Thursday, April 28, 2011


In the United States, 800 different brands of bottled water are for sale  (Pictured below a worker at a recycling station looks at a large heap of plastic bottles- plastic bottles are not easy to recycle because of their size, and do not biodegrade - often, plastics end up in landfills where it will take at least 50,000 for them to begin to decompose)

If you could measure the temperature in a deserted region of space, with nothing for light years around, it would be about 2.7 degrees Kelvin (-454 degrees Fahrenheit). Zero degrees Kelvin is 'absolute zero,' the point at which molecules have no kinetic energy and therefore stand dead still. The 2.7 degrees figure arises from the microwave background radiation

Odontophobia: the fear of teeth

Studies have shown that having sex at least once per week can lower a man’s risk of heart disease by 30%, stroke by 50%, and diabetes by 40%

Coca-Cola and Pepsi products are sold in every country in the world, except North Korea 

Iceland is made up almost entirely of volcanic rocks like those found on the ocean floor. It gradually built up above sea level through intense and prolonged eruptions  (Pictured below is a lush, green valley in Iceland with mountaintops partially hidden in the clouds)

In the average adult, the skin covers 12-20 square feet and accounts for 12% of body weight

After sustaining trauma to the brain - such as an injury, stroke, or infection - some people develop “alien hand syndrome,” a condition where the victim can feel sensation in the hand, but has no control over movement and does not sense the hand as a part of the body, as if it belonged to an alien being

Mars’ red color is due to iron oxide, also known as rust, and has the consistency of talcum powder. Literally, the metallic rocks on Mars are rusting

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States. Approximately 100 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once, and more than 25 million have smoked it in the last year

According to a national survey on drug use, each day approximately 6,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time
Approximately 1% of people worldwide identify as asexual (having no strong sexual attraction to either sex)

Alcohol dilutes itself in the water volume of the body in order to travel through it, so vital organs that contain a lot of water (such as the brain) are particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol

During the early 1900s, the hamburger was thought to be polluted, unsafe to eat, and food for the poor. Street carts, not restaurants, typically served them

McDonald's is Brazil’s largest employer

Horses that seem wild today (such as Mustangs) are actually feral horses, usually descendants of horses that were imported to America from Spain in the sixteenth century. The only true wild horse is the Asian Wild Horse  (Pictured below is an Asian Wild Horse and her foal)

A human female is four times more likely to contract an sexually transmitted infection (STI) or sexually transmitted disease (STD) than she is to become pregnant

According to Aristotle, wind direction determined whether a baby would be a boy or a girl

The beluga whale is often referred to as the "sea canary" because of the birdlike chirping sounds it makes 

Cooking and freezing do not diminish the heat of a chile pepper in your mouth 

Burying coffins also means that 90,272 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, and over 30 million feet of hard wood covered in toxic laminates are also buried per year. A British company called “Ecopod” offers coffins made from 100% recycled paper  (Pictured below are some of the styles and colors of the Ecopod coffin)

Monday, April 25, 2011


A McDonald's straw will hold 7.7 ml, or just over one-and-a-half teaspoons of whatever you are drinking. This means that it would take 17,000 strawfuls of water to fill up a 34 gallon bathtub

Expressing recognition rather than love, Utah prairie dogs exchange "kisses." By the touching of incisor teeth, they quickly confirm the identity of group members

If you are right-handed, you will tend to chew your food on the right side of the mouth. If you are left-handed, you will tend to chew your food on the left

Madagascar is the fourth-largest island in the world. It is approximately the same size as the state of Texas

There are 17 recognized species of walnuts — all are edible. “Persians” are considered the most tasty

In Guatemala, Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25; however, Guatemalan adults do not exchange gifts until New Year's Day. Children get theirs on Christmas morning 

The leech will gorge itself up to five times its body weight and then just fall off its victim

The smallest of American owls, the elf owl, often nests in the Gila woodpecker’s cactus hole after the woodpecker leaves. The owl measures barely 6 inches tall. It specializes in catching scorpions, seizing each by the tail and nipping off its stinger. It then swallows the scorpion’s body, pincers and all

More than 25 percent of the world's forests are in Siberia

Otto Lilienthal (1848 - 1896), a German inventor, made about 2,000 flights in gliders he had designed and built by himself. He died following a glider crash  
Lilienthal takes flight in 1879
During World War I, the punishment for homosexuality in the French army was execution 

It takes 17 facial muscles to smile and 42 to frown 

The pinball machine was one of the few successful industries that grew out of the Depression in the United States. The early models typically charged 5 cents for 10 balls, did not have side flippers, and the player had to add up his own score. Because it offered inexpensive and interactive entertainment value, the pinball machine remained popular for decades, until the advent of electronic video games  (Pictured below is a table-top pinball machine, without flippers on the sides but with a coin slot, that was popular circa 1930)

The horse race starting gate is a Canadian invention, designed in the early 1900s by Philip McGinnis, a racetrack reporter from Huntingdon, Quebec. The device proved popular because it prevented arguments caused when horses started prematurely

The ampersand (&) was once a letter of the English alphabet

One ounce of LSD is enough to provide 300,000 average doses, each of which is a speck whose hallucinatory effect lasts from 8 to 12 hours 

Elephant tusks grow throughout an elephant's life and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Among Asian elephants, only the males have tusks. Both sexes of African elephants have tusks

Ducks will lay eggs only in the early morning

In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose

Mead, a wine made from honey, is the national drink of Poland

Geyser is derived from an Icelandic word for "hot springs"

A snail speeding along at three inches per minute would need 15 days to travel one mile
The (U.S.) federal agency that administers Medicare acknowledged to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in November that the government often overpays for patient wheelchairs due to a quirk in its rules.  Ordinary wheelchairs sell for $100-$350, but Medicare cannot reimburse patients who buy the chairs; it can only pay for rentals (for up to 13 months), for $40 to $135 a month. (A 2009 audit fround that Medicare allowed up to $7,215 for oxygen dispensers that were available for sale for $587 and $4,018 for a power wheelchair that cost suppliers $1,048 

London's The Independent reported from Tokyo in December 2010 on the prolonged, even "epic" sulk (a state of funk called "hikikomori") that afflicts a million young professionals, who simply withdraw from their careers and hole up nearly 24 hours a day in their apartments (or rooms in their parents' homes) for months at a time, emerging only to gather food before retreating inside for TV or video games. Many psychiatrists call it merely an extreme reaction to parents who have pressured their sons to succeed. (In July 2008, the Japanese software company Avex produced a video to help those men, simply featuring a series of young women staring into the lens, occasionally saying "Good morning," so that Hikikomori sufferers can practice feeling the gazes of strangers 

The Turkish military's legendary homophobia (rare among NATO countries) comprises both zero-tolerance for homosexuality by service personnel and the requirement of rigorous proof by anyone applying for exemption from service by claiming to be gay. (Homosexuality is the only disqualifier from compulsory service for able-bodied men.) In personal experiences recounted for Foreign Policy magazine in December 2010, some gay men seeking exemptions were ordered to verify their claims by producing witnesses to their homosexual acts, or by photographing themselves fully engaged--and to be persuasive to authorities, the conscript had to be depicted in the "receiving" position in sexual intercourse

The SEGA video company's Japan division began test-marketing its new Toylets game in January, designed for men's urinals. With sensors in the basin and a video screen at eye level, men score points based on the strength and accuracy of their streams. Among the suite of games: sumo wrestling (squirt the opponent out of the circle), graffiti-erasure (strong streams wipe out more graffiti), and skirt-raising (the stronger the stream, the higher a woman's skirt is "blown" upward                

Monday, April 18, 2011


The average human adult scalp contains between 120,000 and 150,000 hairs

Whirly Girls is the name of the International Association of Women helicopter pilots
Extracted from a flower, echinacea is the most widely used botanical in the creation of herbal medicines in the U.S. Clinical studies have suggested that when it is taken at the onset of a cold, echinacea stimulates the immune system

There are 35 million digestive glands in the human stomach  

The only country in the world that has a Bill of Rights for Cows is India

Madam de Montespan, second wife of Louis XIV, once lost 4 million francs in a half-hour at the gambling table

The first U.S. Census was authorized on March 1, 1790. The results showed that the U.S. population in 1790 was 3,929,325  (Pictured below is the original final report, showing on the right page the final total of people counted in the US) 

According to the Gregorian calendar, which is the civil calendar in use today, years evenly divisible by 4 are leap years, with the exception of centurial years that are not evenly divisible by 400. Therefore, the years 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 are not leap years, but 1600, 2000, and 2400 are leap years

Almost no worms in Alaska, and the flies fill that ecological niche — birds of many species are seen feeding on flies and maggots. Fish even eat the maggots from rotting salmon in the streams

The now-extinct ancestor of the horse, eohippus, had a short neck, a pug muzzle, and stood no higher than a medium-sized dog

A hibernating woodchuck breathes only ten times per hour. An active woodchuck breathes 2,100 times an hour

The world's largest art gallery is the Winter Palace and Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Visitors would have to walk 15 miles to see the 322 galleries which house nearly 3 million works of art
Increasing herbicide use has created a jungle of at least 48 "super-weeds" that are resistant to chemicals

In 1910, magician Harry Houdini purchased a Voisin biplane in Germany. He had the plane dismantled and shipped to Australia, where he planned an extended tour. His plane was the first flown in Australia, and he was the first to pilot a plane there. Interestingly, he taught himself how to drive a car during that time, so that he could get out to the airfield. After his Australian tour, Houdini abandoned the plane and coincidentally, also never drove again

Florence, Italy was the first city to mint its own gold coins in 1252. The fiorino became known as the florence, then the florin

Rubber bands were first made by Perry and Co. of London in 1845

Birds may travel great distances on their migrations. The Arctic tern travels from the top of the world, the Arctic — to the bottom, the Antarctic. Round trip in a single year: 25,000 miles in all

Researchers learned from reports in early 2010 of a new monkey species in Myanmar, with a nose so recessed that it habitually collects rainfall and constantly sneezes. However, according to an October National Geographic dispatch, by the time scientists arrived to investigate, natives had eaten the monkey

Parents of the 450 pupils (aged 3-11) at Applecroft primary school in Welwyn Garden City, England, were given individualized yearbooks recently with all the children's faces obscured by black bars over the eyes (except for photos of the recipient's own children, which had no obstructions). The precautions (described by one parent as "creepy," like kids were "prisoner[s]") were ordered by headmistress Vicky Parsley, who feared that clear photos of children would inevitably wind up in child pornography. Last year, Parsley famously prohibited parents from taking photographs during school plays--of their kids or any others--for the same fear 

Among the few commercially successful enterprises in North Korea is its General Federation of Science and Technology's video game unit, which has produced such popular programs as a bowling game based on the American cult classic movie, "The Big Lebowski," and another based on the "Men in Black" film series. Bloomberg News revealed in 2010 September that a major international partner of the Federation's marketing arm Nosotek is the News Corporation--the umbrella company of Rupert Murdoch's vast enterprises that include the conservative Fox News (which is generally provocative toward the North Korean government)        

Monday, April 11, 2011


According to a survey of 8,500 business travelers, 37% said they would trade frequent-flyer perks and points for better service from airlines

Make a fist with your left hand, then squeeze your left thumb- now, put your right index finger down your throat- no gag reflex

Laughter increases levels of a hormone called beta-endorphines (which elevates mood state) by 27% and increases human growth hormone by 87%. Human growth hormone (HGH) is used to treat patients with hormone deficiencies and has been shown to improve the immune system, bone and muscle mass, and reduces body fat. This is the same hormone that athletes use to improve their athletic performance in their sports

A species of mushroom has over 28,000 distinct sexes.  This would be the Schizophyllum commune. Some more primitive species of fungi only have 2 sexes, but the more complex species have more. Fungi reproduce when 2 different strains of fungi touch and exchange nuclei. A species can be divided into sexes by determining which fungi can mate with one another. As long as the 2 strains are different sexes they can mate and produce fertile offspring.

Earmuffs were invented in Maine by Chester Greenwood in 1873  (Pictured below is the patent Greenwood received for his invention)

Most people by the age of sixty have lost 50 percent of their taste buds and 40 percent of their ability to smell

In medieval times, church bells were often consecrated to ward off evil spirits. Because thunderstorms were attributed to the work of demons, the bells would be rung in an attempt to stop the storms. Numerous bell ringers were killed by lightning

Dogs are trained to sniff out everything from drugs to bombs to iron ore. In Ontario, Canada, instruments couldn’t locate where natural gas was escaping from a pipeline buried 18 feet underground. Trained German shepherds were brought in. The dogs worked in sub-zero temperatures and covered nearly 100 miles of frozen ground, ultimately finding more than 150 gas leaks

The famous nineteenth-century bullfighter Lagarijo (born Rafael Molina) killed 4,867 bulls

Winston Churchill's mother, the former New York socialite Jennie Jerome, invented the Manhattan cocktail (whiskey and sweet vermouth)

In 2005, 35-year-old Cindy Corton fell in a bathroom in Lincolnshire onto a toilet brush. As a result, a 6-inch toilet brush handle became lodged into her buttocks. She was rushed to the hospital for X-rays, but the doctors couldn’t find anything. It wasn’t until an MRI 2 years later that doctors were able to find out what was wrong. By then, Mrs. Corton was in constant pain, and had trouble sitting down. The brush had become lodged into her pelvis, making it much harder to remove.  Mrs. Corton underwent surgery in 2009 (four years after the accident) to remove the brush handle. After a 10-hour procedure, she died from massive blood loss. Her husband is taking legal action against the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust  (2010)

The standard single oar used by gondoliers in Venice is 14 feet long  

The heart beats faster during a brisk walk or heated argument than during sexual intercourse

While the bones of most airborne birds are hollow for lightness, penguins are endowed with solid bones for ballast when they dive, sometimes to 850 feet or more

The last meal is a customary part of a condemned prisoner's last day. The day before the appointed time of execution, the prisoner receives the meal, as well as religious rites, if they desire. As a general rule, inmates may not ask for an alcoholic drink or tobacco (in the United States).  In many countries the prisoner may select what the last meal will be (within reason), and the authorities do their best to satisfy the request

The history of the last meal for a condemned person is hard to trace but we know that the Ancient Greeks, Chinese and Romans gave a final meal, and the Aztecs fed their human sacrifices for a year before the ceremony

There are more than 5,919,682 land-line telephones in New York City- more phones than in the entire country of Spain

Electrical hearing aids were invented in 1901 by Miller R. Hutchinson  (Pictured below is an electric hearing aid, circa 1925)
The burrowing boodie of Australia is the only kangaroo in the world that lives underground

The citizens of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are called "Cariocas"

The color combination with the strongest visual impact is black on yellow. Next to follow black on white, yellow on black, white on black, dark blue on white, and white on dark blue

If Earth was the size and weight of a table tennis ball, the Sun would measure 12 feet and weigh 3 tons. On this scale, the Earth would orbit the Sun at a distance of 1,325 feet 

Ketchup was sold in the United States as a patent medicine in the early nineteenth century — Dr. Miles' Compound Extract of Tomato

A study of American coins and currency revealed the presence of bacteria, including staphylococcus, E. coli, and klebsiella, on 18% of the coins and 7% of the bills

Worldwide, the most common day for suicide is Monday

If you walk and talk with someone, eventually you will synchronize your steps with each other.  Interpersonal synchronization of stepping happens when people walk side-by-side. Little is known about this, but it has practical uses in therapy. In 2009, this phenomenon was the subject of a study to help impaired people in rehabilitation. Subjects were paired together to walk on treadmills side-by-side. People started walking faster to keep up with their partners  

The Toronto Public Library began its "Human Library" project in November 2010 with about 200 users registering to "check out" interesting persons from the community who would sit and converse with patrons who might not otherwise have the opportunity to mingle with people like them. The first day's lend-outs, for a half-hour at a time, included a police officer, a comedian, a former sex worker, a model, and a person who had survived cancer, homelessness, and poverty. The Human Library actually harkens back to olden times, said a TPL official, where "storytelling from person to person" "was the only way to learn." 

When Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One racing circuit, was mugged in November 2010 and had his jewelry stolen, he sent a photograph of his battered face to the Hublot watch company and convinced its chief executive to run a brief advertising campaign, "See What People Will Do for a Hublot." 

The treasurer of Idaho County, Idaho, turned down the November suggestion of local physician Andrew Jones--that more cancers might be early-detected if the county sent colonoscopy suggestions to residents along with their official tax notices. The treasurer said residents might find the reminders "ironic."        

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Each day, 100 or more whales are killed by fishers - whale-killing is illegal in most areas of the world but Japan refuses to observe international moratoriums on whale-hunting

Early guns took so long to load and fire that bows and arrows — in trained hands — were twelve times more efficient

Medical experts have observed that people who stutter rarely do when they are alone or talking to a pet

The smallest post office in the United States is a converted 8-foot x 7-foot shed that serves the 200 families living in and around Ochopee, Florida, zip code 33843 

Statistics based on more than a half-million births occurring in New York City hospitals between 1948 and 1957 show a significantly greater number of births taking place during the waning moon than during a waxing moon

With about 865 people per square mile, the island of Madeira is one of Europe's most densely populated regions

Sounds too low for human beings to hear are called infrasonic

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was conceived by author Robert May in 1939. Two other names he considered before deciding on Rudolph were Reginald and Rollo

In the United States, sales of used household merchandise are called “rummage sales;” in Britain, they’re called “jumble sales”

Graffito is the little-used singular of the much used plural word graffiti

Aluminum, glass, and paper are the three materials most easy to recycle - countries that lead the developed world in recycling efforts are Switzerland, the UK, Denmark, and the US

The Roman Catholic population of the world is larger than that of all other Christian sects combined

The Popsicle was invented by 11-year-old Frank Epperson in 1905 in wintertime Michigan, USA. He left a container of soft drink and a stirrer outside overnight, and in the morning discovered them frozen together - he did not seek a patent right away, but in 1923 he began marketing the Epsicle, got his patent in 1924, and shortly after, in 1925, changed the name to Popsicle and sold the rights  (Pictured below is a promotional sign circa 1925)

Inside an asbestos suit coated with aluminum, a fire fighter may experience a sweaty, but tolerable, 85 degrees to 100 degrees F, while attempting to extinguish an inferno of jet fuel raging at over 2,000 degrees  

When commercial telephone service was introduced between New York and London in 1927, the first three minutes of a call cost $75.00

Leonardo da Vinci was the first to suggest using contact lenses to see back in 1508 in Codex of the eye, Manual D, where he described a method of directly altering corneal power by submerging the eye in a bowl of water  (Pictured below is a copy of his sketch for the idea)

Diamonds were first mined in India over 4,000 years ago

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, launched his business career in 1969, at age 14 by forming a company named Lakeside Programming Group. Gates and his friend Paul Allen signed an agreement with Computer Center Corporation to report bugs in PDP-10 software, in exchange for computer time

A healthy adult human breathes almost 7 quarts of air every minute 

Built in 1967, the world’s only flying saucer launching pad is in St. Paul, Alberta, Canada

A building in which silence is enforced, like a library or school room, is referred to as a "silentium" 

A huge 52-foot-high (16-meter), fiberglass pineapple icon greets visitors outside The Big Pineapple, a huge pineapple plantation and tourist attraction at Queensland, Australia

Ales usually have a fuller flavor and body than lagers or pilsner. The length of time the malt is roasted determines the color and flavor of the ale. Pale ales have malts that are dried rather than roasted. Therefore, they have a light gold or copper color and a crisp, lighter flavor 

Precautions taken to prevent photographers from showing the public what occurred on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange led to the first published picture was made through the empty sleeve of a coat that concealed the camera from the sharp eyes of the exchange's guards. The photo appeared in "Pear's" magazine in 1907

In Japan they have square watermelons. They get square watermelons by growing them inside of square glass cases. That way they can fit easily into a refrigerator, and you can stack things on them. Square watermelons are expensive though (10,000 yen or about $82). Compare that to regular round watermelons which cost about $15-20 in Japan  

Two-percent of the world's population have red hair

India has more mobile phones than toilets

Dysania is the state of finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning 

One typical human male ejaculation contains 150 mg of protein, 11 mg of carbohydrates, 6 mg of fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 7% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of potassium, 3% US RDA of zinc and copper.  The protein is the equivalent of that found in one egg white

Breathing the air in Mumbai, India for just ONE DAY, is equivalent to smoking 2.5 packs of cigarettes 

Two hundred boredom "activists" gathered in London in December at James Ward's annual banal-apalooza conference, "Boring 2010," to listen to ennui-stricken speakers glorify all things dreary, including a demonstration of milk-tasting (in wine glasses, describing flavor and smoothness), charts breaking down the characteristics of a man's sneezes for three years, and a PowerPoint presentation on the color distribution and materials of a man's necktie collection from one year to the next. Another speaker's "My Relationship with Bus Routes" seemed well-received, also. Observed one attendee, to a Wall Street Journal reporter, "We're all overstimulated. I think it's important to stop all that for a while and see what several hours of being bored really feels like."

A sculpture on display at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota, was stolen in December 2010. The piece, by artist John Ilg, consisted of wire mesh over a frame, with 316 rolled-up dollar bills stuffed in the mesh. The piece was titled, "Honesty." (When the piece was first presented, at the Minnesota State Fair, visitors liked it so much that they added rolled bills to the display.) 

A 41-year-old woman, arrested in Callaway, Florida, in December 2010 for beating her husband with a rock,
explained that she was angry that he was endangering his health by smoking despite being ill. Said she, "A woman can only take so much."  

Suspected of stealing scraps of copper in Riverside, Ohio, in December 2010: Jesus Christ Superstar Oloff, 33.

Arrested for sex abuse against a 6-year-old boy in Oklahoma City in October 2010: Lucifer Hawkins, 30.

On trial in December for extortion in Britain's Southwark Crown Court (threatening to reveal a sexual affair): Ms. Fuk Wu.

Sought as a suspect in a convenience store killing in Largo, Florida, in December (and an example of the highly revealing "Three First Names" theory of criminal liability), Mr. Larry Joe Jerry--who actually has four first names (Larry Joe Jerry, Jr.) 

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