Monday, May 24, 2010


Doves released at weddings and other formal ceremonies are actually white homing pigeons - True ring-neck doves are bred to be kept as pets and rarely survive out of captivity

Canada has more lakes than all other countries combined

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

The barbarian tribes, particularly the Gauls and Celts, used lime to bleach their hair and to hold it in place

To the Kikuyu tribe of central Kenya, the number 10 is considered bad luck. In fact, “10” is so feared that no one speaks it aloud; they just skip that number when counting anything - especially people, since it’s thought to be particularly bad luck to count humans

Technically speaking Alaska is the northernmost, westernmost, and easternmost state of the United States. Parts of the Aleutian Islands cross over the 180th meridian

Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world that lies in two continents (Europe and Asia)

A former slave ship crewman wrote the song Amazing Grace as a way of openly mocking the captain of the ship

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 vending machines

Nine-banded armadillos always give birth to four identical offspring in a litter–quadruplets

Catherine the Great had private ice slides (the roller coasters of their day) built near her palace

Taste buds aren’t just located on the tongue, but also on the roof of the mouth, and even in the front of the throat

The gestation period of some species of opossum is less than two weeks

As the first President of the United States, George Washington pulled in a salary of $25K a year - roughly $1 million in today’s currency.  Washington reportedly purchased extravagantly including buying leopard-skin robes for all his horses and spending seven percent of his income on alcohol

At certain points during a baseball pitcher’s delivery, the pitcher’s arm is rotating at approximately 7,000 degrees per second - the equivalent of rotating your arm all the way around 70,000 times an hour

In the U.S. every year 0.1 percent of BB gun shootings are attempted suicides - that's about 30 people a year

Both the flesh and the pit of avacados are toxic to most species of bird

The first fax machine was invented over 25 years before the telephone

Cheddar cheese that has been ripened for six months is considered “mild.” Seven months to a year of ripening makes “sharp” cheddar, and two years worth of aging yields an “extra sharp” product

Charles Douglass invented the canned laughter we hear on sitcoms that are not filmed in front of a live audience

Underneath the striped fur of a tiger, its skin is also striped

Call of the Wild author Jack London ran for mayor of Oakland, California, on a socialist party ticket in 1901, and again in 1905. He lost both times

According to linguists the feminine version of “dude” is “dudine,” not “dudette”

Before returning to the silver screen in Gangs of New York, Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis was working as a cobbler in Florence, Italy

On March 1, 1912, Captain Albert Berry became the first person to parachute from an airplane… and walk away

Bridgestone Corporation, maker of the Bridgestone tires, is a Japanese company. The name is derived from founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s last name, which translates literally to “stone bridge”

The disease known as “chicken pox” has nothing to do with poultry or the raised bumps it creates on the skin - It earned the name because it was originally thought to be a weak strain of smallpox

The purpose of gasoline rationing in the U.S. during the Second World War was not to conserve gas, but to conserve tires - The primary source for natural rubber at the time was Southeast Asia, much of which was under Japanese control

Not only are all automobile taillights in the U.S. red, they’re a specific shade of red (with a specific color wavelength and intensity) mandated by the federal government

Green colored light is the least used color of light in the process of photosynthesis - it is reflected back into our eyes. That is why plants are, for the most part, green

In 1858, Hyman Lipman received the patent for the first integrated pencil/eraser writing utensiley, Lipman had created a world-changing product by conveniently combining two pre-existing world-changing products. But that wasn’t good enough for the patent office. Fortunately for Lipman, the Feds were late in figuring this out, and by the time they decided to revoke his patent, the crafty inventor had - according to most sources - already sold the rights for $100,000

The first rhinoplasty was performed in India around the 5th century CE. It involved a creeper vine leaf, a hunk of flesh sliced off of the patient’s cheek, and two small pipes to serve as nostrils. The procedure was wildly popular, albeit involuntary. At the time, Hindu law decreed that the noses be sliced off all adulterers and that turned out to include many people

Moths are falsely blamed for eating clothing - It’s actually their larvae that cause the fabric damage

The male cicada is the loudest insect in the world - Their sound can reach 120 decibels  (By comparison, a jackhammer breaking concrete is 100-120 decibels)

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