Monday, August 2, 2010


About three-quarters of the fresh water usage in American households occurs in the bathroom

An estimated 15% to 20% of people who receive gift cards never redeem them, something most corporations count on when selling them- the money made from the sales of gift cards greatly exceeds the amount redeemed by shoppers in purchasing merchandise with the cards

The term ‘paparazzi’ comes from Paparazzo, a fictional freelance photographer in the 1960 Fellini film La Dolce Vita

In the 1940s, Pepsi adopted a red, white, and blue logo to support America’s war effort in WWII  (Pictured below is a Pepsi advertisement circa 1935, showing the main colors as orange and white)

In 1973, NASA launched Skylab, the first American space station, where three successive crews  lived and worked for more than 171 days. Knowing a call to the fire department would accomplish precious little from outer space, NASA and Honeywell Inc. developed an alarm system that would alert the station’s crew to smoke or fire. The smoke detector used on the space station is that same kind that is now found in 90 percent of U.S. homes

The Orange River in southern Africa isn’t named for the fruit or the color; it’s named for the Dutch royal family who sent explorers to “discover” the area

Cashews are always sold without their shells because the shell contains an oil that can cause a rash similar to poison ivy

The genetic mutation that causes red hair also causes redheads to be more resistant to anesthesia - they can require up to 25% more than patients of other hair colors

Three people composed “The Hokey Pokey” — Roland Lawrence “Larry” LaPrise, Charles Macack and Taft Baker- who wrote the tune in 1949 to entertain tired skiers at nightclubs in Sun Valley, IdahO

While the abacus is commonly associated with the Far East, it was also used in ancient Greece and Rome
         (Pictured:  A modern handheld digital abacus)

The Halifax explosion, which occurred December 6, 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as a result of a French cargo ship loaded with wartime explosives that accidentally collided with another ship and killed 2,000 people, was the largest human-made explosion until the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945

The Barcolo Manufacturing Company of Buffalo, New York, started the American tradition of the office “coffee break.” In 1902 they offered free coffee to their employees in order to boost morale, as well as a few free minutes to enjoy it

Denver was initially awarded the 1976 Winter Olympic Games, but the city’s voters turned down the offer

Captain Morgan was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica - today, most only know the name as a popular brand of rum

The shotput used by male athletes weighs 16 lbs., the same as the maximum weight for a bowling ball

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is as wide at its base as it is tall (630 feet) even though to the naked eye it may appear taller than it is wide

Sanyo’s name means ‘three oceans’ in Japanese - The company’s founder wanted to sell his wares across the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans

An ostrich’s eye is the same size as its brain

The only mammals that don’t have an umbilical scar, or “belly button,” are the platypus and echidna. Unlike other mammalians, these two species lay eggs

Iron Eyes Cody, the crying Indian (Native American) in the famous anti-pollution TV commercial, was actually an Italian-American named Oscar DeCorti

Thomas Edison had five dots (positioned like you see on dice) tattooed onto his left forearm - no one knows what significance the tattoo had for Edison

The average piano has about 230 strings, and each string averages about 165 pounds of tension, with the combined pull of all strings equaling over eighteen tons

The original Pilgrims set out for the "New World" on a ship called the Speedwell, originating from Holland. Due to an oversized mast which caused severe leaks, they were forced to acquire “space” on the Mayflower, losing valuable time and beer

Technically, green peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes are all fruits - but not all according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Per the 1893 case Nix v. Hedden, the court decided tomatoes were veggies and therefore subject to the vegetable tariff. The Supreme Court’s reasoning was that tomatoes have to be vegetables because they’re usually served with dinner, not dessert

The average “album” length has increased from 40 minutes in the LP (Long-play vinyl record) era to well over an hour in the CD (compact disc) era. Most double-album LPs can fit onto a single CD

Baseball player Richie Ashburn, in August 1957, hit a fan with a foul ball. A few minutes later, he hit the same fan again while she was being taken out on a stretcher

The visual “tail” of a comet has nothing to do with its direction of travel; rather, solar wind pushes it so that it always points away from the Sun

Official color of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco:  International Orange

Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television, was inspired by a farmer’s plowing of a field – the parallel rows giving him the idea of 'scanning' a picture

Printing the phrase “In God We Trust” on US currency was a mandate handed down by Abraham Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt attempted to remove the slogan because he, as a devout Christian, felt that putting God on money was a sacrilege

In 1557, European doctors recommended smoking to combat bad breath and cancer

The Hoover Dam contains enough concrete to pave a highway from the city of New York to San Fransisco

Among the unique dining experiences of the Beijing Zoo is the ability of patrons to view an exhibit of frolicking hippopotamuses and then step into the zoo's restaurant and dine on such dishes as toe of hippopotamus. Also available: kangaroo tail, deer penis, ant soup, and other delectables.. Animal welfare activists condemned the dining experience, according to a dispatch in London's Guardian

Standing firm under severe local criticism, John Chianelli (the chief mental-health administrator of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin) has begun housing aggressive males and vulnerable females together in the same unit. Chianelli defended his decision with research showing that, in similar facilities, female patients provided a civilizing influence that reduced males' propensities to violence- at least males' violence against other males

Patricia Edwards, 51, was arrested in Sanford, Florida, in March after being identified as the woman who walked into a Bank of America branch, handed over a robbery note, and walked out with money. After being quickly nabbed, she explained, "There was no plan, no nothing, just impulse. I think everyone should have a list of things they want to do before they die"

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