Monday, September 27, 2010


The creator of the iPod first shopped his idea (without success) to Philips and RealNetworks before Apple agreed to market the device

Carter Lake, a unique Iowa town bound by the Nebraska state line, is nestled among land legally within city limits of Omaha, Nebraska

Plastic bags take up less landfill space than paper bags. According to one study, two plastic bags take up 72 percent less landfill space than one paper bag - the bad news is that plastic bags do not biodegrade or photo-degrade, and take up to 50,000 years to begin to decompose at all

Arthur Conan Doyle, who created the literary character Sherlock Holmes, helped popularize skiing in Switzerland - in 1893, when Doyle and his wife arrived on holiday, skiing was not a popular passtime.  Doyle moved to Davos Switzerland for his wife's health when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and instead of dying within months, she lived until 1906.  While there he taught himself the sport he had seen in Norway, found a few locals who already knew how to ski, and predicted that it would catch on to become a destination for people who loved to ski  (Pictured below is Doyle and his wife, circa 1900)

 The first American cheerleaders were a league of men at Princeton in the 1880’s

Many celebrity moms-to-be elect to have a C-section (whether medically necessary or not) in order to fit into their very tight filming schedules

In 2004, researchers at King’s College in London spent weeks examining dozens of horror movies before determining that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was “the perfect scary film”

A researcher at California State University calculated that non-fiction writers live an average of 68 years, longer than their cohorts who write poems, plays, and fiction works but still lower than the national average

Hava Nagila was first performed in 1918 at a celebration in honor of a British victory in Palestine during WWI

A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1995 indicated that between 1978 and 1995 no less than 37 deaths in the U.S. were credited to vending machines

“Pretty Boy” Floyd might have been one of America’s most notorious bank robbers, but he became a folk hero to many when on bank heists he became known for destroying mortgage papers, consequently freeing hundreds of people from property debt (Pictured below: Law enforcement offers a reward for Floyd, dead or alive)

Pamela Anderson, Baywatch star and Playboy centerfold, is Canada’s Centennial Baby, recognized as being the first baby born on the centennial anniversary of Canada’s confederation as a nation

Historians’ best guess as to why humans draw the heart shape to represent love is the shape of a plant called silphium. A relative of the fennel seed, the stuff was once consumed as an early form of birth control

George S. Patton, who helped drive the Nazis out of North Africa and liberate Sicily during World War II, believed he’d fought in North Africa and Sicily centuries before. A staunch believer in reincarnation, Patton claimed to have fought during the Punic Wars, as both a Roman legionnaire and as the Carthaginian general Hannibal

In the 1950s, Harper Lee moved to New York to become an author, and succeeded. Her 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, won a Pulitzer Prize and is a classic. But aside from a few nonfiction magazine articles she’s published since, she’s refused to write anything else—including a foreword for her lone novel

A Mercurian day is longer than its year - A solar day on Mercury lasts about 176 Earth days, which is about twice as long as Mercury's orbital period, roughly 88 Earth Days. As a result, a Mercury year is about 0.5 Mercury days long, and one Mercury day lasts approximately two Mercury years

Stores don't sell mouse-flavored cat food as a matter of marketing: tuna, chicken and liver flavors sound much more palatable to the humans buying the pet food

Canada has more lakes than all other countries combined

A recent surge of Neo-Nazism in several countries--including, improbably, Israel, and Mongolia (where some dark-skinned natives are rabidly anti-Chinese)--has generally been denounced, but Corinna Burt credited it with rescuing her from a life of acting in pornographic videos. According to a hate-group watchdog, the Portland, Oregon, woman is "the most prominent National Socialist Movement organizer in the Pacific northwest." In an August interview with, the white-supremacist Burt (a mother of two and a professional embalmer who is also into bodybuilding) said she terminated her porn career (as "Cori Lou," doing mostly bondage and "torture" films) because, "If we [caucasians] consider ourselves a master race then we have to act like a master race, not degenerates" 

In 2010 April, the Senjosi Temple in Tokyo hosted the possibly-400-year-old Naki Sumo ("crying baby contest"), in which infants are blessed to good health by having Sumo wrestlers hoist them into the air, hold them at arm's length, and coax them (no squeezing!) to cry, thus signaling that the offering has been heard. This year, 80 babies were glorified, with special spiritual favors afforded those who cried the loudest and the longest

Japanese ice-cream makers are famous for expanding the universe of conceivable flavors, but a gathering by the fashion/style website The Gloss in 2010 July found several more, suggesting that maybe the world is about
to run out of what ingredients can go into ice cream: Haggis ice cream (from Morelli's in London), Sardines and Brandy ice cream (from Helader a de Lares in Venezuela), Caviar ice cream (Petrossian in New York City), and Foie Gras ice cream (Phillippe Faur in Toulouse, France, about $150)

Every weekend for the last four years, parishioners from the New Beginnings Ministries church in Warsaw, Ohio, have gathered in front of the Foxhole strip club in nearby Newcastle and tried to shame customers by photographing them and posting their license plate numbers on the Internet, and brandishing hellfire-threatening signs. Recently, however, Foxhole's strippers joined the duel, congregating on Sundays in front of New Beginnings, wearing bikinis and "see-through" shorts, dancing scandalously, squirting each other with jumbo water guns, and wielding their own Bible-quoting signs to greet the day's worshipers

Wisconsin law permits independent candidates five-word statements to accompany their names on the ballot, to signal voters just as the words "Republican" and "Democrat" are signals, but Milwaukee Assembly candidate Ieshuh Griffin was ruled in July to have gone too far with her statement ("NOT the 'whiteman's bitch'") [her capitalization and punctuation]. Griffin said the decision baffled her since "everyone" she spoke with understood exactly what she meant

Nottinghamshire County Council recently refused, for the third time, to issue a disabled-parking permit to British Army Corporal Johno Lee, whose right leg was amputated below the knee following an explosion in
Iraq. Lee said a staff member told him he was "young" and that his situation "might get better"

Monday, September 20, 2010


When Charles II returned to the English throne in 1660, John Milton’s crony Oliver Cromwell lost his fortune after being imprisoned and heavily fined for crimes against the state. The only reason Milton escaped with his head was because he was going blind, which the good king kindly looked upon as divine retribution

Cheesecake was invented in Ancient Greece and served to athletes at the very first Olympic Games

Jim Henson said he made the first Kermit out of his mom’s old coat and used Ping-Pong balls for eyes  (Pictured below is the famous frog as he is familiar to people today)

People in the US didn’t always say “hello” when they answered the phone. When the first regular phone service was established in 1878, people said “ahoy”

A substance called Ambergris, found in the ocean or on the coast and originating in the intestines of sperm whales, was a main ingredient for many popular perfumes (it has an earthy scent) until about 60 years ago

During the year 1881, three men served as President of the United States: Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur

The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest continuously occupied public (and municipal) building in the United States -  It was built in 1610

The French Kiss isn’t from France; it’s actually a slur against the nation. In the 1920s, the English derided the French as the kind of people who’d go around sticking their tongues where they didn’t belong

The longest jellyfish on record measured 160 feet, more than half the length of a football field

In 1944, as a WWII war correspondent, Ernest Hemingway led Free French resistance fighters in the defense of the town of Rambouillet, an act for which he was almost tried under the Geneva Conventions

Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila won the gold medal at the 1960 Olympics — while running the marathon barefoot! He repeated the feat four years later, this time wearing shoe

The “mystery flavor” Dum-Dum Pop is truly random. The Spangler Candy Company combines the last of their flavorings at the end of a production run to turn out lollipops of mixed (and mysterious) flavors

Three months after Charlie Chaplin died his corpse was stolen by two Swiss mechanics in order to extort money from the family. The robbers were captured and Chaplin’s body was found eleven weeks later. To prevent further attempts, he was reburied under concrete

The highest temperature ever recorded on earth was a searing 136° F. The scorcher occurred in Al Aziziyah, Libya on September 13, 1922

Tuesday is the most popular day of the week for giving birth. Part of that factor has nothing to do with Nature and everything to do with hospital staffing since elective C-sections and induced labors are often scheduled during traditional working hours

In 2005, at least 2.5 million American drivers aged 85 or older had valid drivers licenses

In 2000, not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States

Since weightlessness causes the spine to expand and straighten, astronauts may measure up to two inches taller in space than they do on Earth

Chewing gum does burn off calories, but it would take two weeks of continuous chewing to burn off the equivalent of one pound of fat

The original Magna Carta has been lost. But about 17 copies dating from 1297 or earlier survive, including one in the private collection of former US presidential-candidate Ross Perot

While its popularity in America is fairly recent, margarine dates back to 1860s France, when Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a prize to anyone who could design a cheap butter substitute

In 1916, an elephant named Mary was executed by hanging in Erwin, Tennessee, for killing her circus trainer. It was decided to hang her after they exhausted the possibilities of firing squad, electrocution and dismemberment by train engines  (Pictured below onlookers witness Mary being hanged (center) with the elephant dangling from the end of the crane)

Montana is the only U.S. state that borders three different Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan)

Napoleon's nemesis, the Duke of Wellington, was an accomplished yo-yo player. At that time, the yo-yo was known as a "bandalore"

Seeing another person yawn makes it likely that you will yawn yourself. Thinking about, even reading about yawning can set you off

A female lawyer from Puri, India, in her mid-30s told The Times of India in July that she recently underwent gender-reassignment surgery in part to avoid the male-female marriage that her parents were arranging for her: "I did not want a family life which is being forced on girls in our society"

James Burden, 55, was convicted of indecent exposure in Scotland's Falkirk Sheriff Court in June based on a March incident when a neighbor looked out her window before dawn and saw Burden, naked, smoking a cigarette, and masturbating while bouncing on her family's outdoor trampoline. Burden said he did not know anyone would be watching at that hour 

In New Zealand's Auckland District Court in June, Judge Mary Beth Sharp dismissed an elderly male juror from a trial involving sexual abuse because the man disclosed, under questioning, that he had worn a condom under his clothes in the jury box because the testimony was making him aroused 

Scot Davis, 52, was charged with robbing the All in the Family bar in Des Moines, Iowa, in March. Davis, a contractor who is friends with bartender Gladys York, had spent the evening at the bar passing out business cards before leaving. Said York, when Davis re-appeared carrying a .22-caliber rifle and demanding money, "Scot, What the (expletive)?" Said an officer, "This is not the hardest case our detectives have ever had to investigate"

Monday, September 13, 2010


World War I ended at precisely eleven o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918

Twinkies originally had banana-flavored filling, but switched to vanilla when World War II brought the banana trade to a halt

The phrase “going commando” originated during the Vietnam War, a time when American troops spent extended periods of time in hot, humid jungles. Tight-fitting undergarments reduced ventilation and increased the risk of fungal infections in the groin area

The Jaws of Life were invented by George Hurst, who was a mechanical engineer and auto racing enthusiast. He conceived the idea after witnessing an accident at the Indy 500 where the driver died because he couldn’t be extracted from his car in time  (Pictured below a rescue worker goes through a training exercise using the Jaws of Life, which look like very large scissors and can cut a car into pieces)

The United States’ first satellite, the Explorer I, weighed only 31 lbs.

The sailfish (the fastest fish, 68 mph) is speedier in the water than the cheetah (the fastest land animal, 62 mph) is on land

Instead of being nocturnal or diurnal, some animals are “crepuscular”, meaning they are primarily active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk

Rene Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650), French philosopher, physicist, and mathematician and known as the Father of Philosophy,  was attracted to cross-eyed women

It is considered bad luck to whistle in a theater. The superstition dates back to the time when off-duty sailors would run the fly system in theaters, and the sailors would whistle the cues to each other. Therefore, if you were to walk through a theater carelessly whistling a tune, you might cause a scenic piece to fall on your head

Mozart’s “Ah! Vous Dirai-je, Maman” might well be his most popular melody — it’s the tune used in both “The Alphabet Song” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"

The first skyjacking occurred in 1931 in the skies above Peru. Two rebel soldiers forced the pilot of a Fokker F-27 to fly them over Lima so they could drop propaganda pamphlets onto the city

Depending on the time of year, the Earth’s distance from the Sun can vary more than 3 million miles

Walt Disney’s famous “logo” signature wasn’t really his; it was designed by a staff artist

The Bat is the only mammal that can fly. Flying squirrels can only glide (fall slowly)

In 1956, East Germany decided to honor the death of native composer Robert Schumann by featuring him on a stamp. The design included a commemorative portrait of the artist against the backdrop of one of his musical scores. Unfortunately, the musical manuscript they used was that of fellow composer Franz Schubert

The epitaph of Alexander the Great is one of the most famous in history: “A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.” But in all likelihood, Alexander’s tomb does not contain Alexander himself. The emperor Ptolemy took Alexander’s body and brought it back to Alexandria, where it was on display for a long time. But the body was lost and its current whereabouts are unknown

The dot of an i is called a "tittle"

Congress passed a law prohibiting American vessels from supplying slaves to other countries on March 22, 1794, less than a decade after outlawing slavery on its own shores

Visual scientists have estimated that, by the age of 60, our eyes have been exposed to more light energy than would be released by a nuclear blast

The Egyptian vulture, a white bird about the size of a raven, throws stones with its beak to open ostrich eggs to eat. This bird is one of the very few animals that, like humans, manipulates objects as tools

The official soft drink of the state of Nebraska: Kool-Aid

Some foods "explode" in the microwave due to trapped steam. Eggs, butter, and margarine have internal water that, when microwaved, turns to steam and splatters the food

Shirley Anderson, 71, is suing her son Ken, 46, in Vancouver, British Columbia, for parental support- even though she and his father had abandoned him when he was 15 (having one day just picked up and moved and left no forwarding address. An archaic 1922 law in British Columbia obligates adult children to support "dependent" parents, and in 2000, Shirley sued, demanding $350(Cdn) per month each from Ken, who is a trucker, and his four siblings (three of whom were at least 17 when the parents left and not considered "abandoned"). A judge awarded token interim support pending a final resolution, which after years of paperwork and delay was to come in early August but has been postponed once again 

"A new high point" in electoral politics in Philadelphia occurred this spring, according to the publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, when openly gay state Rep. Babette Josephs "outed" her primary opponent Gregg Kravitz as straight. According to Josephs, the heterosexual Kravitz was posing in Josephs's gay-friendly 182nd District as bi-sexual. Kravitz said he is "attracted" to both men and woman and found Josephs's comments offensive

Recently while visiting her childhood home of Bishop, Texas, Joan Ginther won a Texas lottery drawing for the fourth time, taking home a $10 million first prize to lift her career Texas lottery winnings to $20.4 million. (By then, she had already moved to Las Vegas)

California gubernatorial candidate Douglas Hughes proposed this year to solve the state's child-molestation problem by developing an island 30 miles off the Santa Barbara coast to contain the state's pedophiles, who would, according to The Daily Caller, "write their own constitution, build their own infrastructure, and maintain a society" 

Monday, September 6, 2010


Casu marzu means “rotten cheese” in Sardinian and is known commonly as maggot cheese because it actually contains live maggots. The cheese is okay to eat only if the maggots are alive. If the maggots die the cheese is no longer safe to consume

Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was a Native American Indian - He attained the highest elected office (to date) of any Native American  -  His maternal ancestry was three-quarters' Native American, of ethnic Kaw, Osage and Pottawatomie ancestry. Curtis spent years of childhood living with his maternal grandparents on their Kaw reservation
Charles Curtis (1860-1936)
In Australia, the most popular topping for pizza is eggs. In Chile, the favorite topping is mussels and clams. In the United States, it's pepperoni

Odds an American thinks they have a chance at winning the lottery:  1 in 5

The brilliant colors in a hummingbird's feather are created by tiny platelets that resemble a pancake filled with air bubbles. They are called "interference colors," and are much like the shimmering colors seen in a soap bubble or in a drop of oil
Despite his many name changes, musician Prince does have a real first name: Prince

The onion is a lily, botanically

Prior to the Chinese take-over of Tibet in 1952, 25% of the males in the country were Buddhist monks 

Godiva Chocolates were launched in 1926 in Brussels, Belgium, when master chocolatier Joseph Draps founded, with his family, a chocolate company named in honor of the 1040 A.D. legend of Lady Godiva

Bore-hole seismometry indicates that the land in Oklahoma moves up and down 25 cm throughout the day, corresponding with the tides. Earth tides are generally about one-third the size of ocean tides

The most common town names in the U.S.: 1. Fairview 2. Midway 3. Oak Grove 4. Franklin 5. Riverside 6. Centerville 7. Mount Pleasant 8. Georgetown 9. Salem 10. Greenwood 

The pituitary gland - responsible for producing the hormone that regulates growth in humans - is only the size of a pea and weighs little more than a small paper clip    

The depressed area of skin under your nose and above your upper lip is called your philtrum

Studies in space have shown that birds cannot survive in weightless environments, since they require gravity in order to swallow food

As of July 2010, one job is available for every 5 unemployed workers in the United States

A group of rhinos is called a crash

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

Just as some people talk in their sleep, sign language speakers have been known to sign in their sleep

It’s estimated that Elwood Edwards is heard some 64,000,000 times per day - He’s the voice behind America Online’s “Welcome” and “You’ve Got Mail”

H. Cecil Booth, inventor of the first suction-powered vacuum, first experimented by covering his lips with various fabrics and taking giant gulps of detritus off his floor

Harvard University is the alma mater of more presidents (seven of them, including President Obama) than any other college

The last state to ban eugenics-based castration was Oregon in 1983 - The last castration took place in 1978

If a starfish is cut into pieces, each piece will grow into a whole new starfish

A city called Rome can be located on every continent of the world

In  the year 2160, astronomers predict there will be 2 lunar eclipses and 5 solar eclipses

New York state school officials had promised to crack down on soft test-grading, to end the near-automatic grade-advancement by students unprepared for promotion. However, a June New York Post report found that the problem lingers under the current grading guideline called "holistic rubrics." Among examples cited by the Post (from a 4th-grade math test): How many inches long is a "2-foot-long skateboard"? (Answer: 24; "half-credit" answer: 48)

It took until Spring 2010 (eight years after the invasion of Afghanistan) for the U.S. Army to realize that enemy fighters in that vast, mountainous country were difficult to shoot at because they are often so far away. The Associated Press reported in May that the Army is only now reconsidering its reliance on standard M-4 rifles (whose effective range is under 1,000 feet), in favor of M-110 sniper rifles (effective at more than 2,500 feet). (Shorter-range rifles work well in Iraq, since the fighting is closer-in   

In Urfa, Turkey, in April, pop singer Metin Senturk set the world speed record for an unassisted blind driver (in a Ferrari F430, at about 175 mph), an experience he called "like a dance with death"

According to a May report by Seattle's KOMO-TV, former Oregon National Guardsman Gary Pfleider II is awaiting the results of his latest appeal to end the garnishment of his disability checks to cover $3,175 for gear he supposedly "lost" when he was shot in Iraq. Pfleider was hit by a sniper in 2007 and is now preparing for his ninth surgery. Despite the trauma and profuse bleeding at the time, the Oregon Guard apparently expected him to have paused to inventory the equipment he was carrying and to make arrangements for its safekeeping during his hospitalization 

Though he reportedly hacks more frequently lately, two-year-old Ardi Rizal of Benyuasin, Indonesia, continues to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, according to a May dispatch in London's Daily Mail and other news reports. Local officials offered Ardi's parents a new car if they convinced him to quit, but the mother warned that her son throws massive, head-banging tantrums if deprived of his smokes, and his fisherman father, noting Ardi's generous girth, says the kid looks fine to him. (Unfortunately for the parents, Ardi prefers only a certain high-end brand, a pack of which costs more than a whole day's food for the family

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


On October 17, 1949, Northwest Airlines became the first airlines in the United States to serve alcoholic beverages in flight

A bibliophile is a collector of rare books. A bibliopole is a seller of rare books

The ball on top of a typical flagpole is called the truck

Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them used to burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired"

OK is the most successful of all Americanisms. It has invaded hundreds of other languages and been adopted by them as a word. Mencken claims that US troops deployed overseas during WWII found it already in use by Bedouins in the Sahara to the Japanese in the Pacific. It was also the fourth word spoken on the surface of the moon. It stands for oll korrect, a misspelling of all correct

The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate

As observed by researchers, about 1 out of every 70 people who pick their nose also consume their mucus and "boogers"

Fifteen percent of Americans seek treatment from a psychiatrist each year, either as new or returning patients

A squirrel has no color vision, it sees only in black and white. Every part of its field of vision, however, is in perfect focus, not just straight ahead, as with humans

When a piece of glass cracks, the crack travels faster than 3,000 miles per hour

Candlepin bowling uses ten small pins and three balls, and is played primarily in the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The ball is only five inches in diameter, is made of hard rubber composition, and has no finger holes
The average airspeed of the common housefly is 4.5 miles per hour. A housefly beats its wings about 20,000 times per minute

The second national city is Port Angeles, Washington, designated by President Abraham Lincoln. That's where they would move the capital if a disaster occurred to Washington, D.C.

More than 63 million Star Trek books, in more than 15 languages, are in print; 13 were sold every minute in the U.S. in 1995

In 1904, May Sutton Brandy became the first American woman to win the ladies singles championship at Wimbledon

Thinking that its parents were a camel and a leopard, the Europeans once called the animal a "camelopard." Today, it is called the giraffe

Nyctitropism is the tendency of the leaves or petals of certain plants to assume a different position at night

Frederick Winthrop Thayer of Massachusetts, and the captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club, received a patent for his baseball catcher's mask on February 12, 1878
A professional game circa 1900 shows early additions of the catcher's and umpire's masks- note that the batter does not have any protective headgear at that time.  A batter's helmet wasn't invented until 1907 and didn't come into use until 1920
If you attempted to count the stars in a galaxy at a rate of one every second, it would take around 3,000 years to count them all 

Scapulamancy was a method of fortune telling involving the study of cracked shoulder bones in ancient China mainly of turtles and other animals

The national headquarters for Bat World Sanctuary is located at Mineral Wells, Texas. More than 150 bats from around the world have found permanent refuge in this indoor, natural habitat facility. These non-releasable bats include those that have been used in research, orphaned, permanently injured, or confiscated from the illegal pet trade
A recently-rescued baby bat suckles a nipple and snuggles in a blanket
Marilyn Michose, 46, was referred for medical evaluation in May after she was spotted roaming the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City wearing neon pink panties on top of her street clothes, with a .25 caliber Beretta visible in her jacket pocket, and speaking gibberish.  According to Michose's mother, Marilyn had overmedicated for her Lyme disease
A restraining order, to keep away from Sarah Palin and her family, was extended in May against Shawn Christy, 19, of McAdoo, Pennsylovania by a magistrate in Anchorage, Alaska. Christy has admitted to traveling to Alaska to meet Palin, to making numerous telephone calls to her, and to once threatening to sexually assault her. According to a 2009 psychiatric evaluation ordered by the Secret Service, Christy appeared to suffer from "latent onset" Lyme disease 

Erie County (New York) jail officials suspended guards Lawrence Mule, a 26-year veteran, and James Conlin, a 29-year veteran, after they scuffled at the County Correctional Facility on April 21st, reportedly over a bag of chips. An inmate had to break up the fight 

An anti-terrorism drill scheduled for Pottawattamie County, Iowa, in March, which was to practice community co-ordination after an attack by a hypothetical white supremacist group angry about illegal immigration, had to be canceled. The sheriff said callers claiming to be white supremacists were angry at being picked on as "terrorists" and had threatened a school in Treynor, Iowa, with an attack that closely resembled the kind of imagined attack that would have preceded the simulated drill 

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