Monday, March 28, 2011


Bacteria, the tiniest free-living cells, are so small that a single drop of liquid may contain 50 million of them

The little "m's" on "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies weren't printed on the candies until 1950. They were originally printed in black, not white. It wasn't until 1954 that the "m's" became the color they are today

When British film companies buy a product called "Kensington Gore," they are purchasing artificial blood, used for special effects - this fake blood was even used in the American horror classic "The Shining" (Pictured below is an iconic scene from "The Shining" using gallons of fake blood)

The flag of the U.K. is properly known as the Union Flag. It is only called the Union Jack when it is flown from the jack mast of a ship

In 1874, the first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago was a bear cub, bought for $10

When blind cellarmaster Dom Perignon discovered Champagne in 1668, he said, "Oh, come quickly. I am drinking the stars"  

The corkscrew was invented by M.L. Bryn in 1860 (Pictured below is a corkscrew manufactured and sold circa 1910)

The letter "W" is the only letter in the alphabet that doesn't have just one syllable – it has three

The last American president to sport facial hair was William Howard Taft, who left office in 1913 - He had a mustache

Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans. In 1993, scientists located the largest known concentration of active volcanoes on the sea floor in the South Pacific. This area, the size of New York State, hosts 1,133 volcanic cones and sea mounts. Two or three could erupt at any moment

Researchers claim that the color light-green is effective in relieving the feelings of "homesickness"

Milk snakes lay about 13 eggs — in piles of animal manure

The average fox weighs 14 pounds

A Scottish term for someone who is sullen or bad-tempered is “dorty”

Giant hornet workers capture a variety of insects, including bees and yellow jackets, to feed their young. Workers strip back bark from shrubs – a favorite is lilac. As they girdle the branches, they lick the sap from the torn edge (Pictured below is a giant hornet hard at work)

Madame Marie Curie was the first person ever to win two Nobel Prizes. Her first was in physics (1903) and the second in chemistry (1911). Reportedly, she used part of the prize money to re-wallpaper and to install a modern bathroom into her Paris home

The shoestring was invented in England in 1790. Prior to this time, all shoes were fastened with buckles

The whistling swan has more than 25,000 feathers on its body

Prepared mustard can be stored for at least 2 years

When we look at the farthest visible star we are looking 4 billion years into the past – the light from that star, traveling at 186,000 miles a second, has taken many years to reach us

Some female cockroaches incubate their egg cases in their bodies until they are ready to hatch. These babies stay with their mothers a day or two after they are born

The term “classroom” didn’t come into use in the United States until after 1865

Insects consume 10 percent of the world's food supply every year

The Milwaukee teachers' union filed an equal-rights lawsuit in August challenging health-insurance cutbacks by the budget-challenged Milwaukee Public Schools. The union was denouncing the elimination of Viagra as discrimination against men 

People who accidentally shot themselves:  Daniel McDaniels, 31, Sarasota, Florida, "trying to ward off a skunk." Sanford Rothman, 63, Boulder, Colorado, while sleepwalking. Reserve police officer Kenneth Shannon, 68, Gary, Indiana, in the hand while loading his gun (and the bullet went on to hit his partner)
(October 2010). Sheriff's deputy Miguel Rojas, Crestview, Florida., in the leg while firearms training (2010 July).  Darrell Elam, 52, Peshastin, Washington, in the buttocks as he holstered his gun (2010 August). A 48-year-old woman, Clover, South Carolina, in the jaw while trying to kill a rat (2010 September). A 25-year-old man, Juneau, Alaska, in the head after jokingly telling friends that there is "one way" to find out whether a gun is loaded or not (2010 November)

The New Jersey Government Record Council ruled in December 2010 that the town of Somerset had overcharged Tom Coulter in 2008 by $4.04 on the $5 it collected for a compact disc of a council meeting and must issue a refund. The town estimates that it spent about $17,000 fighting Coulter's appeals (and paying his attorney's fees)

The man reported to police in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2010 November as "indecent[ly] expos[ed]" sitting in his car at a traffic light, masturbating in view of a woman in the next car, was Charles Lickteig II, 48, who is supervisor of a LaGrange, Ky., correctional facility's sex-offender treatment program             

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Chemotherapy drugs are designed to kill any rapidly dividing cells. Our hair follicles are some of the fastest-growing cells in the body, which is why most cancer patients lose their hair during treatment

The Australopithecus afarensi hominid skeleton found in Ethiopia in 1974 was nicknamed Lucy in honor of the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Norwegian cross country skier Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset attributed his disappointing silver medal in the 4×10-kilometer relay at the 2010 Winter Olympics to less-than-focused preparation. “I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days,” he said to a reporter
The Olympic skier tumbles in a downhill run
The creator of the iPod first shopped his idea (without success) to Philips and RealNetworks before Apple agreed to market the device

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.  Fans and players did not like the change, nor did it seem to actually help with sighting the ball

Ancient Greeks believed that wearing amethysts would help prevent a person from getting drunk

When you pick up a common “pine cone,” you’d be correct to refer to it as “she,” since these brown, seeded cones are all female
A mature female cone lies on the ground
Some people can actually see, smell and physically taste music. This is an example of a phenomenon known as synesthesia.  Others can see numbers as colors.  Most are female, and about 1 in 250,000 people worldwide are estimated to have this condition

Some fish can taste with their fins and tail as well as their mouth

The Southern Ocean lies from the Antarctic coast to 60° South latitude, meaning that its outline is almost completely circular in shape

Japan is commonly thought of as a tiny island nation, but it’s actually about the size of California. In fact, it’s larger than many European countries

When the American Civil War broke out, the seceding Confederate states snatched up a good bit of government property. This included everything from forts to arsenals to thousands of post offices stocked full of stamps. Not wanting the enemy to profit off their goods, the Union recalled every U.S. stamp ever issued and declared them invalid for postage. Instead, people were allowed to exchange their old stamps for replacements, which the government had quickly printed with new designs

Horses cannot breathe through their mouth. If their nostrils become obstructed, they could suffocate

The first lotions and moisturizers date back to 3000 BCE, when people in the Near East used whipped ostrich eggs and crocodile dung to keep their skin looking fresh - Today, some skin creams and moisturizers still include ingredients such as dung from various species of animal

There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets

Humans have more than five senses. Although definitions vary, the actual number ranges from 9 to more than 20. In addition to sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, which were the senses identified by Aristotle, humans can sense balance and acceleration (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), body and limb position (proprioception or kinesthetic sense), and relative temperature (thermoception). Other senses sometimes identified are the sense of time, itching, pressure, hunger, thirst, fullness of the stomach, need to urinate, need to defecate, and blood carbon dioxide levels

Honey Bees share out jobs based on their age.  For instance, worker bees that are 1-2 days old spend their time cleaning cells, starting with the one they were born in, as well as keeping the brood warm; from 3-5 days old, they feed older larvae;  from 6-11 days old, they feed the youngest larvae; from 12-17 days old, they produce wax, build combs, carry food, and perform undertaker duties; from 18-21 days old, they get guard duty, protecting the hive entrance;  from 22 days on until their death at around 40-45 days, they get to fly from the hive collecting pollen, nectar, water, pollinating plants, and things of this nature

There is great variation in the number of sounds used in the world's languages. In any given language, the number of consonants range from 6 to 95, and the number of vowels range between 3 and 46. On average, a langauge uses 23 consonants and 9 vowels

The coffee filter was invented by Melitta Bentz, in Germany in 1908. She pierced holes in a tin container, put a circular piece of absorbent paper in the bottom of it and put her creation over a coffee pot - For more info, click the link below:

Tea was discovered in China more than 5,000 years ago. Tea is the most popular drink beverage in the world – next to water. The tea that graces tables in virtually every country around the globe comes from the same plant: Camellia sinensis, a member of the evergreen family. From the leaves of this one plant spring three basic types of tea: black, green, and oolong, and more than 3,000 varieties

Everyone washes hair, but those who want a license to apply shampoo in Texas need 150 hours of training, with 100 hours in "theory and practice of shampooing," including a study of "neck anatomy." A February 2011 Wall Street Journal report on excessiveness of state regulation highlighted California's year-long training to be a barber, Alabama's 750-hour schooling standard for a manicurist's license, and Michigan's 500 practice hours for performing massages. (By contrast, many less-tightly regulated states seem not to suffer.  Connecticut, without licensing, fielded only six complaints last year against manicurists--four of which involved disputes over gift cards.) 

The City Commission of San Antonio, Florida (population 1,052), passed an ordinance in January 2011 restricting, to a tiny portion of town, where registered sex offenders could live. However, San Antonio has only one sex offender, and that man is exempt from the law because he already lives there

Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum is already home to an artist's rendition of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" made from burned toast, and now comes a recent version by Laura Bell of Roscommon, Michigan da Vinci's masterpiece made with clothes-dryer lint. Bell said she did about 800 hours of laundry of various-colored towels to obtain lint of the proper hues, and then worked 200 more hours to construct the 14-foot-long, 4-foot-high mural 

Monday, March 14, 2011


Mechanical clocks were invented in the late Middle Ages. The length of an hour had varied prior to that, depending on the time of year

According to a recent poll, over 40% of people interviewed in the U.S. admitted that they snoop in their host's medicine cabinets

The average cow produces 40 glasses of milk each day

The final resting place for Dr. Eugene Shoemaker – the Moon. The famed U.S. Geological Survey astronomer had trained the Apollo mission astronauts about craters, but never made it into space. Dr. Shoemaker had wanted to be an astronaut but was rejected because of a medical problem. His ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft before it was launched on January 6, 1998. NASA crashed the probe into a crater on the moon on July 31, 1999, in an attempt to learn if there is water on the Moon - to date he is the only person buried on the moon

The average spider can travel up to 1.17 miles per hour 

The flounder swims sideways

In South America, it would be rude not to ask a man about his wife and children. In most Arab countries, it would be rude to do so

A distillery was originally on the site of America's first mint, the Philadelphia mint, which opened in 1792

A mosquito, engorged on blood, is able to fly carrying a load twice its own weight

Spider silk is an extremely strong material and its on-weight basis has been proven to be stronger than steel. Experts suggest that a pencil-thick strand of silk could stop a Boeing 747 in flight

An average of 51 cars a year overshoot and drive into the canals of Amsterdam

The king crab walks diagonally
An adult female ladybug will eat about 300 medium-size aphids before it lays eggs. About three to ten aphids are eaten for each egg the beetle lays. More than 5,000 aphids may be eaten by a single adult in its lifetime (Pictured below are a male (top) and a female ladybug mating- the male is slightly smaller than the female)

In Europe, these beetles are called "ladybirds." Ohio residents like lady beetles so much that the Convergent Lady Beetle became the official state insect in 1975

Scientists can condense matter to greater densities and temperature than those at the center of the sun. Fusion-energy research at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California uses 20 laser beams to concentrate on targets so tiny that dozens can be gathered on the head of the pin

The average age at which America's presidents have taken office is 54

Joshua Pusey of Pennsylvania received a patent for his book matches in 1892

Lithiated Lemon was the creation of Charles Griggs from Missouri, who introduced the lemon-lime drink in 1929. Four years later he renamed it 7-Up

The female condor lays a single egg once every two years

A four-month-old fetus will startle and turn away if a bright light is flashed on its mother's belly

The first female operator was Emma M. Nutt, who started working for Telephone Dispatch Company in Boston on September 1, 1878. Prior to that, all operators were men

Something that is of or based on the number twenty is said to be "vigesimal" or "vicenary"

The first hot air balloon to carry passengers was invented by the Montgolfier brothers in France in 1783. It flew five miles. The air in a hot air balloon is about 212 degrees

In the year 1886, Herman Hollerith had the idea of using punched cards to keep and transport information, a technology used up to the late 1970s. This device was originally constructed to allow the 1890 census to be tabulated. In 1896, the Tabulating Machine Company was founded by Hollerith. Twenty-eight years later in 1924, after several take-overs, the company became known as International Business Machines (IBM)

Milk delivered to the store today was in the cow two days ago

During the American revolution, more inhabitants of the American colonies fought for the British than for the Continental Army

Six-year-old Alexis McCarter, of Pelzer, South Carolina, underwent surgery in December to remove the safety pin that she had stuck up her nose as a baby and which was lodged in her sinus cavity (having sprung open only after it was inside her, causing headaches, nose bleeds, and ear infections)  

Researcher Patricia Brennan of Yale University told a conference in July that a duck's penis may vary in length from year to year-- depending on their competition that year. Their penises waste away after each mating season and regrow, and Brennan found that they regrow longer if there are other males around. (Female ducks are known to have corkscrew-shaped vaginas, and thus a centimeter or two can make a big difference for success in mating.) 

The pharmaceutical company Genentech makes both Lucentis (a $2,000 injection for relieving age-related macular degeneration) and Avastin (an anti-cancer drug which many retina specialists prescribe for age-related macular degeneration because it is just as effective yet costs about $50).  Using Avastin instead of Lucentis saves Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars a year, reported the New York Times in 2010 November, but, obviously, every dollar's savings is a dollar less income for Genentech. In response in October, the company commenced a lucrative rebate program for physicians, worth tens of thousands of dollars, that apparently passes as legal according to Medicare guidelines, but said one Ohio specialist, "There's no way to look at that without calling it bribery"

Among the recent works (December 2010) funded by Arts Council England was a "painting" consisting of a blank canvas, for which artist Agnieszka Kurant was paid the equivalent of about $2,300 and on which she
intends to paint something in the future. Rounding out her exhibition were a "sculpture" that was not really present and a "movie" that had been shot with no film in the camera               

Monday, March 7, 2011


Portuguese wine bottled in 1811 is called "comet wine." Its excellent quality is believed to be due to the Great Comet of that year. The term "comet wine" is often used for any wine made in the year of an important comet

A bibliophile is a collector of rare books - a bibliopole is a seller of rare books

There are more than 300 references to sheep and lambs, more than any other animal, in the Bible's Old Testament, one of the earliest records of sheep

There are 63,360 inches in a mile

The squirrel monkey's brain accounts for roughly 5 percent of its body weight — the largest percentage of any other animal. The human brain, by comparison, makes up about 2.3 percent of body weight

The eggplant has many names worldwide. In addition to "eggplant," it is called aubergine, brinjal, melanzana, garden egg, and patlican

The first women flight attendants in the United States were hired in 1930 and were required to weigh no more than 115 pounds, be nurses, and unmarried (Pictured below is one of the first female flight attendants to serve on Swiss Air in 1925)

The only river that flows both north and south of the equator is the Congo, formerly the Zaire River. It crosses the equator twice

Burns are second only to traffic accidents as the cause of accidental loss of life in the U.S.

The gesture of a nose tap in Britain means secrecy or confidentiality. In Italy, a tap to the nose signifies a friendly warning to stop what you are doing or about to do

Cattle branding in the United States did not originate in the West. It began in Connecticut in the mid-19th century, when farmers were required by law to mark all their pigs

Every 9.6 years, there is a peak in Canada wildlife population, especially among the muskrats, red fox, skunks, mink, lynx, and rabbits. The population of grasshoppers of the world tends to rise and fall rhythmically in 9.2-year cycles

The rush of air produced by a cough moves at a speed approaching 600 miles per hour

The Irish harp tradition is particularly special because of its ancient method of oral transmission – all teaching of the instrument is done "by ear". This method allows performers to be creative and individualistic within the Irish style

The eggplant was domesticated in Southeast Asia more than 4,000 years ago. It belongs to the same family as the poisonous deadly nightshade (as do potatoes, tomatoes, and petunias). In the Middle East and then in Europe, doctors blamed it for all sorts of things, from epilepsy to cancer. In the fifth century, Chinese women made a black dye from the eggplant skins to stain and polish their teeth. And some people in medieval Europe considered eggplant an aphrodisiac

The Romans were enamored with the smell of roses. According to historians, Nero had pipes installed under banquet plates to allow his guests to be spritzed with rose scent between dinner courses

During the bubonic plague of London, the city was sealed off to avoid contamination. This meant no food was permitted in. The only people willing to trade with London were the Dutch, who left food on jetties and then would take the money left there. They used to steel their nerves with liquor before landing on the plague-infested shores, hence "Dutch courage." To this day, the Dutch still have the freedom of the river Thames, which was granted as a reward for their courage and kindness

An oast is a kiln used for drying hops, malt, or tobacco

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors

The biggest frog is the appropriately named Goliath frog (Conraua goliath) of Cameroon. They reach over 30 cm (a foot) and weigh as much as 3.3 kilograms 

Alabama is the only remaining state to ban the sale of sex toys, but nevertheless the Huntsville shop Pleasures recently expanded by moving to a former bank building in order to use three drive-thru windows to sell dildos. (Since state law prohibits the sale unless used for "bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purposes," customers must provide a brief written description of their medical or other "legitimate" condition in order to make the purchase.)

Wei Xinpeng, 55, a boatman in a village near industrial Lanzhou, China, collects bodies from the Yellow River (the murdered, the suiciders, the accidental drowners), offering them back to grieving relatives for a price. Distraught visitors pay a small browsing fee to check his inventory and then, if they identify a loved one, up to the equivalent of $500 to take the corpse home. Said Wei, "I bring dignity to the dead"--no overstatement for him since his own son drowned on the river (yet his body was never recovered)

In July 2010, a five-year-old boy in Dublin, Ireland, was awarded about $9,900 from a shopkeeper who had
grabbed his arm and accused him, erroneously, of being a thief.  Under the law, the boy had to prove that he has, at age five, a "reputation in the community" for truth-telling and that his reputation had been damaged

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