Monday, May 31, 2010


Humans can lose up to 30% of their total blood volume before going into shock

Cashews are related to poison ivy

The first seedless grapes were kind of an accident. Thousands of years ago in the Middle East, a random genetic mutation caused a group of grapes to spontaneously abort their own seeds before the seeds could develop hard casings. The result: seedless produce. To reproduce the fruit, a farmer simply cloned the vine (with no seeds, there’s nothing to plant) - meaning that all seedless grapes today are direct descendants of that one mutated grape vine

The human brain can stay alive and undamaged for 4-6 minutes without oxygen, though most frequently some brain damage does occur after less than three minutes

Paul Revere, best known to Americans as a Revolutionary War hero who allegedly warned "The British are coming," was a dentist by trade

In 1939, the American Nazi Party had over 200,000 members

Human females continue to develop physically until around age 18, while males continue their development until about age 21

In 1920, Detroit, Michigan became the first U.S. city to install a traffic light

Michigan borders no ocean but has more lighthouses than any other state in the U.S.

Rembrandt painted more self-portraits (62) than any other world-famous artist

Thomas Jefferson wrote draft sections of what would become the Declaration of Independence while drinking beer in a tavern

The earliest known will was written in 2550 BCE

In Hungary, Hungary is known as Magyar

It is illegal to clean your car with underwear in San Fransisco, California

The earliest known written poetry is from Japan's Jomon culture, which emerged around 11,000 BCE

Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world

Ancient Greeks believed that wearing amethysts would help prevent a person from getting drunk

The Canary Islands are actually not named for canaries, but dogs - this is because they found a large population of dogs on the island, and it comes from the Latin root canaria

The highest spot on earth is not Mt. Everest; if we define the “highest spot” as that which is closest to the moon, stars, etc. Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is an incredible 1.5 miles higher due to the oblate spheroid shape of the earth

The first TV show to use “open captions,” that is, captioning for the hearing-impaired available on all TVs, was the United States' Public Broadcasting Station’s The French Chef

In 1914, Henry Ford doubled the daily wage for his factory workers (from $2.40 to $5) while cutting their daily work hours from nine to eight

The original name for the starship in Star Trek was “Yorktown” not “Enterprise”

The Canadian dollar coin, known as the ‘Loonie” was never meant to be. The original dies depicted a voyageur in a birch bark canoe. The dies were shipped from Ottawa to Winnepeg (regular courier to save $45), and they disappeared. The loon was selected from entries submitted for another coin. The old dies have never been found

A person from Nigeria is a Nigerian, while a person from Niger is a Nigerien

The first automobile accident in the U.S. happened when a car struck a bicyclist in New York in 1896 - The driver spent the night in jail, and the cyclist suffered a broken leg

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

After Bill Clinton won the 1992 election, the 3rd call he took - after President Bush’s concession & Vice President Quayle’s congratulations - was from actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg

Due to the “naughty” dancing of the can-can girls, and the scantily clad models on 1800s French postcards, the British equated anything risqué with France - In fact, that’s how the phrase “pardon my French” entered the vernacular

Although Charles Schulz said he "loved drawing Charlie Brown and his pals," he hated the name Peanuts, which was chosen by United Features Syndicate despite his objections

Angel Falls in Venezuela did not get its name from its sheer majesty - Actually, they were “discovered” in 1935 by aviator James Angel

The Earth’s North and South Poles flip polarity on a semi-frequent basis having done so more then 20 times in the past 5 million years. That means that with the next flip, all compasses will be pointing South rather then North

Inspired by the events at an outdoor barbecue, “Uncle Milton” Levine modified a clear plastic tissue box into a prototype for the ant farm. Between 1956 and 1966, he sold some 12 million of them (live ants originally included)

Ezra Pound was highly critical when editing his good friend T. S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland – in Pound’s first encounter with the masterpiece he deleted the first 54 lines

An April ABC News TV report featured a Westford, Mass., couple as the face of the "radical unschooling" philosophy. which challenges both the formal classroom system and "home schooling."  Typically, "home schooling" parents believe they can organize their kids' educations better than schools can, but "unschoolers" simply put kids on their own, free to decide by themselves what, or whether, to learn any of the traditional school subjects. There is no punishment, no judgment, no discipline. The key, said parent Christine Yablonski, "is that you've got to trust your kids." For example, "If they [decide that they] need formal algebra understanding . . . they'll find that information." 

Bolinas, Calif., north of San Francisco, is famously reclusive, even to the point of residents' removing state highway signs pointing to the town, hoping that outsiders will get lost enroute and give up the quest. It limits population to about 1,500 by officially fixing the number of municipal water hookups at 580, but in April, one of the meters became available when the city purchased a residential lot to convert to a park. The meter was to be sold at a May auction, with a minimum bid of $300,000

A recent French documentary in the form of a TV show called "Game of Death" mimics the notorious 1950s human-torture experiments of Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, who would coax test subjects to administer  increasingly painful jolts of electricity to strangers to assess their obedience to an "authority figure," even if contrary to their own moral codes. As in Milgram's experiments, the Game of Death "victims" were actors, unharmed but paid to scream louder with each successive "shock." According to a BBC News report, 82 percent of the game's players were willing torturers--a higher percentage than Milgram found -but the TV show's subjects had greater encouragement, cheered on by a raucous studio audience and a glamorous hostess

Two North Carolina surgeons were issued official "Letters of Concern" in January for a 2008 incident in which they performed a C-section on a woman who was not pregnant. (They relied on an intern's confused diagnosis and following an ultrasound with no heartbeat and several obviously failed attempts to induce labor.)

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