Monday, January 30, 2012


Formally called Kiritimati, Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is 52 square miles - it is the legal territory of Australia.  For centuries, Christmas Island's isolation and rugged coasts provided natural barriers to settlement. British and Dutch navigators first included the island on their charts from the early seventeenth century, and Captain William Mynors of the East India Ship Company vessel, the Royal Mary, named the island when he arrived on Christmas Day, 25th December, 1643. He was unable to land, however, and it was not until 1688, when the English buccaneering ship Cygnet arrived under Captain Swan, that the first recorded landing took place
Today, Christmas Island is known for tourism and deep sea fishing expeditions
People dream an average of five times a night, and each subsequent dream is longer than the one preceding it. The first dream of the evening is about 10 minutes long, and the last dream is about 45 minutes

In 1859, a shower of fish fell from the sky in Glamorgan, Wales. The fish covered an area the size of three tennis courts
In 1995, A Russian couple runs from a rainstorm of fishes (Frogs, fish, and other animals have "rained" from the sky in various parts of the world- scientists believe undercurrents of wind are able to pick up animals, including shallow-swimming fish, and drop them with the rain in nearby locations as the wind current fades)
A stack of $1 dollar bills one-mile high would be worth more than $14 million dollars

Chocolate can be lethal to dogs. Theobromine, an ingredient that stimulates the cardiac muscle and the central nervous system, causes chocolate's toxicity. As little as two ounces of milk chocolate can be poisonous for a 10-pound puppy

The English scientist Isaac Newton and the German mathematician Gottfried W. Leibniz, working independently at about the same time in the mid-18th century, both discovered calculus, the branch of mathematics that studies continuously changing quantities 

The huddle formation used by American football teams originated at Gallaudet University, a liberal arts college for deaf people in Washington, D.C., to prevent other schools from reading their sign language
American football, even professional, includes the huddle as a standard way to communicate plays - Pictured is the huddle formation (without sign language) as it became popularized in the 1940s
 Ovaltine, the drink was from milk, malt, egg and cocoa, was developed in 1904 in Berne, Switzerland. It was originally named Ovomaltine. A clerical error changed it when the manufacturer registered the name.  In many parts of the world Ovaltine is served in cafes, hot or cold
Ovaltine Cafe in Toronto, Canada

During the Alaskan Klondike gold rush, (1897-1898) potatoes were practically worth their weight in gold. Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes

The Eiffel Tower is painted approximately once every 7 years and requires nearly 50 tons of paint each time

Giants baseball catcher Roger Bresnahan introduced shin guards in 1907

The first women flight attendants in 1930 were required to weigh no more than 115 pounds, be nurses, and unmarried

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

A Rubik's cube has 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible configurations.  With 6 colored sides, 21 pieces and 54 outer surfaces, there's a combined total of over 43 quintillion1400 trillion years to finish to go through all the configurations. If you had started this project during the Big Bang, you still wouldn't be done yet different possible configurations. To put that into perspective: if you turned the Rubik's cube once every second it would take you

According to one study, plant and animal species are becoming extinct at the rate of 17 per hour

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
Overhead shot of the Cherry Creek Mall, circa 1955
A gaffer is the chief electrician on a film set  

Isaac Newton dropped out of school when he was a teenager, at his mother's request. She hoped he would become a successful farmer 

When asked to name his favorite among all his paintings, Pablo Picasso replied "the next one"

In the 1936 Swathling Cup Match in table tennis, Alex Ehrlich of Poland and Paneth Farcas of Rumania volleyed for 2 hours and 12 minutes on the opening serve

Sex is a pain reliever, and proven ten times more effective than Valium: immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin rise by five times, determining a huge release of endorphins. These chemicals calm pain, from a minor headache to arthritis or migraines, and with no secondary effects

Anatitaephobia is the intense fear that somewhere in the world a duck is watching you

You cannot hum while pinching your nose closed

If you touch your tongue while yawning, you will usually stop the yawn

Jellyfish evaporate in the sun- they are 98% water

When a human is tickled, the response is actually a form of panic as the brain interprets the tickling sensation as produced by something foreign and potentially dangerous, such as a spider or snake, and the uncontrollable laughter is a panic response

Research shows that 11-week-old fetuses yawn. Yawns become contagious to people between the first and second years of life. When one person in a group yawns, over half of the people in the group will yawn within 5 minutes, and the rest will at least be tempted to yawn. Even animals yawn when they see another animal yawn. The average duration of a yawn is about 6 seconds, and men yawn for longer than women

Ants outnumber humans a million to one.  The total weight of all ants on earth is about the same as the total weight of all humans, and they can lift twice their weight

In April, officials in the northern Swedish city of Angermanland temporarily shut down the operator of a colonic cleansing service, and issued fines, because it was not up to code. It had insufficient restroom facilities, thus requiring some of its clients to cleanse their colons in front of other clients

"Dog Stylist" Dara Foster ("I show people how to live together with their dogs in a stylish way") told a TV audience recently that some dog owners are dressing their pooches in "'80s-inspired punk," "giving way to a grunge movement in dog fashion--I swear to God."  The ubiquitous TV guest and apparel designer estimates that since Americans already spend $47 billion a year on pets, they need more than ever to know what's hot --fluorescent styling gel, for example, and pre-cooked meals for dogs, and owners getting matching tattoos
with their dogs, and a recently-spotted synthetic mullet wig for dogs

To hype attendance for Easter services this year, Lindenwald Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio, raffled off $1,000 on Easter Sunday. As a result, attendance more than doubled, to 1,137 (including 1,135 raffle losers)

A month earlier, Pastor John Goodman of the Houston, Texas Unity Baptist Church tried a different approach, calling on parishioners to cede their income-tax refunds to the church and warning that anyone who failed to come to the aid of the church is a "devil" and could be refused communion

Joseph Price, 61, left the PNC Bank in Okeechobee, Florida empty-handed on May 6, 2011 despite having passed the teller a note demanding a "sack full of cash." However, he hadn't brought a sack with him, and the teller said she didn't have one, either. He was arrested seven minutes after leaving the bank

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