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               

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