Monday, May 10, 2010


New Hampshire is the only U.S. state that does not by law require drivers to wear safety belts while operating a motor vehicle

Before writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, author J.R.R. Tolkien worked for the Oxford English Dictionary with a focus on the etymology of Germanic words beginning with W

The first known chain letter appeared in 1888 asking for money for the poor in Tennessee and promising God’s blessing in return

When three-letter airport codes became standard in the mid-1930s, airports that had been using a two-letter identifier simply added an X to their code, which is why Los Angeles
International Airport is known as LAX

Dartmouth College is older that the United States and was granted its original charter by the King of England -  When the then governor of New Hampshire tried to amend the charter and the College brought suit against the state of New Hampshire, the Supreme Court upheld the original charter thereby limiting the power of states to interfere in private enterprises

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was created by former Wall Street Journal co-founder Charles Dow in 1896  -  Dow picked 12 important companies from a variety of industries from the U.S. Leather Company to the American Sugar Company. The only company still on the list today is General Electric

The office cubicle was invented by Robert Probst in 1968 - His original design was called the Action Office System and provided “a social kind of privacy” for the worker

In 1924, Alvin Kelly sat atop a flagpole for 13 hours, inspiring copycats across the country to replicate his feat (to varying degrees of success)

 The delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention spent much of their time getting drunk - One surviving document is a bill for a party on September 15, 1787, two days before the signing of the Constitution - Items on the bill were: 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 8 bottles of cider, 12 bottles of beer, and 7 bowls of alcoholic punch, all for 55 people

In Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, the world’s smallest dinosaur footprints were found in 1984 - They were made by a creature likely no larger than a robin

Actor Barry Fitzgerald was Oscar-nominated in 1945 for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for playing a priest in “Going My Way.” He won the latter but conceivably could have won two Oscars for playing one role. The rules were later changed to prevent this from happening again

While working on Pac Man, video game designer Tohru Iwantani was allegedly inspired by the shape of a pizza with one slice removed

More people watched Elvis’ televised concert called “Aloha from Hawaii” than the landing on the Moon

The @ sign was very close to being eliminated from the standard keyboard until 1971, when Ray Tomlinson wrote it into the code used to send the first email

Diamonds are actually unstable at our comfortable temperature and pressure - Every diamond above ground is very, very slowly altering into graphite, another form of pure carbon

Goosebumps are caused by stimulation of the arrector pilli muscle that raises the skin typically after the brain sends a signal to the muscle that the body is experiencing cold

In the 1920’s and early 1930’s, French surgeon Serge Voronoff perfected the technique of transplanting testicle tissue from various primates into men, supposedly to increase longevity and sex drive - Discredited by the 1940’s, the once-fashionable procedure had a cocktail named after it: the ‘Monkey Gland’ (gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe)

The world’s largest rodent is the capybara

The  Pentagon has five sides, the building has five stories, and the courtyard in the center encompasses an area of five acres

Winston Churchill’s mother was an American born in New York

The melting temperature of bubble gum is 125 degrees Fahrenheit

In the Holy Roman Empire, going blonde wasn’t exactly a fashion statement - At the time, light-color hair was associated with the barbarian women of Gaul and Germany who often ended up as slaves in brothels - Consequently, Roman law required all prostitutes to dye their hair blonde in order to distinguish themselves from “proper,” dark-mane ladies

Karen Salmansohn, 49, prominent author of self-help books for women with relationship and career problems, including "Prince Harming Syndrome" and "How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Successful Dog Trainers," filed a lawsuit in March against cad Mitchell Leff. Salmansohn said Leff had strung her along for months with promises of marriage and a baby, but abruptly cut off support when she became pregnant. Said Salmansohn, "I'm a self-help author, not a psychic."

A February New York Times/CBS News poll, asking respondents if they approve of gays serving openly in the military, found that 79 percent of self-identified Democrats approve if openly serving gays are referred to in the question as "gay men and lesbians." However, when the openly serving gays are referred to in the question as "homosexuals," only 43 percent of self-identified Democrats approve.

In March, the government of New South Wales in Australia granted "Norrie" a certificate as the state's (perhaps the country's, perhaps the world's) only official genderless person. Norrie prefers to live that way, and two doctors had certified that the former male is now "physically and psychologically androgynous."  

In October 2003, West Point, Ky., hosted 12,000 visitors for the weekend Knob Creek Gun Range Machine Gun Shoot, billed as the nation's largest, with a separate competition for flame-throwers. Especially coveted is "The Line," where 60 people (the waiting list is 10 years long to be admitted) get to fire their machine guns into a field of cars and boats, and during which a shooter might run through $10,000 in ammunition. Among the champions: Samantha Sawyer, 16, the top women's submachine gunner for the previous four years. One man interviewed by the Louisville Courier-Journal said he met his future wife at a previous Shoot, impressed that "she could accept flame-throwing as a hobby." Said another: "This is one of those times when you know (America) is the greatest place on Earth."

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