Monday, August 23, 2010


The nose print of a dog is like the fingerprint of a person – no two are alike

Despite being staples of the Old West landscape, neither horses nor tumbleweeds are native to North America

At 6000 degrees Kelvin, the surface of the Sun is actually one of its coolest spots - Both the Sun’s interior and its corona measure in the millions of degrees Kelvin

Henry Ford was a proponent of hiring the handicapped - In 1919, more than 20% of his workforce had some form of disability, a higher percentage than most workplaces in America today

Russia’s Sergei Avdeyev has traveled further than any other human in history, completing nearly 12,000 orbits of the Earth as a cosmonaut

Earth’s largest national park is the North-East Greenland Park in Greenland, covering more than 375,000 square miles (more than twice the size of California)

Wonder Woman was created by Psychologist William Moulton Marsten (May 9, 1893 – May 2, 1947), who is also credited as the inventor of the systolic blood-pressure test, a component of the modern polygraph machine - he was known as a feminist theorist, inventor, and comic book writer and based the "super hero" Wonder Woman on the two most influential women in his life- his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marsten, and Olive Byrne, who was a lover to the couple in a polyamorous relationship

So-called white chocolate isn’t chocolate in the technical sense — it is comprised of cocoa butter, sugar and milk, but no actual chocolate

Grant Wood, famous for his painting American Gothic, won a Crayola crayon coloring contest as a child, which helped perpetuate his interest in art - he painted American Gothic in 1930 with a cottage built in the Gothic Revival style with a distinctive upper window as inspiration.  The couple that appears in the foreground, he claimed, were "people I fancied would live in that house"

In 1959, the USSR launched a craft called the Mechta towards the Moon. It missed, and instead became (inadvertently) the first human-made satellite to go into orbit around the Sun

Only one U.S. coin — the zinc-coated steel penny produced during World War II — can be picked up by a magnet

Orang means “man” in Malay and hutan means forest so orangutan means “man of the forest”

The phrase “goody two shoes” comes from a fable written in 1766 by Oliver Goldsmith, about a poor little girl who could only afford one shoe

Koalas aren’t bears, but marsupials - no bears are native to Australia

The third most-used language in the United States is American Sign Language

In the United States, 1 in 5 relationships begins through an online dating service or social networking sites such as facebook or MySpace

The split-fingered Vulcan salute from Star Trek is derived from an Orthodox Jewish ritual called the Blessing Hands, used to anoint congregations on holy days. Leonard Nimoy, whose grandfather was Orthodox, remembered the hand gesture from his childhood visits to the synagogue with his grandfather and borrowed it for his role as Mr. Spock  (Pictured below is actor Leonard Nimoy, in character as Spock, giving the famous split-fingered salute that was usually followed by the words "Live long and prosper"

There is one strand of corn silk for each kernel on an ear of corn

Only sparkling white wine that comes from the Champagne region of France, in the northeastern part of the country, can be called champagne. And that’s not a suggestion; in Europe, it’s the law. In fact, France’s ownership of the word was actually reaffirmed in 1919’s Treaty of Versailles. But here’s the loophole: Because the United States never ratified the Treaty of Versailles, it became perfectly legal to call American sparkling wine “champagne”

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  (Pictured below is the original Ferris Wheel- look closely to notice the width of the enclosed seats, which were meant to hold several people at once unlike most wheels today that are designed to hold just two or three riders in each car)

In the early 1900s, jugglers and acrobats, not singers and rappers, kept their eye on Billboard magazine each week. In those days, the magazine served as the insider’s guide for the traveling fair and carnival crowd, ranking them much like albums and songs are ranked today

William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Stak Trek) could never spread his fingers in the Vulcan greeting unless the studio crew taped or tied fishing line around his fingers

The letter J was the last letter added to the English Alphabet. Before that, the letter I was used in its place. U was the second last letter added, and usually replaced by V

Shel Silverstein, children’s poet and illustrator, got his start drawing cartoons for Playboy

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the acclaimed genius behind detective Sherlock Holmes, was later labeled a fanatical Spiritualist. Many of Sir Arthur’s decisions later in life were influenced by the advice of his guide Pheneas, the spirit channeled by his medium wife, the Lady Doyle

John Harvard was technically not the founder of Harvard University. It was first known as New College, and was established in 1636 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was only after the young Puritan minister passed away in 1638, leaving much of his estate to the institution, that the school was renamed for him in 1639

The “K” in Kmart stands for Kresge, as in the chain’s founder, Sebastian S. Kresge

The true formal name of the famous statue standing in New York harbor is not ‘The Statue of Liberty”. It was named ” Liberty Enlightening the World” by its sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, who fashioned the statue’s likeness after his mother

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US but has the longest name:  Rhode Island and Providence Plantantions

The hyoid bone is the only bone in the human body not connected to another bone - it is located roughly in the neck and connected by ligaments

The little bump on the front side of your ear is called a tragus

Mustard’s name is a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens, meaning “burning wine”

The launching mechanism of a carrier ship that helps planes to take off, could throw a pickup truck over a mile

Telephone cards were first popularized in Hawaii, since long-distance charges from the far-flung state were higher there than anywhere else in the US - since then, cell phones have nearly replaced the market for phone cards and are predicted to do so entirely within just 1-2 more years

The word “tycoon” is based on “taikun,” a title used by Japanese Shoguns

A naked, 47-year-old man was taken to an El Paso, Texas, burn center in July after "friends" won a bet and got to set his prosthetic leg on fire, and it spread to his body. The man admitted to police that he had lost fair-and-square, by downing "only" six beers. He was treated for several days and released

Britain's head constable told a police chiefs' meeting in June that they were being "buried" under a "telephone directory"-sized (6,497 pages) compilation of rules and regulations telling street police in massive detail such things as how to apply handcuffs and ride bicycles

Harry Jackson, 26, was in jail in Woodbine, Georgia, in March 2010, on several minor charges such as driving on a suspended license. However, acceding to pressure from fellow inmates, brought on by the jail's non-smoking policy, Jackson agreed to break out, steal cigarettes at a nearby convenience store, and break back in, undetected. "Don't come back empty-handed," one inmate supposedly warned him. Jackson was apprehended climbing back in over a fence. In May, a judge sentenced him, for the earlier charges plus the escape and subsequent burglary, to 20 years

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