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."        

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