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" 

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