Sunday, February 21, 2010


More than two-thirds of New Yorkers hear more than just sirens and taxi cabs when they go to sleep at night - they also hear their neighbors having sex, and a 2009 survey revealed that only 14% complain about the noise while 16% of them are aroused by it  (The most commonly heard sex-related sounds include thumping (60%), moaning (56%), screaming (28%), and the mysterious “other” (23%))

In 2009 in the United States, the average duration of unemployment surpassed six months, the first time that has happened since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking that number  -  Currently, for every open job in the U.S., six people are actively looking for work

One recent survey of American households showed that 44 percent of families had experienced a job loss, a reduction in hours, or a pay cut in the past year  -  The economy now lags by more than 10 million jobs, the number required to get back to 5 percent unemployment, the rate the U.S. had before the recession started, and one that’s been more or less typical for a generation, and because the population is growing and new people are continually coming onto the job market, roughly 1.5 million new jobs a year need to be produced (about 125,000 a month) just to keep from sinking deeper

More than 140 U.S. banks failed in 2009

Number of stay-at-home dads in the United States:  143,000  (total only accounts for married men)

The overall odds that a licensed driver will be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident in a year are 1 in 3,690. The odds for a driver 65 or over are significantly lower at 1 in 5,789, although they rise with advancing age:
  • 65-69: 1 in 6,703
  • 70-74: 1 in 5,941
  • 75-79: 1 in 5,493
  • 80-84: 1 in 5,131
  • 85 or older: 1 in 4,672
Going by age group, drivers 65 or older represent the third highest risk group, trailing those between the ages of 16 and 20 and those 21-34. Drivers aged 35-54 are the fourth highest risk group and drivers 55-64 are the fifth

Number of single fathers in the United States:  2.5 million  (11% have full-time custody)

Number of newborns given to the wrong parents each year worldwide:  12  (According to the World Health Organization, and includes obviously only the babies that were later determined to be given to the incorrect parents, and those that were reported as such)

Number of pet-owners who carry a picture of their pet in their wallet:  40%

Odds that an American male aged 15-44 used a condom during his last sexual encounter:  1 in 2.53

This year, the Winter Olympics are being held at a lower altitude than ever before: 69 feet above sea level, in Vancouver, British Columbia  (The only other year that comes close was 1972, in Sapporo, Japan, with Elevation: 75 feet.)

Ice Hockey and figure skating were Olympic events before the first Winter Olympics (1924) ever took place  -  they debuted at the 1920 Summer Olympics, in Antwerp. (Figure skating had previously appeared in the 1908 Summer Games, too, when tug-of-war was also an Olympic event)

Dutch researchers looked at 1,530 people, 974 of whom went on a trip  -  while it may not be surprising that the trip-anticipators were more content than those who hadn't planned a getaway, the trip-takers reported being happiest in the lead-up to their trip... And once those vacationers were back, they were no more likely to feel lingering happiness than those who hadn't gone away at all  (The only exception were those who took what the researchers called a "very relaxed holiday trip," but that afterglow faded in about two weeks, and the findings suggest that it might be more beneficial to take several short holidays throughout the year, rather than one long trip)

In 1986 general condom sales rose 33%, in response to over 10,000 US deaths from AIDS  -  The next year the Surgeon General’s report on the epidemic was released, and the sale of condoms with spermicide(PDF) shot up 116%

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, the odds that an American girl between the ages of 15 and 19 has had 1 male sexual partner in her lifetime are 1 in 3.68; the odds a girl of the same age has had 3 to 6 male sexual partners are 1 in 5.24   (The odds that a male from the same age group has had 1 female sexual partner in his lifetime are 1 in 4.35; the odds a boy has had 3 to 6 female partners are 1 in 4.83)

Athletes with Medals in Summer and Winter Events:
  • Clara Hughes (Canada)—Individual Road Race Cycling and Individual Time Trial Cycling (2 bronzes, 1996) and Speed Skating (bronze, 2002)
  • Christa Luding-Rothenburger (East Germany)—Speed Skating (bronze, silver, 2 golds; 1992, 1988, 1984) and Match Sprint Cycling (silver, 1988)
  • Jacob Tullin Thams (Norway)—Ski Jumping (gold, 1924) and 8-meter Yachting (silver, 1936)
  • Eddie Eagan (US)—Light-Heavyweight Boxing (gold, 1920) and Four-man Bobsleigh (gold, 1932)
There is only one Winter Olympic event in which the U.S. has never medaled: the biathlon (a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting)

Percent increase in the number of car crashes during the first week of Daylight Savings Time (or Summer Time, as it is called in the UK, Russia, South America, among other places outside North America):  10%

Previous occupation of man who invented the Thigh Master:  Buddhist Monk

Number of meals an American will eat at a McDonald's  in their lifetime:  1800

Portion of returning female soldiers from service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan who claim to have been sexually assaulted by male soldiers they served with:  One-third

World's largest toy distributor:  McDonald's

Number of days the average human can live without water:  11

Number of days the average human can live deprived of sleep:  8

According to a World Health Organization report released in 2008, the number of Bulgarians who described themselves as either "not very" or "not at all" happy:  62%

Frequency of UFO sightings globally:  1 sighting every 3 minutes

Most Internet users per capita:  Iceland

Fastest growing demographic of Internet users worldwide:  Women, over age 45

Average miles per gallon one can expect if a car-maker advertises "30 Miles per Gallon, City":  23

The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic Church - when deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil's advocate is appointed to give the alternative view

India has the lowest average age for marriage in the world with 20 years of age for men and 14.5 years of age for women

The United States receives more undocumented immigrant workers than any other nation in the world - Currently, 1 in 24 people in the U.S. is considered "illegal"

Of the 6.8 billion people in the world, only about one-sixth observes Daylight Savings Time/Summer Time

In the United States more emergency room visits occur in the summer- in fact, visits to the hospital emergency department increase by nearly a third in the summer months in the U.S.

In the U.S. enough paper is thrown away as garbage each year to make a 12-foot thick wall from New York City to Los Angeles

One generation ago, the average CEO of a company received pay that was 40 times that of a worker - today, the average CEO receives 500 times the pay of an average worker in his or her company

Out of all the major car companies, Toyota spends the most to support the Democrats in the United States, with 76% of their political contributions going to Democrats

Manhattan (New York City) has 1.5 million residents, but each day over 6 million people commute onto the island to work

The United States is the only nation to ban ex-felons from voting for the remainder of their life, even if the felon has completed their parole and is now regained all other legal rights of citizenship

Your dominant hand is usually under-washed when washing your hands

Raining animals is a relatively common meteorological event with occurrences reported from nearly every country in the world throughout history - it is believed that low pressure weather systems with high winds are able to pick up groups of animals and deposit them in rain storms, or in just storms of the animals themselves, miles away - fish and frogs are the most common because they are near or in water, and the weather systems can pick up animals close to the surface of water easier than land animals because of the moisture and weight, a formula that is still being argued among researchers

In some cases, animals have landed in areas completely encased in ice suggesting that they fell from a high altitude - the most recent occurrences were frogs raining in Serbia in 2006; fish raining in India in 2005;
ice-encased fish falling in Wales in 2004; and frogs raining in London in 1998

Ginger has been clinically proven to be twice as effective as Dramamine for easing the condition of motion-sickness

When you wake with crust around your eyes, it contains trace amounts of your urine

Televangelist Rod Parsley informed his flock in December that he urgently needed several million dollars because of financial problems attributed directly to Satan. According to a report in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Parsley's World Harvest Church was facing a $3 million deficit for the quarter ending in December after earlier in the year paying $3.1 million to settle a lawsuit over its daycare center's having too brutally spanked a boy. Wrote Parsley, "Will you help me take back what the devil stole?"

In Frisco, Tex., in January, boutique owner Marian Chadwick, who was about to be robbed at gunpoint by a hooded intruder, pointed her finger at him and said, "In the name of Jesus, you get out of my store. I bind you by the power of the Holy Spirit." The man appeared stunned, then turned and walked out empty-handed, cursing.

Only four days after the January earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, two Royal Caribbean cruise ships made a port call at a private enclave about 60 miles up Haiti's coastline from ground zero, turning loose hundreds of frolickers for "jet ski rides, parasailing, and rum cocktails delivered to their hammocks," according to a report in London's The Guardian. Haitian guards employed by the cruise line manned the resort's 12-foot-high fences, but about a third of the passengers still declined to leave the ships, too upset by the unfolding disaster nearby to enjoy themselves. Royal Caribbean said it had made a large donation to the rescue effort and promised, also, to send proceeds from the port's thriving craft stores.

Unless Stephen Gough, 50, changes his mind about wearing pants, he risks spending the rest of his life behind bars, according to a January ruling of Scotland's Perth Sheriff Court. Gough, Britain's "naked rambler," is a freelance nudist who for years has roamed the United Kingdom countryside, interrupted by numerous jail stints for violating public decency. He was released from Perth Prison in December after his latest stay, but seconds later shucked his clothes and was re-arrested. (In his most recent trial, Gough acted as his own lawyer and somehow persuaded an overly fair judge to let him be naked in court.) 

Shane Williams-Allen, 19, was arrested in Tavares, Fla., in January and charged with burglarizing an unmarked police car and stealing several items, including handcuffs and a Taser gun. Eventually, Williams-Allen called the police for help after he accidentally cuffed himself, and officers believe he also
accidentally Tasered himself.

Police in Oakland, Calif., called off their manhunt for fleeing home-invasion suspects in January when officers encountered four of the men, wedged between two buildings they had tried to squeeze through. Last August, an applicant for the police force in Montgomery, Ala., following directions to be truthful during the job interview, admitted that he owned child pornography. He was of course not hired, but arrested. In January 2010, 170 miles to the south in Pensacola, Fla., another law-enforcement applicant, Clarence Burnette, 25, admitted to owning child pornography -- during his interview to be a sheriff's deputy. He also was not hired, but arrested. (The Montgomery applicant, who also confessed to having sex with an underage girl, is now serving 30 years in prison.)

As of early January, at least 390 new Denver businesses had applied for sales-tax licenses as dispensaries for legal (medicinal) marijuana. By comparison, Starbucks coffee shops number 208 in the entire state of Colorado. Among the first cannabis-centered businesses to open, in December, was the Ganja Gourmet on South Broadway, featuring lasagna, pizza, jambalaya, paella, flavored cheesecakes, and other delicacies, all "spiced" appropriately for customers with doctors' prescriptions.

Jeweler Colin Burn, of Broome, Australia, announced in October at the Asia Adult Expo in Macau that he will make the world's most expensive "personal vibrator," in 10 limited editions, out of smooth platinum, each with 1,500 white diamonds. He said he planned to shoot for a price of $1 million (U.S.) and noted that he currently offers a similar sex toy with only 450 diamonds (but with a handle made of rare conkerberry wood) that he sells for $38,000.

After the New York Post reported in December on the 175- square-foot Manhattan apartment recently purchased by Christopher Prokop and his wife (for $150,000, with $800 monthly in maintenance fees), residents of even smaller Manhattan digs told the Post they were unimpressed. For instance, Felice Cohen, 39, rents a 90-square-foot apartment ($700) with a loft bed, but admits that she must sit sideways on the toilet. Freelance event-planner Eddie Rabon rents a 55-square-foot palace for $800 a month (closer to midtown than Cohen's). He can almost touch both side walls simultaneously and cannot easily turn around while showering. Commented the residents, respectively: "We love it," "I love it," and "It's fantastic."

Friday, February 12, 2010


15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day

73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women

About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas

About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets

Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an "Improvement in Telegraphy", on Valentine's Day, 1876

California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the vast number sold on Valentine's Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America. Approximately 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day time period

Cupid, another symbol of Valentines Day, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love

During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era being otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent, they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail

During the Middle Ages, the belief that birds chose their mates on St. Valentine's Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same. Up through the early 1900s, the Ozark hill people in the eastern United States thought that birds and rabbits started mating on February 14, a day for them which was not only Valentine's Day but Groundhog Day as well

February 14, 270 A.D. : Roman Emperor Claudius II, dubbed "Claudius the Cruel," beheaded a priest named Valentine for performing marriage ceremonies. Claudius II had outlawed marriages when Roman men began refusing to go to war in order to stay with their wives

Hallmark has over 1330 different cards specifically for Valentine's Day

Humorous valentines of the 19th century were called "Vinegar Valentines" or "Penny Dreadfuls." Vinegar Valentines were introduced in 1858 by John McLaughin, a Scotsman with a New York City Publishing Business. Penny Dreadfuls with comic designs drawn in 1870 by American cartoonists Charles Howard became known as Penny Dreadfuls

In 1929 in Chicago, gunmen in the suspected employment of organized-crime boss Al Capone murder seven members of the George "Bugs" Moran North Siders gang in a garage on North Clark Street. The so-called St. Valentine's Day Massacre stirred a media storm centered on Capone and his illegal Prohibition-era activities and motivated federal authorities to redouble their efforts to find evidence incriminating enough to take him off the streets

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling
In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts

In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card

In Wales, wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!" 

It wasn't until 1537 that St. Valentine's Day was declared an official holiday. England's King Henry VIII declared February 14th a holiday

On February 14, 1779, Captain James Cook, the great English explorer and navigator, was murdered by natives of Hawaii during his third visit to the Pacific island group

Only the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K. celebrate Valentine's Day

Sir Alexander Fleming was a young bacteriologist when an accidental discovery led to one of the great developments of modern medicine. Having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread. On February 14, 1929, Fleming introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections

Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members

The "I Love You" computer virus was detected in Hong Kong on May 1, 2000. In four days the virus had mutated into three different generations. Figures by Trend Micro Inc. showed that "I Love You" had infected 3.1 million computers worldwide

The 17th century a hopeful maiden ate a hard-boiled egg and pinned five bay leaves to her pillow before going to sleep on Valentine's eve. It was believed this would make her dream of her future husband

The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses on February 14. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage

The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland. During the 1870s, her elaborate lace cards were purchased by the wealthy, as they cost a minimum of 5 dollars - some sold for as much as 35 dollars. Mass production eventually brought prices down, and the affordable "penny valentine" became popular with the lower classes

The first photograph of a U.S. President was taken on February 14, 1849 by Matthew Brady in New York City. President James Polk was the subject of the famous picture

The first televised tour of the White House aired on February 14 in 1962. First Lady Jackie Kennedy hosted the tour
The heart is the most common symbol of romantic love. Ancient cultures believed the human soul lived in the heart. Others thought it to be the source of emotion and intelligence. Some believed the heart embodied a man's truth, strength and nobility. The heart may be associated with love because the ancient Greeks believed it was the target of Eros, known as Cupid to the Romans. Anyone shot in the heart by one of Cupid's arrows would fall hopelessly in love. Because the heart is so closely linked to love, it's red colour is thought to be the most romantic

The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day

The Kama Sutra is believed to be the oldest sex manual in existence. Generally considered the standard work on love in Sanskrit literature, the book is thought to have been written around 300 C.E.

The Taj Mahal in India was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife, who died in childbirth. Work on the Taj began in 1634 and continued for almost 22 years. required the labor of 20,000 workers from all over India and Central Asia

The oldest known Valentines were sent in 1415 A.D. by the Duke of Orleans to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England

The oldest surviving love poem is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C. It was unromantically named Istanbul #2461 by the archeologists who unearthed it

Valentine's Day is big business. Consumers will spend an average of $77.43 on Valentine's Day gifts this year. E-commerce retailers expect to rack up about $650 million in sales of food, candy, flowers, and other Valentine's Day gifts. Of that amount about $350 million will be for gifts and flowers and another $45 million will be spent on food (including chocolate) and wine

In England, the Romans, who had taken over the country, had introduced a pagan fertility festival held every February 14. After the Romans left England, nearly a century later, the pagan ritual was abolished by Pope Gelsius who established St. Valentine's Day as a celebration of love in 496 C.E.

In America, the pilgrims sent confections, such as sugar wafers, marzipan, sweetmeats and sugar plums, to their betrothed. Great value was placed on these gifts because they included what was then a rare commodity, sugar. After the late 1800's, beet sugar became widely used and more available, and sweet gifts continued to be valued and enjoyed

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This Friday (February 14th) is Valentine's Day in some countries... and Chinese New Year... YEAR OF THE TIGER (4078).  Below is information on the what Westerner's call the Chinese zodiac... find your birth year, what animal your year represents, and what your zodiac means in the Chinese tradition using the charts below:

The following table shows the 60-year cycle matched up to the Western calendar for the years 1924–2043 (see Sexagenary cycle article for years 1804–1923).
Year Associated
1924–1983 1984–2043
1 Feb 05 1924–Jan 23 1925 Yang Wood Rat Feb 02 1984–Feb 19 1985
2 Jan 24 1925–Feb 12 1926 Yin Wood Ox Feb 20 1985–Feb 08 1986
3 Feb 13 1926–Feb 01 1927 Yang Fire Tiger Feb 09 1986–Jan 28 1987
4 Feb 02 1927–Jan 22 1928 Yin Fire Rabbit Jan 29 1987–Feb 16 1988
5 Jan 23 1928–Feb 09 1929 Yang Earth Dragon Feb 17 1988–Feb 05 1989
6 Feb 10 1929–Jan 29 1930 Yin Earth Snake Feb 06 1989–Jan 26 1990
7 Jan 30 1930–Feb 16 1931 Yang Metal Horse Jan 27 1990–Feb 14 1991
8 Feb 17 1931–Feb 05 1932 Yin Metal Ram Feb 15 1991–Feb 03 1992
9 Feb 06 1932–Jan 25 1933 Yang Water Monkey Feb 04 1992–Jan 22 1993
10 Jan 26 1933–Feb 13 1934 Yin Water Rooster Jan 23 1993– Feb 09 1994
11 Feb 14 1934–Feb 03 1935 Yang Wood Dog Feb 10 1994–Jan 30 1995
12 Feb 04 1935–Jan 23 1936 Yin Wood Boar Jan 31 1995–Feb 18 1996
13 Jan 24 1936–Feb 10 1937 Yang Fire Rat Feb 19 1996–Feb 06 1997
14 Feb 11 1937–Jan 30 1938 Yin Fire Ox Feb 07 1997–Jan 27 1998
15 Jan 31 1938–Feb 18 1939 Yang Earth Tiger Jan 28 1998–Feb 15 1999
16 Feb 19 1939–Feb 07 1940 Yin Earth Rabbit Feb 16 1999–Feb 04 2000
17 Feb 08 1940–Jan 26 1941 Yang Metal Dragon Feb 05 2000–Jan 23 2001
18 Jan 27 1941–Feb 14 1942 Yin Metal Snake Jan 24 2001–Feb 11 2002
19 Feb 15 1942–Feb 04 1943 Yang Water Horse Feb 12 2002–Jan 31 2003
20 Feb 05 1943–Jan 24 1944 Yin Water Ram Feb 01 2003–Jan 21 2004
21 Jan 25 1944–Feb 12 1945 Yang Wood Monkey Jan 22 2004–Feb 08 2005
22 Feb 13 1945–Feb 01 1946 Yin Wood Rooster Feb 09 2005–Jan 28 2006
23 Feb 02 1946–Jan 21 1947 Yang Fire Dog Jan 29 2006–Feb 17 2007
24 Jan 22 1947–Feb 09 1948 Yin Fire Boar Feb 18 2007–Feb 06 2008
25 Feb 10 1948–Jan 28 1949 Yang Earth Rat Feb 07 2008–Jan 25 2009
26 Jan 29 1949–Feb 16 1950 Yin Earth Ox Jan 26 2009–Feb 13 2010
27 Feb 17 1950–Feb 05 1951 Yang Metal Tiger Feb 14 2010–Feb 02 2011
28 Feb 06 1951–Jan 26 1952 Yin Metal Rabbit Feb 03 2011–Jan 22 2012
29 Jan 27 1952–Feb 13 1953 Yang Water Dragon Jan 23 2012–Feb 09 2013
30 Feb 14 1953–Feb 02 1954 Yin Water Snake Feb 10 2013–Jan 30 2014
31 Feb 03 1954–Jan 23 1955 Yang Wood Horse Jan 31 2014–Feb 18 2015
32 Jan 24 1955–Feb 11 1956 Yin Wood Ram Feb 19 2015–Feb 07 2016
33 Feb 12 1956–Jan 30 1957 Yang Fire Monkey Feb 08 2016–Jan 27 2017
34 Jan 31 1957–Feb 17 1958 Yin Fire Rooster Jan 28 2017–Feb 18 2018
35 Feb 18 1958–Feb 07 1959 Yang Earth Dog Feb 19 2018–Feb 04 2019
36 Feb 08 1959–Jan 27 1960 Yin Earth Boar Feb 05 2019–Jan 24 2020
37 Jan 28 1960–Feb 14 1961 Yang Metal Rat Jan 25 2020–Feb. 11 2021
38 Feb 15 1961–Feb 04 1962 Yin Metal Ox Feb 12 2021–Jan 31 2022
39 Feb 05 1962–Jan 24 1963 Yang Water Tiger Feb 01 2022–Jan 21 2023
40 Jan 25 1963–Feb 12 1964 Yin Water Rabbit Jan 22 2023–Feb 09 2024
41 Feb 13 1964–Feb 01 1965 Yang Wood Dragon Feb 10 2024–Jan 28 2025
42 Feb 02 1965–Jan 20 1966 Yin Wood Snake Jan 29 2025–Feb 16 2026
43 Jan 21 1966–Feb 08 1967 Yang Fire Horse Feb 17 2026–Feb 05 2027
44 Feb 09 1967–Jan 29 1968 Yin Fire Ram Feb 06 2027–Jan 25 2028
45 Jan 30 1968–Feb 16 1969 Yang Earth Monkey Jan 26 2028–Feb 12 2029
46 Feb 17 1969–Feb 05 1970 Yin Earth Rooster Feb 13 2029–Feb 02 2030
47 Feb 06 1970–Jan 26 1971 Yang Metal Dog Feb 03 2030–Jan 22 2031
48 Jan 27 1971–Feb 14 1972 Yin Metal Boar Jan 23 2031–Feb 10 2032
49 Feb 15 1972–Feb 02 1973 Yang Water Rat Feb 11 2032–Jan 30 2033
50 Feb 03 1973–Jan 22 1974 Yin Water Ox Jan 31 2033–Feb 18 2034
51 Jan 23 1974–Feb 10 1975 Yang Wood Tiger Feb 19 2034–Feb 07 2035
52 Feb 11 1975–Jan 30 1976 Yin Wood Rabbit Feb 08 2035–Jan 27 2036
53 Jan 31 1976–Feb 17 1977 Yang Fire Dragon Jan 28 2036–Feb 14 2037
54 Feb 18 1977–Feb 06 1978 Yin Fire Snake Feb 15 2037–Feb 03 2038
55 Feb 07 1978–Jan 27 1979 Yang Earth Horse Feb 04 2038–Jan 23 2039
56 Jan 28 1979–Feb 15 1980 Yin Earth Ram Jan 24 2039–Feb 11 2040
57 Feb 16 1980–Feb 04 1981 Yang Metal Monkey Feb 12 2040–Jan 31 2041
58 Feb 05 1981–Jan 24 1982 Yin Metal Rooster Feb 01 2041–Jan 21 2042
59 Jan 25 1982–Feb 12 1983 Yang Water Dog Jan 22 2042–Feb 09 2043
60 Feb 13 1983–Feb 01 1984 Yin Water Boar Feb 10 2043–Jan 29 204

Chinese zodiac signs represent twelve different types of personalities. The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat, and there are many stories about the origins of the Chinese Zodiac which explain why this is so (see below). The following are the twelve zodiac signs in order and their characteristics.
  1. Rat (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Water): Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, mendacious, venal, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
  2. Ox (Water buffalo in Vietnam) (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Water): Dependable, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
  3. Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be cold, restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, ruthless, selfish, aggressive, unpredictable, moody.
  4. Rabbit (Cat in Vietnam) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Wood): ambitious, gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
  5. Dragon (Snail in Kazakhstan) (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, jealous, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
  6. Snake (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
  7. Horse (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile - mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
  8. Ram (Goat in Vietnam and Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Fire): Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
  9. Monkey (Yang, 1st Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
  10. Rooster (Yin, 2nd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
  11. Dog (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Metal): Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
  12. Pig (Wild boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.
In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals) and hours of the day (called secret animals).
To sum it up, while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (5 elements x 12 animals in the 60 year cycle (12 x 5 = 60) , 12 months, 12 times of day) that a person might be. These are all considered critical for the proper use of Chinese astrology.

Problems with English translation

Due to confusion with synonyms during translation, some of the animals depicted by the English words did not exist in ancient China. For example, 羊 can mean both goat and sheep, but goat is the species that existed in central China before sheep, and goat is the species seen in illustrations, not sheep. Similarly, 鼠 (rat) can also be translated as mouse, as there are no distinctive words for the two genera in Chinese. Further, 豬 (pig) is sometimes translated to boar after its Japanese name, and 牛 (water buffalo) is commonly thought to be ox.


Monday, February 8, 2010


Each year Americans throw away 25 trillion styrofoam cups, which are not actually styrofoam (an insulation material) but are polystyrene, a material that does not biodegrade and is difficult to recycle because of its light weight and low scrap value - Germany is the only country that collects polystyrene packaging and products at  curbside recycling pickups)

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has found styrene in 100% of fat samples biopsied from human subjects - it is now known that polystyrene food packaging (such as the tray under the raw meat from the cooler in grocery stores) and drinking cups leach styrene into liquids and foods that enter the human body - and that styrene is a major carcinogen

A rat can live longer without water than a camel

Each year the U.S. Mint puts millions of one cent pieces (pennies) into circulation in the American currency - cost to manufacture a penny includes four main components: metal, fabrication, labor and transportation - the price of metal and labor and transportation all fluctuate, usually each increasing over time, making the cost to produce a one cent piece in the U.S. costs more than one cent - the average cost has been 1.5 cents per penny but in 1982 hit an all-time high of 2.5 cents

Odds that an American age 45-64 owns at least one gun:  1 in 3

Odds that an American age 65 or older has a VCR:  1 in 1.2  (about 90%)

In the U.S., a residential fire occurs every 78 seconds - Somewhere in the world a residential fire occurs every 2 seconds

Researchers have ranked pigs as the 5th smartest animals only out-ranked by elephants, dolphins, chimps and humans

The sound made by a jet engine is 113 decibels, while a pig's squeal can reach 115 decibels

Fertility is falling globally with women giving birth less- down from an average of three babies per woman in 1990 globally to 2 births per woman globally and 1.5 in industrialized nations, yet global population remains on the rise with 140 million births per year, in part because fewer babies are dying and people are living longer

Globally, the child mortality rate - the number of children who die before age 5 per 1000 births - dropped to 72 in 2009, a 20% decline since 1990 when the rate was 93 per 1000

Odds of a "white Christmas" in New York City:  1 in 10

Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee

National median age in the United States:  37 years

National median age in the United States of a death row inmate:  27 years

1 in 1.22 Americans is white (Caucasian)

The infant mortality rate (the number of babies who die before age 5 per 1000) is 44% higher for Native Americans than it was a decade ago

Common pizza toppings in Japan:  Mayonnaise, Corn, Seaweed

1 in 8 Americans is currently receiving food assistance (food stamps, also known as SNAP- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; donations from food pantries; donations from charities)

Number of Americans over age 15 who cannot fully comprehend and read this blog:  12%

A December USA Today analysis revealed that during the first 18 months of the recent recession, beginning December 2007, the number of federal employees with six-figure salaries shot up from 14 percent of the federal workforce to 19 percent. Defense Department civilian executives earning more than $150,000 went from 1,868 to more than 10,000, and the Department of Transportation, which had only one person earning $170,000 in December 2007, now has 1,690. The average federal salary is $71,206, compared with the private sector's $40,331. [USA Today, 12-10-09]

Rod Jetton, a former speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives and creator of Common Sense Conservative Consulting, LLC, was charged with felony assault in December after visiting a woman in her home in Sikeston, apparently for a sexual encounter. The woman later charged that Jetton punched her in the head and choked her into unconsciousness as his idea of foreplay, but Jetton said the "assault" was consensual, in that she was to utter a pre-arranged "safe word [phrase]" if things got too rough and that he would have immediately stopped. Jetton told police that the woman never spoke the agreed-on phrase "green balloons." [Kansas City Star, 12-7-09]

Copenhagen, one of the "greenest" cities in the world, endured an added 41,000 extra tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in December during the 11-day "climate summit." The 15,000 delegates required 2,000 limousines (only five of which were electric or hybrid) to get around town, and the world leaders arrived and departed in 140 private jets, some of which had to be "parked" overnight in Sweden because of airport congestion.  [Daily Telegraph (London), 12-5-09]

In December, Obama Administration officials, seeking to fulfill a campaign pledge of a more open federal government, held a multi- agency training session in Washington, D.C., on the Freedom of Information Act. The meeting was closed to the public.  [Star Tribune (Minneapolis)-AP, 12- 9-09]

By 2004 Presidential proclamation and 2007 statute, the U.S. government made it clear that no foreign official or family members would be allowed into the country if they are "involved in corruption" regarding oil or other natural resources in their home countries. However, as the New York Times reported in November, Equatorial Guinea's oil minister (and son of its president) owns a $35 million estate in Malibu, Calif., that he visits regularly in his Gulfstream jet even though the U.S. Justice Department regards him as a major agent of corruption. (U.S. companies manage Equatorial Guinea's oil production, and the State Department is reluctant to challenge the country, according to officials cited by the Times.) [New York Times, 11-17-09]

President Obama's figurine was expected to lead in sales for the second straight year in the traditional "caganer" craft industry in Spain's Catalonia region. As News of the Weird reported in 2008, the popular statuettes are typically modeled on famous people, each with pants down, squatting to answer a call of nature. They are ubiquitous in Nativity scenes, playfully hidden to encourage children's where's-waldo-type guessing, and believed to symbolize "equality" through the universality of bodily functions. Another figurine expected to do well this season is the brand-new Queen Elizabeth. [Agence France-Presse, 12-21-09]

Monday, February 1, 2010


76% of people put the peanut butter on first when making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, according to a 2008 survey of 1000 Americans

The murder rate in the U.S. is four times greater than that of Japan

Number of possible ways to play the first four moves in a game of chess: 318,979,564,000

U.S. state with the most personalized license plates: Illinois

You have a greater chance of being killed by a teddy bear than a grizzly bear

Size of the New York City Police Department budget: $3.3 million (larger than all but 19 of the world's armies)

Percent of the world's population that is comprised of Americans: 5%
Percent of the world's prison population comprised of Americans incarcerated in the U.S.: 25%

If the earth's population were reduced to 100 people, then 51 would be female and 49 would be male; half of all currency would be held by 6 people; and one person would be about to die and another about to be born

The tobacco industry produces 6 trillion cigarettes a year - about 1,000 cigarettes for every woman, man and child on earth

The silkworm moth has 11 brains

.7% of the entire barley crop in Ireland goes into the production of Guinness beer

Most water droplets in a cloud re-evaporate and never reach the ground- only about 20% actually falls as rain

1 in 10 people on Earth lives on an island

About 1 in 2,000 people automatically see colors when hearing words, letters or numbers (90% are female)

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the brains of people with relative higher intelligence are less active than the brains of less intelligent people when working out the same problem or task

White children are 4 times more likely to be born with webbed fingers than Black children, while Black children are 10 times more likely to be born with extra fingers than any other racial group

America's first Air Force was equipped with five hot air balloons and fifty servicemen

Less than 1% of world debt is owed by the developing nations of the "third world" -- total debt of the 41 poorest nations is $200 billion -- total debt of U.S.: $7,000 billion (France: $950 billion; Belgium: $350 billion; Japan: $3,000 billion; former Eastern Bloc countries: $765 billion)

Christmas was officially outlawed in England in 1647 by the Puritan government and was soon followed by the the new colonies of what would become America, citing two reasons:  the Pagan date, and misbehavior due to drunkenness

The first item sold with a bar code:  Wrigley's Gum, 1974

The flu and pneumonia have ranked 7th as leading cause of death in the United States for the past decade

Odds that a person will die from pneumonia in a year are 1 in 5,282 (most have an underlying condition such as asthma, diabetes or emphazema)

Number of feet in a mile: 5,280  (so in an imaginary mile-long line of Americans, one will die of pneumonia that year)

24:  the largest number divisible by all numbers less than it's square root

25:  smallest square than can be written as the sum of two squares

In September 2009, chaos descended on the tiny Pacific island of Somoa after government officials decided the entire nation should switch on a designated Monday from driving on the right side of the road to driving on the left  -  this meant that many non-driving Somoans were left in danger as public transit buses opened to let off or pick up passengers in the middle of the road  -  Somoa was the first in over 30 years to make such a shift and claimed to do so to end their reliance on left-hand drive vehicles imported at great expense from the United States

About one-quarter of the world drives on the left which is a practice started with feudal societies of the Western world, like the proto-British empire, when during that time one was not sure who'd they pass on the road with their horse and/or carriage so it was considered safest to keep one's "sword arm" at the ready

In 1300 CE, Pope Boniface VIII codified the practice of left-side driving with a law that decreed pilgrims headed for Rome must "keep left"

The practice remained until the advent of market-based agriculture on a grand scale - in the 1700s, farmers i the United States and France began hauling their products to market in large rigs pulled by horses- these wagons typically had no place to sit so drivers would sit on the left rear of the horse with their right arm free to whip the team along and their left arm holding the reigns - this was the birth of the left-seat vehicle

With the advent of automobiles, soon laws were established to enforce vehicles to keep right on the road since the autos were being manufactured largely as left-seated

In general, places that were under French or U.S. rule or influence at the time of the advent of the automobile drive on the right with left-seat vehicles, while those places under British rule and influence keep left

In 1967, Sweden switched to driving on the right side of the road because most of their car imports were coming from the U.S. and other left-seat manufacturing countries  -  now most countries in the world have picked which side to drive on based on two factors:  what are their neighboring countries doing, and where are they getting their cars

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only place where left-seated cars are marketed to keep left instead of right, making it more difficult for drivers to see traffic that is on-coming according to surveys and reports on collision rates

In general, people who are born blind and who never experienced visual imagery in waking life have no visual imagery when dreaming... people who became blind before the age of 5 rarely experience visual imagery in their dreams... people who became blind between the ages of 5 and 7 sometimes retain some amount of visual imagery and most people who became blind after age 7 continue to experience visual imagery in their dreams  (the clarity and frequency of visual imagery in dreams for all blind people is often reduced over time)

U.S. states and territories that have never produced a winner of the Miss America Pageant:  Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming

U.S. states who have produced the most winners:  California, Ohio, Oklahoma (each of these states has a 1 in 13 odds of winning the contest), followed by Illinois (odds are 1 in 16), Michigan (odds are 1 in 16.4), Pennsylvania (odds are 1 in 16.4), Mississippi (odds are 1 in 20), and Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, New York and Texas- all with the odds of 1 in 27.33

The remaining U.S. states all have the same odds of producing a winner - 1 in 41 or 1 in 82, broken down this way:
Odds of 1 in 41: Arizona, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia
Odds of 1 in 82: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin

Odds a person will choke to death on a non-food object:  1 in 96,300

Odds a literate American adult will read an entire book in a year are 1 in 3

In 1816, New England, Europe and China experienced snow in June and a frost lasting through August - crop failure was widespread and much of the world experienced famine, riots and a high incidence of disease

Global advertising spending has soared since 1950 but reached an all-time low in 2009 - worldwide, the total decline was 2% or about $643 million USD, but the United States still continued to spend on advertising at a rate 9 times greater than the rest of the world, spending about $891 per American in that year

Despite the global financial collapse, two trends have emerged since 2007 that would seem incompatible to the decline:  health assistance from industrial to developing nations has risen sharply, hitting an all-time high in 2009 of $10 billion USD; and the number of people living in extreme poverty (defined by the World Bank as on less than $1.25 a day) has fallen slightly from 1,203 million in 2008 to 1,184 in 2009, a positive change for 19 million people

The number of people who change location involuntarily worldwide is about 184 million - roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Brazil, due to environmental catastrophe (1 in 36 people since 2005)

In a 2006 Gallup poll, Americans ranked adultery more morally disturbing than polygamy and human cloning

George, a 4-year-old Blue Great Dane who weighs 245 pounds, measures 7 feet and 3 inches from nose to tail and stands 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder, is the world's largest dog of that breed and is competing to see if he is the world's largest dog of any breed - George's owner, David Nasser, of Tuscon, Arizona, states his dog eats 110 pounds of food each month and sleeps in his own queen-size bed

GEORGE and his owner Dave


A man identified in China's Chongqing Evening News in November as Mr. Zhang, 32, admitted he is competitive with his wife and "never wants to lose an argument," but inevitably his contentiousness leaves him with "bruises and scars all over" because Mrs. Zhang is a kung fu master. After negotiations led by Mrs. Zhang's parents, she agreed by contract to limit any beatings to no more than once a week, with a parent-administered penalty for exceeding that. [Daily Telegraph (London), 12-2-09]

[Language Warning for Sensitive Eyes]
American Jonathan Littell was awarded the 2009 "Bad Sex in Fiction" award by Britain's prestigious Literary Review, having written passages like these in his novel The Kindly Ones: "I came suddenly, a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg." Later: A woman's genitalia resembles "a Gorgon's head . . . a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks. If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert, I seemed turned to stone." [The Guardian (London), 11-30-09]

As with all copulating species, female Muscovy ducks battle male Muscovy ducks over which controls fertilization. Patricia Brennan of Yale, writing in a recent Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, found that the female Muscovy avoids forced sex by having evolved a clockwise-spiraled corkscrew vagina that foils male intruders (but relaxing it for preferred mates, so that they don't get stuck in
vaginal "cul-de-sacs"). Brennan's team worked with high-speed video and mock-up glass tubing of the respective organs. [, 12-23-09]

In December, pedophile Theodore Sypnier (the first-ever New Yorker to turn 100 years old while behind bars) was released from prison even though he continues to deny that he has done anything wrong. He was sent once again to a halfway house near Walden, N.Y., run by Rev. Terry King, who took Sypnier in twice before and warns that Sypnier is still highly dangerous. "As a father," said King, "I would not want my child anywhere near him." Noting that Sypnier continues to reject counseling, King said, "He's been adamant that, 'I'm 100, and I'm not gonna change.'" [Buffalo News, 12-8-09; WIVB-TV (Buffalo), 12-9-09]

A news summary of traffic stops on Christmas Eve in Alice Springs, Australia, noted that 11 people were charged with DUI, including one man who was spotted driving despite his car's hood being broken in the "up"
position and having smashed through his windshield. The driver maneuvered down the street by craning his neck out the side window.

A December National Public Radio report noted that fake houseflies have begun appearing in urinals around the world based apparently on research showing that men are more likely to aim at the flies, thus leaving the area surrounding the urinal cleaner.  [KPCC Radio (Pasadena, Calif.), 12-25-09]

Apple Valley, Minnesota, Oct. 13: "Officers responded to a report that a man was sitting on the curb in front of his house talking to himself. When officers arrived they found a very intoxicated man who wanted officers to drive him to Washington, D.C., so that he could discuss the country's military involvement in the Middle East with President Obama."  [Star Tribune, 11-18-09]

In November, Christopher Walker was sentenced to two years in jail for robbing a Lloyds TSB Bank in Birmingham, England. He had been caught within minutes, as he fled the bank to his home across the street. [BBC News, 12-14-09]

In May 1999 a jury in Birmingham, Alabama, ruled in favor of Barbara Carlisle and her parents in their
lawsuit against two companies responsible for charging them 18 more monthly payments than what the salesman originally promised when they had two satellite dishes installed. The total overcharge was $1,224. The jury awarded the plaintiffs punitive damages of $581 million. [New York Times-AP, 5-11-99]

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