Monday, August 29, 2011


In 625 B.C.E., metal coins were introduced in Greece. They replaced grain — usually barley — as the medium of exchange. Stamped with a likeness of an ear of wheat, the new coins were lighter and easier to transport than grain, and did not get moldy

Thomas Edison’s first major invention was the quadruplex telegraph. Unlike other telegraphs at the time, it could send four messages at the same time over one wire

Prize fights prior to the turn of the century lasted up to more than a hundred rounds (rounds were often determined by knockdowns) - The fighters used bare knuckles (no boxing gloves that are padded, and have been in standard use since the early 1900s) - (Pictured below is a legal bare knuckle match that took place in 1899 in New York City)

The pupil of the human eye expands as much as 45% when a person looks at something the person deems pleasing

The oak tree can take as long as 30 years to produce its first crop of acorns

Czar Nicholas II considered the construction of an electric fence around Russia and expressed interest in building a bridge across the Bering Straits

The first law to protect the cheese industry was enacted in 1411, when Charles VI gave the people of Roquefort “the monopoly of curing cheese as has been done in the caves of Roquefort village since time immemorial”  

Americans buy an average of 4.6 movie tickets per year. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, Ireland buys the most of the European countries, with 3.2 tickets a year - of all countries that have been recorded, Lebanon has the most movie-goers and Russia has the most theaters

The statue by Auguste Rodin that has come to be called "The Thinker" was not meant to be a portrait of just any man at thought.  Originally named The Poet, the piece was part of a commission by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris to create a monumental portal to act as the door of the museum. Rodin based his theme on The Divine Comedy of Dante and entitled the portal The Gates of Hell. Each of the statues in the piece represented one of the main characters in the epic poem. The Thinker was originally meant to depict Dante in front of the Gates of Hell, pondering his great poem - (In the final sculpture, a miniature of the statue sits atop the gates, pondering the hellish fate of those beneath him.) The sculpture is nude, as Rodin wanted a heroic figure in the tradition of Michelangelo, to represent intellect as well as poetry 

The seed of the redwood trees are so small that 123,000 of them weigh scarcely a pound 

The honey ant of the desert has a method of providing food in times of scarcity. Certain members of the colony are stuffed with liquid food or water until the rear of their bodies are enlarged to the size of a pea. When a famine occurs, these ants disgorge their supplies to feed the others  (Pictured below some honey ants, fully engorged, hang from the ceiling of the colony's nest, while others set out to look for food)

Over 200,000 telephone calls are made daily at the Pentagon

Chocolate contains the same chemical, phenylethylamine, that your brain produces when you feel you are in love - Researchers have found that an excess of phenylethylamine makes people very nervous

Murderer John Horwood was hanged on April 13, 1821. His skin was used to bind a book describing the dissection of his body by surgeon Richard Smith

If a glass of water were magnified to the size of the Earth, the molecules comprising it would be about as big as a large orange

A Dutch study indicated that 50 percent of the adult Dutch population have never flown in an airplane, and 28 percent admitted a fear of flying   

Because its tongue is too short for its beak, the toucan must juggle its food before swallowing it  (Pictured below a toucan has food in its mouth that to eat means it will have to juggle by tilting its head upward in quick and sharp gestures that edge the food to its throat)
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 - women proved to be friendlier and more efficient than the men, and less prone to play pranks on the callers 

Various U.S. cities are named after other countries - For example, you can visit the U.S. city of Peru in the states of Maine, Nebraska, and New York  

Water makes up 60 percent of our body weight. Of the water, 8 percent is in the blood, 25 percent in the spaces between cells, and 67 percent inside the cells

As an advertising gimmick, Carl Mayer, nephew of lunchmeat mogul Oscar Mayer, invented the company's "Wienermobile." On July 18, 1936, the first Oscar Mayer® "Wienermobile" rolled out of General Body Company's factory in Chicago. Wienermobiles still tour the U.S. today

Last year, the highly-qualified agriculture expert Ricardo Salvador was passed over by Iowa State University
to run its Center for Sustainable Agriculture, even after the person who finished ahead of him declined the job. According to a June Chronicle of Higher Education report, Salvador had committed an unpardonable faux pas during the hiring process--by stating the obvious fact that cows everywhere, historically, eat "grass." (Since
Iowa's dominant crop is corn, "grass" was the wrong answer.)  When a Chronicle reporter asked the dean of Iowa State's agriculture school whether cows evolved eating grass, the dean said she did not have an "opinion" about that 

Over the last 10 years, newspaper vendor Miljenko Bukovic, 56, of Valparaiso, Chile, has acquired 82 Julia Roberts face tattoos on his upper body--all, he said, inspired by scenes from the movie "Erin Brockovich." 
Bukovic poses to display his tattoos (left).  Actress Julia Roberts, who portrayed activist Erin Brockovich in the movie of the same name, poses for photogs (right).
On February 21, 2011 Jessica Davey, 22, of Salisbury, England, saw that her car had been wrongly immobilized with a boot. Angry at probably missing work, she locked herself in the car, thus impeding the tow truck, and remained for 30 hours, until a parking inspector dropped by and removed the boot 

In February 2011, the Sarasota, Florida Police Department fired veteran homicide detective Tom Laughlin,
almost a year after he had filed formal papers identifying himself as part of the "sovereign" movement, whose members believe they are beyond the control of any government and can establish their own financial system (which usually makes them much richer- on paper), among other assertions. (The U.S. Constitution is cited as
their authority, but only the original and not the popular version, which is a sham secretly switched with the original by President Abraham Lincoln.) In a subsequent interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Laughlin, who had a strong record as a detective, acknowledged that maybe he had gotten carried away 

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