Monday, February 14, 2011


The discovery of Neptune was announced in 1846. But when astronomers checked previous records, they found the record of an observation of the planet as far back as 1795 by astronomers who, believing it to be a star, recorded the position routinely

Whale watching in South Africa has become part of the South African experience for tourists. The Cape Whale Route stretches from Doringbaai on the West Coast to the Tsitsikamma National Park on the East Coast and incorporates many varied whale viewing points. About thirty-seven species of whales and dolphins typically visit South Africa. The southern right whale is seen the most frequently

The bite of a leech is painless due to its own anaesthetic

According to Professor David Saunders of the Psychology Department of the University of Chicago, abnormally large numbers of UFO sightings occur every 61 months, usually at distances from 1,500 to 2,000 miles apart

The branch of entomology dealing with ants is called "myrmecology"

The owl parrot can't fly, and builds its nest under tree roots 

Until the Middle Ages, passports were given only to the privileged well-to-do. In 1215, the Magna Carta established that "All merchants are to be safe and secure in leaving and entering England." One of the earliest U.S. passports on record was issued in France in 1778. It was signed by Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams

The first outdoor miniature golf courses in the United States were built on rooftops in New York City in 1926

The female anglerfish is six times larger than her mate. The male anchors himself to the top of her head and stays there for the rest of his life. They literally become one. Their digestive and circulatory systems are merged. Except for two very large generative organs and a few fins, nothing remains of the male (Pictured below is a female angler that has absorbed a male with a few of the male's fins remaining as part of her body)

All porcupines float in water

The first baseball game to be televised was not in the United States but was in Tokyo, Japan 

Architect James Horan was awarded $500 and a parcel of land in Washington, D.C. for his 1792 winning design for the President's House, now known as the White House (Pictured below is a cabin of slaves who were set up in camps alongside the grounds to build the President's home)

In ancient Greece, where the mouse was sacred to Apollo, mice were sometimes devoured by temple priests

Seals can withstand water pressure of up to 850 pounds per square inch

Roughly 40 percent of the population of the under-developed world is under 15 years old 
France had the first supermarket in the world. It was started by relatives of the people who started the Texas Big Bear supermarket chain

Israel is one-quarter the size of the state of Maine

In the winter of 1724, while on an outing at sea, Peter the Great of Russia caught sight of a foundering ship, jumped in the water, and helped in the rescue. He caught cold, suffered from high fever, and died several weeks later

Obese patients with an array of symptoms known as "prediabetes" have seen their insulin sensitivity improved dramatically via "fecal transplants," i.e., receiving the stool of a thin, healthy person into the bowel, according to researchers led by a University of North Carolina professor. Researchers said the strangers' implants were significantly more effective than those of a control group, in which a person's own feces was implanted 

In research results announced in 2010 June, a team led by a University of Oklahoma professor, studying Mexican molly fish, discovered that females evaluate potential mates on sight, based on the prominence of the moustache-like growths on males' upper lips.  More controversially, the researchers hypothesized that males further enhance their mating prowess by employing the "moustache" to tickle females' genitals. (Catfish have similar "whiskers" and perhaps use them for similar purposes, said the researcher)

In September, Russia's finance minister publicly urged citizens to step up their smoking and drinking, in that the government's new "sin" taxes mean more revenue: "If you smoke a pack of cigarettes," he said, "that means you are giving more to help solve social problems." (Alcohol abuse is already said to kill 500,000 Russians a year and to significantly lower life expectancy)

A 45-year-old, out-of-town man was killed in a street robbery in Oakland, California, in July after he became distracted while typing a location into his cell phone's map program to find his way to a job interview. The appointment was at Google, Inc. 

In 2010 October, Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored but privately-owned home mortgage financier, whose massive debts have been assumed in a federal "bailout" administered by the Treasury Department) filed a claim in Tax Court against the Internal Revenue Service, denying IRS's claim that it owes $3 billion in back taxes from 1998-2005. Should taxpayers care? If Freddie Mac wins, IRS (which is also housed in the Treasury Department) loses out on the $3 billion in alleged back taxes. If IRS wins, it gets its $3 billion, which will undoubtedly be paid with taxpayer bailout money 

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, Congress underwrote $7.9 billion in tax-free bonds that Louisiana could sell in order to rehabilitate the area. According to an August status report in Newsweek, $5.9 billion in bonds have been sold by the state, but only $55 million of that (one percent) is for projects inside New Orleans (and none in the devastated Lower Ninth Ward). By contrast, $1.7 billion (about 29 percent) is going to projects that benefit the state's oil industry     

FEED*YOUR*HEAD on Facebook