Monday, October 25, 2010


While mittens were around in prehistoric times, the glove (with articulated fingers) dates to ancient Greece, popping up in some translations of Homer’s Odyssey

The earliest documented strain of syphilis, first appearing in Europe in a 1490s outbreak, caused severe symptoms and often death within a few months of contracting the disease

The first American-made condoms were made from vulcanized rubber, and were meant to be re-used - modern condoms are most often made from latex, but some are made from other materials such as polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine

Emperor Hirohito, leader of Japan during WWII, was more than a political power; he was also well respected in the field of marine biology

The FBI called Ted Kaczynski ‘The Unabomber’ because his early mail bombs were sent to universities (UN) and airlines (A)

Overall U.S. consumption of poultry has doubled over the last 25 years, from 18 million pounds to 36 million pounds

The area where Washington, D.C., now stands was originally a mosquito-infested swamp - It took years to drain and clear the land before our nation’s government was moved to the city in 1800

Africans were abducted or purchased from their homeland and enslaved in the United States for over 245 years, and were actually used as forced labor to help build the White House - in front of where Barack Obama, America's first Black president, took his oath of office used to be a tent city for slaves and workers who were building the Capitol

A praying mantis has one ear

Liquid measurements are different in Britain than the US — a fluid ounce is smaller, while pints, quarts and gallons are larger in the UK than in the US

If a male fruit fly is consistently denied mating by a certain type of female, he learns to avoid other females that have similar pheromones

Antarctica gets very little snow, but the snow that does fall on the continent never melts

The Edison Portland Cement Company was one of inventor Thomas Edison’s countless business ventures. Despite supplying the cement for the original Yankee Stadium, the company tanked because it insisted on producing concrete everything, including cabinets, pianos, and even entire houses (Pictured: Inventor Thomas Edison stands beside a model of one of the cement homes he had designed- several were built)

Bob Dylan got his musicians drunk for the recording of “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35″ because, as he claimed, they were "too stiff" - the song proclaims in its refrain that "everybody must get stoned"

During World War II, La-Z-Boy manufactured seats for tanks, torpedo boats, gun turrets, and armored cars - the company is now famous for it's comfortable living room furniture, and particularly it's reclining chairs

Louis Armstrong played the trumpet so much that he got callouses on his lips that he cut them off with a razor blade

The Margherita pizza is named for Margherita of Savoy, Queen consort of Italy from 1878-1900 during the reign of her husband, King Umberto I

The famous Mount Rushmore in South Dakota featuring the heads of presidents Washington, T. Roosevelt, Jefferson, and Lincoln was built as a lure for tourists to give South Dakota tourism dollars that it desperately needed - today, almost 3 million people visit the mountain each year

Chinese judges in the 15th century used darkened lenses (sunglasses) to hide their facial expressions in court

The very first high heels were made for soldiers in the 1500s who needed a way to keep their feet snugly tucked into their stirrups while riding on horseback

Most of the lower class in ancient Egypt walked barefoot, but figures on murals dating from 3500 B.C. depict an early version of shoes worn mostly by the higher classes. These were leather pieces held together with lacing that was often arranged to look like the symbol of “ankh,” which represents life - but there are also some depictions of both upper-class males and females wearing heels, probably for ceremonial purposes. Egyptian butchers also wore heels, to help them walk above the blood of dead beasts

The official color of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is International Orange
Pictured above, the Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Fransisco Bay is not only the most popular place to commit suicide among Americans, but is the most popular destination for suicides worldwide - after a fall of approximately 4 seconds, a jumper hits the water at about 76 miles per hour (122km/hr) - on average, someone leaps from the bridge, hitting the water below so fast that the impact is similar to smashing into concrete, once every two weeks, and an additional 70 people a year are rescued from jumping by patrol officers each year

In March, four New York Police Department officers, acting on department intelligence, went to the home of Walter and Rose Martin in Brooklyn, N.Y., looking for a suspect, and broke a window as they worked their way inside. The Martins, retired and in their 80s, were clean, and a police spokesman later admitted that officers had wrongly visited or raided the Martins' home more than 50 times since 2002 because of a stubborn computer glitch. When the software was originally installed, an operator tested it by mindlessly typing in a random address, but that happened to be the Martins' house, and thus the visits and raids began. The Martins say they have been assured several times that the problem had been corrected, but evidently their address has wormed its way too deep into the system 

The Swiss government announced in March 2010 that it would help bring to market "extra"-small condoms for boys as young as 12. (The decrease in circumference from a "standard" condom would be about 5/16th of an inch) 

In July, the prominent BrewDog brewery in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, began producing the world's strongest (and most expensive) beer, called The End of History, which is 55 percent alcohol and sells for 500 pounds ($780) a bottle. As if to enrage both anti-alcohol and animal-welfare activists, BrewDog released the first twelve bottles taxidermally inserted inside the carcasses of roadkill (seven ermines, four squirrels, and a rabbit). Said company founder James Watt, BrewDog aims to "elevate the status of beer in our culture"

Monday, October 18, 2010


Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are witren, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe

Miles of telephone wire a strung across the U.S.: 1,525, 000, 000

The volume of the Earth's moon is the same as the volume of the Pacific Ocean

Ingrown toenails are hereditary

In Mel Brooks' 'Silent Movie,' mime Marcel Marceau is the only person who has a speaking role

The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime

During WWII Chrysler built B-29's that bombed Japan, and Mitsubishi built Zeros that tried to shoot them down - Both companies now build cars in a joint plant called Diamond Star

An elephant's tooth can weigh as much as 12 pounds

The first hard drive available for the Apple II had a capacity of only 5 megabytes

Contrary to popular belief, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, and mice do not carry rabies

Europe is the only continent without a desert

Car accidents rise 10% during the first week of daylight savings time, also known as summer savings time

Over 10,000 birds a year die from smashing into windows - about 50,000 die during migration by being distracted at night by city lights, leaving the birds to fly in circles around the lighted areas to the point of exhaustion and death

The word 'gymnasium' comes from the Greek word gymnazein which means 'to exercise naked'

4.5 pounds of sunlight strike the Earth each day

"FIRST, CARRY TO FIRE" - Instructions on a standard fire extinguisher in the U.S.

Vidalia onions are grown in Georgia (U.S.A.) and no other place in the world
The firefly is not actually a fly, but a beetle - males emit a light in sequences that attract females by sending out key information about themselves including age and location
Prior to the 1800s, people tried to clean their teeth using eggshells and abrasives. Not until 1824 did an American dentist named Peabody come up with the idea to add soap to tooth powder, thus giving it a cleansing agent

Caterpillars have about four thousand muscles

New Yorkers have some of the longest commutes among Americans, averaging 40 minutes

The longest place name in the United States is Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, located near Webster, Massechusetts

The U.S. Interstate system was started by Dwight D. Eisenhower to transport military supplies and troops in case of foreign invasion

Francis Galton, the inventor of fingerprinting, had many other notable ideas: the weather map, the phrase “nature vs. nurture,” and the silent dog whistle

Although the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People clearly stated its mission in its title, W.E.B. Du Bois was the only African American on the NAACP’s first board of directors

Birds cock their heads at the ground not to listen for prey (such as insects or worms) but to better see them

Light from the sun takes approximately 8 minutes to reach Earth

Despite its 6.5 million square feet of floor space, the Pentagon in Washington was constructed in such a way that no point in the building is more than seven minutes’ walk from any other point in the building

Pepsi-Cola was originally called “Brad’s Drink"

At the fastfood restaurant Fatburger, you can order a ‘Hypocrite’ –- a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon

Despite their menacing appearance and fierce name, dragonflies cannot sting and are harmless to human beings

The small pink protuberance is in the corner of your eye is called the plica semilunaris

Cleopatra had a special lipstick made for her, consisting of crushed ants and deep red carmine beetles

According to the 2000 census, there are at least 2,376,206 people named Smith in the United States, making it the most common American surname

The average life span of a Major League Baseball is 7 pitches

Some of the first examples s of graffiti come from 1st century Pompeii, where messages like “I don’t want to sell my husband” and “Successus was here,” were written on walls

Time magazine reported in August 2010 that among the entrants in this year's "Detroit Hair Wars" (showcasing 34 stylists working with 300 models) were The Hummer (stylist: "Little Willie"), in which a mass of extensions is shaped to resemble the vehicle, including four large tires--with "metal" wheels and front grid added--sitting upon the styled hair of model Sharv Bailey; and Beautiful Butterfly (stylist: Niecy Hayes), featuring extensions thinned, teased, and stretched into four artistic "wings" arising from the styled hair of model Taja Hill. Both stylings appear to be at least two feet long, dwarfing the models' heads, and take at least 10 hours to prepare

Featured at London's Royal College of Art in June 2010 was Hiromi Ozaki's "Menstruation Machine"- a wearable contraption that enables men to experience the two primary symptoms of the "period." It periodically generates abdominal pain, and its reservoir permits liquid ("blood") to be stored and released over several days' time
Between suicide, murder, assault, drunken driving, and drug use, the soldiers of the Fourth Brigade, First Armored Division, at Fort Bliss, Tex., have been statistically in greater peril while stateside than while deployed in Iraq. "Being back [home] is what we don't do well," Lt. Col. David Wilson told the New York Times in July. During the last year in Iraq, the Brigade lost only one soldier to combat, but in the previous year stateside, seven were killed and four people died in crimes committed by Brigade personnel

Monday, October 11, 2010


The Hawaiian alphabet only has twelve letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P and W

Giraffes have the highest blood pressure of any mammal

In August of 1883, the main explosion of the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa caused a pressure wave that circled the globe seven times, as recorded by the Royal Society in London, England

Al Capone’s older brother, Vincent, was a cop who busted bootleggers during Prohibition

The Rockola jukebox wasn’t named for rock music, but rather for its inventor, David Rockola
(Pictured:  A colorful 1946 Rockola jukebox)

Most death penalty executions in the United States are scheduled for 12:01 A.M

The S in Harry S Truman didn’t stand for anything; Truman had a middle initial but no middle name

FBI statistics indicate that DUI is more generally a Caucasian crime. In 2006, nearly 10 times more whites than blacks were arrested for driving under the influence

Dartmouth College is older that the United States and was granted its original charter by the King of England. When the then governor of New Hampshire tried to amend the charter and the College brought suit against the state of New Hampshire, the Supreme Court upheld the original charter thereby limiting the power of states to interfere in private enterprises

Sweaters were originally knitted from unwashed wool, because the natural oils made the garment more waterproof

The Kit Kat candybar got its name from the Kit Kat Club in London’s West End, a joint famous for bringing dance-band music to the city in the 1920s

Call of the Wild author Jack London ran for mayor of Oakland, California, on a socialist party ticket in 1901, and again in 1905 - He lost both times

The name “Emmy” was derived from the term “immy,” a nickname use for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early TV cameras

In the movie “Labyrinth,” there were two other choices besides David Bowie to play Jareth, the Goblin King. The other two were Sting and Michael Jackson

Grand Duke Francesco I of Tuscany (1541-1587) promised his mistress, Bianca Cappello, he would marry her - but only if she bore him a son. Not willing to let anything get in her way, the barren Bianca simply pretended to be pregnant for nine months. She then adopted the newborn son of an unmarried girl, smuggled the infant into her bedroom, and secured the crown

Green potato chips are made from potatoes that inadvertently climb above ground while growing. The “green” is a poison, but it’s only dangerous to humans if ingested in heavy amounts

Big Ben doesn’t refer to a clock; it’s actually the name for the bell inside that famous clock tower

Senator Strom Thurmond is in the record books for giving the longest recorded speech in history, clocking in at 24 hours and 18 minutes. The speech was a filibuster in opposition to the 1957 Civil Rights Act (which passed, despite his efforts)

Five to ten times as many people were killed in the Peshtigo, Wisconsin, fire on October 8, 1871 than in the famous Chicago fire on the same day

The glue used on Israeli postage stamps is kosher

Australia was actually given its name before it was even discovered by Europeans. Rumors of Terra Australis (”land to the south”) persisted for centuries until 1616, when the Dutch confirmed the continent’s existence

The melting temperature of bubble gum is 125 degrees Fahrenheit

The 2 billion-year-old Star of India, which at 563.35 carats is the largest star sapphire in the world, is actually from Sri Lanka

Despite the title of his song “Für Elise”, Beethoven didn’t even know an Elise, at least according to most historians. Beethoven had hideous handwriting - to the point that some scholars speculate the song was actually written “for Therese,” one of several women who turned down a marriage proposal from the notoriously lovesick maestro

Television lost about 20 percent of its advertising revenue immediately after tobacco ads were banned in 1971

The oldest ruling royal family: The current emperor of Japan, Akihito, claims to be the 125th descendant in his line

Crossword puzzles became such a hit in the mid-20s that women’s fashion adopted the motif, printing grids on clothes, shoes, and jewelry in the US and the UK

Virginia Woolf wrote all her books while standing

Species that have gone extinct this year (plant and animal):  95,251
Undernourished people in the world right now:  1,027,578,753

Overweight people in the world right now:  1,154,017,246

Obese people in the world right now:  343,339,741

People who died of hunger today:  22,000

California requires that if a sex offender's GPS tagging device signals that he's in a prohibited area, parole agents must immediately respond, but that law was easier to pass than to implement. As of June 2010, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune investigation, the state had fallen about 31,000 responses behind 

It is common knowledge that American corporations avoid taxes by running U.S. profits through offshore "tax havens" like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, but a May Bloomberg Business Week investigation traced the specific steps that the pharmaceutical company Forest Labs takes to short the U.S. Treasury. Although Forest's anti-depressant Lexapro is sold only in the U.S., the company's patent is held by an Irish subsidiary (and since 2005, shared with a Bermuda subsidiary in a tax-code hocus-pocus that insiders call the "Double Irish"), which allows the vast majority of the $2 billion Forest earns a year on Lexapro to be taxed at Ireland's
low rate (and at Bermuda's rate of zero). Bloomberg estimates that the U.S. Treasury loses at least $60 billion annually by corporations' "transfer pricing"--enough to pay for the entire Department of Homeland Security for a year 

Monday, October 4, 2010


Matt Majikas holds a Guinness Book record for playing miniature golf for 24 hours straight. During that time, he traversed more than 35 miles of putting green and completed 3,035 holes

Reno, Nevada is further west than Los Angeles, California

On average, 1 out of every 55 Canadian women will give birth in their car on the way to the hospital

Apple Computers distinctive logo of the white apple was not it's original logo- not even the iconic rainbow-colored apple was the original- the first logo was a scene of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple about to fall on his head (Legend has it that he was literally hit on the head with an apple and that led to the concept of gravity)
The Newton logo was designed by the lesser-known Apple founder Ronald Wayne (who sold his stake — that today would be worth $22 billion — to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak for $800) and was only used briefly in 1976, since its high level of detail didn’t really show up that well when shrunk down and stuck on a product.  The rainbow apple, designed by Rob Janoff, replaced Sir Isaac Newton and remained the symbol of the company for many years until the simpler monochromatic apple logo was introduced in 1998

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence who also went on to become President of the United States

Before scientists were able to genetically engineer bacteria capable of producing human insulin, those who were afflicted with insulin dependent diabetes often used insulin from pigs

The hole in your shirt that you put your arm through is called an armsaye

That baritone voice behind the Jolly Green Giant’s “ho-ho-ho” in the television commercials that air in the US and in the UK belongs to the late Elmer “Len” Dresslar Jr., a Chicago-area jazz singer

The first U.S. dog guide was a German Shepherd named “Buddy,” who was presented to Morris Frank in 1927

Though the U.S. only makes up 5% of the world’s population, the country houses nearly 25% of the world’s prison population

James Baskett, the African-American actor who played Uncle Remus in Disney’s film, Song of the South, was not able to attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta, Georgia, because it was a racially segregated city at the time

One way lima beans defend themselves is by emitting a chemical warning system against spider mites (which eat lima beans) that attracts predators of spider mites, which then in turn defends the lima beans

Actress Uma Thurman’s father was the first known westerner to become an ordained Buddhist monk

The White House was originally called the President’s Palace. Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House its current name in 1901

The length of your ring finger in comparison to your index finger indicates the amount of testosterone you were exposed to as a fetus. Longer ring fingers, more testosterone

While Antarctica is very cold, it’s not all ice and snow. About 1,200 square miles of the continent are made up of “dry valleys,” where mountains and ridges keep out any precipitation

Bugs Bunny was the second cartoon character to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; the first was Mickey Mouse

Lions, tigers, and pumas rarely suffer from hairballs since their diet includes a fair amount of grass, as well as the bones of their prey. The combination helps thoroughly cleanse their digestive tracts

While it’s probably the best-known waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls is only the 23rd highest on the continent

The Duckbill Platypus is one of the few mammals to produce venom. Both males and females have a pair of spurs on their hind limbs. The male’s pair of spurs delivers a cocktail of poisons that, while excruciatingly painful, is not lethal to most animals  (Pictured is a male playtypus, with a beaver-like tale and a duck-like bill - visible on the upper right side of the picture is the left hind leg with a spur that can release poisonous fluid)

According to the Beer Institute in Washington, D.C., a combination of federal, state and local taxes accounts for almost 43% of the cost of every bottle of beer sold in the United States

Ninety percent of all species of animal that have become extinct have been birds

In Britain, the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551, which has not yet been repealed, states that every citizen must attend a Christian church service on Christmas Day, and must not use any kind of vehicle to get to the service

In astronomy, a white dwarf is the dense, burned-out remains of a star- a stellar corpse 

The windmill originated in Iran in C.E. 644- It was used to grind grain
Stories of epic sportsmanship warm the public's heart, but there is also epic "cut-throat," such as by Monrovia (Calif.) High School girls' track coach Mike Knowles. Knowles's team had just been defeated for first place in the last event of the April league championship meet by a record-setting pole vault by South Pasadena High School's Robin Laird, edging her team over Monrovia, 66-61. But then Knowles noticed that Laird was wearing a flimsy, string "friendship" bracelet, thus violating a national high school athletics' "jewelry" rule. He notified officials, who were forced to disqualify Laird and declare Monrovia the champion, 65- 62. "This is my 30th year coaching track," Knowles said later. "I know a lot of rules and regulations"

Second Comings:  Old Forge, Pennsylvania., February (Jesus appearing in a bucket of sauce at Brownie's Famous Pizzeria). (2) Lockport, New York, December (joint appearance of Jesus and Mary in an orange,
sliced open on Christmas morning). (3) Rockford, Illinois, April (Jesus appearing in the MRI of a thoracic spine examination). (4) Brownsville, Texas, May (Mary appearing on bark from a tree toppled during a storm). (5) Salford, England, February (Jesus appearing on a frying pan following the burning of a pancake). (6) Old Hatfield, England, February (Jesus appearing on a partially burned log in a fireplace)

A Treasury Department inspector general reported in June that, out of 2.6 million applicants for federal mortgage relief, 14,000 "home buyers" wrongly received tax credits and that in fact, 1,300 of them were living in prison at the time of filing, including 241 serving life sentences. Sixty-seven of the 14,000 received tax credits for the same house, and 87 more potentially fraudulent tax-credit applications were filed by Internal Revenue Service employees

More than a half-million children in the U.S. take antipsychotic medicines, and (reported the New York Times in September) "Even the most reluctant [doctors] encounter a marketing juggernaut that has made antipsychotics the nation's top-selling class of drugs by revenue, $14.6 billion last year, with prominent promotions aimed at treating children." In one psychiatrist's waiting room, observed the Times reporter, "[C]hildren played with Legos stamped with the word Risperdal" (an antipsychotic made by Johnson & Johnson). (The company, which recently lost its patent on the drug, said it has stopped handing out the toys--which it insisted were not toys at all but advertising reminders for doctors

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