Sunday, August 29, 2010


Gray whales migrate 12,000 miles each year, farther than any other mammal - The whale feeds mainly on benthic crustaceans which it eats by turning on its side (usually the right, resulting in loss of eyesight in the right eye for many older animals) and scooping up sediments from the sea floor

A quart-size pail holds 8 million grains of sand

Elephant tusks grow throughout an elephant's life and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Among Asian elephants, only the males have tusks. Both sexes of African elephants have tusks

According to the Public Carriage Office, a branch of the Metropolitan Police that licenses all cabs and drivers, there are more than 23,000 cabbies working in London, England. All are self-employed and none has a police record

The Irish harp tradition is particularly special because of its ancient method of oral transmission – all teaching of the instrument is done "by ear". This method allows performers to be creative and individualistic within the Irish style

The male moose sheds its antlers every winter and grows a new set the following year - this helps the male conserve energy.  Female moose do not have antlers
An adult male red moose in winter sans antlers
A rarity in birds, geese are among the very few in which the family stays together at the end of the breeding season. Parents and the young raised during the summer establish strong family bonds and do not break up for about a year. In the fall, geese migrate in flocks that contain other family units, and each family stays together on the wintering grounds

The male house wren builds several nests as part of his attempt to attract a mate. Once the nests are completed, the female inspects each, then selects one as her preferred choice for the laying of her eggs  

In 1615, the English explorer William Baffin penetrated to within 800 miles of the North Pole. For the next 250 years, no one else got nearer

The final resting place for Dr. Eugene Shoemaker: the Moon. The famed U.S. Geological Survey astronomer had trained the Apollo mission astronauts about craters, but never made it into space. Dr. Shoemaker had wanted to be an astronaut but was rejected because of a medical problem. His ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft before it was launched on January 6, 1998. NASA crashed the probe into a crater on the moon on July 31, 1999, in an attempt to learn if there is water on the Moon

The thumb has its own special section in the brain, separate from the area that controls the fingers

In 18th century English gambling dens, there was an employee whose only job was to swallow the dice if there was a police raid

The blue whale weighs as much as thirty elephants, and is as long as three full-size passenger buses       

As many as 50 gallons of maple sap are needed to make a single gallon of maple sugar
A line of trees in Vermont, USA are tapped for maple syrup that is collected into the attached buckets
There are more than 15,000 different varieties of rice

Belgium and the Netherlands have an underground boundary that differs from the surface boundary shown on maps. In 1950, the two countries agreed to move the underground boundary so as not to divide coal mines between the two countries

The human heart rests between beats. In an average lifetime of 70 years, the total resting time is estimated to be about 40 years

Lightning has hit the Empire State Building in New York as frequently as 12 times in 20 minutes. The building is hit by lightning about 500 times a year

According to a 2005 survey, ten percent of American households leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve

The Pima Indians of Gila River Reservation, south of Phoenix, Arizona, USA have the highest rate of diabetes in the world.  In the US, Native American Indians have the highest rate of diabetes than any other racial group

Americans purchase an average of 100 cans of Campbell's Soup every second of every day in the month of January

In 1969, the Navy spent $375,000 on an "aerodynamic analysis of the self-suspended flare." The study's conclusion was that the frisbee was not feasible as military hardware  

A queen bee may lay as many as 3,000 eggs in a single day

The largest lake in Australia is Eyre, measuring 3,420 square miles (8,885 sq. km)

In January 2010, the UK government admitted that the British-made "magic wand" bomb-detector its own Department of Trade and Industry was promoting for export to police in Mexico and the Philippines was useless (no better than a Ouija board). Earlier, several British firms had sold thousands to Iraqi police at dollar-equivalents of $16,000-$60,000 (from a manufacturing cost of about $20 each). Furthermore, according to City of London police, "hundreds" of Iraqis had died in Baghdad after suicide bombers were mistakenly allowed into secure areas after being "cleared" by the wands. In January 2011, BBC News reported that a new British company, Unival, featuring a respected retired Army colonel as spokesman, had resumed selling the wands, to Bulgarian police 

Sigudur Hjartarson's life's work is his Phallological Museum in the fishing town of Husavik, Iceland. As the world's only all-penis attraction, it draws tourists by the thousands, eager to see the 276-specimen collection of desicated or stuffed organs from a wide range of animals. However, only in April (15 years after it opened)
did the Museum acquire a human penis, donated by the late Pall Arason, an acquaintance who, said Hjartarson, "liked to be in the limelight . . . to be provocative" 
Hjartarson’s museum started in Reykjavik but has since moved to Husavik, a small community better known for its whale watching. The Phallological Museum is an important part of the region’s tourist industry, bringing in thousands of visitors every summer
The Sergeants Benevolent Association, fighting back in April 2011 against corruption charges (that its NYPD
officers often "fix" traffic tickets for celebrities, high officials, and selected "friends") claimed in a recorded message reported in the New York Times that such fixes are merely "courtesy," not corruption 

A 20-year-old Jersey City, New Jersey gym member claimed "criminal sexual contact" in March, acknowledging that while she had given a male club therapist permission to massage her breasts and buttocks, she had been under the impression that he is gay. When another gym member told her that the therapist has a
girlfriend, she called the police 

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