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"

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