Monday, October 10, 2011


Nerve signals may travel through nerve or muscle fibers at speeds as high as 200 miles per hour

A rodent's teeth never stop growing. They are worn down by the animal's constant gnawing on bark, leaves, and other matter

In 1803, North Carolina (not California) was the site of first U.S. gold rush. The state supplied all the domestic gold coined for currency by the US Mint in Philadelphia until 1828

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, weighs over twice as much as all of the other known planets combined

The National Sporting Goods Association says one-fourth of all athletic products are purchased during November and December, the holiday shopping period

The heaviest known meteorite to fall to Earth – the Hoba West meteorite – lies where it fell in Africa and weighs about 60 tons - The Hoba meteorite is thought to have landed less than 80,000 years ago. It is inferred that the Earth's atmosphere slowed the object down to the point that it fell to the surface at terminal velocity, thereby remaining intact and causing little excavation. The meteorite is unusual in that it is flat on both major surfaces, possibly causing it to have skipped across the top of the atmosphere in the way a flat stone skips on water 

The average person's field of vision encompasses a 200-degree wide angle 

Ludwig van Beethoven was totally deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony

Of the 398 million landline telephones in the world, more than one-third are in the United States

The Barbie® doll is 11 1/2 inches tall

Denver has the nation's largest city park system, with more than 200 parks within city limits and 20,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains – an area larger than all of Manhattan 

It was illegal for women to wear buttons in fifteenth-century Florence

The art of map-making is older than the art of writing 

From the 1830s to 1960s, the Lehigh River in eastern Pennsylvania, was owned by the Lehigh Coal Co., making it the only privately owned river in the United States - the company was involved in railroad construction and the extraction of other minerals - it is now known as the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company  (Pictured below is a news clip from 1920 reporting on a lawsuit in which the company lost to homeowners who were apparently were living on top of valuable ore that the Lehigh Coal Company wanted)

In size, materials, and human labor, the Great Wall of China is the largest construction project ever undertaken by human labor. Enough stone was used in the 1,700-year project to build an 8-foot wall girdling the globe at the equator. The Great Wall snakes its way over more than one-twentieth of the earth's circumference 

The African boabab tree can have a circumference as large as 100 feet. One such tree in Zimbabwe is so wide that the hollowed-out trunk serves as a shelter at a bus stop, with a capacity to hold as many as 40 people   (Pictured below is the external view of the tree that is splitting because of its girth, and beneath an image of the same tree internally with benches and a tiled floor)

Time magazine named the computer its "Man of the Year" in 1982 

Under a treaty dating back to 1918, if the Grimaldis of Monaco should ever be without a male heir, Monaco would cease to exist as a sovereign state and would become a self-governing French protectorate

A cockroach heart is a simple tube with valves. The tube can pump blood backwards and forwards in the insect. The heart can even stop moving without harming the roach   

More than 1,130,000 packages of Jell-O gelatin are purchased or eaten every day

Before going into the music business, Frank Zappa was a greeting-card designer    

The majestic eastern slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town create the home of the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The gardens are dedicated to the preservation of the indigenous plants of South Africa. More than 6,000 different species of plant are grown here, including ancient cycads and many species of erica, pelargoniums, ferns, and rare succulents

Red wines have about five times more tannin than white wines  (Learn all about tannins and other wine-related info by clicking here:

In February 2011, a New York City gallery began offering classes in "anthropomorphic taxidermy," described as a "Victorian hobby" in which mouse carcasses are not only meticulously cleaned and stuffed but outfitted in hand-made miniature 19th-century clothing, such as bloomers. British practitioners are said to have created
elaborate scenes featuring scores of the costumed bodies. Class instructor Susan Jeiven said the mice have to look "classy": "I don't like rogue taxidermy"

Scottish artist Jane Forbes, 47, won the "Shoe Is Art" competition in Dundee in late 2010 with a work ("Ad Infinitum") that a University of Dundee spokesman called "awe-inspiring." Forbes painted (and photographed) the same pair of shoes every day for 66 consecutive days, hypothesizing that subtle differences in her "mood" would be detectable in any variations in the paint jobs 

Michael Trias, 20, was arrested in March in Mesa, Arizona after a botched residential burglary. According to police, Trias had come in through a window but had landed in a clothes basket made of PVC and netting, and
become entangled. His flailing attempts to free himself alerted the homeowner 

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