Thursday, May 3, 2012


A sneeze travels out of your nose at about 100 mph and out of your mouth at over 60mph

Alaska has, on average, 5,000 earthquakes a year

On an average work day, a typist's fingers travel 12.6 miles

The city of Las Vegas has the most hotel rooms of any city in the world

The United States has the highest minimum drinking age in the world at 21 years, which is three years older than mandatory registration to the military for males and the age for both sexes to join the military for active service voluntarily.  An American can obtain a driver's license at 16 years but won't be eligible to vote until two years later when they turn eighteen

In 2002, there were no billionaires in China - Today, there are over 100 billionaires 

Suicide is the leading cause of death among South Koreans in their 20s and 30s

Iceland has the most Internet users per capita of any country in the world with over 86 percent of people using the Web (compared with 69 percent of Americans)

Fastest growing demographic on Facebook:  Women over age 50

More millionaires in the United States are female than are male

The United States produces more tobacco than it does wheat.  The usage of tobacco is an activity that is practiced by some 1.1 billion people, and up to 1/3 of the adult population. The World Health Organization(WHO) reports it to be the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and estimates that it currently causes 5.4 million deaths per year. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in developed countries, but continue to rise in developing countries 
Tobacco plant in North America- flower, leaf, and buds
Switzerland has the highest per-capita consumption of soft drinks than any other country

Sweden has more telephones per capita than any other country 

In English, "Goodbye" came from "God bye" which came from "God be with you"

Street names are seldom used in postal addresses in Japan (except in Kyoto and some Hokkaidō cities such as Sapporo), and most Japanese streets do not have names. It is for this reason that when giving directions to a location, most people will offer cross streets, visual landmarks and subway stations such as "at Chūō-dori and Matsuya-dori across the street from Matsuya and Ginza station", for a store in Tokyo. In fact, many businesses have maps on their literature and business cards. In addition, signs attached to utility poles often specify the city district name and block number, and detailed block maps of the immediate area are sometimes posted near bus stops and train station exits

If China imported just 10% of it's rice needs- the price on the world market would increase by 80%

Florida has more tornadoes per square mile than any other state

Every 45 seconds, a house catches on fire in the United States - Globally, a house burns every 20 seconds 

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue

Jellyfish as a species are actually older than dinosaurs and sharks

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch procejt at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter 

WAS IT A CAR OR A CAT I SAW.. 'WASITACARORACATISAW'.. This is the only English sentence which even if we read in reverse, it'll give the same sentence

An earthquake on December 16, 1811 caused parts of the Mississippi River to flow backwards

The first computer mouse was invented by Doug Engelbart in around 1964 and was made of wood
Globally, more than 50,000 earthquakes occur each year

In the United States, as in most countries, your home is ten times more likely to have a fire than be burglarized

'Formicophilia' is the fetish for having small insects crawl on your genitals

Beauty pageant contestants often smear Vaseline on their teeth so their lips won't stick when smiling  

Oak trees do not have acorns until they are fifty years old or older

More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call

The origins of ice cream can be traced back to at least the 4th century B.C. Early references include the Roman emperor Nero (B.C.E.. 37-68) who ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings, and King Tang (B.C.E. 618-97) of Shang, China who had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions. Ice cream was likely brought from China back to Europe. Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts

While it took the radio 38 years, and the television a short 13 years, it took the World Wide Web only 4 years to reach 50 million users

At any given time approximately 1,319,870,000 people are on the Internet  

A microwaved baseball will fly farther than a frozen baseball  

A Singaporean army draftee caused a public stir in March when he was photographed by a visitor as he underwent physical training in army fatigues but with his maid following behind him carrying his backpack on her shoulders. (Army officials told reporters the draftee had since been "counsel[ed]")

In May 2011, following near-record floods in fields south of Montreal, Quebec, farmer Martin Reid made sure to apply for his fishing license because he had learned the hard way that when his land gets flooded, he cannot remove the fish washed onto it unless he is a licensed fisherman. After flooding in 1993, Reid and his father failed to secure a license and were fined $1,000. A second offense brings a fine of $100,000 

Actual headlines:
"Woman Missing Since She Got Lost" (Chicago Sun-Times, 5-17-2011)
"Man With Clown Nose in New Cumberland Poses No Serious Threat" (Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) 7-3-2011)
"Return of the Giant Carnivorous Hermaphrodite Snails" (Yahoo, 6-3-2011)

In Plantation, Florida arrested Rhonda Hollander, 47, in July and charged her with several misdemeanors and a felony stemming from an episode in which she allegedly followed a man inside the men's room at the West Regional Courthouse and snapped photos of him at a urinal. Hollander insisted she had violated no law, and indeed the charges against her were only for conduct after she was confronted by deputies (when she continued to take pictures as they led her away). Hollander is actually Judge Hollander, who works in the building as a traffic magistrate 

Ray Thomas of Houston, Texas is faced with a court refusing to relieve him of the $52,000 in back child support he owes for a "daughter" that DNA has subsequently shown is not his. Ironically, in March 2011 the Texas legislature became one of the few to allow men like Thomas to present DNA evidence in order to end court-ordered support, but the state attorney general noted that the new law covers only prospective judicial orders 

Friday, April 27, 2012


Three men who appeared in Marlboro advertisements - Wayne McLaren, David McLean and Dick Hammer - died of lung cancer, thus earning Marlboro cigarettes, specifically Marlboro Reds, the nickname "Cowboy killers". McLaren testified in favor of anti-smoking legislation at the age of 51. During the time of McLaren's anti-smoking activism, Philip Morris denied that McLaren ever appeared in a Marlboro ad, a position it later amended to maintaining that while he did appear in ads, he was not the Marlboro Man, considering Winfield as the holder of that title. McLaren died before his 52nd birthday in 1992

Walt Disney World generates about 120,000 pounds of garbage every day

US scientists calculated that Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world's presents on Christmas Eve, traveling at 650 miles a second

Many theologians estimate that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD

During the winter of 1932, Niagara falls froze completely solid, which has happened just six times in history
Onlookers gather in 1932 at the sight of a frozen Niagara Falls
Years in which February lacked a full moon:  1809, 1847, 1866, 1885, 1915, 1934, 1961, 1999. February of 2018, 2037, 2067, and 2094 will all lack a full moon as well

Americans die most frequently in January and February, when in fact you have (as an American) a 1 in 10 chance of dying from disease or accident.  Americans die least frequently in the summer- during the months of June, July and August the odds of death go down to 1 in 13.8 in August from 1 in 12 at the end of May

It’s officially called a ‘transfer accelerator’ by Dutch railway maintenance company ProRail, but everyone else would likely say it’s a slide. Installed next to a stairway at the newly renovated railway station Overvecht in the city of Utrecht, the slide offers travelers the opportunity to quickly reach the railway tracks when they’re in a hurry. But above all, the slide is a great instrument to make the city more playful. The ‘transfer accelerator’ was designed by Utrecht-based firm HIK Ontwerpers, and installed as the final piece of the renovation of the Overvecht railway station
 This video captures what happens in another location for subway riders when given the option to slide

Heavier vehicles are safer for their own occupants but more hazardous for the occupants of other vehicles. Controlling for own-vehicle weight, being hit by a vehicle that is 1,000 pounds heavier results in a 47% increase in the baseline fatality probability. Estimation results further suggest that the fatality risk is even higher if the striking vehicle is a light truck (SUV, pickup truck, or minivan). The value of the external risk generated by the gain in fleet weight since 1989 is approximately 27 cents per gallon of gasoline. The total fatality externality is roughly equivalent to a gas tax of $1.08 per gallon

The odds a male does not groom his back hair are 1 in 1.33  (75%)

In a 2011 survey of Information Technology (IT) professionals who were male, 82% claimed they put their partner's sexual pleasure above their own

In Chinese, the KFC slogan "finger lickin' good" comes out as "eat your fingers off"

Over 1,000 birds a year die from smashing into windows.  Several thousand more die after becoming disoriented flying south for the winter-  in 2010 New York City dimmed lights in office buildings and other features that were not in use at night to help prevent the demise of so many birds, and it is estimated that several hundred birds were able to pass over without being disoriented due to the safety measure

The United States Postal Service handles over forty percent of the world's mail volume

More than 400,000 U.S. houses still lack indoor plumbing

It is illegal for tourists to enter Mexico with more than two compact discs

Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country 

Between the ages of 20 and 70, the average person spends about 600 hours having sex with a partner and about 800 hours masturbating

On average a woman has four sexual partners in her lifetime 

The average woman who wears lipstick uses her height in lipstick every five years 

Berjuan Toys is already selling its Breast Milk Baby online ($70) and expects to have it in stores later this year. The doll works by the child-"mother" donning a halter top with flowers positioned as nipples, and when the baby comes into contact with the a flower, sensors mimic sucking sounds. Although dolls that demonstrate
toileting functions are already on the market, breastfeeding activists are more enthusiastic about this one, hopeful that girls' comfort with breastfeeding will result in decreased bottle-feeding later on.  (Opponents have denounced the doll as forcing girls to "grow up" too soon and with choices too complicated for their age, which according to the manufacturer is as young as 3)

Frances Ragusa, 75, was back in court in Brooklyn, New York in June 2011 claiming child support she said was never paid by husband Philip Ragusa, 77, in their divorce settlement of 33 years ago. (The "children," of course, long ago became adults, but the $14,000 judgment has grown, with interest, to about $100,000.) Frances told the New York Post in July that she called Philip several months earlier to discuss the amount but that Philip merely began to cry. "Don't let this case go to trial," she recalled telling him. "[I]f you think I'm going to forget it, Phil, you're stuck on stupid"

Rules to assure correct, "progressive" behavior were recently proposed by the San Francisco Commission
of Animal Control and Welfare and the Colorado Department of Human Services. The San Francisco agency would ban the sale of all pets in the city limits, from dogs to gerbils to goldfish. ("Why fish? Why not fish?" asked one exasperated Commission member, bristling at criticism.) Animals sold as food for other animalswould be included but not animals sold as food for humans. Day care centers in Colorado would be required, if it made dolls available at playtime, to have dolls of three different races   

Monday, March 12, 2012


According to a 1995 poll, 1 out of 10 Americns, mostly women but also men, admitted that they will buy an outfit intending to wear it once and return it

In Los Angeles, discarded garments are being recycled as industrial rags and carpet underlay. Such recycling keeps clothing out of landfills, where it makes up 4 percent of the trash dumped each year in that one city

The largest cell in the human body is the female egg  (The smallest is the male sperm)

The average sperm cell swims at 8 inches per hour

After age 30, the brain begins to lose about 50,000 neurons per day - shrinking the brain .25% each year.  Neurons are specialized cells which are electrically excitable, and can use that electric excitability to received and transmit information

On average, men are more likely to suffer heart attacks than are women, but women are more likely to die from a heart attack

Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you are calm

The Cinderella theme may well have originated in classical antiquity. The Ancient Greek historian Strabo (Geographica Book 17, 1.33) recorded in the 1st century BC the tale of the Greco-Egyptian girl Rhodopis, "rosy-cheeked", who lived in the Greek colony of Naucratis in Ancient Egypt. It is often considered the oldest known version of the story:  "They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis. While the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap. The king, having been stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal. When she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis and became the wife of the king..."
Rome has more homeless cats per square mile than any other city in the world
A feral cat stretches amid famous ancient ruins of Rome
Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and humans all have seven neck vertebra

The one extra room new-home shoppers want the most is the laundry room, at 95 percent. Only 66 percent of new-home buyers request an extra room to use as an office while a mere 13 percent want a study or library

During the American Revolution, many brides did not wear white wedding gowns; instead, they wore red as a symbol of rebellion

Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian nations. It is home to the first Legoland, a 10-hectare theme park built from plastic Lego blocks, and is Denmark's most-visited attraction outside of Copenhagen. The most elaborate reconstruction at Legoland is the three-million-block Port of Copenhagen exhibit, which features electronically controlled ships, trains, and cranes
Copenhagen's Nyhavn canal build in LEGO bricks in Legoland
In Holland, you can be fined for not using a shopping basket at a grocery store

Napoleon constructed his battle plans in a sandbox

Leonardo Da Vinci predicted the mass use of solar energy as long ago as 1447

The oldest glowing lightbulb was first switched on in 1901 and lives in fire stations in Livermore, CA. It is known as the Centennial Light
Ancient gladiators were mostly vegetarians

The time interval from first sighting of the iceberg that sank the Titanic to impact was a little over 30 seconds

The flushing toilet was invented in 1596, not by Thomas Crapper as most people think, but by Sir John Harington... but long before that, in 206 BCE, The Arab inventor, Al-Jazari, invented a hand washing device incorporating the flush mechanism now used in modern flush toilets. His device features an automaton by a basin filled with water. When the user pulls the lever, the water drains and the automaton refills the basin

1880s: Thomas Crapper's plumbing company built flush toilets of Giblin's design. Although not the original inventor, Crapper popularized the siphon system for emptying the tank, replacing the earlier floating valve system which was prone to leaks. Some of Crapper's designs were made by Thomas Twyford. The similarity between Crapper's name and the much older word crap is a coincidence 

Until the nineteenth century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia

Traces of cocaine were found on 99% of UK bank notes in a survey in London in 2000- The same was found to be true of the US dollar the following year

The oldest patented company logo is the red triangle of Bass beers, which was founded in 1777 in England

No one from the Nestle family have run Nestles since 1875     

The last time American Green cards were actually green was 1964 - an American "green card" establishes a person as having permanent resident status in the United States, which allows them to work and seek housing and have access to entitlements such as unemployment insurance and public healthcare such as Medicaid

The great wall of China is 1,400 miles long

In June 2011, the California Court of Appeals threw out the three counts of possession of child pornography for which Joseph Gerber had been convicted, even though what Gerber had done was paste face shots of his own 13-year-old daughter onto ordinary pornographic photos. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2002 that a conviction for making "child pornography" requires actual sexual abuse

It is not the most popular fetish, but a few men do don raincoats and climb down into public outhouse pits. Luke Chrisco, 30, was apprehended by police in June in a portable toilet at the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder, Colorado Chrisco actually "slipped" away from police but was arrested days later in nearby Vail. According to his Facebook and YouTube pages (reported by The Smoking Gun), Chrisco offered himself as a male escort (sample rate: $620 for seven days) and recalled in one video that, on the road in April 2011, he once avoided sleeping overnight at a Greyhound Bus station because it "smelled weird"

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has become an increasingly larger and more permanent part of the ocean--plastic and other floatables, along with concentrations of chemical sludge, estimated to measure from 0.4 percent to 8 percent of the entire Pacific and responsible for disruptions of the food chain affecting various
species of aquatic life. Now, thanks to the March 2011 tsunami near Japan, the estimated 25 million tons of debris from cars, homes, appliances, shipping containers, chemicals, etc., from coastal Fukushima that washed back out to sea will soon be caught in the same Pacific swirls, in what a French environmental group forecast would be a pair of ocean-navigating journeys that will last at least 10 years, gradually breaking off and joining (thus substantially enlarging) the two distinct legs of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


There are more telephones than people in Washington, D.C

In the United States, there are more fatal car accidents in July than any other month - globally, the most fatal month is March

There are 53 Lego bricks manufactured for each person in the world
A life-size Lego auto station created for the Windsor, Ontario LegoLand
The song 'Strawberry Fields Forever', sung by the Beatles, refers to an orphanage located in Liverpool

Odds of being killed falling out of bed:  1 in 2,000,000,000

Adjusting for inflation, in today's currency the first household refrigerators cost about $16,000 - In the United States, practical home refrigerators came into supply around 1915 and began gaining popularity by 1930.  As with nearly all products, with popularity the price began to level out and become attainable for most consumers

The face of a penny can hold about thirty drops of water

The average American uses eight times as much fuel energy as an average person anywhere else in the world
Pollen can travel up to 500 miles in a day

Number of Americans who will go to an emergency department in a hospital or clinic for a pillow-related injury each year:  6,000

Linen can absorb up to 20 times its weight in moisture before it feels damp

It takes the same amount of time to age a cigar as wine

In an average hour, there are over 61,000 people airborne over the United States 

In 21 U.S. states, WAL-MART is the single largest employer

Each day, more than $40 Trillion Dollars changes hands worldwide

Coal fires occur in coal seams and coal waste or storage piles when the temperature gets hot enough for the coal to burn or smolder. There are several ways that this can occur naturally or it can be caused by the negligence of a person or persons. One example of a coal fire is that of Burning Mountain (also known as Mount Wingen) in New South Wales, Australia. This particular coal seam fire has been burning for an estimated 5,000 years or more. The Burning Mountain coal fire is thought to be the oldest coal fire on Earth  
Those are not clouds in the sky, but are clouds of smoke bellowing from the ground
The search engine Google got its name from the word 'googol', which refers to the number one with a hundred zeros after it

In the US, the revenue that is generated from gambling is more than the revenue that comes from movies, cruise ships, recorded music, theme parks, and spectator sports combined  

Fine-grained volcanic ash can be found as an ingredient in some toothpastes

Polyergus, also called Amazon ants, is a small genus of 6 described species (and several possible undescribed species) of "slave-raiding" ants. Its workers are incapable of caring for brood, in part due to their dagger-like, piercing mandibles, but more importantly, because in the evolution of their parasitism, they have lost the "behavioral wiring" to carry out even rudimentary brood care, or even to feed themselves. Polyergus species subsist solely as a specialized brood-acquiring caste, maintaining a worker force by robbing brood of particular species in the closely related genus  
 Formica in massive colony-to-colony raids. The captured ants are generally referred to as "slaves" in scientific and popular literature, though recent attempts have been made to apply other human cultural models, such as describing the Polyergus individuals of a colony as "raiders" or "pirates" and the Formica workers as "helper-ants", or "domesticated animals". Biologists describe the system simply as social parsitism by Polyergus on the host Formica species  

Smelling bananas and/or green apples (smelling, not eating) can help you lose weight - the scent releases a chemical in the human brain that not only suppresses appetite but burns calories

The average person spends three years of his or her life on a toilet

More Monopoly money is printed in a year, than real money printed throughout the world  

The notorious Santa Croce monastery in Rome was closed in May (and converted to an ordinary church) on orders from the Vatican following reports about Sister Anna Nobili, a former lap-dancer who taught other nuns her skills and who was once seen lying spread-eagled before an alter clutching a crucifix. Santa Croce was also an embarrassment for its luxury hotel, which had become a mecca for celebrities visiting Rome

Zhou Xin, 68, failed to get a callback from the judges for the "China's Got Talent" TV reality show in June 2011, according to a CNN report (after judge Annie Yi screamed in horror at his act). Zhou is a practitioner of one of the "72 Shaolin skills," namely "iron crotch gong," and for his "talent," he stoically whacked himself in the testicles with a weight and then with a hammer 

The elegant, expansive, gleaming new glass-and-concrete indoor stairway at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio, opened recently, to mostly rave reviews for its sense of space and light, creating the feeling of walking suspended on air. However, as Judge Julie Lynch and other women soon discovered, the glass
partitions at each step make it easy for perverts to gawk from underneath at dress-wearing women ascending the stairs. "[Y]ou're on notice," Judge Lynch warned her sister dress-wearers, "that you might want to take the elevator"

Roy Miracle, 80, of Newark, Ohio, passed away in July 2011, and his family honored him and his years of service as a prankster and "superfan" of the Ohio State Buckeyes with a commemorative photo of three of Miracle's fellow obsessives making contorted-body representations of "O," "H," and "O" for their traditional visual cheer. In the photo, Miracle assumed his usual position as the "I"-- or, rather, his corpse did. (Despite some criticism, most family and friends thought Miracle was properly honored)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


In the Middle Ages in Europe, one Valentine's Day custom was for young men and women to draw names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week. “To wear your heart on your sleeve” now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling

Popcorn was banned at most movie theaters in the United States in the 1920s because it was considered too noisy

Horned lizards eat ants. They wait in areas where ants are working and when one passes by, they flick out their tongue, catch their prey, and swallow without chewing
A horned lizard sunning on a dead tree branch
North Dakota is the nation's top sunflower grower, producing 50 percent of the U.S. crop. Germany uses kernels heavily in making bread and is the largest export market for U.S.-produced sunflower kernels, accounting for more than half of all kernel exports. Spain is the largest export market for U.S. in-shell sunflowers

Your brain is more active sleeping than it is watching TV

The average rainfall around the world is 40 inches per year

It is estimated that a healthy individual releases 3.5 oz. of gas in a single flatulent emission, or about 17 oz. in a day

The first 12-ounce aluminum soda can was introduced in 1964 by Royal Crown Cola. Coke didn't start using aluminum until 3 years later, and that same year Pepsi came out with a seamless can

In Scotland, New Year's Eve is called hogmanay - There are many customs, both national and local, with the most widespread national custom being the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whiskey, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into January). The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year

In ancient Egypt, when merchants left the country on business trips they carried small stone models of themselves. If they died while abroad, these figures were sent back to Egypt for proxy burial

A house in Rockport, Massachusetts is built entirely of newspaper. The Paper House at Pigeon Cove, as it is called, is made of 215 thicknesses of newspaper.  The only other materials are the brick and mortar chimney and wooden railings
Mountain goats grow luxurious winter coats — more than three inches of cashmere-quality wool, overlaid with long hollow hairs. The hardy animals can endure winter temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees F, and powerful winds up to 100 miles per hour

The great cathedral of St. Sophia at Constantinople (Istanbul) has sustained for 1,600 years what was, until very recent times, the largest self-supporting dome ever constructed. Moreover, it has done so in an active seismic region 

The Chinese, during the reign of Kublai Khan, used lions on hunting expeditions. They trained the big cats to pursue and drag down massive animals — from wild bulls to bears — and to stay with the kill until the hunter arrived

Beards are the fastest growing hairs on the human body. If the average man never trimmed his beard, it would grow to nearly 30 feet long in his lifetime

Adélie penguins employ yawning as part of their courtship ritual

The speed at which Earth moves around the Sun makes it is impossible for a solar eclipse to last more than 7 minutes and 58 seconds

In fourteenth-century England, the number of males named Robert, William, Henry, John, or Richard averaged 2 out of every 3

Miami, Florida, is the most southerly major city in the continental United States, sitting about two degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer

Dr. Samuel Langley was able to get many model airplanes to fly, but on December 8, 1903, Langley's "human carrying flying machine," the aerodrome plunged into the Potomac River near Washington D.C., in front of photographers who were assembled to witness the event. Reporters around the country made fun of the idea that people could fly
The crash of the model plane was captured by several photographers in 1903, including this shot
A lion in the wild averages 20 kills a year   
One out of every three British males between the ages of 17 and 35 was killed in World War I

A 4-inch-long abalone can grip a rock with a force of 400 pounds - Abalone (from Spanish abulón) are small to very large-sized edible sea snails  
A northern abalone clings to a rocky surface to eat algae
Born on November 14, 1963, the island of Surtsey off the coast of Iceland, achieved permanence in 1965 when volcano lava spread over its surface, protecting it from erosion  
The island continued growing through eruption until 1967, and has been shrinking ever since
Thanks to a loophole recently sanctioned by the Iowa Court of Appeals, Matt Danielson and his wife Jamie
now own their home in Ankeny, Iowa, outright (value: $278,000) after making just one monthly mortgage payment. Iowa law regards a home mortgage by a married couple as automatically void if only one spouse has signed it, and a thusly-voided mortgage is treated as fully satisfied. (The purpose was to prevent one estranged spouse from exploiting the other, but the voiding is automatic regardless of the circumstances.) Legislators are currently trying to change the law to leave the discretion of voiding up to judges 

Harold Luken, 45, was arrested on April 8th in New York City near a Bank of America after his attempt to rob it failed badly. According to police, Luken walked in at 1:50 p.m. and announced that he had a gun and intended to rob the place - but then merely got in a line and said he would wait for a teller. When he finally got to the window (with police apparently on their way), Luken restated his intention and, as if narrating, announced the handing over of the robbery note. When the teller refused to respond, Luken asked to check the balance in his own account, but the teller again declined, provoking Luken to walk away and shout, "OK, I will go to Citibank [and] rob them instead!"  He was arrested minutes later 

Tonya McDowell, 33, an off-and-on homeless person in Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA was arrested in April by police in nearby Norwalk and charged with felony theft--of $15,686 worth of "services" from the city. McDowell's crime was enrolling her 6- year-old son in Norwalk's Brookside Elementary School when she actually "resided" (as much as a mostly "homeless" person can "reside") in Bridgeport. McDowell has also "resided" at times in a Norwalk shelter but was crashing at a friend's apartment in Bridgeport when she registered her son. The head of the Norwalk Board of Education acknowledged that the usual consequence for an unqualified student is merely dismissal from school 

In March, jurors in New Orleans convicted Isaiah Doyle of a 2005 murder and were listening to evidence in the penalty phase of the trial when Doyle decided to take the witness stand (as defendants sometimes do in a desperate attempt to avoid the death penalty). However, Doyle said to the jurors, "If I had an AK-47, I'd kill every last one of ya'all with no remorse." (The jury recommended lethal injection)

Monday, February 6, 2012


The Taj Mahal was orignally called the Rauza-I Munavvara which means “Tomb of Light.” In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire's period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later

Emperor Hirohito was more than a political power; he was also well respected in the field of marine biology

The first British bungee jump occurred on April Fool’s Day, 1979. Dressed in a tux and hugging a bottle of champagne, 33-year-old David Kirdke did a back-flip off the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. The crowd, who thought they were witnessing a suicide attempt, watched him plunge 250 feet toward the Avon, but to their surprise, never saw him hit water

G.I. Joe's action figure counterpart is called “Action Man” in the U.K.

Action Man is a master of disguise, depending on the mission! 

The Riddler from Batman has a real name — Edward Nigma (that would be E. Nigma)

Giving a “thumbs up” also represents the American Sign Language symbol for the number “10” and to the general population is read as a metaphor for approval, but it means different things to different people:  In Australia, a thumbs down tends to be seen as approval and the thumbs up as disaproval, or worse; in Iran and Iraq as well as Thailand, it is an extremely obscene gesture; in Japan the thumbs up means okay but it is not a gesture used commonly by adults; in Turkey it is not used and elicits confusion from onlookers when American visitors use the gesture

The infinity sign is properly known as a “lemniscate”

Rice-a-Roni (”The San Francisco Treat”) was based on an Armenian recipe for rice pilaf

George Washington preferred not to shake the hands of visitors– he would bow instead

Actor/comedian Chevy Chase occasionally played pick-up drums for one of the original lineups of Steely Dan, known as The Leather Canary

The Brothers Grimm didn’t invent much of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. They simply recorded the stories they were told by locals, and gathered them together in a collection

Jellyfish are 94-98% water - This one-minute video shows a scuba expedition where a swimmer is surrounded by jellyfish

The average life span of a Major League Baseball is 7 pitches

Before returning to the silver screen in Gangs of New York in 2002, Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis was working as a cobbler in Florence, Italy

Two-thirds of the world’s lawyers live in the United States

The Halifax explosion which occured December 6, 1917, and killed 2,000 people, was the largest man-made explosion until the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945
The city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbor. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured.   The Halifax Explosion remains the world's largest man-made accidental explosion

In 1950, Zenith created the first TV remote control called “Lazy Bones”

Nearly 30 percent of Dalmatian dogs are born with complete or partial hearing loss

In addition to his work in atomic theory and physics, Albert Einstein helped to patent several refrigerator designs, though none of them proved successful

Trees do not grow higher than 130m as it is physically impossible for the water to rise higher - The tallest tree in the world is a 112.7 meter-high redwood located in California

1904 Olympic marathon champ Thomas Hicks used an odd sports drink: a mix of brandy and strychnine - 
Conditions were bad, the course being a dirt track, with large clouds of dust produced by the accompanying vehicles. Hicks was not the first to cross the finish line, trailing Fred Lorz. However, Lorz had abandoned the race after 9 miles. After covering most of the course by car, he re-entered the race 5 miles before the finish. This was found out by the officials, who disqualified Lorz, who claimed it had been a joke.  Had the race been run under current rules, Hicks too would have been disqualified: he had been given a dose of 1/60 of a grain (roughly 1 mg) of strychnine and some brandy by his assistants, because he was flagging badly during the race; the first dose of strychnine did not revive him for long, so he was given another. As a result, he collapsed after crossing the finishing line. Another dose might have been fatal. Strychnine is now forbidden for athletes
Hicks is helped to a nearby car after collapsing following his finish of the marathon

Prime Healthcare Services, with a reputation for rescuing financially-failing hospitals, reported that two new acquisitions, in Victorville, California and Redding, California somehow curiously experienced rates about 40 and 70 times the state average in patients with a rare Third World Ghanian sickness that, conveniently, qualified the hospitals for enhanced Medicare reimbursements

In a pre-trial motion in a Chicago court case in May, the defense lawyer for Exotic Motors, Inc., which is being sued over car repairs, complained about plaintiffs' lawyers' unusual decision to permit a female paralegal to sit at their courtroom table, especially since she is a "large-breasted woman." Her "sole purpose" at the table, lamented defense lawyer Thomas Gooch, was "to draw the attention of the jury," presumably in favor of the plaintiffs. Gooch later told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that he was concerned only with her "qualifications" to sit at the table

Principal Terry Eisenbarth apologized to parents and children at Washington Elementary School in Mount Vernon, Iowa, in May and promised to stop his ritual "whammies," in which he summons kids on their birthdays to his office, sings "Happy Birthday" to them, and ceremonially spanks the child's backside with a cushioned hockey stick (with the number of whacks equaling the child's age)

Former Camden, New Jersey police Sgt. Jeffrey Frett pleaded guilty in May in a scheme to qualify for early retirement by arranging to be shot in the leg (to be attributed to random street violence). The plan deteriorated, police said, when Frett's wife (the designated shooter) missed his leg, merely ripping a hole in his uniform pants

Ryan Martin, 29, and Erica Clayburn, 20, were charged with reckless endangerment in Derry Township, Pennsylvania in April 2011 after Martin was shot in the jaw. The couple were playing a game resembling "Marco Polo" with a loaded handgun, with an eyes-closed Clayburn firing when Martin shouted "Gun!" (Martin was supposed to duck out of the way before Clayburn pulled the trigger)

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