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 

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