Monday, December 13, 2010


Charles Lindbergh was named Time magazine’s first “Man of the Year” in 1927. But what turned into an annual tradition for the publication actually started as an apology: Time had embarrassingly left Lindbergh off the cover after his landmark solo flight and “Man of the Year” was their apology

Before finishing his education, earning a doctorate, and inventing the sport basketball, Dr. James Naismith was a high school dropout

Wood frogs are freeze-tolerant and spend winters frozen on land, only to thaw in the spring and begin their breeding process in vernal ponds
A frozen Wood Frog waits for the Spring thaw
During a severe windstorm or rainstorm, the Empire State Building may sway several feet to either side

The official term for the pincerlike claw of a crab, lobster, or scorpion is a "chela"

The hum of a hummingbird comes from the super-fast beat of the wings. The smallest ones beat their wings the fastest — up to 80 times per second. Even the slower beat of bigger hummingbirds (20 times per second) is so fast you can only see a blur

If the skin of a 150-pound person were spread out flat, it would cover approximately 20 square feet    

Goosebumps are caused by a muscle called the arrector pilli muscle as an involuntary reaction to cool air, or to fright, that raises the skin and body hair

The Wright Brothers’ first successful flight on December 17, 1903 covered a distance of about 120 feet - shorter than the wingspan of a modern 747. They earned at least 15 honorary college degrees for the achievement, despite that fact that neither graduated from high school, and were awarded a special Congressional Gold Medal

While females are the ones who carry the gene for Hemophilia, except in the rarest of cases, only males can actually have the disease which makes their blood unable to clot

Fifty years ago in the US, the average man first became married at 23, and the woman at 20 - Today, those ages have increased to 27 and 25, respectively

The popular game Bingo was originally called “Beano” because players used beans to cover the numbered squares

In 1914, Henry Ford doubled the daily wage for his factory workers (from $2.40 to $5 - the equivalent of offering workers about $115 daily in today's dollars) while cutting their daily work hours from nine to eight - this increased loyalty and reduced employee turnover that saved training costs, and increased productivity from workers who became "expert" in their positions

Henry Ford, father of the modern assembly line and mass production, was awarded 161 US patents for his various inventions - his introduction of the Model T Automobile revolutionized transportation globally.  Ford openly claimed to admire Adolph Hitler, and Hitler in turn hung a life-size portrait of Ford next to his desk - in 1938, the Nazi government awarded Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest medal for foreigners
(Pictured:  Henry Ford is presented with Grand Cross of the German Eagle, a medal and honor created by Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler)

The former Rolling Stones’ bassist, Bill Wyman, began a relationship with thirteen-year-old Mandy Smith, when he was forty-seven. They married six years later in 1989, but divorced after less than two years. Not long after the divorce, Bill’s thirty-year-old son, Stephen, married Mandy Smith’s mother, Patsy, age forty-six

The word “jumbo” is a term taken from the name of one of P.T. Barnum’s large circus elephants

Something described as ‘cordiform’ is heart-shaped

The purpose of gasoline rationing during the Second World War was not to conserve gas, but to conserve tires - The primary source for natural rubber at the time was Southeast Asia, much of which was under Japanese control

An intense lightning storm on June 14th around Monroe, Ohio, destroyed the iconic 62-foot-high statue of Jesus (the "King of Kings" structure of the Solid Rock Church) alongside Interstate 75. While townspeople mourned, it was also noteworthy what the lightning bolts completely missed: the large billboard, on the other side of the road, advertising the nearby Hustler Hollywood pornography store

Over the years, according to a June Chicago Sun-Times report, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois has freely used "swagger and braggadocio in talking about his 21 years of military service" as qualification for office. When one contrary fact after another about his record was pointed out by reporters, Kirk explained, "I simply misremembered it wrong." He admitted that, contrary to his numerous public statements, he was not actually "in" the Iraq Desert Storm war; did not actually "command the Pentagon War Room" when he was assigned there as a Navy Reservist; and was not actually once Naval "Intelligence Officer of the Year." He is now vying for the U.S. Senate seat once held by US President Barack Obama

Tony Chrum was the one apprehended for allegedly buying $160 worth of cocaine from a man who turned
out to be a police informant in Lincoln County, Mo., in May, but his brother, who is Winfield, Mo., police officer Bud Chrum, 39, was the mastermind. According to police and unknown to the informant, Bud had needed to replace 2 grams of cocaine from the police evidence locker because he had accidentally spilled something on it, and Tony agreed to help

"If Google told you to jump off a cliff, would you?" asked a Fortune magazine columnist, describing the lawsuit filed in May by Lauren Rosenberg, asking for damages of more than $100,000 against Google Maps after she was struck by a car. Rosenberg had queried the map service for a "walking route" between points in Park City, Utah, but a short stretch of the suggested route lacked sidewalks. Rosenberg was hit while walking in the street. Though Google and other map services "warn" users against walking in the street, Rosenberg's route was delivered on her small Blackberry phone screen

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service announced a proposed anti-social behavior order against Ellis Drummond, 18, to prohibit him from wearing low-slung trousers in public that allow his underwear to show, but Drummond challenged it in Bedford magistrates' court. In May, Judge Nicholas Leigh-Smith ruled that such an underwear-suppressing order would violate Drummond's "human rights"
(Pictured:  Drummond leaving Bedford magistrate's courthouse, after winning his right to wear low-slung pants that show off his underwear)

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