Monday, June 28, 2010


World's smallest printed book:  A copy of Teeny Ted from Turnip Town - by Michael Douglas Chaplain, International Standard Book Number ISBN-978-1- 894897-17-4 (0.07mm x 0.10mm - entirely 1/6th the size of a housefly) - You can purchase one of the only 100 copies for about $20,000 USD

Most popular day to be married in the United States:  Saturday  (June is the most popular month)

During ten months in 1918 to 1919, a strain of influenza killed about 20 million people worldwide, which was about 1 in 5 people - in the United States, 1 in 3 people were infected and died

One person in two billion will live to be 116 or older

70% of the earth's surface is covered by water - 1 billion people worldwide depend on the oceans for their main source of protein

In Cleveland, Ohio, it's illegal to catch mice without a hunting license

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honeymonth" or what we know today as the "honeymoon"

Hand tools found in northern Kenya in 1969 date back 2.6 million years

Vermont was the first US state to outlaw slavery in its constitution

In Puritan Boston in 1634, a carpenter named Edward Palmer built the first wooden stocks for public punishment - he then submitted the bill for 1 pound, 13 shillings, and 7 pence to the town officials.  The officials were outraged by what they considered an extortionist amount and fined Palmer 5 pounds and 1 hour locked in the public stocks he had built, making Palmer the first to be punished in the contraption he had made

Percent of all executions worldwide that take place in the United States, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran:  94%

Number of Americans currently diagnosed with asthma:  over 15 million, which is an 75% increase since 1980

Number of children worldwide who will die today from causes directly related to poverty and hunger:  34,000 ("Child" is defined as a person 5 years of age or younger by the World Health Organization)

The Egyptians were the first to envision adding a day to the calendar once every four years to keep pace with the solar year - it was the Romans who adopted the idea and designated February 29 as the Leap Day

Most scientists agree that there are about 1 million species of animal on Earth - about 10,000 new species are discovered each year  (In 2006, 30 unique species of fish, 2 species of tree frogs, 3 species of tree, and 16 ginger species were discovered in the Heart of Borneo, a rainforest about the size of Kansas) 

Percent of Americans who wear corrective lenses:  61%

The average lightning flash would power a 100 watt bulb for 3 months

On average, there is one lightning casualty for every 86,000 flashes in the United States each year - and each year there are about 20 million flashes

If you want to stay dry, it's better to walk than to run in the rain - on a 100 foot course a person soaks up more than twice the rain by running instead of walking

A single strand of DNA, containing every bit of information about you, contains 3 billion base pairs - these pairs can be A, T, C, or G.  It takes 2 bits to represent four options, so your full DNA sequence would occupy 6 billion bits on a computer, or 800 megabytes, which is just enough to fit on a single, standard compact disc

Dream interpretations have been documented on clay tablets that date back to 4000 BCE

Fastest swimming mammal:  Orca (Killer Whale) at 34 miles per hour

State with the highest cost, on average, per driver for car insurance in the United States:  New Jersey

Percent of George Washington's salary as President of the United States spent on liquor:  7%

Percent of US population identified as Native or Indigenous:  Less than 1%  (Percent of this population that resides on reservations:  50%)

In the United States, over 300 languages are spoken

An apple, onion and potato all taste the same if you eat them with your nose plugged (the taste you would experience is sweet)

The United States and Canada together are the world's largest producers of paper and paper products

Men's sperm count has decreased each year since 1959 in the United States

The US Postal Service handles 40% of all mail in the world

In the United States, over 30,000 people experience serious injury from exercise equipment misuse each year

The names of all the continents end with the same letter they start with: Antarctica, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America 

February 1865 and February 1999 are the only two months in recorded history to not have a full moon

1 out of 3 Americans are at least 20% above the recommended weight for their height, sex and age

The average human brain has 100 billion nerve cells

Contact lenses were first invented in 1887 by Swiss scientist A. E. Fick, though the production and use of the corrective lenses did not take place in most parts of the world for another 80 years

About half of the world's 20 largest oil-producers, which together account for 85% of world production, have already hit peak production and are now declining in the amount of oil they produce

The more than 95,000 accountants in New York earn more than their colleagues in other states, with an average salary of about $73,000 compared to a national average salary of about $60,000) - New York has more accountants than any other state

Children in the US are 80 times more likely to be killed or injured walking to school than taking a school bus or other transportation

Human bone most frequently broken by the worldwide population:  Clavicle (collar bone)

US state with the highest population of Native Americans:  Oklahoma (This state has no reservations for Native Americans)

Number of entries misspelled in the 1996 edition of the Webster's Dictionary:  over 300

Longest river in the world:  Nile

In most US states, the highway patrol carries a few gallons of soft drink (Coke, Pepsi, etc) in order to remove blood from the highway at the scene of a collision

The United States has military presence in 175 nations, out of 192 nations recognized by the United Nations and a total of 195 independent states in the world

Radio waves travel so much faster than sound waves that a broadcast voice can be heard sooner 18,000 kilometers away than in the back of the room where it originated

The oldest words in the English language are about 14,000 years old, originating in a pre-Indo-European language group called Nostratic

Longest English words that does not contain any vowels:  RHYTHYMS

The Olympic flag was created in 1914 by Pierre Coubertin and consists of five interlocking rings on a white background - the colors of the rings (green, yellow, black, blue and red) were chosen because at least one of them appeared on every flag of every country in the world - It was debuted at the 1920 games

Albert Bailey, 27, and a 16-year-old buddy were charged with robbery of a People's United Bank in Fairfield, Connecticut, in March, after they made it much too easy for police by calling the bank beforehand and demanding that money be set aside for them to pick up at a certain time. Police were waiting in the parking lot

According to court records cited by the Washington Post in April, Rene Fernandez, 45, will plead guilty to one count of a DUI-caused injury in connection with a 2009 traffic accident in Montgomery County, Maryland, that severely injured a retired county judge and his wife, both in their 80s. Fernandez and the judge, Edwin Collier, had met previously, in 1998, when Judge Collier pronounced sentence on Fernandez for DUI. At that time, Judge Collier released Fernandez on probation, even though Fernandez had been arrested for DUI twice in the previous three months

The reason career criminal Kevin Polwart gave for his brief February escape from New Zealand's Auckland Prison was to demonstrate that he posed no threat to society on the outside (and thus that he should be parolled) - Instead, authorities added nine months to his sentence

Melanie Shaker filed a lawsuit recently against the Fases Salon in Chicago for her 2008 injuries, which she incurred when she fell through the salon's front window and badly slashed herself. She fell after losing her balance while attempting to kick her husband during a quarrel along Sheffield Avenue following dinner (and, of course, drinks). Shaker suffered deep cuts to her arm, back, and feet, which she now says was the salon's fault in that they had neglected to use "safety glass" in their front window, which would not have shattered into glass shards

Monday, June 21, 2010


In 2004, researchers at Odeon Cinemas determined that celebrities making appearances at award ceremonies and movie premiers expose an average of 59% of their skin (for women celebrities the average was much higher at 74% then the average of men and women taken together), which is a figure up from 39% in 1994

Worldwide most burglaries occur in the daytime

The World Bank has ordered most developing nations to pay 20-25% of their export earnings toward debt repayment, while no European debtor pays higher than 4%

Month a person is most likely to be murdered in the United States:  August (Followed by March and October)

The ten US cities with highest murder rates per capita:  Washington, DC, Detroit, Baltimore, Memphis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Columbus, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Dallas (The ten safest US cities for murder rate:  Honolulu, El Paso, San Jose, Austin, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, New York, San Fransisco, Oklahoma City)

Average number of guests for a wedding in the United States:  190

If offices in the United States alone increased the rate of double-sided copies from its current 20% of all photocopies to 50% then 15 million trees could be spared

On 14 April 2006, Sri Lanka put its clock back 30 minutes nationwide so that it could rejoin the time zone of its neighboring India 

Egyptians built the Sphinx so that it faces and points toward the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox

Humans are about 1 centimeter taller in the morning than in the evening because layers of cartilage in our joints get compressed during the day as we walk and move around upright

Virginia Woolf wrote all of her novels while standing

Natural gas has no odor so gas companies, as ordered by municipalities, often add a chemical that smells similar to rotten eggs so people can detect a gas leak and take precaution in advance of an explosion

In Johannesburg, the average driver will be involved in an automobile collision once every four years

The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body, and the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body

In 1789, Morocco became the first nation to recognize the United States as an independent nation

About 8 million people in the United States (out of a total population of about 310 million) donate blood at least once each year

The murder rate in Washington, DC is 8 times higher than the national average of the US

Many of the details commonly associated with Santa Claus- chubby, red suited, lives at North Pole with toy-making elves, etc.- were invented for an advertisement campaign by Coca-Cola in 1890

The image of Santa Claus was used to sell many products, including cigarettes and alcohol, until around 1920 when the image became firmly associated with the holiday of Christmas in the hearts and minds of many people around the world and companies faced public backlash when using the image to sell any products that were not accessible to children - Below is an image that appeared in Life Magazine in 1900:

Throughout nearly all of WWII, Adolph Hitler was administered daily injections of methamphetamine

Prior to 1995, the International Dateline split the country of Kiribati resulting in the eastern part of the nation being a full day and two hours behind the western portion where the capitol is located - in 1995 the country simply decided to move the dateline farther to the east to ensure the entire country would be on the same day

Chance of being a victim of crime in the US:  5% of people in the United States are victims of crime each year, while 1.5 million are victims of violent crime

44% of serial killers start their violence toward other people in their twenties, 96% are male and 77% are white (The term "serial killer" was first coined in the United Kingdom in 1966, while the United States remains the home of the most serial killers in the world- it is estimated that 40-50 serial killers are active in the US at any given time)

Worldwide, China has the most executions, followed by the United States

The Pentagon was built with twice as many bathrooms as needed because of segregation that demanded "Whites Only" bathrooms and drinking fountains

The Catholic Church banned cremation until 1963

Odds a female in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime:  1 in 8

The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee sick leave for employees, leaving more than 54 million working Americans with no sick pay

Until 1926, women were banned from marathons because it was believed the exertion caused infertility

In the United Kingdom, one person is diagnosed every 3 minutes with diabetes

In 2007, 1 in 77 convicted persons were sentenced to death, while 42 already on death row were executed

1 in 8 adult Americans are black, while 56% of convicted persons sentenced to death are black

In 1898, the first advertisement for an automobile appeared in Scientific America magazine (now known as Scientific American) by the Winston Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio that urged readers to "dispense with a horse"

First woman executed in an electric chair:  Martha Place, at age 44Sing Sing Prison, 20 March 1899, convicted of the murder of her stepdaughter

In May, the German manufacturer Ex Oriente Lux AG set up its "Gold To Go" vending machine in the lobby of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel, offering gold coins and one-, five-, and ten- gram bars of gold, based on the current world price at the time of the transaction

British and Australian researchers, writing in a journal article in March, concluded that the world's strongest insect (relative to body weight) is the male dung beetle, which can lift more than 1,100 times its weight (equivalent for an average male human: 80 tons). Since the beetles mate inside dung patties, their every move is a struggle against the resistance posed by the feces. (On the other hand, the researchers also found weaker dung beetles that mated just fine--helped not by their strength but by unusually large testicles)

Jacob Collins, 28, was arrested in April and charged with burglary of Matlack's Hometown Pharmacy in Landisville, New Jersey, despite the fact that the medicine he stole was probably by mistake. Police said they were almost certain Collins was after the painkiller "Oxycontin" but instead swiped a supply of "Oxybutynin," which treats overactive bladder

Monday, June 14, 2010


The Chinese used black pepper to cure cholera, Europeans used it as currency, and Attila the Hun demanded 3,000 pounds of it in exchange for discontinuing his sacking of Rome

Hackysack was invented in 1972 by John Stalberger as a game to help him rehabilitate his knee, which he injured playing football

King Louis XIV was so afraid of weapons that he ruled all pointed knives at dinner tables illegal

Duct tape was developed in 1942 for use by the U.S. Army as a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition boxes

The North Pole is not considered a continent like the South Pole because the ice of the North Pole floats on the ocean, while the ice of the South Pole sits on actual ground – the continent of Antarctica

Gilbert L. Loomis of Westfield, Massachusetts, was the first American to purchase an auto insurance policy in 1897

The first person to successfully go over Niagara Falls in a barrel was 63 year old Annie Taylor, a former school teacher who needed money and thought that she would achieve fame and fortune if she was successful at the stunt - She did not become famous or receive any money, and died destitute about 20 years later
Whiskey is clear when it is first distilled - It gets it’s color and much of it’s taste from the oak barrels in which it is aged

The tune to “Happy Birthday” was written by church organist Mildred Hill as a welcome song for schoolchildren; it was originally published as “Good Morning to All”

The black pirate flag known as the “Jolly Roger” was originally a bright red French surrender or die banner known as the “Jolie Rouge”

Nearly $40 billion in U.S. coins are currently in circulation

About one in every 30 Americans births results in twins

During sleep, fluid in the body tends to pool in low-lying areas, which is why many people wake up with noticeable bags under their eyes

The first ferris wheel was built by a man named George Ferris in 1893 for the Chicago Worlds Fair or the Columbian Exposition. It was intended to upstage the Eiffel Tower which was the main attraction from the 1889 Paris Exhibition. The Ferris Wheel was 264 feet and carried 2,160 people in 36 cars

Only pharaohs were allowed to eat mushrooms in ancient Egypt

It doesn’t matter how fresh-picked they are, coffee beans are actually tasteless until they’re roasted

For years, the pharmaceutical company Bayer held the trademark for the word “heroin” and sold the drug as a cough and headache remedy

Cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith introduced their first eight Crayola crayons in 1903 - In 1962, Crayola voluntarily changed Flesh to Peach in an attempt to avoid any legal issues and encourage people to embrace seeing the world in black and peach; Introduced in 1949, Prussian Blue was unceremoniously stripped of its name in 1958, after American teachers continued to voice concerns that the crayon wasn’t Cold War–sensitive - Crayola hoped the color’s new name, Midnight Blue, would help make it less political; Introduced in 1958, Indian Red was actually named for a pigment that originated in India - Over the years, teachers began to worry that children would see the crayon as a reference to American Indians’ skin color - In 1999, the Crayola company changed the name to Chestnut

In Japan, McDonald’s gave away 10,000 MP3 players, fully loaded with 10 free songs. Problem is, many of them were also loaded with a QQPass Trojan virus that captured user info and sent it to hackers as soon as it was plugged into a computer

In 1992, Pepsi offered 1 million pesos to anyone finding a bottlecap with 349 printed on it. The problem…half a million bottlecaps got printed with 349, which would have cost 18 billion dollars. Pepsi ended up paying winners $19.00, which still cost them ten million dollars. Some bottling plants were attacked, and many Pepsi execs had to leave the country

Competitors with nimble fingers have battled it out in a bra-removing contest at Chinese shopping mall. Participants each had to see how quickly they could unclasp eight bras, which were worn by models on a stage in Gungzhou city.  The models - who all had their hair tied up to allow easy access to their bra fastenings - stood in a line as countless men tried their luck.  The prize for the fastest time was 1,000 yuan. But the men were all put to shame by a woman who undid the eight bra clasps in just 21 seconds

Swiss clockmaker Artya announced in March the creation of a wristwatch set in fossilized dinosaur feces (with a strap made with skin from an American cane toad). Designer Yvan Arpa told the Associated Press the watch would sell for about $12,000 

A North Carolina research organization in March, picking the state's 10 worst destinations for federal stimulus grants, included two ongoing projects at Wake Forest University: long- term cocaine-addiction in monkeys and the potential benefits of yoga on menopausal hot flashes 

Child-Bearing, Explained: Virginia state legislator Bob Marshall, speaking in February in opposition to state funding for Planned Parenthood, said the organization is partly responsible for the number of disabled children in America. According to the Old Testament, he said, being forced to bear a disabled child is punishment for the mother's having earlier aborted her first-born

When stroke victims recover, they have sometimes acquired bizarre obsessions, like one by David Stopher of North Tynesdale, England, who found himself unable to say no to salespeople. According to a March Daily Mail report, the biggest beneficiary of Stopher's condition has been the wireless telephone network (known as 3), whose marketers had signed Stopher up for six different phones and plans, at the same time (and paid all on time until his brothers stepped in to persuade 3 to restructure the account) 

Intelligent Evolution: Researchers from Royal Roads University in Canada reported last year that the large, carnivorous pitcher plants of Borneo prefer to eat insects and spiders, but where those are in short supply, as in Philippines highlands, the pitchers have grown to a size accommodating an alternative source of the nitrogen
they need. The pitchers have "learned" that if they produce copious amounts of nectar, it will attract the tiny-mouse-sized tree shrew to harvest it, and the shrews, trapped inside the plant, will leave droppings directly on the spot most advantageous for the pitcher to consume them. Said Professor Charles Clarke, discovery of the arrangement "totally blew us away" 

Monday, June 7, 2010


The only letter of the alphabet that does not appear in any of the U.S. territory or state’s name is “Q”

The Ford Falcon was discontinued in the US in 1971 but was redesigned and produced through 1991 in Argentina and was known as the official vehicle of the military junta

Also called the Mexican Hairless Dog, the Xoloitzcuintle breed was used by Aztecs for companionship, and occasionally for meals

The name for “piggy” banks comes from the use of family money jars in the Middle Ages made from a type of clay called pygg

Until a study published in 1905 by Carnegie scientist Nettie Stevens that identified the Y chromosome, sex was thought to be caused by environmental factors, such as passion of sexual relations, nutrition and temperature - These theories had their roots in Aristotle, over 2000 years ago

The angle the esophagus enters the stomach makes horses physically unable to vomit

Two-thirds of the world’s lawyers live in the United States

Poet and pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti loved his wife, Elizabeth and after she died of a laudanum overdose in 1862, he buried her with the only existing copy of his unpublished poems. Seven years later, however, Rosetti found himself suffering from a really bad case of writers’ block, so he dug up her body and retrieved his poems. They were published in 1870 and were well received by critics, but he never forgave himself for pilfering them from her grave and never published again

Vladimir Nabokov was a butterfly expert - In the 1940s, he became curator of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology’s butterfly collection

The distance from the eastern tip to the western tip of the state of Texas is greater than the distance from New York City to Chicago

In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho, the sound effects for the famous shower scene were actually created by repeatedly stabbing a casaba melon

The capstone atop the Washington Monument is actually made of aluminum. The 100-ounce pyramid-shaped “stone” was placed on December 6, 1884, and was the largest aluminum object cast up to that time - Aluminum was very hard to produce at the time and was worth as much as silver ($24/oz in today’s dollars)

Camels actually originated in North America

In humans 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

The Plague of Justinian killed as many as 10,000 people a day at its peak in 541 before eventually migrating to Europe and becoming The Black Plague

When business was slow in the early days of the Boeing Company they had their woodworkers make furniture

 The Beatles' song  “Yesterday” has the most cover versions of any song ever recorded - Its original title was “Scrambled Eggs”

Unlike a traditional toxin, viper venom functions by preventing the blood from clotting,  so that the victims bleed to death

ETAOIN SHRDLU is a combination of the 12 most-commonly used letters in English, in descending order. Linotype machine keyboards used them in columns, ETAOIN as the first column on the left, SHRDLU as the next to the right. When a typesetter made an error, he would quickly run his hand down the columns to type “ETAOIN SHRDLU”, to serve as a flag to discard that line of type. The phrase did, of course, occasionally make it into print

Immune to charges of “looking goofy,” basketball player Rick Barry shot his free throws underhanded. The technique was as successful as it was peculiar: Barry retired in 1980 with a combined ABA/NBA rate of success of 89.3% at the free-throw line—the best in history

The Kentucky Derby is also known as the Run for the Roses, while the Belmont Stakes also goes by the Run for the Carnations, and the Preakness Stakes doubles as the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans

Fish get scared by looking at their own reflection and try to fight themselves in a mirror, biologists have discovered.  Researchers compared the behaviour and brain activity of fish during one-on-one encounters with a mirror and another male of about the same size.  The team from Stanford University found male African cichlid were scared when they saw their reflection, and that this fear increased when they realized it was making the same movements as them.

It's said this means fish are actually smarter than most people give them credit for and their brains work in much the same way as humans. "It seems like something they don't understand," said Julie Desjardins, a postdoctoral researcher in biology.  "But I think it indicates there is more going on cognitively than people have long assumed in fish. I think this stimulus is just so far outside their realm of experience that it results in this somewhat emotional response."  The discovery was made by examining the fishes' brains, which showed high activity in the amygdala, the brain region crucial to fear, in those which had encountered their reflection.  "The amygdala is a part of the brain that has been associated with fear and fear conditioning, not only in fish but across all vertebrates," added Desjardins.

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