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"

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