Monday, December 26, 2011


Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebra

It is estimated that 60 percent of home smoke detectors in use do not work because they don't have a battery in them or the battery in the detector no longer has any potency

Although each adult and independent juvenile forages alone, sea otters tend to rest together in single-sex groups called rafts. A raft typically contains 10 to 100 animals, with male rafts being larger than female ones. The largest raft ever seen contained over 2000 sea otters. To keep from drifting out to sea when resting and eating, sea otters may wrap themselves in kelp

In cooking, the term chiffonade means to slice into very thin strips or shreds. Literally translated from French, chiffonade means "made of rags"

We rely on the sun's output remaining steady for our climate to support life on Earth. If the sun's energy output would decreased by one-tenth, the entire Earth would be covered in ice one mile thick; if the sun's energy increased by 30 percent, all life on Earth would be burnt to a cinder

Iridescent beetle shells were the source of the earliest eye glitter ever used — devised by the ancient Egyptians  
Common beetle with colorful shell
More than 50 percent of the people who are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States and who go untreated still survive - Half of them are intoxicated at the time of the strike

Camel milk is the only milk that doesn't curdle when boiled

Taxi drivers in London, England are required to pass a training test based upon "The Blue Book." Preparation for this test takes between two to four years. Of ten who start, eight or nine drop out before completion  
Unlike taxis in the United States that are typically bright yellow to make them easier to spot amid heavy traffic and the colors of other cars, cabs in Britain are black
January 1, 1936: The first pop music chart based on national sales was published by "Billboard" magazine. Joe Venuti, jazz violinist, was at the top of the chart with a song called, "Stop! Look! Listen!"   

The first drive-in service and petrol station in the United States was opened by Gulf Oil Company - on December 1, 1913, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The world's rarest gem is Painite- before 2005, only 25 crystals had ever been found. It was first found in Myanmar by British mineralogist and gem dealer Arthur C.D. Pain in the 1950s. When it was confirmed as a new mineral species, the mineral was named after him

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 scientific name for the human thumb is "pollex"  

Ivory Soap was originally named P&G White Soap. In 1879, Harley Proctor found the new name during a reading in church of the 45th Psalm of the Bible: "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad"

Anthropologists believe that people have been making and wearing shoes for more than 10,000 years. The Egyptians wore sandals woven from papyrus leaves   

New York City, named by Americans as the most dangerous, least attractive, and rudest city in a 2008 poll, was also Americans’ top choice as the city where they would most like to vacation or reside 

Congress passed a law prohibiting American vessels from supplying slaves to other countries on March 22, 1794.  Slavery was not prohibited in the United States until the American Civil War ended in 1865

When we smile broadly, we use seventeen muscles  

In May, a man exploring a rural property in Lebanon, Oregon came across what appeared to be a classic World War II-era bomb, but, unfamiliar with the ordnance, he became only the most recent person to make the completely unwise decision to load it into his vehicle and drive to a police station (in Corvallis). Officers at the station reacted predictably and logically: They fled the room, closed down the streets around the station, and called the nearest bomb squad, which later detonated it safely 

Reports still frequently emerge of homeowners battling household pests, yet only creating an even worse problem (as if the pests ultimately outsmart them).  In recent cases, for example, Robert Hughes tried to oust the squirrels from his townhome in Richton Park, Illinois in March, but his smoke bomb badly damaged his unit and his neighbor's. (Firefighters had to rip open the roof in the two units to battle the blaze.) Two weeks after that, in Mesa, Ariz., a man set his attic on fire trying to get rid of a beehive with brake fluid and a cigarette lighter  

Beauty contests for camels are very big business in Saudi Arabia, but the first one in Turkey (in Selcuk) was held in January 2011 and featured considerably lower-market camels. (The Turkish winner had been purchased for the equivalent of $26,000; a Saudi camel once won $10 million in a single show.) Judges look for muscle tone, elegance of tail wag, and tooth quality, according to a January Wall Street Journal dispatch. Charisma is also important, according to one judge. "Camels," he said, "realize that people are watching them [and] are trying to pose." "Some will stop, open their back legs, and wave their tail, or [throw] their head back and moan . . . this is the kind of posing we [judges] are looking for"

Monday, December 19, 2011


Tooth enamel is the hardest substance manufactured by the human body

Despite its popularity as a seasoning, basil has a controversial history. Basil was a sacred plant in ancient Hindu religion, and it was handled warily by European herbalists of the Middle Ages, who feared it as a scorpion breeder

The term "rhinestone," from the French caillou du Rhin, came to be because the colorless, hard-glass artificial gems were originally made at Strasbourg (on the Rhine)

A queen bee may lay as many as 3,000 eggs in a single day - Below is a video of a Honeybee Queen laying her eggs:

Pharaoh ants are a serious nuisance pest in hospitals, rest homes, apartments, hotels, grocery stores, and other buildings. They feed on a wide variety of foods including soft drinks, greases, jellies, honey, shortening, peanut butter, fruit juices, baked goods, dead insects, and even shoe polish. Also, pharaoh ants gnaw holes in silk, rayon, and rubber goods. In hospitals, these foraging ants have been found in surgical wounds, I.V. solutions, sealed packs of sterile dressing, water in flower displays, and water pitchers. Pharoah ants mechanically transmit diseases and contaminate sterile materials

Beets reminded early cooks of a bleeding animal when they cut them open, so they started calling them "beets." This was derived from the French word bĂȘte, meaning "beast"  

It costs more to buy a new car today in the United States than it cost Christopher Columbus to equip and undertake three voyages to and from the "New World"

Mormon leader Brigham Young had 57 children with 16 of his 27 wives
A picture of just the daughters of Brigham Young
There are over 375 organizations around the world devoted to the fictional Sherlock Holmes. The largest group is the Japan Sherlock Holmes Club with over 1,200 members

Disney World in Orlando, Florida covers 30,500 acres (46 square miles), making it twice the size of the island of Manhattan 

A "claque" is a group of people hired to applaud an act or performer  

The easiest sound for the human ear to hear, and those which carry best when pronounced, are, in order, "ah," "aw," "eh," and "oo"

A recent U.S. study purports that there are fewer births 9 months after a heat wave. The study found that an increase of 12 degrees Celsius (approximately 21.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer temperatures reduces births the following spring by up to 6 percent. Researchers at Kinsey Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University concluded that high temperatures could reduce people's sense of well-being, which could result in a reduction in sexual interest. Another study found lower sperm counts and higher rates of miscarriage during hot weather     

According to a pet owner survey, 79% of Americans give their dogs holiday and/or birthday presents 

Children born in the month of May are on the average 200 grams heavier at birth than children born in any other month 

The are more different kinds of insects on existence today than the total of all kinds of other animals put together

Green tea has 50% more vitamin C than black tea  

Sharks and rays are the only animals known to not succumb to cancer. Scientists believe this is related to the fact that they have no bone — only cartilage 

It may take longer than two days for a chick to break out of its shell
A black-backed gull chick looks on as a sibling pecks at freedom
Nyctitropism is the tendency of the leaves or petals of certain plants to assume a different position at night

Type O is the most common blood type in the world. Type AB is the rarest. There is also a subtype called A-H, but to date, only three people in the world are known to have it  

In March, Dennis Mulholland, 67, of Paisley, Scotland, encountered a three-foot-long California king snake hiding in the bowl after escaping from elsewhere in the building. In December a woman in Edmond, Oklahoma had a similar experience with a squirrel, which, hypothesized police, might have crawled through a sewer drain

Recent inventories made by police of suspects' vaginas included LSD in aluminum foil and marijuana in two sandwich bags (woman in Englewood, Florida, January); pills (woman in Manatee County, Florida, February); heroin (woman in Scranton, Pennsylvania, March); a fraudulent driver's license and credit card
(woman in Lee County, Florida., May); and pills and a knife (woman in Fort Myers, Florida., May). Rectal safe-keeping included a man with a baggie of marijuana (Louisville, Kentucky, March); a man with a marijuana pipe (Port St. Lucie, Florida, May), and a man with 30 items inside a condom (Sarasota, Florida, February), including a syringe, lip balm, six matches, a cigarette, 17 pills, and a CVS receipt and coupon

Christopher Bjerkness, 33, was arrested in May in Duluth, Minnesota and charged with burglary after being discovered mid-day in the physical-therapy room at the Chester Creek Academy. The room contained inflatable exercise balls that appeared to be undisturbed, but Bjerkness has been arrested at least twice before, in 2005 and 2009, because of his self-described compulsion to slash inflatable balls

David Truscott, 41, was convicted in Britain's Truro Crown Court in February of violating a restraining order to keep away from the Woodbury House Farm in Redruth, Cornwall, after being caught there two times previously wallowing in the farm's manure pit while masturbating. Said the prosecutor, "This is the only place [Truscott] seeks to gratify himself in this particular manner"

Monday, December 12, 2011


On January 7, 1894 W.K. Dickson received a patent for motion picture film. A demonstration included a 47-frame film (about 2 seconds) that showed a man sneezing  (Below, from the Library of Congress, is that film)

No two-cycle engines are allowed in Singapore. The license fee for a new car is small, about $5, but as the vehicle grows older, the fee increases. When the auto reaches 8 years old, it is no longer allowed on the streets. This is opposite of the license-fee structure in the U.S. While strict, Singapore's auto law has greatly reduced air pollution in the country

The land owned by the U.S. Federal government is about 651 million acres — about 30% of the country's total 

An ox is a castrated bull. A mule is a sterile cross between a male ass and a female horse

A hibernating woodchuck breathes only ten times per hour. An active woodchuck breathes 2,100 times an hour
A North American brown and grey woodchuck
A salt mine in the Polish town of Wieliczka, near Cracow, that has been in operation for nearly 1,000 years

The average person's hand flexes its finger joints 25 million times during a lifetime

Less than half (40%) of child psychologists in the U.S. advise parents of preschoolers to “confirm Santa’s existence” 
Globally, the odds of being killed by falling out of bed are one in two million

The first product that SONY came out with was the rice cooker - the company is now more famous as a manufacturer and global distributor of high-definition televisions, radios, mobile phones, DVD players, and cameras, among other products
The original SONY Rice Cooker, circa 1946
Buttermilk does not contain any butter

All human babies are color blind when they are born

A one ounce milk chocolate bar has 6 mg of caffeine

What is probably the largest living organism on earth has been discovered in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon. A fungus living three feet underground is estimated to cover 2,200 acres. After testing samples from various locations, scientists say it is all one organism.   Officially known as Armillaria ostoyae, or the honey mushroom, the fungus is 3.5 miles across and takes up 1,665 football fields. The small mushrooms visible above ground are only the tip of the iceberg. Experts estimate that the giant mushroom is at least 2,400 years old, but could be 7,200 years old

Dirty snow melts faster than clean

Cold water weighs more than hot water

Orca whales are voluntary breathers. For this reason, they sleep with only half of their brain at one time. The other half remains alert to regulate breathing. Resident whales (a type of Orca) typically remain near the surface, breathing and swimming in a pattern. When traveling together, resident pods have been observed to breathe in unison. Although it is not known why this occurs, it could be a way of helping the pod keep tabs on one another
The dorsal fin of the Resident whale is more rounded than the dorsal of other Orca whales
The Roman Catholic population of the world is larger than that of all other Christian sects combined

Carrageenan is a common ingredient used in ice cream and toothpaste. Carrageenan is seaweed — a purple, edible seaweed, also known as Irish moss, that's found along the coasts of Northern Europe and North America. It is used as a suspending agent in foods, pharmaceuticals, and liquids, as a clarifying agent for beverages, and in controlling crystal growth in frozen confections

Mr. P.J. Tierney, credited as the "father of the modern diner," died of indigestion in 1917 after eating at a diner

More than two-thirds of Earth's land surface lies north of the equator

Living creatures create tiny weather systems called microclimates in their nests and burrows. For instance, bees fan their wings at the hive entrance during hot weather. This makes a cooling draft blow through the hive 

Playing cards were invented by the Chinese as early as 1120

A male kangaroo is called a boomer, and a female is called a flyer.  Baby kangaroos are collectively called Joeys

Gasoline was once sold in small bottles as a cure for lice

Flatfish are born with one eye on each side of their heads, giving it an odd appearance as its head accommodates a gradual flattening of the mouth and eyes.  As the fish matures, the eyes and mouth move allowing the fish to lie on the ocean floor and look up to find food

A 53-year-old man with failing eyesight and who had recently undergone intestinal surgery told Sonoma, California police that on Sunday afternoon, May 1, 2011 a woman had come to his home and instructed him to drop his pants and get face-down on the bed so that she could administer an enema. He said he assumed his doctor had sent her and thus complied, and it was over in two minutes, and she was gone. The doctor later said he had no idea who the woman was. (In the 1970s, in the Champaign, Illinois area, Michael Kenyon operated similarly as the "Illinois Enema Bandit" --and inspired the late Frank Zappa's "Illinois Enema Bandit Blues)

Several funeral homes in the United States have drive-thru windows to serve rushed mourners or those stressed by the parlor experience. "Not quite as emotional," said one visitor to the Robert L. Adams Mortuary in Compton, California referring to the need not to linger in the queue of bereaved, idling motorists. The Adams facility was even more popular during the peak of gang murders in the area, according to an April Los Angeles Times report, because the drive-thru window's bulletproof glass rendered unnecessary the precarious indoor service in which gangbangers tried to further desecrate late rivals' corpses

In April, two Italian entrepreneurs introduced a perfume meant to evoke the scents of a person's blood, varying by type (A, B, AB, O)--but with no actual blood. A prominent member of the U.S. "vampire community" fondly described the "intriguing" olfactory sensations of Type B (the "black cherry, pomegranate, and patchouli infusions") and Type O ("raspberry, rose hips, and birch"). Another "vampirist" called the whole idea "cheesy"

Monday, December 5, 2011


In the French court of Louis XI, the refined ladies lived mainly on soup because they believed that excessive chewing would cause them to develop premature facial wrinkles

The World's Largest Catsup Bottle stands proudly next to Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville, Illinois. This unique, 170-foot-tall water tower was built in 1949 by W.E. Caldwell Company for the G.S. Suppiger catsup bottling plant. In 1995, due largely to the efforts of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group, this piece of local history was saved from demolition and beautifully restored to its original appearance

Swimming pools in the U.S. contain enough water to cover the city of San Francisco with a layer of water about 7 feet deep

Brain-wave activity in humans changes when we catch the punch line of a joke 

One of the fastest of all fish in the sea is the swordfish, also known as Broadbill in some countries, streaming forward at speeds that average 50 miles per hour and able to reach nearly 65 miles an hour  (Pictured below a male swordfish jumps out of the water, which is a regular behavior for these fish that researchers believe is a way for the animal to get rid of pests)

 It is estimated that 1.8 billion light bulbs are manufactured each year in the United States

Walt Disney World is home to the largest working wardrobe in the world with over 2.5 million costumes in its inventory

According to the U.S. Defense department, the Pentagon's many libraries support personnel in research and completion of their work. The Army Library alone provides 300,000 publications and 1,700 periodicals in various languages

The human brain is insensitive to pain. The suffering of a headache come not from the organ itself but from the nerve and muscles lining it

A bee could travel 4 million miles (6.5 million km) at 7 mph (11 km/h) on the energy it would obtain from 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of nectar

Small animals like bats and shrews consume up to one and one half times their body weight in food every day

Most people's legs are slightly different lengths

The temperature of lava is dependent on the geographic location. For example, Hawaiian lava can be as hot as 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit. By contrast, lava from mountains like Mount St. Helen's can be several hundred degrees cooler

In the early 1950s, Denver architect Temple H. Buell, often called the Father of the Mall, conceived of and built one of the first shopping malls in the U.S.: the Cherry Creek Mall
A pastoral garden was created at the center of the mall and is pictured above, circa 1952
Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' cloakroom in the ancestral castle of Blenheim. His mother was attending a formal ball there when she prematurely delivered

On TV game shows, a contestant who freezes before the camera is called a "Bambi," in reference to a deer paralyzed by the glare of headlights

The first macaroni factory in the United States was established in 1848. It was started by Antoine Zegera in Brooklyn, New York

A snake is capable of eating an animal four times larger than the width of its own head  (Pictured below a brown water snake eats a catfish, stretching it's mouth wider than its own head)
Comets speed up as they approach the Sun – sometimes reaching speeds of over a million miles per hour. Far away from the Sun, speeds drop, perhaps down to as little as 700 miles per hour

The male moose sheds its antlers every winter and grows a new set the following year  (Females do not have antlers)

Helen Keller (1880-1968), blind and deaf from an early age, developed her sense of smell so finely that she could identify friends by their personal odors

The language of Taki, spoken in parts of French Guinea, consists of only 340 words

More than two-thirds of Earth's land surface lies north of the equator

On the average, women dream more than men and children dream more than adults. Overall, more people dream in black-and-white than in color

The Hollywood sign was first erected in 1923. Conceived as a real estate ad, it originally read Hollywoodland. The sign stands 50 feet tall, stretches 450 feet across, weighs 450,000 pounds

The longstanding springtime culinary tradition of urine-soaked eggs endures, in Dongyang, China, according to a March 2011 CNN dispatch. Prepubescent boys contribute their urine (apparently without inhibition) by filling containers at schools, and the eggs are boiled according to recipe and sold for the equivalent of about 23
cents each. Many residents consider the tradition gross, but for devotees, it represents, as one said, "the [joyous] smell of spring"

The port town of Kumai, Borneo, consists of low-rise shops and houses serving a population of 20,000 but also many tall, windowless box buildings perforated with small holes. The structures are actually bird houses, for the town's chief industry is harvesting the nests of the hummingbird-like swiftlet, constructed of its own saliva, which, properly processed, yields a sweet-tasting paste with alleged medicinal qualities and highly revered throughout Asia 

In January 2011, while the Texas Legislature debated budget cuts that would almost certainly cost Allen High School (just north of Dallas) at least $18 million and require layoffs of teachers and other school personnel, construction was continuing on the school's new $60 million football stadium 

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