Monday, July 4, 2011


California is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world, after France, Italy, and Spain

The Pygmy Marmoset is the world's smallest monkey. It measures 117-159 millimeters (4.5 - 6 inches) in length and weighs 85 to 140 grams (3 -5 ounces)

The first hospital for venereal disease was the London Lock Hospital in 1746 - most patients were female, and admission was most often involuntary but a punishment (or place to relocate) prostitutes that were considered to be "causing trouble"

Mexico is second only to Brazil in the number of Catholic citizens

Archaeologists found grape pips (seeds), usually considered evidence of winemaking, dating from 8000 B.C. in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The oldest pips of cultivated vines were found in (then Soviet) Georgia from 7000-5000 B.C.

Volcanoes form through subduction (when two tectonic plates smash against each other), mid-oceanic rift (when two plates drift apart), or in a hot spot (a weak spot in one of Earth’s plates)

The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C.) includes a law that punishes fraudulent wine sellers: They were to be drowned in a river  (Pictured below is the code, which includes 282 laws with scaled punishments depending on social status such as free male versus slave, and male versus female)

Prior to its ban, hemp (marijuana) was a staple cash crop of the family farm in early America. The first two drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence were written on paper made from hemp

The oral defense of a dissertation or thesis is a direct descent from the obligatory oration of the colonial college and from the medieval university disputation, or conventus, and even of oral interrogations of the Mesopotamian tablet-house

In the 1950s in the United States, swimsuits with pointed breasts, known jokingly as “high beams,” were popular. Some suits even offered inflatable bras that could be blown up to the wearer’s desired size  (Pictured below is an advertisement for bras that, like the swimwear for women, offered pointed breasts and padding when desired)

The jump from the Golden Gate Bridge is 250 feet. Trauma from the jump is dramatic and can cause ripped blood vessels, demolished central nervous systems, and a transected spinal cord. While a few have died from drowning and one from a shark attack, most die from the impact of the body on the water. Only 1% who jump survive - some survivors who had tried to kill themselves have described the approximately four second drop as giving them enough time to reconsider their suicide attempt and want to live

The English word “girl” was initially used to describe a young person of either sex. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century that the term was used specifically to describe a female child

In 1927, a French policeman was tried for the shooting of a boy he claimed he believed was a werewolf. That same year, the last wild wolves in France were killed

The Penan nomads who live on the island Borneo (southwest of the Philippines) maintain that women do not have a soul until their wedding day

In America, someone attempts suicide once every minute, and someone completes a suicide once every 17 minutes. Throughout the world, approximately 2,000 people kill themselves each day

Common diseases that are caused by nutritional deficiencies include beriberi (vitamin B1-thiamine), pellagra (B3-niacin), anemia (B12-cobalamin), and scurvy (C-ascorbic acid)

All recycling creates some amount of residue (e.g., shredder fluff) that will eventually end up in a landfill

The youngest president was Teddy Roosevelt who became president at age 42 when McKinley (1843-1901) was assassinated. JFK was the youngest president elected at the age of 43

More American women work in the education, health services, and social assistance industries than in any other industry. These three industries employ nearly one-third of all female workers - while typically these professions pay lower wages than jobs dominated by men in the US, they have proven to be most "recession-proof," meaning that in the economic downturn that started in 2007 more men than women have become unemployed

Ambergris (whale vomit) has been added to cigarettes for flavor

The first formalized bathing costume in the modern era was not a piece of clothing at all but a piece of architecture: a bathing machine. Invented by a Quaker in 1753, the horse-drawn half carriage contained a “modesty tunnel” that allowed a fully clothed Victorian woman to enter the sea privately  (Pictured below is a series of docks built in the Victorian era- underneath each dock is a "modesty tunnel" for women, which is why the base of the dock is so large)

When a shark eats food that it can’t digest (like a turtle shell or tin can), it can vomit by thrusting its stomach out its mouth then pulling it back in

Even though over 50 native tongues are still spoken in rural locations, Spanish is the national language of Mexico. In fact, Mexico is the most populated Spanish-speaking country in the world

When her husband Caecina Paetus hesitated to kill himself honorably, his wife Arria (d. A.D. 42) snatched the dagger from her husband, stabbed herself, and handed the weapon back with the words “Paete, non dolet“ (“Paeuts, it does not hurt”)

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