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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