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                

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