautiful

If you were born in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the Manhattan Project (where scientists made the atomic bomb), your birthplace is officially listed as a post office box in Albuquerque, NM

Until the age of 5, we laugh about 400 times a day  -   by adulthood we laugh about 15 times a day

Americans spend 5 times more of their life in their car than on holiday

Fourteen years before the Titanic sank, novelist Morgan Robertson published a story about a fictional ship named Titan that struck an iceberg on a foggy April night and sank

Houses were first numbered in Paris in 1463 -- numbering later appeared in Britain in 1708

In London, it rains more often on Thursday than any other day of the week

Nearly 10% of the world's elderly live in the United States (age 60 and older)

No disease afflicting humans ever identified by doctors and scientists has ever been fully eradicated

In the U.S., the number one cause of blindness is diabetes

People in Iceland read more books than any other people in the world while people in France own more pets, people in Sweden eat more candy, and people in the U.S. own more televisions

The first revolution recorded in writing took place around 2500 BC when people in the Sumarian city of Lagash overthrew bureaucrats who were embezzling taxes

More adult American women are living without a husband than are living with one

Less than 25% of the American population over age 25 have a college degree

40% of the world's almonds, 20% of all peanuts, and 8% of the world's sugar end up in candy bars

At normal room temperature, the atoms around us are whizzing by at about 1,000 miles per hour

Being bilingual delays dementia

The Ottoman Empire once had seven emperors in 7 months -- the unlucky leaders died of (in order): burning, choking, drowning, stabbing, heart failure, poisoning, and being thrown from a horse

Since 2003, the suicide rate for girls in the U.S. between the ages of 10 and 14 has increased 76%

Chances of being born on Leap Day: 1 in 1,500  -  about 187,000 people in the U.S. and 4 million people around the world were born on Leap Day (February 29)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Of all animals, termites have the highest rate of flatulence

Overall, 84% of all serial killers are white, 93% are male, and 76% are American

Less than half of women in the U.S. say that color is an important factor when buying a new car, as compared to more than 60% of American men

In Houston, Texas it is illegal to grunt while moving boxes

Milk cartons were invented in Sweden

When humans meet for the first time, our eyes widen and our eyebrows lift

Number one cause of burglar alarm activation in the U.S.: owner error (burglary ranks 7th)

Number of days in a year that are exactly 24 hours: 4

Country with the most colleges and universities: Mexico (10,341)

In 2000, Disney lifted its 43-year ban on employee mustaches

About 2% of humans have an extra nipple somewhere on their body

October 4, 2004 was the first day since 1999 on which no one was shot in Chicago

By law, all tombstones in Norway must be the same height

Adding up all the times you blink in a day, your eyes are closed for a total of 30 minutes

Your sense of smell is sharpest at age 10 -  by age 20 you will have lost 20% of your sense of smell

Before the Rockies or the Alps were formed, dinosaurs were already extinct

A typical bed houses about 6 million dust mites

The amount of petroleum used worldwide in one year is doubling every 10 years (The U.S. is the world's largest consumer, and the U.S. military consumes most of the imported oil)

Roman citizens who experienced a striking or seemingly significant dream submitted what they had seen to the Senate for analysis and interpretation

1 out of 8 people in the world is suffering chronic malnutrition

Of all the oxygen you breathe in, 20% goes to your brain

During WWII, the U.S. Navy enlisted the assistance of world chess champion Reuben Fine to calculate, on the basis of positional probability, where enemy submarines might be located

In a year, the average person has walked 4 miles in making their bed each day

A zebra is white with black stripes

All polar bears are left-handed

Physicist Lise Meiter, who made calculations that led to the discovery of nuclear fission, was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in physics but never won -- in 1992, she was posthumously named by fellow scientists "The most significant woman scientist of this century"

In 1949, the Nobel Prize in medicine went to Antonio Egas Moniz in recognition of his breakthrough discovery, the lobotomy -- ten years later he was shot and paralyzed by a disgruntled lobotomized patient

The world's termites outweigh the world's humans by a ratio of 10:1

The rate at which women are murdered in the United States is 5 times higher than any other industrialized nation

Number of psychiatrists who claim to have been physically attacked by a patient: 1 in 2

Percent of Americans who identify the sun as a planet: 15%

Percent of U.S. college graduates who claim to have received all or most of their information after graduation from television watching: 27%

Cockroaches produce flatulence every 15 minutes

Number of Americans who will turn 65 between now and 2030: 38 million

If you are an American murdered in the United States, the chance that you knew your assailant: 92%

If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender American and are murdered in the U.S., chance you knew your assailant: 23%

Date and time of the most UFO sightings each year in the United States: July 4, at either 9p.m. or 3a.m. local time

Italy has a higher population of Barbie dolls than Canada does Canadians

If a child in the U.S. owns a Barbie doll, odds are they own 7

Number of dog owners who say they have talked to their dog over the phone: 1 in 3

Avocados have more protein than any other fruit, and are poisonous to birds

Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey

Largest landowner in New York City: Catholic Church (Columbia University is second)

Wal-Mart clothing brand "No Fear" is manufactured in U.S. prisons (Prison labor manufactures 200,000 garments a year sold in 32 U.S. states, Europe and Japan)

Industrialized nations have a higher per capita suicide rate than developing nations - among industrialized nations, the U.S. ranks at about the middle for suicide

Nearly 150 million Americans are in the workforce and 12% of the total American population lives below the poverty line (close to half of those living below the poverty line are employed)

Obese men are 42% less likely to commit suicide than other men

100 years ago, Americans spent 43% of their income on food and 14% on clothing -- today, Americans spend 13% on food and 4% on clothing (spending is now spread out on other items such as t.v., car, Internet, travel, phone and home ownership, which in the past 100 years has risen from 20% to nearly 70%)

In the United States, whites are more likely to cheat on their spouse than any other racial group

In 2002, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the mentally retarded could not be given the death penalty - as a result, a full 25% of death row inmates had their sentences commuted to life

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Ethiopians first noticed the effects of caffeine when they saw their goats appearing to become frisky and "dance" after eating coffee berries

Odds that a man who is married or in a co-habitation romantic relationship has cheated during that relationship:  1 in 4.76  (Odds for a woman are 1 in 9.09)

Current U.S. national debt:  $11.9 Trillion (US)

A little-known law enacted in 1916 by an act of Congress allows Americans to donate to paying off the national debt and get the same tax-deduction status they would receive as if donating to a charity - while the U.S. government does not have verifiable information on exactly how much money has been donated by Americans to date, the average donation amount is $100 and usually is bequeathed by a citizen in their will after their death - during the current U.S. recession, an average of five people per day donate to pay off the national debt

60 is the smallest number divisible by 1 through 6

Coffee is the second-most traded world commodity, following oil

George Washington invented instant coffee - he was a Belgian man living in Guatemala in 1906

In 1675, the King of England banned coffee houses, claiming they were places where people met to conspire against him (he was right about most of them)

The oldest person on death row in the United States is 94-year-old Viva Leroy Nash - twice Nash escaped prison, and at 67, during his second escape, he robbed a coin shop and fatally shot the 23-year-old clerk, the crime for which he was sentenced to die (Nash is awaiting his last appeal for a life sentence)

40 is the only number that when spelled out (forty) have all letters in alphabetical order

64% of Americans favor the death penalty, which is down 5% from just two years ago and down nearly 20% from 1994

Odds that a male in the U.S. has paid for sex:  1 in 7

75% of Americans state they prefer to be married, while 18% prefer to be unmarried but either dating or in a relationship, and just 2% report preferring to be single

Americans spend more on the interest on their unsecured debt (such as credit cards) than on fresh vegetables by a ratio of nearly 2:1

Although humans appear relatively hairless compared to other primates, the average adult human has more hair follicles than a chimpanzee - the main distinction is that human hairs are shorter, finer, and less heavily pigmented

Men with higher incomes are twice as likely to cheat on their wives than men with lower incomes

Human birth control pills work just as effectively on female gorillas

On average, boys are born during the day more often than girls

Some gerbils are born pregnant

Due to the angle at which the optic nerve enters the brain, staring at a blue surface during sex can greatly increase the intensity of the human orgasm

It is illegal for unmarried couples to have sex in a hotel room in the state of North Carolina

Globally, the average female will have three pregnancies in her lifetime

The sperm count of an average American male compared to 25 years ago has dropped by more than 30%

More twins are born in the Western world than in the Eastern world

Peter the Great executed his wife's lover and had the head of the decapitated man put in a jar of alcohol that he then placed at his wife's bedside where he ordered it to stay for the remainder of their marriage

A barnacle has the largest penis of any other animal in relation to its body size

Average number of times an American male will masturbate in his lifetime: 2,000

53% of Norwegians claim they want to have sex more frequently (Norwegians currently have sex an average of 98 times a year) while 86% of Portuguese claim to be completely satisfied with their sex lives (Portuguese currently have sex an average of 108 times a year)

The United States has more laws governing sex than all the countries in Europe combined

Statistically, the room where you are most likely to tell a lie: bedroom

"The pill" fails to prevent pregnancy 6.2% of the time - the condom fails nearly 14% of the time

Failure rate of condoms in preventing the transmission of HIV: 31%

On average, a human will have sex 3,000 times and spend two full weeks kissing in their lifetime

The speed at which an erotic sensation travels from the skin to the brain is 156 mph

When researchers surgically implanted electrodes into rats' brains in an area presumed to control sexual processes and made it possible for the rats to stimulate themselves, most of the rats cranked up the juice more than 2000 times an hour for 24 hours straight - all lost interest in food, even to the point of starvation

Cold showers actually increase sexual arousal rather than decrease it

Snails have sex for up to 8 hours

Penguins have sex twice a year

The male praying mantis cannot copulate with its head attached to its body, so before intercourse the female initiates mating by ripping his head off

According to several studies, couples who stare into each other's eyes for one minute or longer have an 88% greater chance of ending up in an argument rather than feeling affection for their partner

Both men and women are most likely to experience their first orgasm alone through self-stimulation

Jews and atheists average more sex partners over their lifetimes than do Protestants or Catholics

Sex with a person of the opposite sex is the third most common sexual fantasy for both gay men and lesbians - oral sex is the most common sexual fantasy for gay men, lesbians and heterosexuals

56% of women claim they can't enjoy sex with a partner who is not their intellectual equal (12% of men claim the same)

35% of American men admitted when surveyed to having attempted to perform oral sex on themselves - 0.7% claimed to have succeeded

Largest cell in the human body: female egg

Smallest cell in the human body: male sperm

Number of Internet web pages: more than 10 billion (1 in 5 is pornographic)

Industrialized nation with the most teenage mothers: United States

During kissing, the face and head more often tilt to the right (80% of the time) - researchers believe this is because emotions are controlled by the right side of the brain

A snail's genitals are on its head

Monday, November 9, 2009


Of the nearly 3 million tons of food aid provided by the U.S. annually to developing nations, nearly 25% is Title I sales in which food is sold to third world governments on easy credit terms for resale to local livestock industries as feed, and to food-processing companies (often from the U.S. or other lender nations) who make pasta, bread, cooking oil, and other products for urban consumers - Title I sales are used as a primary tool to create new markets for U.S. grain exports (recipient developing and so-called "third world" nations often come to depend on foreign food supplies since the initial aid ties create a structural dependency where the local food crops are replaced by companies and factories - which use the land and other resources - that ultimately displace the local food supply and replace it with an export food market)

Year the United States declared independence from England: 1776

Percent of Americans over age 20 surveyed in 2005 who could not name the country from which the U.S. gained independence: 43%

First person to issue an official proclamation freeing enslaved Africans in the U.S.: John Murray, Governor of Virginia, 1775 (Abraham Lincoln's proclamation came nearly a century later)

Nearly 30% of all U.S. foreign food aid is entirely tied to purchases from companies in the U.S. - an amount greater than the total assistance the U.S. gave to Sub-Saharan Africa last year

Humanitarian relief has been positive for the image of the U.S. around the world, and it comes at a high price - even though relief aid, which is the assistance given to a nation in a crisis or emergency, accounts for less than 3% of the aid the U.S. offers each year and an overall tiny fraction of the federal budget, the money spent to promote U.S. humanitarian relief most often exceeds the amount of money spent on relief in a region by a ratio of 2:1

The U.S. benefits from the aid it gives out by attaching conditions to those benefits that open new markets for U.S. goods and food exports, and often contain a condition that the U.S. also supply "military aid" - the U.S. supplies "military aid" to countries that may not even have a full army - by selling weapons and technology, however, the U.S. creates a new market for exports

The United States currently is the chief supplier of guns, ammunition and other weapons globally, and in as many as 50 conflicts is the supplier of munitions to both sides (armed conflict has been named as a leading cause of hunger and famine worldwide by the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and Amnesty International)

When the United States gives food aid, it attaches "covenants" - these are conditions that the recipient country must meet that usually alter the structure of that nation's local economies (for example, between 1982 and 1990, Costa Rica received 9 assistance packages that contained a total of 357 covenants that made receiving the aid conditional on many structural changes that have remained permanent, including eliminating local grain markets; slashing support prices for locally grown corn, beans and rice; allowing more imports from the U.S.; and easing restrictions on foreign investments)

Only 12% of the world's population uses 85% of the world's water - none of this 12% lives in the "third world"

U.S. foreign aid entirely- emergency assistance, humanitarian relief, and longer-term food relief programs- account for less than 0.15% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product - and less than all other industrialized nations' foreign aid relief

In a 2005 survey, nearly 2 out of 3 Americans expressed negative perceptions of foreign relief estimating that the U.S. gave out "at least 10%" of GDP to foreign nations, that this was "charity" and that the foreign nations were frequently "not at all grateful" - less than 0.01% of respondents claimed that the U.S. and other industrialized nations "owed" aid to recipient nations (in exchange for centuries of profit through conquest and colonialism, mineral and natural resource extraction, labor exploitation, and unequal trade practices internationally)

Sneak Peek at Global Spending:
*Military spending: $780 Billion (US)
*Alcoholic drinks in Europe: $150 Billion (US)
*Cigarettes in Europe: $50 Billion (US)
*Business entertainment in Japan: $35 Billion (US)
*Pet food in Europe and U.S.: $17 Billion (US)
*Perfumes in Europe and U.S.: $12 Billion (US)
*Ice cream in Europe: $11 Billion (US)
*Cosmetics in the U.S.: $8 Billion (US)
*Universal education (basic): $6 Billion (US)

The U.S. ranks 15th out of the wealthiest 19 industrialized nations in the prevention of deaths that are "amendable to treatment" (the U.S. ranked last among these nations in the category of "child welfare")

Globally, 40% of the diseases measured by YLD (Years Lived with Disability) are psychiatric (most common are schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol/substance abuse)

Globally, 1 out of 4 people will develop a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, with major depression being the most common disorder (schizophrenia and depression have been found in every known culture)

3000 people in the world will start smoking cigarettes today

U.S. military spending accounts for nearly half the world's total military spending, or $350 Billion (US)

Most U.S. tax dollars are spent on "national defense" (such as the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan) while 6.5% of taxes are spent on education, and less than 6% is spent on health

Women on "the pill" are 30 times more likely to suffer gum disease

Last year 2,953 Americans were treated at hospitals for toothbrush-related injuries

Odds that an American will visit a hospital for an injury related to an automatic garage door: 1 in 106,300

The world has 193 officially recognized sovereign nations - the United States has over 1700 military bases in 154 nations in the world

The odds that a U.S. congressional representative has experience as a mayor are the same odds that a woman in the U.S. has had an ulcer: 1 in 15

Odds that a white person in the United States aged 68 will live to be 100 years of age: 1 in 34

Odds that a Native American will live to be 68 years of age: 1 in 100

2.4% of Americans live past 100 years
22.4% - past 90 years
54.5% - past 80 years
76.3% - past 70 years

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It takes 30 bone and joint movements and 50 muscles to manipulate chopsticks, a factor some Chinese insist is behind their success at table tennis - the Chinese have used chopsticks when eating for 30 centuries

Starving children in Angola have discovered that sucking on a rag soaked in gasoline can quell hunger pangs for hours at a time - children routinely dash between cars, competing to mop up spilled gas near filling stations

Things to throw at weddings:
African-American: Black-eyed peas
Nepal: Lava (a type of popcorn roasted over a mild flame)
Morocco: A mix of dried grapes, dates and figs
Serbia: Local candies
Other American: White rice

Due to scientific intervention, modern dairy cows produce 10 times more milk than their bodies are intended to (to burn the amount of energy a modern cow expends lactating, you would have to jog non-stop for six hours a day) - newer interventions have produced cows that deliver semi-skimmed milk right from her udder

Children in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay have 6.5 cavities before they reach age 12, the worst rate of child tooth decay in the world

If a woman had the exact proportions of a typical clothes mannequin she would be unable to menstruate

The reason male mannequins do not have genitalia, according to manufacturers, is that clothes do not "hang well" when life-like genitalia are added

Pubic wigs, also known as "night flowers," are sold in Japan as fluffy clumps of recycled hair to be worn on the pubis of schoolgirls and young brides ashamed of their relative lack of pubic hair (no similar product is sold for boys)

Leading health risk for dogs and cats in the U.S.: Obesity (over 50 million dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight and at-risk for diabetes, liver disease, and other illnesses)

To perform rhinoplasty, or a "nose-job," surgeons slit open the nose, put a chisel against the bone, and break it with a small hammer, afterward molding the bones back together by hand until the nose attains the desired new shape

90% of mouth cancer is caused by tobacco use

Beer is made, in part, by fermentation caused by bacteria feeding on yeast cells then defecating

Eating burns 72 calories an hour; sleeping consumes about 50 calories an hour

1 in 14 American women is a natural blond, while 1 in 16 American men are naturally blond

Number of turkeys raised in the U.S. last year to be sold commercially: 272 million (the turkey industry is worth approximately $3 billion annually; to meet the increased demand for turkey for the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, an additional $10 million worth of turkeys are imported from Canada each year)

Your bladder can hold between 350ml and 550ml of urine - at around 250ml, you will feel the need to urinate - childbirth, disease, age, or a weak bladder wall can cause some to leak urine - 5-10% of the world's population are affected by this condition, known as incontinence

Two-thirds of turkeys sold in the U.S. come from 6 states: Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia (Americans consume an average of 13 pounds of turkey a year)

At the time of the U.S. Revolutionary War, Philadelphia was the second-largest English speaking city in the world, surpassed only by London

Despite being nominated five times, Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace Prize and only made the short-list of candidates twice - after Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, the Nobel Committee announced that no peace prize would be awarded that year since "there was no suitable living candidate"

Guinness beer is not black, but is a very dark shade of ruby

Most death penalty executions in the United States are carried out one minute past midnight

The average North American gray squirrel lives about 9 years

3000 out of 3001 calico cats is born female

Your body has 40 miles of nerves

In the U.S., more money is spent annually on cigarettes and alcohol than on life insurance by a ratio of 20:1

A "micro-nation" is a country that is not recognized by any other as a sovereign - one example of the literally thousands that exist is the Principality of Sealand, located on an ocean platform off the coast of England, which has its own currency, flag, postage stamps, and issues its own passports but has argued in court for independence (and lost) more than a dozen times (other terms for micro-nations include Model Country and New Country Project)

The average paper currency note in the United States is meant to take up to 400 folds in each direction before it rips, and is made of 25% linen fibers

There are 191 officially recognized currencies worldwide

On average, 300,000 people starve to death each year - 50,000 are children under age 5

In developed nations the median age is 40 years, while in developing countries the median age ranges between 15 and 20 years

Major Languages (native and secondary speakers):
Mandarin Chinese: 1.12 billion
English: 500 million
Spanish: 325 million
Russian: 290 million
French: 270 million
Hindi/Urdu: 255 million
Arabic: 222 million

Percent of Americans over age 20 that are considered obese: 32% (66.5% of the American population over age 20 is considered overweight)

Maggots were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a "live medical device" - placed on serious wounds, maggots eat bacteria and dead tissue, stimulating healing and helping to prevent infection

82% of U.S. households speak English-only in the home

Most hungry people live in countries that have food surpluses rather than deficits - instead of growing food to feed local communities, industrial agriculture produces crops to sell on world markets (world crop production has tripled since 1950, but more people have died of hunger in each of the past twenty years)

At the dawn of agriculture, around 8000 BCE, world population was approximately 5 million - from 8000 BCE to 1 AD, population grew to about 200 million with an average growth rate of 0.5% a year - annual world population growth rate reached its peak in the 1960s when it was at 2% and currently the growth rate is 1.5% and steadily declining

In the forty year span between 1959 and 1999 world population doubled from 3 billion to 6 billion - United Nations reports project world population will stabilize at about 10 billion people after 2200

Males aged 25-29 die at a rate of 1 in 721 in the U.S. each year

Joseph Merlin of Belgium demonstrated his new invention, roller skating, at a masquerade party in London in 1760

What Keeps Us Pretty:
*Placenta: The uterus lining expelled during childbirth is called the placenta - products were aggressively marketed in the U.S. that contained placenta in the 1940s with claims of wrinkle-removal and initiating tissue growth for "younger-looking skin" - the U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits that placenta does contain high amounts of protein, but bans companies from making specific claims that placenta is more effective than other proteins in skin-care products - today, many skin creams continue to contain placenta

*Whale vomit: Otherwise known as ambergis, a flammable waxy substance that is used in perfumes and some beauty creams, whale vomit contains proteins that aid in keeping skin smooth

*Cow dung: Expected to hit store shelves in 2010, Japanese researchers have found a way to create sweet vanilla fragrance through special heating and pressure processes so that cow dung, which is inexpensive, can be used as a fragrance in shampoo, soap, and cosmetics

*Semen: Contains a very powerful antioxidant called spermine that is five-times more effective than Vitamin E for the healing process of human skin - a Scandanavian company makes an entire line of skin-care products that use spermine, while companies around the world use bull semen in shampoos to give hair extra strength and shine

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