Monday, December 27, 2010


'Lincoln Logs’, the popular toy, was invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright

Sulfuric Acid is the most produced chemical in the U.S.  - It is soluble in water in all concentrations, and has many applications from being used in automobile batteries to lawn fertilizer

In 1941, the U.S. government banned silk stockings because Japan cut off America’s silk supply during World War II, and the government needed the material to produce parachutes for its military paratroopers

A cat’s ability to see well at night is due to its taptum, a membrane that reflects the light from the back of the cat’s eye

It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armor

Despite the horrific display, nearly two-thirds of those who were on board the Hindenburg survived its 1937 fire and destruction as the German airship was attempting to dock with its mooring mast near Lakehurst, New Jersey  (Pictured below the fire has barely engulfed half of the zeppelin, but in the end the entire airship would succumb to the flames)

Duct tape was developed in 1942 for use by the U.S. Army as a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition boxes - NASA engineers and astronauts have used duct tape in the course of their work, including in some emergency situations. One such usage occurred in 1970, when the square carbon dioxide filters from Apollo 13's failed command module had to be modified to fit round receptacles in the lunar module, which was being used as a lifeboat after an explosion en route to the moon. A workaround was made using duct tape and other items on board Apollo 13, with the ground crew relaying directions to the spacecraft and its crew. The lunar module CO2 scrubbers started working again, saving the lives of the three astronauts on board

http:// (in web URLs) stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol - URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, and in common usage is often referred to as a website's "address"

Tuesday Island, Wednesday Island, Thursday Island and Friday Island all exist in the Torres Strait off the coast of Australia

Robert Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, was saved from a railroad accident by Edwin Booth. Edwin was the brother of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and he saved the life the younger Lincoln shortly before his brother would go on to assassinate of the President.  Booth shoved Lincoln to safety from falling off a train platform while the train was in motion

The male Satin Bower Bird, found on the east coast of Australia, builds its bower (ground nest) with twigs and then decorates the nest with blue (sometimes yellow or shiny) objects it finds to attract a mate. Many people who live nearby have found long lost objects in the bowers such as car keys, toys, clothes pegs, and anything it finds and can carry back

In the 16th century, gin was referred to as “mother’s ruin” because people thought it could induce abortions

The first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue featured model Babette March on the cover sporting a modest two-piece. The issue came out in January of 1964

A yellow baseball (thought to be more visible to batters, fielders and spectators) was tested in a 1938 college game in New York City, between Fordham and Columbia

Richard Hollingshead of Camden, New Jersey, built the first drive-in theater in his driveway in 1933. The theater consisted of a sheet strung between two trees and a movie projector mounted to the hood of his car. The setup was reportedly inspired by his mother: she was a large woman who was uncomfortable in the seats at regular movie theaters

Bridgestone Corporation, maker of the Bridgestone tires, is a Japanese company. The name is derived from founder Shojiro Ishibashi’s last name, which translates literally to “stone bridge”

Several of the founders of the United States warned against allowing banks to be established - Thomas Jefferson even referred to them as being more dangerous than standing armies

Charlie Chaplin once entered in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest in a theater in San Francisco - he lost

Once planted, peach seeds can grow nectarine trees (and vice versa)

Only about one-fifth of the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, is covered with sand; the remainder is made up of rock formations

Edible "dirt" has recently appeared on the menus of several of the world's most renowned restaurants (e.g., the top-rated Noma in Copenhagen, Shakuf in Tel Aviv, Gilt in New York City). "People are really wowed to see dirt on their plates," said Gilt's head chef.  Actually, the "dirt" only looks and feels like dirt. Each chef creates signature tastes from dried or charred powders with the appearance and consistency of sand, soil, or ash--from a base of plants, vegetables, or eggs, or even dried beer. Said a reviewer, "These chefs are reminding people where food actually comes from"

Police in New Albany, Indianana, arrested two alleged counterfeiters in August but believed that a much bigger operation was in play.  Subsequently, the Indiana State Police made a public plea for informants, focusing on the people most likely to be cheated by counterfeit money: local drug dealers. "What we are asking today," said ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin, "is we want all the drug dealers to call us. We want to get all of your information and exactly what happened in [any of your dealings]." Goodin added, "Trust us"

Playboy magazine has long published an audio edition, and the Library of Congress produces a text edition in Braille. However, as a Houston Chronicle reporter learned in August, a Texas organization (Taping for the Blind) goes one step further, with volunteer reader Suzi Hanks actually describing the photographs-- even the Playmates and other nudes. "I'd say if she has large breasts or small breasts, piercings or tattoos," said Hanks. "I'll describe her genitalia. I take my time describing the girls." "Hey, blind guys like pretty, naked girls, too!"

Doctors from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington announced in September that they could just as well handle certain brain surgeries by access not in the traditional way through the top of the skull but by drilling holes in the nose and, more recently, the eye socket. (Since classic brain surgery requires that the top of the skull be temporarily removed, the breakthroughs mean fewer complications.) These innovations follow on the inroads in recent years in performing kidney-removal and gall- bladder surgery not by traditional abdominal incisions but through, respectively, the vagina and the anus 

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