Monday, February 7, 2011


Louis XIV owned 413 beds

While some sharks lay eggs, blue sharks give birth to live pups, as do about two-thirds of all sharks, estimated at nearly 350 species

The streets of London were lit by gaslights for the first time in 1807. Before that, torches were used 

Miami, Florida, is the most southerly major city in the continental United States, sitting about two degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer

The world's largest silver nugget, weighing 1,840 pounds, was found in 1894 near Aspen, Colorado

Ludwig van Beethoven was totally deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony

Cosmetics queen Helena Rubenstein provided the money to help artist Marc Chagall and his wife flee the Nazis and move to New York City in 1941

Although Asia and the Mediterranean are the original regions where mustard grew, most of the world's mustard today is cultivated in Canada and the United States

There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in human feet and they sweat as much as 8 ounces of moisture per day for the average person

In a recent 5-year period, 24 residents of Tokyo died smacking their skulls while bowing to other people 

Per capita, Canada has more doughnut shops than any other country

A camel with one hump is a Dromedary, while a camel with two humps is a Bactrian

During the July 13-14, 1977 blackout in New York City, a record 80 million telephone calls were made (Pictured below police beat looters with "nightsticks"; a now-famous headline read: "The Bronx is Burning")

A fly can react to something it sees and change direction in 30 milliseconds

The act of a husband murdering his wife is called "uxoricide" - most women murdered in the US are killed by a husband or male lover, acquaintance, or date - the US has the highest rate of uxoricide than any other developed nation

Papua, New Guinea includes the islands of New Britain and New Ireland

A recent U.S. study purports that there are fewer births 9 months after a heat wave. The study found that an increase of 12 degrees Celsius (approximately 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer temperatures reduces births the following spring by up to 6 percent. Researchers at Kinsey Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University concluded that high temperatures could reduce people's sense of well-being, which could result in a reduction in sexual interest. Another study found lower sperm counts and higher rates of miscarriage during hot weather

The spiny cheek, starsnout poacher, and monkeyface prickleback are all names of fish (Pictured below is a monkeyface pickleback fish peeking from a small underwater cave)

False teeth are often radioactive. Approximately 1 million Americans wear some form of denture; half of these dentures are made of a porcelain compound laced with minute amounts of uranium to stimulate fluorescence. Without the uranium additive, the dentures would be a dull green color when seen under artificial light

In all, the Navajo population in the U.S. is about 250,000, the largest tribe in the nation. The Navajo Reservation, including Monument Valley, covers 17.5 million acres in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Navajos prefer to call themselves Dine (Di-NEH, or "the people")

The Sun's total lifetime as a star capable of maintaining a life-bearing Earth is about 11 billion years - Nearly half the time has passed 

During the heating months of winter, the relative humidity of the average American home is only 13 percent, nearly twice as dry as the Sahara Desert

More than half of American baby boomers — 55 percent — say they express themselves through their work. That compares with 46 percent for members of Generation X — those born from 1965 through 1976 — and only 34 percent of people older than 50

Skydivers accelerate to a terminal velocity of 120 mph (193 km/h). Earth's gravity is balanced by density of the air at this velocity, so they fall at a constant rate

Before all-porcelain false teeth were perfected in the mid-19th century, dentures were commonly made with teeth pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers following a battle. Teeth extracted from U.S. Civil War soldier cadavers were shipped to England by the barrel to dentists   

Janis Ollson, 31, of Balmoral, Manitoba, is recovering nicely after being almost completely sawed on half in 2007 by Mayo Clinic surgeons, who concluded that they could remove her bone cancer no other way. In experimental surgery that had been tried only on cadavers, doctors split her pelvis in half, removed the left half, her left leg, and her lower spine (and the tumor) in a 20-hour, 12-specialist procedure. The real trick, though, was the eight-hour, 240-staple reconstruction in which her remaining leg was re-connected to her spine with pins and screws, leaving her in an arrangement doctors likened to a "pogo stick." A September 2010 Winnipeg Free Press story noted that, except for the missing leg, she is enjoying a normal life with her husband and two kids and enjoys snowmobiling     
Ollson shows off the prosthetic leg she uses when snowmobiling
David Henderson, a Korean War veteran long suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, applied 15 days past the deadline for enhanced care under a 2001 veterans- benefits law and thus was, as required by the statute, disqualified from the additional benefits. Henderson's doctor pointed out that major disorders such as Henderson's often leave victims unable to understand concepts like "deadlines." As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer asked, during argument on the case in December, did Congress (which wrote the statute) really intend to deprive Henderson of care because of the very disability for which he sought help? (A decision is expected in the spring)

Fredrik Hjelmqvist, 45, owner of an audio shop in Stockholm, demonstrated in November 2010 his system of
broadcasting music from his stomach. He swallowed a plastic capsule containing a battery-operated audio set-up, then connected an amplifier to a stethoscope and held it against his belly, and began playing recorded music, including the Village People's "YMCA," until the battery died three hours later. Hjelmqvist admitted that the audio quality was poor but still hopes to sell the system for the equivalent of about $17,000 

Gloria Clark, 62, was charged in the death of her 98-year-old mother in St. George, South Carolina, in December 2010 after the mother's body was found among squalid conditions at her home. Though Clark denied she had been neglectful, the mother's pet parrot might have disagreed. According to the police report, the parrot, in the mother's bedroom, continually squawked--mimicking "Help me! Help me!" followed by the sound of laughter          

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