Monday, December 14, 2009


Unemployment insurance in the United States reaches about half of the jobless due to restrictions in who can qualify to receive benefts, and replaces about half of the lost income for those it does reach - the U.S. system is tax-funded, so recipients have already paid into the system while employed, but coverage is limited in most cases to 6 months (applications for extended coverage can be submitted in most states, but it is granted less than half the time)

More prisoners are incarcerated in California state prisons (190,000) than there are federal prisons in the United States (175,000)

Scientists have found that rats learn complex mazes on average three times faster than college students

In February 2008, the United Nations released a report that predicted that half the world's population would live in urban areas by the end of the decade - as of December 2009, that prediction had been realized

According to anthropologists and other researchers, history began with the advent of writing and pre-history denotes anything occurring before writing - history, therefore, began at different times for different peoples around the world depending - researchers who had previously thought a few ancient ruins were "pre-historic" have since realized that the carvings found at the sites were a "written" record of what the people believed and experienced

Until about 10,000 years ago, most humans lived as hunter-gatherers - about 6,000 years ago the first proto-states developed in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley - military forces were formed as well as government bureaucracies for administration

Around 2000 to 3000 years ago, some states (such as Persia, India, China, Rome and Greece) developed through conquest into the first expansive empires

On September 18, 2006, a few days after her 40th birthday, Anousheh Ansari became the first Muslim woman to participate in a spaceflight - she was a self-funded space tourist who visited the International Space Station through Russia's space program  (the cost: $20 million US)

In the United States, it is against the law to have sex with a dead person

The United States has more laws governing sex than all European nations combined

Most experts agree that the total number of African slaves sent to all parts of the world between 1500 and 1865 was at least 12 million - given that only 1 in 10 made the trip alive, the number of Africans enslaved or killed during this period is about 120 million

World population:  6.8 billion humans
World population:  6.8 billion chickens

The first Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina lasted 12 seconds and is hailed as the "birth of human flight" - the longest chicken flight ever recorded lasted 13 seconds

Percent of the Earth's surface used to grow food:  11%

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, had a phobia of the dark

In the United States, 1 in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is in jail or prison - the rate for Black men in  that age group is 1 in 9

The mortality rate in the U.S. saw the most rapid decline between 1936 and 1954, due to medical advances - the next great decline happened between 1968 and 1982, also due to medical advances - mortality rates in the U.S. continue to decline, but more slowly and steadily

The average human experiences about 1,460 dreams per year

Number of tourists who traveled to a small town in the state of New Mexico, USA in 2007 to visit a tortilla chip that some claimed bore the "face of Jesus":  over 11,000

In 2002, a Nike commercial appeared on American television that had been filmed in Kenya with a Samburn tribesman - the tribesman speaks in his native language as the slogan "Just Do It" appears at the bottom of the screen next to the Nike logo - translated, the tribesman was saying "I don't want these"

The Naked Recreation and Travel industry has grown 233% in the past decade

In 1991, during an attempted coup on Russian President Boris Yeltsin, food supplies had dwindled at the Parliment building - the solution was to order 100 pizzas delivered from Pizza Hut

In 1990, the world's largest McDonald's opened in Moscow with the capacity to seat 900 people

In the United States, each citizen is issued a Social Security Card which is used as their identification and for employment as a citizen - the nine digits issued to each person mean:
- the first 3 digits show what part of the country you applied from
- the next 2 digits show, in coded form, the year you applied
- the last 4 digits indicate your "citizen's number" kept on file with the federal government

Amount of time people spend traveling each day, on average, in all societies:  1.1 hours

About 1 in 6 people in the world owns a television

About 1 in 6 people in the world are suffering starvation

Accountants   -   St. Matthew
Gun Dealers   -   St. Adrian Nicomedia
Beekeepers   -   St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Advertisers   -   St. Bernardino of Siena
Flight Attendants   -   St. Bona
Butchers   -   St. Luke
Comedians   -   St. Vitus
Librarians   -   St. Jerome
Postal Workers   -   St. Gabriel
Unhappy Marriages   -   St. Gengulf
Hairdressers   -   St. Martin de Porres

Findlay, Ohio, police blotter: "A woman called the police early Saturday morning (2009 October 31) during an argument with her husband after he claimed that the woman's daughter performed oral sex on him, and the daughter was "better" at it."

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2009 November 4, police blotter: "Called to a report of a suspicious incident in the 2900 block of West Acres Drive where a woman reported that she found feces in her toilet that she did not think she put there."

Daniel Adler, 61, was arrested in October in Stony Point, N.Y., and charged with assault. Police said Adler had been solicited by a Sears Home Improvement telemarketer and had agreed to an appointment but that when the employee arrived, Adler allegedly punched him in the face. Adler said he had scheduled the appointment only to "advise" Sears, in person, to stop calling him.

In September 2009, Nebraska prison guard Michal Preclik, 32 (who had been on the job for a year and had just been promoted), was discovered to be on the lam from Interpol for drug and fraud crimes in the Czech Republic. The Corrections Department's background check, on the FBI's National Criminal Information Center database, had turned up nothing, but when officials subsequently Googled Preclik, the Interpol wanted poster was one of the top results.

When the DRP party candidate for president of Mexico City's most populous borough lost in the primary this year, party officials hatched a plot to elevate a street peddler, "Juanito" Angeles, to run in the general election, with the "understanding" that he would step aside if victorious, in favor of the original candidate Clara Brugada. Helped by his "everyman" image (according to a New York Times dispatch), Angeles won the election. However, his sudden power and celebrity apparently went to his head, and he refused to relinquish the presidency. (He finally agreed, in September 2009, but only after receiving concessions from the party.)

Franciscan monk Cesare Bonizzi, 63, who 15 years ago turned from spiritual new age music to heavy metal (inspired, he said, by the groups Metallica and Megadeth) and who has spent the last several years as the robe-clad lead singer of his own band, Fratello Metallo, announced his retirement in November after realizing, he said, that the devil had tempted him too much with celebrity and turned him away from his brothers.

William Evans, 57, on trial in St. Augustine, Fla., in August 2009 for a sex crime that occurred nearly 30 years ago (but not erased by the statute of limitations), committed suicide while away from the courthouse, awaiting the jury's decision. Without knowing that, the jury came back and declared him not guilty.

Engineering student Ken Kitamura, 19, drowned in the Yodogawa River in Osaka, Japan, in August. He and several colleagues had constructed a prototype canoe made of concrete, and Kitamura was the first to try it out.

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