Monday, May 3, 2010


The FBI call Ted Kaczynski ‘The Unabomber’because his early mail bombs were sent to universities (UN) and airlines (A) - hence, UNAbomber

King James IV of Scotland was an amateur dentist, and even paid people to let him practice on their teeth

The first British bungee jump occurred on April Fool’s Day, 1979:  Dressed in a tux and hugging a bottle of champagne, 33-year-old David Kirdke did a back-flip off the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. The crowd, who thought they were witnessing a suicide attempt, watched him plunge 250 feet toward the Avon, but to their surprise, never saw him hit water

In 1960, Joseph William Kittinger II jumped from an altitude of 102,800 feet as part of the U.S. Air Force’s ‘Project Excelsior’ and safely parachuted back to earth - This record jump was made from an open gondola helium balloon - this jump set a number of records which still stand

The Italian ocean liner Princesspesa Jolanda holds the unique record of being launched and sunk on the same day, September 22, 1907 near Spezia in the Gulf of Genoa:  As the top-heavy and improperly ballasted ship reached the end of launch in the Riva Trigoso Shipyard, she rolled over and sank - The ship was scrapped on the spot, never having carried a single passenger

In all of Shakespeare’s works, only one word starts with an “X” – Xanthippe, Socrates wife  -  He uses her name in The Taming of the Shrew

King County, Washington, USA managed to keep its name while changing its namesake:  Originally named for William King, it was “renamed” in 1986 for Dr Martin Luther King, Jr

Ringworm is not caused by a worm but by a parasitic fungi

U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond is in the record books for giving the longest recorded speech in history, clocking in at 24 hours and 18 minutes - The speech was a filibuster in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act (which passed, despite his efforts)

Laser is actually an acronym: Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation

World's largest exporter of beef:  Australia

The Kit Kat candy bar got its name from the Kit Kat Club in London’s West End, a joint famous for bringing dance-band music to the city in the 1920s

Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was lambasted by Parisians for its industrial ugliness - The only thing that saved it from being demolished in 1909 was its potential use as a radio tower during WWI - By the end of the War, it had won over enough hearts to stay

The US, Burma and Liberia are the only countries in the world that have not officially adopted the metric system as the standard of measurement

Mustard’s name is a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens, meaning “burning wine”

Despite being nominated five times, Gandhi never won the Nobel Peace Prize. Although posthumous awards aren’t given, the Nobel Committee came as close as possible in 1948, the year he died, when they didn’t give out an award because “there was no suitable living candidate”

Highway 9 in New York runs from Manhattan all the way to the capital city of Albany - You might know it better by its common name: Broadway

Shel Silverstein, children's poet and illustrator, got his start drawing cartoons for Playboy 

The sailfish (the fastest fish, 68 mph) is speedier in the water than the cheetah (the fastest land animal, 62 mph) is on land

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, 3 fell due to earthquakes, 2 due to fires, 1 probably never even existed, and only one stands today - The Pyramid of Khufu

Napoleon was a big fan of suspenders; he even had a pair decorated with bumblebees, the symbol of his native Corsica

The skin contains pain and temperature receptors, which are only sensitive to extreme hot or cold. The brain experiences both these sensations in the same way. Therefore, very cold and hot temperatures cause the same kind of pain and the brain has trouble distinguishing between the two

Only a few species of piranha are carnivorous; most eat plant matter

The popular game Bingo was originally called “Beano” because players used beans to cover the numbered squares

If the oceans were to gradually rise, Florida (350 feet above sea level at its highest point) would become the first U.S. state to be completely submerged underwater

Buddy Guy’s 2008 complete Rock & Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech: “If you don’t think you have the blues, just keep living”

Habitual singing causes the lungs to release leptin, a protein manufactured by the body’s fat cells that is involved in the regulation of appetite. This may partially explain why opera stars tend to be somewhat overweight, but no research has conclusively found a link between obesity and singing - the known link is between the ingestion of more calories than the body uses to cause weight gain, so increased appetite may be an indirect link

George Washington, when meeting foreign leaders and dignitaries, preferred to bow rather than shake hands

Only 17 existing paintings are attributed to famed artist Leonardo da Vinci

Spiders use their silk in many ways - Aside from building webs (which each spider does on its first try, suggesting inherited behavior), some species of male spiders wrap food in silk and present these “presents” to females

The eye chart with the big “E” on top is called a Snellen Chart

Opossums don’t “play dead” - when frightened, they become overexcited and actually pass out

James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, and his wife never had kids, but he did have a special affection for the children of others. In 1929, he signed over the rights for Peter Pan to a London hospital that specialized in pediatric medicine

A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1995 indicated that between 1978 and 1995 no less than 37 deaths in the U.S. were credited to attempted thefts from vending machines

Professor Stephen Hawking claims that while aliens are mathematically very likely to exist we shouldn't try to contact them.  In an upcoming documentary, Hawking even goes as far as to suggest that we should hope they don't notice us.  68-year-old Hawking argues that by looking at ourselves we should be able to see how  intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet.  The former Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge suggests aliens might be looking to conquer and colonise planet or strip them of resources.  "I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their planet," said the eminent theorist. Hawking continued to say, "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

Computer hardware engineer Toshio Yamamoto, 49, this year celebrates 15 years' work tasting and cataloguing all the Japanese ramen (instant noodles) he can get his hands on (including the full ingredients list, texture, flavor, price and "star" rating for each), for the massive 4,300-ramen database on his Web site, expanded recently with "hundreds" of video reviews and with re-reviews of many previously appearing products (in case the taste had changed, he told journalist Lisa Katayama, writing in April on the popular blog Boing Boing). Yamamoto said he had always eaten ramen for breakfast seven days a week, but cut back recently to five. "I feared that, if I continued at (the seven-day) pace, I would get bored." 

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