Monday, November 28, 2011


In the United States, hail destroys hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of crops and property each year, a greater toll than that taken by tornadoes

Nearly two-thirds of professional hockey players have lost at least one tooth playing the sport

The onion is a lily, botanically

Most have heard the terms "rural," "urban" and suburbia" but the term less frequently heard, "Exurbia," refers to the mostly rural residential area beyond the suburbs of a city
A single family lives in this "exurban" home along a rural route in the United States' Southwest
Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding, was the first divorcee to live in the White House as First Lady of the United States

Eleven days before the statute of limitations was to expire on the Brink's robbery in Boston, Massachusetts, that netted nearly $3 million in January 1950, one of the robbers confessed and betrayed his fellow robbers - Only $50,000 was ever recovered and it cost the government's taxpaying citizens $5 million for the investigation, trial and incarceration of the suspects
Before the Industrial Revolution, raw milk was an everyday commodity in the United States. This means that the milk was not pasteurized.  New methods of processing milk such as pasteurization led to the banning of raw milk.  In many countries, you’ll find bottles of raw milk offered. In the U.S., there is a continuous debate raging on about the healthfulness of raw milk, while others insist that it is full of germs. In Europe, Asia, Africa, and other countries, you’ll often find raw milk and even raw cheese available. In the U.S., only 28 states allow the consumption of raw milk. It is banned in Canada.  The consumption of raw milk in the U.S. is usually done through cow shares (where consumers own part of a cow and share the costs and the milk it produces)
Raw milk is sometimes offered for sale in health food and food cooperative stores in states in the U.S.
According to a 1999 survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, of those people who snore, 19% snore so loudly that they can be heard through a closed door

Statistically, traveling by air is the safest means of transportation. Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport handles more than 73 million passengers a year, making it the busiest airport in the world - It has been deemed the busiest airport in the world since 1998 as deemed by the in Switzerland

The most complex automobile interchange of paths in all ways is located in Texas - interstate 10 highway interchange, pictured below:

The world's first patent was granted in 1421 to architect Filippo Brunelleschi in Florence to make a barge crane to transport marble

Lemon sharks grow a new set of teeth every two weeks. They grow more than 24,000 new teeth every year

The caterpillar has more than 2,000 muscles. Watch the video below to see a time-lapse version of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly:

The modern zipper, the Talon Slide Fastener, was invented in 1913 but didn't catch on until after World War I. The first dresses incorporating the zipper appeared in the 1930s

In 1976, a Los Angeles secretary named Jannene Swift officially married a 50-pound rock. The ceremony was witnessed by more than twenty people.  In June 2011, California's Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage
“Soft Drink” refers to nearly all beverages that do not contain significant amounts of alcohol (hard drinks).
The term “soft drink” though is now typically used exclusively for flavored carbonated beverages.  This is actually due to advertising.  Flavored carbonated beverage makers were having difficulty creating national advertisements due to the fact that what you call their product varies from place to place.  For instance, in parts of the United States and Canada, flavored carbonated beverages are referred to as “pop”; in other parts “soda”; in yet other parts “coke”; and there are a variety of other names commonly used as well.  Then if we go international with the advertisements, in England these drinks are called “fizzy drinks”; in Ireland sometimes “minerals”.  To account for the fact that they can’t refer to their product in the generic sense on national advertisements, because of these varied terms, these manufactures have chosen the term “soft drink” to be more or less a universal term for flavored carbonated beverages.

Interestingly, according to a study done in 2006, most carbonated “soft” drinks actually do contain a little alcohol.  In older methods of introducing the CO2 to the drink, this was resulting from natural fermentation, similar to how most beer gets its alcohol.  However, with modern methods of introducing CO2 to the drink, this is not an issue; yet measurable amounts of alcohol remain.  This is due to the fermentation of sugars in the non-sterile environment of the drink.   In some types of soda-pop, additional alcohol is also introduced due to the fact that alcohol is used in the preparation of some of the flavor extracts.  However, before anyone starts campaigning to make soda-pop illegal for kids due to the alcohol content, it should be noted that a typical container of yogurt of similar volume to  some amount of soda-pop, will contain about 2 times the amount of alcohol over the amount in the soda-pop.
Soft drink advertisement, circa 1952
Nearly two billion people in the world are overweight or obese (This is one-third of the world's population).  This is a 25% increase since 2002

For the technologically-savvy, the word "modem" is known to be short for Modulation and Demodulation

If one digit were to be added to a telephone number in one area code in the United States, potentially 90,000,000 new phone numbers could be added

In the late nineteenth century, the symbol for currency in the United States was 'US' - the "S" was placed directly over the "U" and in time instead of "US" overlapping, it was shortened to the current symbol for the US dollar or means of currency:  $

The only part of the current United States invaded by the Japanese during WWII was Alaska, though when posed the question of what part of the US was invaded by the Japanese many Americans mistakenly identify Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese in a surprise attack that caught the US military base unaware, after which the US attacked Japan and entered WWII)

Dugan Smith, 13, is almost as good as new, having overcome an extremely rare malignant tumor on his thigh bone. A surgeon at Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital removed the middle of Smith's leg, turned the bottom of it around so that the back faces the front, and reconnected the parts

The Belly Button Biodiversity project at North Carolina State University has begun examining the "faunal differences" in the microbial ecosystems of our navels, to foster understanding of the "tens of thousands" of organisms crawling around inside (almost all benign or even helpful). An 85-year-old man in North Carolina
may have "very different navel life" than a 7-year-old girl in France, according to a May Raleigh News & Observer report. So far, only the organisms themselves and the host's demographics have been studied; other issues, such as variations by hairiness of navel, remain

Monday, November 21, 2011


If the name of every insect were printed in an average-size book, it would take about 6,000 pages to list them all.  Scientists believe over 37,000 species of spider exist, with another approximately 4,000 as yet unidentified

Ambergris (whale vomit), a common additive in skin creams and lotions, has also been added to cigarettes for flavor.  Ambergris is a fatty, waxy substance that forms in the intestines of the sperm whale
An example of hard, dried whale vomit, before being processed as an ingredient to cigarettes
 New Year's Day is the world's most observed holiday. In most English-speaking countries, it has been observed on January 1 since the British Calendar Act was passed in 1751

The metal part of a lamp that surrounds the bulb and supports the shade is called a harp
No penguins live at the North Pole. In fact, there are no penguins anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere (outside of zoos). All 17 varieties of the bird are found below the equator, primarily in the Antarctica 

The hair of an adult man or woman can stretch 25 percent of its length without breaking. If it is less elastic, it is not healthy

The telephone area code for a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean is 871  

"What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches"  - The Quarterly Review, 1825 

Close to Niagara Falls and Buffalo in Orchard Park, New York, is the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum, which features one of the world’s largest collections of antique American bicycles, including thousands of items of cycling-related memorabilia. The museum's machines are completely restored to their original condition. Recent acquisitions on display at the museum include several 1890s military bicycles and a very rare large two-wheeled bicycle manufactured in 1888 on which the rider sits between two large wheels, one on either side. The Pedaling History Bicycle Museum is the only one of its kind in America, and one of only a few remaining in the world. It is the biggest and most complete bicycle museum in the United States
 Two women about to go for an afternoon ride on their bicycles, circa 1900.  Women were discouraged from cycling initially since men saw this as "too vigorous" for women and dangerous to their health
Requirements of applicants to NASA's Mercury Space program in 1959, to become an astronaut:  Male; be in a branch of the military; be under 40 years old and shorter than 5 feet, 11 inches; demonstrate 20/20 eyesight and excellent physical condition; hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent in engineering; be a qualified jet pilot and have logged at least 1,500 hours of flying time  

Crushed cockroaches can be applied to a stinging wound to help relieve the pain

In one year, hens in just the U.S. lay enough eggs to encircle the globe a hundred times  

The 1998 blockbuster movie Titanic lasts 3 hours and 14 minutes. The actual ship took 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink after hitting an iceberg

The streets of London were lit by gaslights for the first time in 1807. Before that, torches were used

The tarantula spends most of its life within its burrow, which is an 18-inch vertical hole with an inch-wide opening. When male tarantulas are between the ages of 5 to 7 years, they leave the burrow in search of a female, usually in the early fall. This migration actually signals the end of their life cycle. The males mate with as many females as they can, and then they die around mid-November

Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States after the war for independence from England, was so upset with the Continental Congress' editing of his original Declaration of Independence that, for years afterward, he sent copies of both the original and the final version to friends and asked their opinions as to which version they preferred

New York University arts professor Wafaa Bilal had his camera surgically removed in February- the one that was implanted in the back of his skull in November to record, at 60-second intervals, the places he had left behind (beamed to and archived by a museum in Qatar). The camera had been mounted under his skin, braced by three titanium posts, but his body very painfully rejected one of the posts, and his temporary solution is to merely tie the camera to the back of his neck (even though that work-around is unsatisfactory to him because it represents a less-personal "commitment" to the art).  In the future, he said, communication devices like his will routinely be part of our bodies

Till Krautkraemer's New York City beverage company MeatWater creates dozens of flavors of water for the upscale market of hearty gourmets who would like their daily salads, or shellfish, or goulash, from a bottle instead of from a plate. Among his new flavors introduced in January, according to an AOL News report, were poached salmon salad water and a Caribbean shrimp salad water that can double as a vodka mixer. Old standbys include Peking duck water, tandoori chicken water, bangers 'n' mash water, and Krautkraemer's favorite, German sauerbraten water 

Sell What You Know: In December, a company in eastern Ukraine (a country known for hard-drinking) announced a "drinking buddy" service in which, for the equivalent of about $18, it would supply a barroom companion for the evening, "qualified" to discuss politics, sports, women, etc., and even to offer psychological counseling if appropriate  

The Panamanian company Scottish Spirits recently introduced a straight Scotch whiskey in 12-ounce cans, for a market of mobile drinkers who prefer not to invest in a whole bottle. The international Scotch whiskey trade association expressed alarm    

Monday, November 14, 2011


In 2000, not a single hurricane made landfall in the United States.  In a typical hurricane season in the U.S., which runs from June 1 through the end of November, an average of 3-10 such storms will make landfall, though some may lose much of their power while still over the ocean

The word 'hurricane' is derived from the Carib word 'Hurican,' which is the god of evil  (It should be noted that the Carib god 'Hurican' was derived from the Mayan god 'Hurakan', one of their creator gods, who blew his breath across the Chaotic water and brought forth dry land and later destroyed the men of wood with a great storm and flood

Green colored light is the least used color of light in the process of photosynthesis- it is reflected back into our eyes. That is why plants are, for the most part, green

The inventors of bubble wrap, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, were originally trying to make plastic wallpaper
Many people find "popping the bubbles" irresistible"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s wife died when a dropped match ignited her enormous hoop skirt

Orang means “man” in Malay and hutan means forest, so orangutan means “man of the forest”

The Great Depression was bad for marriages and divorces. Couples could neither afford to become wed, nor to split up. Not surprisingly, both numbers spiked highly following World War II.  The Economic Crisis that began in 2008 has similarly brought the numbers of marriages and divorces to a 30-year low

The scientific name for the nape of your neck is “niddick”

When 7-Up was invented, it was originally called “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”
This advertisement, circa 1945, recommends 7-Up, today known as a soft drink, as a remedy for hangovers, a stomach-settling aide, a "slenderizing" drink, and alerts shoppers that it can be used at home and not just in the hospital!

Humphrey Bogart joined the US Navy after being kicked out of Phillips Academy Boarding School. He was wounded during the shelling of the Leviathan, resulting in partial facial paralysis and his lisp

Horses cannot breathe through their mouth. If their nostrils become obstructed, they could suffocate

When Cosmopolitan started in 1886, it was a marketed as a family magazine. Popular issues around the turn-of-the-century included stories by Henry James and Theodore Roosevelt, and covered topics like climbing Mount Vesuvius and the life of Mozart.  The magazine now caters most of its pages to fashion, make-up application and products, interviews with movie and television celebrities, and sex and life advice for women

In 1956, East Germany decided to honor the death of native composer Robert Schumann by featuring him on a stamp. The design included a commemorative portrait of the artist against the backdrop of one of his musical scores. Unfortunately, the musical manuscript they used was that of fellow composer Franz Schubert
When Union soldiers cut off supply deliveries to the Confederacy during the American Civil War, the South was not able to get paper from northern paper mills. So, Confederate papers were printed on the back of wallpaper peeled off of parlor walls

Just as some people talk in their sleep, sign language speakers have been known to sign in their sleep

Though it’s not as well-known as the Grand Canyon, Hell’s Canyon is the deepest river gorge in the U.S. at nearly 8,000 feet below the peaks of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains range to the east. Most of the area is inaccessible by road

Lead guitarist for Queen, Brian May, dropped out of a physics PhD at Imperial College London to follow the path to rock stardom. He finally completed his thesis in 2007

Those few folks who have survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge report that it takes about four seconds to hit the water, some of whom found that enough time to re-think and regret the decision to attempt suicide

The Hawaiian alphabet only has twelve letters: A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P and W

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket

In a 1981 TV movie, the Harlem Globetrotters ended up on Gilligan’s Island and played basketball against a team of robots


Mattel revealed that its best-selling fashion doll in the last year (2010), for the age-6-and-up market, has been the teen werewolf "Monster High" model, Clawdeen Wolf, who comes with heavy makeup, a short skirt, and high boots, and who supposedly spends her time "waxing, plucking, and shaving." (Says Clawdeen, in promotional materials, "My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that's just what grows on my legs.") Though Mattel claims the doll celebrates girls' imperfections, a counselor told Fox News she was appalled that the company tells young girls that they "need to sculpt, tweeze, wax, and . . . change their bodies" to attract men

Tokyo's Kajimoto Laboratory has created a tongue-kissing machine to enable lovers to suck face over the
Internet, according to a May CNN report. At separate locations, the pair place special straws in their mouths and mimic a deep kiss, which is recorded and transmitted to each other's straws.  Researcher Nobuhiro Takahashi sees profit in "celebrity" tongue-kissing applications, but said more work is needed to establish individual taste, breathing, and tongue moistness. (Another team of Japanese researchers, using a harness-type device, reported making similar advances- in Internet "hugging," with sensors that mimic lovers' heartbeats and even their spine's "tingling" and stomach's "butterflies")

The Columbus, Ohio, school board accepted principal Kimberly Jones's resignation in May following revelations by the Columbus Dispatch that she, though earning $90,000 a year, swore on federal forms that she made just $25,000 so that her own two children would qualify for reduced-price school lunches

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Studies have shown the octupus can solve fairly complex problems and are considered to have approximately the same intelligence level as a dog

Before Beverly Hills was home to the rich and famous, the area was better known for its lima beans - it is now the wealthiest place to live in the entire United States according to the 2010 Census, for the second time in a row, with a median home sale price of $2.2 million and a population of about 36,000

Peridots are the only gems that have been found in meteorites, and is one of the few gemstones that appear in only one color- an olive green

The epitaph of Alexander the Great is one of the most famous in history: “A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.” But in all likelihood, Alexander’s tomb does not contain Alexander himself. The emperor Ptolemy took Alexander’s body and brought it back to Alexandria, where it was on display for a long time. But the body was lost and its current whereabouts are unknown

More than half the people living in Uganda are under 15 years of age, making it the country in the world with the youngest population

Before he wrote Jaws, Peter Benchley was a speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson

Australia was actually given its name before it was even discovered by Europeans. Rumors of Terra Australis (”land to the south”) persisted for centuries until 1616, when the Dutch confirmed the continent’s existence

Up until the early 1970s in the United States, funeral homes often offered their hearses for use as ambulances to transport patients to hospitals

Limelight, a 1952 Charlie Chaplin film, won an Oscar for Best Dramatic Score 21 years later- Since the movie had never been shown in Los Angeles, it was still eligible to enter the competition as a “new” picture in 1973

That baritone voice behind the Jolly Green Giant’s “ho-ho-ho” belongs to the late Elmer “Len” Dresslar Jr., a Chicago-area jazz singer

The Ford Falcon was discontinued in the US in 1971 but was redesigned and produced through 1991 in Argentina and was known as the official vehicle of the military junta

The Flintstones was sponsored by a cigarette company during the show’s first two seasons. The show was intended for adults, not kids, so few complained about the commercials that depicted the stone-age characters puffing away on Winstons

In 1998, a Georgia teen was suspended for one day for wearing a Pepsi t-shirt at his school’s “Coke in Education Day” - High school senior Mike Cameron served a one-day suspension for sporting a Pepsi logo during an event school officials crafted in an attempt to win a $500 contest run by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. School officials even went so far as to integrate Coke into class instruction for the day, in addition to bringing in Coke executives from Atlanta as speakers and gathering students outside during regular class time in their required brand-bearing apparel to spell "Coke" for a photograph.  By refusing to participate, the student was showing disrespect to the school's visiting corporate dignitaries who took time out of their busy schedules to fly in for the event, Greenbrier principal Gloria Hamilton said

The peacock is actually the male name of the peafowl- The female is called a peahen
A male (rear) courts a female with a bright and wide display of his feathers
‘Salmonella’ gets its name from Daniel Elmer Salmon, a veterinary pathologist who ran a USDA microorganism research program in the 1800s - the bacteria were discovered by his assistant and named in his honor

Countries in which people are most likely to help a stranger:  In a 2010 survey, Liberia and Sierra Leone were ranked #1 and #2 respectively

Printing the phrase “In God We Trust” on US currency was a mandate handed down by Abraham Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt attempted to remove the slogan because he, as a devout Christian, felt that putting God on money was a sacrilege

Most often, ostriches don’t stick their heads underground to hide from predators - they bend their neck down low and flatten it against the ground

Only female mosquitoes bite you

After riding high through the 1920s, the roller coaster craze was nearly killed off by the Depression. In the United States between 1930 and 1972, only 120 of the thrill contraptions were built, while more than 1,500 were destroyed
The 1920s-era Aeroplane roller coaster in New York's Playland Park
Prison Guard ("the greatest entry-level job in California," according to an April 2011 Wall Street Journal report highlighting its benefits over a typical job resulting from a Harvard University education). Starting pay is comparable; loans are not necessary (since the guard "academy" actually pays the student); and vacation time is more generous (seven weeks, five paid). One downside: The prison system is more selective (Harvard accepts 6.2 percent of applicants versus the guard service's fewer-than-one- percent of 120,000 applicants)

In a widely reported story that originated in the Brazilian press, accountant (and severe-anxiety and hypersexuality sufferer) Ana Catarian Bezerra, 36, was said to have prevailed after a court battle in April to be allowed breaks during the work day to masturbate

From time to time, rabbis suggest ways of bypassingancient Talmudic laws that restrict observant Jews' behavior on the Sabbath (a day of "rest"). In April, Rabbi Dror Fixler, an electro-optics expert from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said he could foresee a day when even driving a car might be permitted on the Sabbath.  The driver would wear an encephalography helmet that caught brain signals and transmitted them to a car's operating and steering system, removing the need for "action" on the driver's part (thus theoretically leaving them "at rest")

FEED*YOUR*HEAD on Facebook