Monday, October 3, 2011


The five favorite U.S. school lunches nationwide, according to the American School Food Service Association, are, in order, pizza, chicken nuggets, tacos, burritos, and hamburgers
An actual school lunch purchased by a student in grade 10
Obesity among children in the US has reached epidemic proportions with the Centers for Disease Control issuing a warning to parents and adults nationwide in 2009 urging the adults to help children exercise and eat a healthier diet - television commercials now run on all major stations in the US urging kids to exercise - 1 in 3 children in the US is considered overweight or obese

English has replaced Russian as the most popular foreign language in schools in China

Before the enactment of the 1978 law that made it mandatory for dog owners in New York City to clean up after their pets, approximately 40 million pounds of dog excrement were deposited on the streets every year 

The female knot-tying weaverbird will refuse to mate with a male who has built a shoddy nest. If spurned, the male will take the nest apart and completely rebuild it in order to win the affections of the female

A survey of US married couples showed that while those with children are less likely to divorce than childless couples, the arrival of a new baby is more likely to bring more stress and emotional distance than new happiness. Nearly 90% of couples experienced decrease in martial satisfaction after the birth of their first child

It is more likely that Americans will recycle than vote

The shape of a dog’s face suggests how long it will live. Dogs with sharp, pointed faces that look more like wolves typically live longer. Dogs with very flat faces, such as bulldogs, often have shorter lives

The word "snorkel" comes from the German word Schnorchel, which was a tube used by German submarine crews in WWII. The subs used an electric battery when travelling underwater, which had to be recharged using diesel engines. The engines needed air to run. To avoid the hazard of surfacing to run the engines, the Germans used the schnoerkel to feed air from the surface into the engines  (Pictured below a snorkeler in mud- a snorkel allows a person to look and breathe while at things beneath the surface while breathing through a tube that sticks out above the surface)

More than 1,000 different languages are spoken on the continent of Africa. The Berbers of North Africa have no written form of their language. Somalia is the only African country in which the entire population speaks the same language, Somali  

After mating, the female black widow spider devours her male partner - The female may dispatch as many as 25 suitors a day in this manner 

Maine is the only state in the United States whose name is just one syllable

A group of bees can be called either a hive, a swarm, or a grist

Although manatees are excellent swimmers, the deepest that one has been observed diving is 33 feet. Typically, the large, gentle creatures feed no deeper than about ten feet below the surface of the water

In 1997 a Menorah was built in Latrun, near the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. It was more than 60-feet tall, weighed 17 metric tons, and took up an area of 600-square meters. A rabbi was lifted in a crane each night of the holiday to light the candles on the menorah, which was made of metal pipes

7.5 million toothpicks can be created from a cord of wood

In 1931, an industrialist named Robert Ilg built a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa outside Chicago and lived in it for several years. The tower is still there 
There are 52 cards in a standard deck and there are 52 weeks in a year. There are 4 suits in a deck of cards and 4 seasons in a year. If you add the values of all the cards in a deck (jack=11 queen=12, etc.) you get a total of 365 the same as the number of days in a year  

In 1935, Jesse Owens set six track and field world records in less than one hour - He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team - Just before the competitions, Owens was visited in the Olympic village by Adi Dassler, the founder of the Adidas athletic shoe company. He persuaded Owens to use Adidas shoes, the first sponsorship for a male African-American athlete - Hitler refused to attend the medal award ceremony

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

The word "yo-yo" itself was a registered trademark of Duncan until 1965, the company that manufactured its invention and sold millions worldwide to kids and adults alike

Some species of ant can survive for up to two weeks underwater

In 1992, a yo-yo was brought into space by astronaut Jeffry Hoffman on the space shuttle Atlantis

The toe of the metal statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome, is worn down almost to a nub by the great number of pilgrims who have kissed it through the centuries  
Until recently, many pregnant women at risk of delivering prematurely could be aided by an obstetrician recommended work- up of a chemical compound, at a cost of about $10-$20 a dose.  However, in February 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved a specific commercial version, K-V Pharmaceutical's Makena, which K-V began pricing at $1,500 a dose (citing its need to recoup "research" costs). K-V also began threatening dispensers of the work-up compound, since FDA had anointed Makena with "market exclusivity.") (Update: K-V subsequently lowed the price to $690 per dose)

Britain's Border Agency announced the firing of an immigration officer in January 2011.  The man had apparently turned sour on his marriage, and while his wife was on holiday with her family in Pakistan, he quietly added her name to the terrorist list of people not allowed into the country

In March 2011, a teenager was charged with attempting to rob the Fun 4 All comic-book store in Southfield,
Michigan with a homemade bomb (that looked realistic but turned out to be harmless) and presenting a list of the specific collectors' merchandise (not money) he wanted. After the clerk balked at the demands, the robber relented, paid cash for a few of the items on the list, and left. When arrested later, he called the incident a "social experiment"

James Chapek, 55, was charged with burglary in March 2011 after he broke into a house in Portland, Oregon and took a shower. Unknown to him, the resident was in another part of the house and came, with his two German shepherds and a gun, to confront Chapek through the closed bathroom door, while calling 911 emergency services. Fearing the dogs and the gun, Chapek simultaneously dialed 911, himself, begging that
officers come quickly and arrest him. (Chapek, later released on bond, was re-arrested two days later in Chehalis, Washington while, according to police, loading shoplifted goods into a stolen car)

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