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Fancy Facts: Cooler than Fiction!

From the Smithsonian Institute:
 



Did you know...
 
Long Live the Queen
The evolution of social life in ants and termites has been accompanied by an extraordinary royal perk -- a 100-fold increase among queen ants in average maximum lifespan, with some queens surviving for almost 30 years. This longevity can be attributed in part to the sheltered and pampered life of the royal egg layer. SOURCE: Drs. Keller and Genoud in Nature 
 

DNA: A New 3-D Game!
Researchers are developing an evidence-detection system that would, with the aid of a flashing lamp and a pair of modified 3-D video game goggles, make organic substances such as semen and hair appear to blink, allowing investigators to locate potential evidence more quickly. SOURCE: Sandia National Laboratories  

Ulcer Kitties?
Domestic cats, long considered a reservoir for H. pylori, the bacterium that causes most ulcers, have been given a clean bill of health by recent studies. SOURCE: The American College of Gastroenterology  

Loving Experience
Bore-hole seismometry indicates that the land in Oklahoma moves up and down 25cm throughout the day, corresponding with the tides. Earth tides are generally about one-third the size of ocean tides. SOURCE: Oklahoma Geological Survey  

Ah So
An electric Japanese toilet seat newly available in the US offers deluxe comforts including heating, a water spray, fan and antibacterial glazing- all for only US $800. SOURCE: WSJ 

Hedgehog Heaven
The New World has no hedgehogs of its own, only porcupines. A Canadian firm now offers overnight shipping of Erinaceus europaeus (the European Hedgehog) anywhere in the world. SOURCE: Fairview Hedgehog Farm  

Pumpkin Projectiles
The world distance record for heaving a pumpkin without the use of explosives is 2,710 feet, held by the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator. The pumpkin achieved a velocity of 600 mph. The same team will attempt Mach I with its next pumpkin launch. SOURCE: WSJ  

Channel Changes
Why is there no channel 1 on television sets in the USA? Back in 1939, the dawn of TV era, RCA angered the Federal Communications Commission, which responded by giving channel 1 bandwidth to FM radio. SOURCE: Discovery Channel  


Songs of  Sea, on Air
A new radio station in Vancouver, British Columbia, broadcasts continuous, live transmissions from beneath the ocean's surface. ORCA FM allows researchers to tune in to the squeals and clicks of hundreds of whales, along with assorted fish grunts and mussel pops.
SOURCE: Vancouver Aquarium  
Stuff It, Honey!
When female wasps return to the colony after foraging, they may initiate aggressive encounters with males and stuff them head first into empty nest cells. Cornell University researchers who observed the behavior call it "male-stuffing," and believe it contributes to the colony's fitness by making more food available to larvae. SOURCE: Cornell University 

Universe Rejuvenated
Physicists now believe the universe to be three billion years younger than previously thought. New information gathered by the Hipparcos satellite, combined with a re-analysis of other distance data, has enabled researchers to refine the lower age limit of the universe to 9.6 billion years. Hmmm, so the scientific method is even vulnerable. SOURCE: Lawrence Krauss et al., Case Western Reserve University  

Digital Confessional
Alcoholics are twice as likely to confess a drinking problem to a computer than to a doctor, say researchers in Wisconsin. SOURCE: New Scientist, 10/97  

Medication Nightmare
The bathroom medicine cabinet is one of the worst places to keep medicines. The heat and moisture of the bathroom are just the conditions required to alter medication chemistry, making them weaker and possibly ineffective, and in some cases, toxic. A cool dry area away from sunlight and children is optimal. SOURCE: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center  

Top 10 Backyard Birds
The most frequently seen birds at feeders across North America last winter were the Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch and American goldfinch, along with downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees, house sparrows, northern cardinals and european starlings. SOURCE: Project Feederwatch  

Eat Healthy
Between three and four million cases of cancer worldwide -- 375,000 in the United States alone -- could be prevented annually through dietary change SOURCE: New report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund  

Big Fish
The largest Great White Shark ever caught measured 37 feet and weighed 24,000 pounds. It was found in a herring weir in New Brunswick in 1930. The harmless Whale Shark, holds the title of largest fish, with the record being a 59 footer captured in Thailand in 1919.
SOURCE: Ocean Link  

Immortal Worm
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ages the equivalent of 5 human years for every day they live, usually expiring after 14 days. However, when stressed, the worm goes into a state of suspended animation that can last for 2 months or more. The human equivalent would be to sleep for about 200 years. SOURCE: Science 8/15/97  

Dino Digger
At first they didn't believe three-year old David Shiffler when he claimed to have found a dinosaur egg with his toy backhoe. However, a trip to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science eventually showed he had discovered one of the oldest (150 million years) dinosaur egg known. SOURCE: Wires 6/97  

Health Irony
Men who donate blood have a 30% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who do not. The difference is attributed to reduced levels of iron following blood donation.
SOURCE: David Meyers, M.D., University of Kansas, in the journal Heart  

Exclusive Club
Skunks, long forced to live on the same taxonomic branch as weasels (Mustelid) have now been given their own family classification, Mephitidae. In addition to the hog-nosed, striped and spotted skunks of North America, the family includes the stink badger from Asia. SOURCE: Journal of Mammology, Summer 1997 

Tiny Tunes
Nanotechnology has produced a guitar no bigger than a blood cell. The guitar, 10 micrometers long, has six strummable strings. SOURCE: Cornell University    

Sunny Weed Killer
Sunflowers have long been used to control weeds in field crops. They possess a property called allelopathy by which they produce natural plant toxins around their roots. The same is true with some desert plants, which sort of provides the plant with a "territory.".
SOURCE: NY Times  

Mussel Power
Mussels can thrive in polluted water because of an inborn ability to purify bacteria, fungi and viruses. Swedish scientists have isolated the purifying protein used by the mussel and hope to market a new alternative to chlorine and other methods now in use for cleaning water. SOURCE: Micro Active Protein AB  

FLYING TOADS
Motorists driving near the town of Villa Angel Flores near Culiacan, Mexico were surprised by a shower of live toads. The phenomenon was attributed to a toronado grabbing the the amphibians from nearby pond. SOURCE: Reuters  

STICKY FINGERS
A fingerprint left at a crime scene can provide enough DNA to profile a suspect, aiding forensic efforts at solving crime. SOURCE:  R. van Oorschot and M. Jones of the Victoria Forensic Science Centre in Victoria, Australia, published in the journal Nature.  

MOUNTAIN MAN
The tallest man in documented medical history was Robert Pershing Wadlow. Shortly before his death in 1940 in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 22, Wadlow was measured at 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall. His height was attributed to a medical condition known as gigantism, in which a tumor of the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. SOURCE:  Johns Hopkins University  

NANOTUBULAR
A cousin to the buckball, a new molecular form of carbon known as the fullerene nanotube, can now be made in the lab. These single carbon molecules are so small that nanotubes sufficiently long to span the 250,000 miles between earth and the moon could be loosely rolled into a ball the size of a poppyseed. SOURCE: July-August 1997 issue of AMERICAN SCIENTIST  

POTATO PLANET
The potato is the most widely grown vegetable in the world. About 1.4 million acres of land in the U.S. are used to produce potatoes each year. About seventy percent (70%) of these potatoes are produced in the northern regions of the country, namely Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine and the State of Washington.  The annual value of the U.S. crop is estimated to be nearly $3 Billion. SOURCE: Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture  

LOSE SLEEP, LOSE MONEY
The direct costs of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation in the United States may have been as much as $15.9 billion in 1990. Some studies indicate that insomnia can be predictive of future mental illness. SOURCE: Study by The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research  

THANKS
The average teacher spent more than $400 from his or her own pocket for classroom materials in 1994-1995. SOURCE: Survey of public school teachers released by the National Education Association.  

AMAZONIA
The Amazon region contains the largest body of fresh water and the largest rain forest in the world.  It is home to at least 15,000  documented animal species, 8,000 of which were new to biology when  they were discovered. At least 40% of the world's freshwater fish and 25% of the world's bird species reside there. SOURCE: Agronomy Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison  
THE PLOT THICKENS
In Victorian times, estate gardeners never planted grape vines without first burying a dead donkey underneath the plot. SOURCE: Sue Phillips, "Garden Party"  

PIGS FLY (VIRTUALLY)
Given sufficient amounts of chocolate candies,  pigs can master video game skills, and perform far better than dogs. SOURCE: Professor Stanley Curtis, Pennsylvania State University on the BBC's QED  

GASP!
Citizens of smog-ridden Los Angeles can now avail of snorts of pure oxygen at a number of oxygen bars. Twenty dollars gets you 20 minutes of plain or fruit scented oxygen. SOURCE: AP () 

HAZMAT
Proper decontamination procedures for those spilling pure H20 include 'irrigating thoroughly with water', wearing rubber gloves and diluting any spillage with, yes, plenty of water. SOURCE: Data sheet from British chemical wholesaler BDH 

KILLER READ
Road pizza fans won't want to miss a the release of the first book designed to help identify flattened creatures, Common Animals of Roads, Streets and Highways: A field guide to flattened fauna, by Professor Roger Knutsen. SOURCE: Wires  

NOT SO COMMON
Eleven species of common birds in England are dwindling fast, including sparrows, partridges and skylarks. Their numbers are down 89%, 82% and 58% from 1969, respectively. The decline is attributed to increased use of pesticides. SOURCE: Joint Nature Conservancy Committee  

GO WITH THE FLOW
Fifteen members of a high school science class field trip spent an unexpected three days on an ice berg when the ice field they camped on broke free and floated away. They were rescued by helicopter 25 miles from where they began. SOURCE: AP 

KEEP UP THE PACE
A 115 year old man received a new pacemaker after the one he received when he was 104 wore out. SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University  

A REAL BLAST
Olympus Mons, a volcano found on Mars, is the largest volcano found in the galaxy. It is 370 miles across and rises up 15 miles. SOURCE:  SATLINK Magazine

GOT A SPARE TRILLION?
The estimated value of services provided by the global ecosystem (water, food, materials etc.) runs between $16 and $54 trillion per year. SOURCE May 15th, 1997  issue of the journal Nature, co-authored by 13 ecologists, geographers and economists.  

GOLF BALL CONSUMPTION
European health experts have issued a strong warning to the public on the hazards of golf ball licking. A patient who habitually licked his golf ball clean before teeing off ended up in the hospital with liver disease associated with pesticides on the balls. His prognosis improved when he stopped cleaning his balls in this manner. SOURCE: April 1997 issue of the British Medical Association's journal, "Gut", reporting research by Dr. Connor Burke of James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.

FOLIC MUTATION
Up to 15% of people may have a genetic mutation inhibiting folic acid metabolism. This would put them at risk for folic acid deficiency even if they consumed the recommended amounts of this essential nutrient. SOURCE: Lancet, May 30, 1997

DILLO FACT
Female armadillos usually bear litters of  identical quadruplets. The female armadillo can also delay implantation of a fertilized egg for as long as two years after mating.
SOURCE: Dr. Eleanor Storrs, research professor of biology emeritus at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.  

ANOTHER 'DILLO FACT
Because of their unusually low body temperatures, armadillos are prone to leprosy. Scientists are studying this phenomenon in hope of learning more about leprosy in humans. SOURCE: Dr. Eleanor Storrs, research professor of biology emeritus at the Florida Institute of Technology in  Melbourne.  

GRIZZLY FACTS
A grizzly can sprint 50 yards in three seconds. Grizzly bears, however,  get 80 percent of their diet from roots, nuts, vegetation and berries. Not only that, more people are struck by lightning each year than attacked by grizzlies. SOURCE: PBS  

MASSIVE DENSITY
The nucleus of the atom has a very high density (1.0 x 10 to the 14th g/mL).  One milliliter of nuclear matter would have a mass of 1.1 x 10 to the 8th tons! Where would one look for such a thing? In a black hole in space. Source:  William S. Seese & G. William Daub, In Preparation for College Chemistry, Fourth Ed.  Prentice Hall 1990.  

AS LONG AS IT'S GENETIC
Americans are more likely to support gay rights, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and funding for research on mental illness if they think certain behaviors are determined primarily by heredity and genes rather than by upbringing and environment. Guess any thing but accountability is acceptable in our age. SOURCE: Quality-Quotient poll from U.S. News & World Report and Bozell Worldwide.

FIRST OFFENSE?
An Australian man was convicted recently of assaulting a policeman after chewing garlic and breathing on the constable during a traffic stop. SOURCE: Reuter   SMELL THAT COFFEE
There may be three times as much antioxidant cancer-fighting power in the steam coming from a cup of coffee as there is in three oranges. SOURCE: Study by University of California at Davis chemist  Takayuki Shibamoto presented at  the 213th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  

SEVEN CHOICES
Two-thirds of cancer deaths can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices. The American Cancer Society suggests seven choices:

RATS
A cash-for-rats campaign has seen the rodent population in Vietnam decline by eight million in the past six months. The governnment instituted the program to safeguard crops. SOURCE: Reuter

EAT YER CHOCOLATE
Desperate to increase veggie intake among children in Britain, researchers have developed chocolate-flavored carrots, pizza-flavored corn and baked-bean flavored peas.
SOURCE: Cancer Research Campaign

CHOCOLATE CHIRPS
Insects are the  entrees at Purdue University's annual Bug Bowl, April 18-20. The menu  includes chocolate chirpy chip cookies, mealworm chow mein and a trail mix called "caterpillar crunch." SOURCE: Purdue Bug Bowl  

LIFE IS A BOWL OF COLD CEREAL
People who regularly start each day eating a bowl of cold breakfast cereal tend to consume more fiber and calcium -- but less fat -- than people who breakfast on other foods. SOURCE: University of  North Carolina at Chapel Hill study presented at the Experimental Biology 1997 scientific meeting in New Orleans.  

Early Flight
Researchers have found the fossilized remains of what may be the first vertebrate to fly. Born 250 million years ago, Coelurosauravus jaekeli, was a one-foot long lizard with strange detached rod-like bones in wing area. SOURCE: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Hans-Dieter Sues.

Making the Grade
Percentage of high school seniors with an A average who smoke cigarettes daily: 7. Percentage of seniors with a D average who smoke daily: 46. SOURCE: American Cancer Society

HAIR TODAY
Number of men who have undergone hair transplants: one in 547. SOURCE: American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons

IRON FACT
One in 10 toddlers, young girls and women of childbearing age do not get enough iron in their diets, according to a new study of  more than 24,000 people. SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association.

SUNSCREEN ANYONE?
The risk for developing malignant melanoma has increased 1,800% in the US since 1930. The cancer now claims a life every hour. SOURCE: Dr.  Darrell Rigel. at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. 

GENOME BIZ
Scientists expect 3,000 and 10,000 new drug targets to emerge from genomics research. They are just not sure when. SOURCE: Nature,  April 1997 

HEY OLDTIMER
In 1960, an estimated 4,000 people were over 100 years old in the U.S. By 1995 the number had jumped to  55,000. SOURCE: Center for Demographic Studies, Duke University  

PLAGUE!
Bubonic plague killed millions of people throughout Europe in the Dark Ages. In 1996, five  cases of plague were reported in the U.S. SOURCE: Department of Health and Human Services

 

VANISHING SEAHORSES
 More than 20,000,000 seahorses are harvested each year for folk medicinal purposes. The world seahorse population has dropped 70% in the past 10 years.
SOURCE: Amanda Vincent, on the NOVA special "Kingdom of the Seahorse"
 
High Flyers
The snow goose completes its 3,000 mile return to its Arctic home at an altitude of  3,000 feet and an average speed of  50 miles per hour. It achieves this task on a diet of  grass, bulbs, berries and slugs. SOURCE: Audubon

 
Birdland
About 80 percent of all bird species in the world inhabit wetlands. These wetlands provide rest stops for migrating birds with water, bountiful food supplies and shelter. SOURCE: Audubon

 
Cost of Laughing
The cost of having a good laugh went up three percent this year, based on the Cost of Living Index, a compilation of leading laughter indicators including the wholesale price of rubber chickens and the going rate for an half-hour TV comedy script. SOURCE: Humor Consultant Malcolm Kushner

 
Where Eagles Dare
The ongoing Australian campaign to eliminate its non-native rabbit population by spreading a bunny-killing virus may be working too well. The public is now being warned to be on the alert for hungry eagles attacking motorists on some highways. SOURCE: Wires

 
CHUB FACTOR
More than one-third of Americans are overweight. However, some are more overweight than others. New Orleans and San Antonio have the highest rate of chubbiness, while San Diego and Denver have the lowest. SOURCE: Coalition for Excess Weight Risk Education

 
FERTILE GROUND
A survey of one square-yard of pasture in Denmark yielded 50,000 small earthworms, 50,000 insects and mites, and nearly 12 million roundworms. A single pinch of that soil contained more than 30,000 protozoa, 50,000 algae, 400,000 fungi and unknown numbers of types of bacteria, with billions of individuals in each species. SOURCE: Gretchen Daily, Stanford ecologist

 
TRIPLES QUADRUPLE
The number of triplets born in the US in 1994 (4,594) was more than triple the number born in 1971 (1,034), an increase attributed to older age of the mothers and the use of fertility-enhancing drugs and techniques. SOURCE: The National Center for Health Statistics

 
WATER YOU SAYING?
Ten trillion tons of water are stored in reservoirs all over the world at any given moment. This water storage interupts the natural hydrological cycle, shifting the weight of the Earth towards the poles. Because of the conservation of angular momentum, the end result is that the length of a day is now 0.000008 of a second shorter than it was forty years ago.
SOURCE: Brendan McWIlliams, "Weather Eye"

 
GARLIC DRAWS BLOODSUCKERS
Garlic repels bloodsuckers? Under laboratory conditions, two out of three leeches survyed preferred to attach to hand smeared with garlic rather than a clean hand.
SOURCE: Norwegian Medical Journal, Tidskrift for Den Norske Laegfoerning, 1994;114: 585-86.

 
ORBITAL STRIKE
An object of space debris less than 1/8 in diameter traveling at 22,000 mph would strike an orbiting space station with the equivalent force of a bowling ball traveling 60 mph.
SOURCE: National Research Council

 
EAU DE PEW
Good news for skunk lovers- an Illinois company is now manufacturing "Eau de Pew" a perfume created from diluted skunk scent. Interested? Call (800) 8-WHIFFY SOURCE: Wires

 
BEDROOM PREFERENCES
A vast majority of married men sleep on the right hand side of the bed (facing from the headboard), regardless of race, creed or age. Divorced men often switch to left side.
SOURCE: Lancet, 1996; 348:970

 
POINTED STATISTIC
55,700 people in the US are injured by jewelry each year.   SOURCE: 1996 US Statistical Abstract

 
SPUD FACTS
Some 250 varieties of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are grown in the United States today. Andean natives were already cultivating three thousand varieties before the Spaniards arrived. SOURCE: Ethnobotany

 
Saint Pat's Other Day
Saint Patrick's day should properly be celebrated on March 21. His death is reported falling on the vernal equinox in 461 A.D. In that year, the calendar date for the vernal equinox had fallen back approximately four days since the establishment of the Julian calendar in 46 BC from March 21 to March 17. SOURCE: Irish Times

 
BATTY
The two main species of Irish bats are distinguishable by the churches they attend. Natterer's bats are found only in Protestant belfries while Long-eared bats take up residence only in Catholic churches. Biologists attribute this to differences in roof construction. SOURCE: Irish biologist Kate McAney

 
SPUD SLAVES
The Spanish who invaded South America fed potatoes, in combination with another well-known plant, coca, to their Indian silver mine laborers, which kept the slaves working at a feverish pitch under incredibly difficult conditions. SOURCE: Ethnobotany

 
STOUT-HEARTED MAN
Lord Guinness, the Irish aristrocrat that acquired the Dublin brewery that bears his name in 1759, liked the product so much he insisted on a long-term lease, 9000 years to be exact.
SOURCE: Guinness Home Page

 
POTATO DIVERSITY
The failure of the potato crop in Ireland leading to the Great Famine of 1845 during which one million people died, while caused by a fungal infection, can be attributed to a lack of genetic diversity among potato crops in Europe at that time. SOURCE: Ethnobotany

 
GREEN GENES
Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin are studying the genetic basis of Irishness. A team of geneticists are analyzing small segments of DNA from Irish people in different parts of the country and comparing them with corresponding DNA segments from people elsewhere around Europe and the world. SOURCE: IRISH TIMES

 
HEARTS AND FLOWERS
The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common foxglove plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. Still used in heart medications, digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of lood pumped per heartbeat.
SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

 
YOU'RE DYNAMITE, VALENTINE
In 1867, nitroglycerin, a key ingredient of dynamite, was found to relieve symptoms of angina, or chest pain. It is still used in medicines to open arteries and lower blood pressure.
SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

 
A STIMULATING RELATIONSHIP
In 1901, researchers isolated adrenaline, a substance secreted by the adrenal glands. Used in medicines to stimulate the heart, adrenaline is obtained from the glands of cattle. It takes 12,000 head of cattle to produce one pound of adrenaline, but the substance can also be synthesized. SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

 
WASHINGTON CONFUSION
George Washington considered his birthday to be February 11 (1731) for the first 19 years of his life. The date changed to February 22 when the Britain became the last country in Europe to replace the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar now in use.
SOURCE: New York Public Library Desk Reference

   
HAPPY LUPERCAL, VAL...
The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility, began on February 14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine.
SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY

 
FEBRUARY CAN'T BE BEAT
On the Roman holiday Lupercal (February 14) goats were sacrificed and the blood was smeared on two specially chosen youths. The youths would then run all around Rome with strips of goat hide in their hands. Women would strive to be beaten with these strips, known as februa (purifiers). Hence, February gets its name as the month of purification.
SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY

 
IN A HEARTBEAT
The average heart beats 100,000 each day. SOURCE: American Heart Association

 
HAVE A HEART
If all major forms of cardiovascular disease were eliminated, human life expectancy would increase by 9.78 years. SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics

 
LINCOLN LINKS
Lincoln's Secretary was named Kennedy, while Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln. Both presidents were succeeded by Southerners. Both successors were named Johnson.
SOURCE: Oliver Stone Club

 
CAT-ASTROPHE
For the first time, the number of pet cats in the US now outnumbers the number of dogs, 60 million vs. 50 million. SOURCE: Cornell University

 
LONG JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
Astronomers at the University of Maine have spotted what appears to be the longest single structure yet seen in the universe, a supercluster of galaxies about one billion light-years in length. SOURCE: American Astronomical Society

 
THE GOING RATE
Various companies offer to freeze your body after death for potential reviving later. Current prices:
  Whole body- $1500/yr

  Head only- $250/yr
  Brain only- $200/yr
  "Perpetual storage"- $120,000
SOURCE: WSJ 1/31/97

 
TREEHOG
The groundhog Marmota monax also known as the woodchuck is actually a good tree climber and swimmer. The natural range stretches from southern Alaska to northern Georgia.
SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine

 
WHY FEBRUARY 2?
Celestially speaking, Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the midpoint of winter. SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine

 
HOGGING THE LIME LIGHT
Specially bred groundhogs have played a key role as laboratory animals in the fight against liver disease. Research with the animals provided proof that hepatitis B virus infection is the proximate cause of liver cancer and that immunization against the virus can prevent liver cancer. SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine

 
PREDICTING WHAT?
In the past 60 years, the groundhog has only predicted the weather correctly 28% of the time. The rushing back and forth from burrows is believed to indicate sexual activity, not shadow seeking. SOURCE: New York Public Library Desk Reference

 
ANNIVERSARY 1797
Two-hundred smoke-filled years ago the first cigarette was produced, in Cuba. Tobacco itself was first described 500 years ago by a monk accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. SOURCE: Nature

 
FACE THE FUTURE
The Christmas holidays are the busiest time in plastic surgeons offices. The average "facelift" will set you back about $4,156.00 (US). SOURCE: American Society of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
ANNIVERSARY 1897
In 1897 Joseph John Thomson identified the electron, the first atomic particle to be described. He received the Nobel Prize in 1906. SOURCE: Nature

 
ANNIVERSARY 1897, Part2
One hundred years ago the German chemist Adolf Wilhelm von Baeyer synthesized the indigo dye, which soon drove the world's indigo planters into bankruptcy. SOURCE: Nature

 
GOOD NEWS SPROUT LOVERS
Brussel srouts contain a compound called sinigrin, which is in a class of cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates. In early studies, a single dose of singrin suppressed cancer in lab. animals. SOURCE: New Scientist 12/96

 
AULD LANG HOLLY BUSH?
The world's oldest plant appears to be a unique Holly bush growing on the island of Tasmania. Evidence suggests the plant has been clonally reproducing for 40,000 years. The Lomatia tasmania, the only known specimen, is only 26 feet high, but at lest a mile wide.
SOURCE: Stephen Harris, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.

 
VILLAGE PEOPLE
If the world's population were considered as a village of 1,000 people: There would be 584 Asians, 124 Africans, 84 Latin Americans, 95 Eastern/Western Europeans, 55 (former) Soviets, 52 North Americans, 4 Australians and 2 New Zealanders. There would be 330 children and only 60 people over the age of 65. The professions would include seven teachers and one doctor. SOURCE: The World Village Project

 
TINY BUBBLES
Careful chemical analysis reveals that for the bubbliest bubbles champage should include: a good mix of chardonnay varietal grapes and nine to 18 months of aging in the bottle.
SOURCE: Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 12/18/96

 
COSTS A LEAPING?
The cost of purchasing every item mentioned in the "12 days of Christmas" has increased 5.7% from last year, to $13,196. While swans and golden rings have dropped in price, dancers and milkmaids fees have increased. SOURCE: PNC Bank Corp.

 
BLUE NOSE SPECIAL?
Fearing drunkenness and debauchery, our Puritan forebears did not celebrate Christmas. Excessive eating, drinking and making merry were strictly prohibited and punished with a fine of five shillings. SOURCE: Stephen Nussbaum, "The Battle for Christmas", Knopf.

 
HAVE A SUPER SATURNALIA!
 Long before there was a Christmas, Egyptians brought green palm branches into their homes on the shortest day of the year in December as a symbol of life's triumph over death. Similarly, the ancient Romans adorned their homes with evergreens during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, their god of agriculture. SOURCE: US Christmas Tree Organization

 
LUCKY DOG
Americans spend five BILLION dollars a year on gifts for their pets. Aside from dogs and cats, some 40% of birds and 48% of hamsters are on gifts lists.
SOURCE: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

 
OH CHRISTMAS TREE
 It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time is 7 years. While all 50 US States produce Christmas trees, the top producing states are Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina. SOURCE: US Christmas Tree Organization

 
HAIR OF THE DOG
Pet lovers are lining up to have winter wear made from the fur of their favorite Fido's. For about $400, any qualified dog clothing professional will spin a bag of fallen fur into yarn and then make a truly one-of-a-kind sweater. SOURCE: WSJ, 12/6/96.

 
LUCY
Lucy, the famous 3 million year old female Australopithecus skeleton found in Ethiopia 1974, was named after the Beatles hit "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", a song that could constantly be heard playing in the campsite at the time. SOURCE: Lucy Home Page

 
FRIGID AIR
Space-based measurements of the temperature of the Earth's lower stratosphere indicate that September 1996 was the coldest month on record since measurements began in 1979. The chill is attributed to ozone loss in the stratosphere. SOURCE: NASA

 
HAPPIER HEIFERS?
The latest item in cow comfort is a Dutch-designed bovine waterbed. The makers claim that, after the cows get used to it, milk production increases. SOURCE: Dunlop-Enerka, Ltd.

 
KERMIT JR.?
A new species of diminutive frog discovered in Cuba is believed to be the smallest terrestrial vertebrate in the Northern Hemisphere, measuring only 10 mm in length.
SOURCE: The Journal Copeia, 12/96 .

 
CANINE RESOLUTIONS?
If your mutt is getting porky why not enroll it in one of the new doggy health spas, such as Total Dog in Los Angeles, CA. A fee of $800 per year gets your dog access to treadmills, swimming pools, massage, spa cuisine and of course, personal trainers. SOURCE: WSJ.

 
BATTY
The two main species of Irish bats are distinguishable by the churches they attend. Natterer's bats are found only in Protestant belfries while Long-eared bats take up residence only in Catholic churches. Biologists attribute this to differences in roof construction. SOURCE: Kate McAney, Irish biologist

 
SPIDER BARBS
Tarantulas are the latest pet craze. The bite of the tarantula spider is unlikely to harm most humans. But watch out for their hairy legs! When angered, tarantulas can fling the barbed leg hairs into the eye's of unsuspecting pet owners causing serious medical complications.
SOURCE: Archives of Disease In Childhood, 12/96

 
HOT STUFF
The heat of spicy red peppers comes from the capsaicin molecule produced in the placental ridges, not the seeds, as often thought. SOURCE: Thai Guy

 
WORMS WITH THAT?
Microscopic worms called nematodes are now widely used to combat the black vine weevil which can destroy cranberry crops. Millions of nematodes are sprayed periodically onto cranberry fields as an ecologically benign control method. SOURCE: SOURCE: Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada

 
TURKEY CHICKEN?
Turkey was a staple in the diet of many Native Americans. However, while some natives venerated the bird, the Cheyenne and Apache feared it would make them cowardly and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers. SOURCE: Butterball

 
TURKEY TIME
Turkeys will peck to death members of the flock that are physically inferior or different. This may represent an instinct to preserve the species by preventing the reproduction of inferior gene stock. SOURCE: Dr. Frank T. Jones, professor of poultry science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

 
DRINK ANYONE?
It is not a myth, flocks of turkeys have been known to drown in the rain as one after the other raises its beak for a drink. The turkey's appear to be obeying the instinct to follow the leader. SOURCE: Dr. Frank T. Jones, professor of poultry science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.

 
TURKEY BOOM
The number of wild turkeys in the US has increased from an all time low of 30,000 to more than four million today. One state park in Iowa now boasts more than 100 turkeys per square mile. SOURCE: National Wild Turkey Federation

 
PUMPKIN LOVE
Male volunteers subjected to a variety of scents displayed the greatest increase in pelvic blood flow when exposed to pumpkin pie spices, and the least stimulation in response to the odor of cranberries. SOURCE: Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment Foundation.

 
SPACE TURKEY
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate roasted turkey from foil packets at their first meal on the moon. SOURCE: Butterbal l

 
PER DIEM
An apple a day really DOES keep the medical profession at bay. A study of 11,000 English people showed that those who ate fresh fruit every day had significantly fewer heart attacks and strokes than those who did not. SOURCE: British Medical Journal 9/27/96

 
VEGGING OUT
Broccoli consumption has increased 940 percent in the USA since 1971. This and other essential broccoli information is available at new interactive web page dedicated to the cruciferous vegetable. SOURCE: Broccoli World

 
TOP TEN BUGS

A new government survey reveals: the top 10 most common reported infectious diseases in the US are:
 
SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 
FRENCH FOOD?
In Miami, Florida, roosting vultures have taken to snatching poodles from rooftop patios.
SOURCE: PBS- WILD WORLD

 
SHARK PROTECTION FACTOR?
For the first time, marine biologists have demonstrated that sharks exposed to full solar radiation (AKA sunshine) develop increased skin concentrations of the pigment melanin (AKA sun tan). SOURCE: Christopher Lowe and Gwen-Goodman Lowe of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in the journal Nature

 
TIGER VANISHING ACT
At current rates of exploitation, all of the tigers in India's will all be wiped out within five years. The traditional Chinese medicine trade pays top prices for tiger bones, skins, teeth, penises and nails. SOURCE: The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency

 
MONKEY BUSINESS
Back in 1919 the Russian transplant pioneer Serge Voronoff made headlines by grafting monkey testicles onto human males. The procedure became popular in the US and his patients included the rich, famous, and...physicians. SOURCE: The Monkey Gland Affair, Dr. David Hamilton

 
DO THE MATH
111,111,111 multiplied by 111,111,111 equals 12,345,678,987,654,321 . SOURCE: Jim Cobb

 
FAST BREAKFAST
Thirty-six percent of adult Americans have had cold pizza for breakfast within the past month. Another 29% start off the day with soft drinks while a dedicated eight percent begin with cookies. Only 11 percent of families eat breakfast together daily.
SOURCE: General Mills survey of 500 Americans (1996)

 
BUTTERFLY, WHY?
UK geneticist Cyril Clarke solved the mystery of Rh hemolytic disease in humans while pursuing his hobby of hand-mating butterfies, the key observation being that all hybrid butterflies were sterile. SOURCE: New Scientist, 3 Feb '83

 
WELCOME HOME
During her record long 188 day stay in the Mir Space Station, NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid covered 75 million miles circling the Earth 3,008 times, aloft longer than any US atronaut. SOURCE: NASA
SURFIN' VOTERS
Web surfers are active voters. More than nine out of ten Web users responding to a recent on-line questionnaire reported they were registered to vote, while 63 percent said they had participated in the most recent local, legislative or national elections.
SOURCE: Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Jim Pitkow

 
GENERAL GUMBALL
The same man who led the attack on the Alamo, Mexican Military General, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, is also credited with the invention of chewing gum. After retiring to Staten Island, NY, the General successfully commercialized a gum product developed from a wad of chicle (dried sap of the Sapodilla tree) he had brought with him. SOURCE: AOL Fabulous Facts

 
NIGHT LIGHTS
Not simply invisible, the aurora borealis, or "northern lights", does not occur in daylight. This finding followed 150 million measurements made by five weather satellites. These showed that auroral intensity correlates to the level of electrical conductivity in the ionosphere, higher and more stable during the daytime. SOURCE: Nature. June 27, 1996.

 
SUN BURPS
The Sun burps a couple times each day, luckily not in our face. These "coronal mass ejections" of hot, electrically charged gas from the star's corona can change the Earth's magnetic field and induce electrical currents in power grids strong enough to destroy transformers and bring down electrical power distributions systems over substantial areas.
SOURCE: Conference on "Coronal Mass Ejection", August 1996, Montana State University-Bozeman.

 
POUND OF FLESH
The average human has about 20 square feet of skin weighing about six pounds.
SOURCE: G. Bandreth, "Your Vital Statistics", Guinness BWR.
MARS
So far, only 12 meteorites found on Earth have been determined to have originated on Mars.
SOURCE: NASA

 
DOGGY DNA
A biotech company has developed a precise DNA testing system for use in canine parentage determination. You just have to get the dog to sit still while you swab some tissue from inside its cheek. SOURCE: PR NEWSWIRE

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME

Thousands of asthamtics converge on the Indian city of Hyderabad once each year to swallow live fish stuffed with an herbal treatment. The herbal recipe has been in a single family for generations. SOURCE: REUTERS

 
FLYING FOXES
Australians are being warned to 'take reasonable precautions' when handling flying foxes. The animals harbor a morbilivirus that can cause illness and death in humans. SOURCE: Australian Doctor.

 
RHINOS
The earliest known relative of the rhinoceros was just four inches long. A later cousin stood over 33 feet high. SOURCE: PALEOWORLD

 
LIVER IT UP
October has officially been designated "Liver Appreciation Month" by the US Congress. The liver is the heaviest internal organ. At 3 pounds or more, it is four times heavier than the heart. SOURCE: Liver Lovers Anonymous

 
GOOD DOG
A terrier that withstood countless bites from a five-foot long poisonous snake after diving off a balcony to rescue three children from the reptile has become Australias first animal to receive a medal for valor, the RSPCA's Purple Cross Bravery Award. SOURCE: Reuters

 
STUBBORN CHROMOSOMES
Mules (offspring of a donkey and mare horse) widely believed to be sterile, have on occasion produced offspring, as have hinnies (offspring of stallion and she-ass). Fertile she-mules mated with donkeys have produced mules, while she-mule mated with stallions have produced horse foals. It is all the more remarkable since donkeys have 62 chromosomes while horses have 64. SOURCE: British Mule Society

 
CHOMP!
The jaws of Tyrannosaurus rex could exert a force of 3,011 pounds, enough to crush your car. By comparison, a human exerts a maximum force of about 175 pounds with the rear teeth, an African lion about 937 pounds, and an alligator slightly less than 3,000 pounds.
SOURCE: Nature 8/21/96

 
ICE HOT
An average iceberg would require burning 2 million gallons of gasoline to reduce it to a liquid state. SOURCE: Tufty, 1001 Questions Answered About Hurricanes, Toronadoes and other Natural Air Disasters

 
BIG PEEVES
Top five pet peeves in the workplace?
SOURCE: Survey by Norelco Inc.

 
BUY A NECK
Three percent of the 100 million ties sold in the US each year are bow ties.
SOURCE:Neckwear Association of America

 
SPACE SHUTTLE COCK
The shuttlecock has been clocked at speeds up to 200 miles per hour in championship badminton matches.
SOURCE: UPI

 
OLYMPIC SACRIFICE
A record 21 pigeons were shot by a Belgian contestant during the "Live Pigeon Shoot" event in the 1900 Olympics. SOURCE: Olympics Factbook, Visible Ink Press

 
IRISH GOLD
Ireland's Michelle Smith has won three Gold Medals in swimming events at the 1996 Olympics. Amazingly, there is not a single 50 meter pool in all of Ireland. SOURCE: The San Diego Union

 
FLYING SAUCERS
Thanks to the effects of the Coriolis force, a discus thrown in the tropic latitudes will fly an inch farther when heaved eastward than westward. SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette

 
CLOSE SHAVE
Shaving the body hair can be expected to shave a second off a swimmer's 100 meters race.
SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette

 
OLYMPIC STADIUM
The original Olympics in Ancient Greece featured only one event, a foot race. Next came longer races, boxing and chariot races.The length of the original race was measured by poles called stadia, giving us the word 'stadium'. SOURCE: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature

 
OLYMPICS I
Contrary to popular belief, the Olympic Games did not originate in 776 BC, but as much as 500 years earlier in Olympia, Greece. 776 BC was the year outsiders were first allowed to participate, and the year from which records were kept scruplulously.
SOURCE: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature

 
IN THE SWIM
Swimming is one the least efficient forms of human locomotion. A top freestyle swimmer achieves a speed of only four miles per hour. Fish, in contrast, have been clocked at 68 mph.
SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette

 
WATCH YOUR STEP
Parisian politicians have addressed the mounting problem of the 500,000 tons of dog excrement dumped annually on the streets of city with a recommendation that dog toilets (canisettes) be installed on city streets and that dog owners should be taxed according to the weight of their animals. SOURCE: Reuters, 6/20/96

 
HAVE YOUR CAKE
Students at Purdue University have created an edible birthday cake candle that uses hydrogenated soybean oil instead of petroleum-based paraffin. The peppermint-flavored candles don't drip, either, an added attraction for moms who flinch at the globs of wax left behind after the birthday wish blow-out. SOURCE: Purdue University News Service

 
RARE FIND
A hitherto unknown tribe of tall, white-skinned natives has been located in the remote Bird's Head Peninsula in western Irian Jaya, Indonesia. The tribesmen use tame parrots to warn of approaching strangers, at which point they vanish into the dense jungles. SOURCE: Antara News Agency

 
ONE MAN'S PEST IS ANOTHERS PIE
Environmental control experts pull 100,000 lamprey eels (each capable of killing 40 pounds of fish per year) out of the Great Lakes each year. A pilot program will now try and market the unwanted eels in Portugal, where they are considered a delicacy.
SOURCE: University of Minnesota News Service

 
DO AS THE ROMANS
Today, each inhabitant of an industrialized country consumes as much energy in one day as a citizen of ancient Rome used in one year. SOURCE: DISCOVERY CHANNEL

 
BRAIN FREEZE
Summer is the height of ice-cream headache season. The pain from an ice-cream headache reaches its height 25 to 60 seconds after exposure to cold food or drink. During an ice-cream headache, the skin temperature on your forehead falls by almost 2 degrees F. The mechanism of these headaches remains a mystery. SOURCE: Temple University Health Sciences Center

 
EARLY SUTURES
In tenth century BC Egypt, wound closure was accomplished by holding an ant over a wound until it seized the wound edges in its jaws. It was then decapitated and the ant's death grip kept the wound closed. SOURCE: Wound Closure Home Page

 
SMALL POX SEND-OFF
All remaining supplies of small-pox virus (variola) stored in Russia and the US will be destroyed on June 30, 1999. A supply of small-pox vaccine for 500,000 people will be kept on hand just in case of a surprise outbreak.  SOURCE: WHO Announcement

 
SPACE MAIL
Signatures of some 250,000 people from around the world will be included in the cargo of the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. The craft was launched in 1997, and arriving in 2004. SOURCE: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

 
DOLPHINS SAFE
International efforts to protect dolphins from tuna nets have resulted in a 98% decline in fishing-related dolphin deaths since 1986. SOURCE: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

 
HAIR OF THE DOG?
Citizens of the English village of Bruntingthorpe are required to submit hair samples of their dogs, the better to determine which pets are fouling public footpaths. The samples are added to a DNA database maintained at a local University. SOURCE: Reuters.

 
EAT YOUR KUDZU
Kudzu, the invasive vine also known as pueria lobata, has become a plague on America's open spaces. It's also quite delicious and can be made in jellies and syrups, according to former science teacher Diane Hoots of Georgia who last year sold 20,000 jars of kudzu jam. She also offers kudzu gift baskets via home shopping networks. SOURCE: Reuters

 
BROCCOLI?
It's official, broccoli is America's favorite vegetable, at least according to a new survey. Corn came a close second. America's least favorite veg? The lowly Brussels sprout.
SOURCE: Survey by Land O Lakes' butter company .

 
CHERNOBYL
The explosion of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl some ten years ago released 200 times as much radation as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs put together. SOURCE: AP

 
MOUSE-AEROBICS
The typical laboratory mouse runs 2.5 miles per night on its treadmill.
SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, '96 Conference

 
MEASLES
Morbidity and mortality rates for measles have declined in the US by 99.9% since the vaccine was introduced in 1963. There were 288 cases with no deaths in 1995, compared to 500,000 cases and 500 deaths annually before 1963. SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Preventiion, Atlanta

 
CAN SHE SING?
A 5 ft. 5 inches tall, 27-year-old women weighing in at 374 pounds outflabbed 1,000 chubby competitors to win the title of fattest person in China. Her prize- a supply of diet food.
SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency

 
RIGHT STUFF
Each year 12,000 young Americans will aspire to fly jets, yet only 1,400 will meet the standard requirements, and only 140 will actually get to fly. SOURCE: "Top Flight", on the the Discovery Channel

 
EARTHDAY 2025
By the year 2025 the human population of the planet will reach 8.3 billion, a 50% increase on the current level. Two thirds of these people are expected to be living in urban areas.
SOURCE: Joint Report by the World Bank, UN, and World Resources Institute, issued 4/18/96

 
EGATOXIC
The 103 million gallons of mixed chemical and radioactive waste in the Department of Energy's underground storage tanks are as complex and heterogeneous a material as man has ever created. The DOE has been trying to figure out what to do with the stuff since 1994. SOURCE: Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, at the 211th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, 1996.

 
GASP!
The number of Americans living in urban areas where the air is officially classified as unsafe to breathe at some time of the year exceeds 100 million. SOURCE: EPA

 
IN HOT WATER
Enzymes from the microscopic Thermus aquaticus from the geyser basin hot pools in Yellowstone National Park were used to perfect methods for artificially duplicating DNA, helping create a billion-dollar industry. SOURCE: National Park Service literature

 
VANISHING PHOSPHATE
The world's supply of rock phosphate, an element used as fertilizer for virtually all food crops, may be depleted by the year 2050 if the usage trend of the past 45 years continues. Humans use about 150 million metric tons of phosphate rock a year.
SOURCE: Study by Luther Tweeten, a professor of agricultural marketing, policy and trade at Ohio State University.

 
TAXTOID
The average US worker toils for two hours and 47 minutes of each working day just to pay income tax. Indeed, the average American pays more in taxes than for food, clothing and shelter put together. SOURCE: WSJ, 4/10/96

 
GOOD NEWS KIDS!
The temperature of the armpit is as reliable for fever diagnosis as that from any other orifice in patients of any age, report pediatricians.
SOURCE: A study in the 1/96 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

 
SCRAPIE
Scrapie, the prion disease of sheep believed responsible for the current outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease) in the United Kingdom, gets it's name from the fact that infected animals scrape their wool off with their teeth. SOURCE: British Press

 
NO LAUGHING MATTER?
The annual "laughter/price" index, measured by determining the cost of a dozen rubber chickens, a copy of Mad magazine, tickets to a comedy club, and a pair of Groucho glasses, has increased 1.6 percent since last year. SOURCE: AP

 
GIANT WORMS
Giants worms six feet long have been recovered alive from a depth of 8,530 feet in the Pacific Ocean. SOURCE: IFREMAR, the French Ocean Research Institute

 
YOUR TAX DOLLARS...
Not willing to see the "ER" docs and "NYPD Blue" cops get all the glory, a team of scientists has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a TV pilot for a drama featuring the lab coat set. SOURCE: WSJ, 3/20/96

 
MOO DUNNIT
A new DNA test kit utilizing Polymerase Chain Reaction technology promises to settle all paternity disputes among cows. Some 400,000 cattle are already tested in the US by blood typing to verify paternity each year. SOURCE: PRNewswire, 2/27/96

 
SKI-MANIA
Two British skiers, Lucy Dicker and Arnie Wilson skied their way around the world. Skiing every day for a total of 3,678 miles and 472,050 vertical feet, their one-year trek took them to 237 resorts on five continents. SOURCE: PBS- NOVA

 
BEATS SHOVELING
One hour of downhill skiing burns 550 calories. That's 110 Brussel Sprouts, 6.1 servings of Tofu, 3.9 Twinkies, or one Double Cheeseburger. SOURCE: PBS NOVA

 
LAUGHTER
Humans begin laughing at two to three months of age. Six year olds laugh about 300 times per day, while adults laugh from 15 to 100 times per day. SOURCE: NYT, Dr. William F. Fry, Stanford University

 
COSTLY CULTURE
A small sample from the original mould used by penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming sold recently at auction for $35,000. The back of the slide contains Fleming's autograph.
SOURCE: NEWS WIRES

 
SHAMROCK SHORTAGE
There is a shortage of wild shamrocks in Ireland. The lack is attributed to an even worse winter than usual for the island country. Commercial growers who protected their crops under glass are expected to make up the difference and everyone should be able to get a little of the tiny, three leafed, clover-like plant. SOURCE: HIBERNIAN INFORMATION SERVICE

 
SEEING SEA WEED
Using a satellite-based Global Positioning System, Irish researchers are mapping the habitat of Yellow weed ( Ascophyllum nodosum). The sea weed is among the most commercially and scientifically valuable of the macroscopic marine algae. SOURCE: RTE Radio

 
GOOD FOR PICNICS?
The Nanjing Jinling Ant Research Healing Center has developed a new product, Chinese Ant-King Wine, based on the medicinal qualities of ants. The wine apparently improves the symptoms of arthritis and prevents senility. SOURCE: The Beijing Economic Daily Newspaper.

 
EUROPEAN STANDARD
The European Community, known for its precise rules and regulations, has now determined that condoms sold in Europe must measure at least 6.8 inches long and 1.76 to 2.24 inches wide. The new standard was developed to ensure that condoms can be sold across borders without having to meet different requirements in each country. SOURCE: WIRE SERVICES

 
GROSS PROFIT
The going rate for removing hog waste from storage lagoons on farms is $0.0125 per gallon. The waste is recycled and used for fertilizer. SOURCE: AACE Environmental Services Inc., a leading hog waste company.

 
PARASITES! HOW THOUGHTFUL
A woman proudly wearing a valuable pearl necklace is actually displaying an entombed parasitic worm, not a coated grain of sand. The free, spherical pearl is produced when the larvae from a parasitic flatworm, which comes from seabirds, burrows inside the oyster to begin the process. SOURCE: Pearl Expert Prof. Peter Fankboner, Simon Frasier University

 
MOTHER OF ALL PEARLS
A Canadian marine biologist claims to have cultured the world's biggest abalone pearl. Measuring 27 millimetres (just over one inch) across its base, the pearl is approximately five millimetres bigger than its next-largest known counterpart which was cultured in Japan. SOURCE: Simon Fraser University

 
GLOBAL COOLING?
The composite global temperature in the lower atmosphere was below average for the second consecutive month, while a record low temperature in the stratosphere was recorded in January, 1996. This could be caused by the greenhouse effect and/or ozone depletion. SOURCE:Dr. John Christy, associate professor of atmospheric science in the Earth System Science Lab at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

 
ENIAC
ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. The original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, had 17,000 tubes.By comparison, a desktop computer today can store a million times more information than an ENIAC, and 50,000 times faster. SOURCE: ENIAC ONLINE BIRTHDAY PARTY 2.96

 
NEW BREATHALYZER
The going rate for breath consultants in New York City is $125/hour. This gets you a breath-analysis using a gas sensor and a computerized gum thermometer. The sensor detects sulphur compounds, a by-product of bacteria in the mouth. You then get a 'breath make-over'. SOURCE: Reuters News Wires, 2/96

 
RECOMBINANT COW JUICE
A telephone poll of nearly 2,000 households in the US revealed that 53.8% of consumers are skeptical about drinking milk from cows fed recombinant bovine growth hormone. 94 percent thought milk should be labeled to distinguish milk from rBGH-treated cows. SOURCE: UW- Madison Survey

 
DNA TRAIL MIX
Research biologists from the National Biological Service are using DNA samples from mountain lion feces to evaluate the cats' dietary patterns. SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite

 
TIGHT SQUEEZE
Lacking a collar-bone, the deer mouse can flatten it's body so much it can sqeeze into an opening one quarter of an inch high.
SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite

 
HAPPY LUPERCAL
The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility began on February14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine. SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY

 
LUPERCAL- II
On the Roman holiday Lupercal (February 14) goats were sacrificed and the blood was smeared on two specially chosen

youths. The youths would then run all around Rome with strips of goat hide in their hands. Women would strive to be beaten with these strips, known as februa (purifiers). Hence, February gets its name as the month of purification.
SOURCE: Oxford Classical Dictionary

 
FAX ME, SWEETHEART
The time honored 'dig me' message has been deleted from those little candy valentines, only to be replaced with 'fax me'.
SOURCE: SF Chronicle

 
SNACK FOR THOUGHT
The average American ate 22 pounds of salty snacks in 1994, up from 17.5 pounds in 1988, when the industry started tallying. SOURCE: The Snack Foods Association, Alexandria, Va.

 
AIDS PIPELINE
The FDA has so far approved 30 drugs for AIDS and AIDS-related conditions. Another 110 anti-HIV drugs are in various stages of development and clinical testing. But it might be a while, since it takes an average of 15 years and some $400 million to bring a drug from the laboratory to the pharmacy. SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

 
AMAZONIAN PLOT
A plot of land in Amazonia the size of a suburban lawn supports 300 species of trees.
SOURCE: Biodiversit y Online


IT IS SAID:

There is approximately one chicken for every human being in the world.

Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis satna (marijuana) on their plantations.

The Nazis used the quilliotine to execute prisoners during WWII. Their version of punishment had the condemned person lying on his back with his eyes forced open so that he could watch the blade descended.

The Pyramid in Egypt contain enough stone and mortar to construct a wall 10 feet high and 5 feet wide running from New York to Los Angeles.

The honeybee kills more people each year world wide than poisonous snakes.

The snail mates only once in its entire life. When it does mate, however, it may take as long as 12 hours to consumate the act.

More Americans have died in automoblie accidents than have died in all the wars ever fought by the U.S.

In 1880, there were approximately 2 billion passenger pigeons in the U.S. By 1914 the species was extinct.

Most tropical marine fish could survive in a tank full of human blood.

The fortuned cookie was created in United States.

Before World War II American Blacks were not allowed to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

Sheep will not drink from running water.

In medieval England beer was often servered with breakfast.

Haggis, a traditional scottish dish, is made from the lungs, heart, and liver of a sheep, choped with onions, seasonings, fat, and oatmeal, and then oatmeal, and ten boiled in a bag made from the sheep's stomach.

The chow is the only dog with a fully black tongue. The rest of the dogs have pink tongues.

One square inch of skin on the human hand contains some 72 feet of nerve fiber.

William Howard Taft is the only man ever to have been both president of the U.S. and chief justice of the supreme court.

Sight accounts for 90-95% or all sensory perceptions. The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45% when a person looks at something pleasant.

In the Chinese written language the ideograph that stands for trouble represents two women under one roof.

The opposite sides of a dice cube always add up to seven.

A mosquito's wings move at the rate of one 1000 times per second.

Rubber was once one of the ingredients of bubble gum, it is the substance that allows the chewer to blow a bubble.

All the planets in our solar system could be placed inside the planet Jupiter.

There are 10 million bricks in the Empire State building.

In ancient Rome it was considered a sin to eat the flesh of a wood pecker.

A person who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day inhales a half cup of tar everyday.

Theodore Roosevelt's wife and mother died on the same day.

Every 45 seconds, a house catches fire in the United States.

Artichokes, which normally produce fruit in their second year, can be grown as far north as Maine by "fooling mother nature". Plant the artichokes indoors 6 weeks before they can be safely put outside in a cold frame. After 6 weeks in the warm indoors, plant the artichokes in the cold frame and keep the temperature just above freezing. After another 6 weeks in the cold frame, plant in the garden. The artichokes will "think" the warm indoors period was their first summer, and their time in the cold frame was their first winter. When they're finally planted in the garden, they will think they are now in their second summer and will bear fruit.

Since 1965 America has seen a $5.4 trillion transfer of wealth in an effort to wipe out poverty...the national debt is only $4.7 trillion. More has been pais on welfare than on the national debt and it haven't wiped it out yet!

In 1965, 1.5% of gross domestic product went to welfare. In 1991, 5% of the gross domestic product was spent on welfare - while poverty rates increased.

The sun contains 99% of all the mass in our solar system.

95% of all species on earth did not become extinct at the end of the cretaceous period when the dinosaurs died out.

While dinosaurs may loom large in the imaginations of modern humans looking back in wonder at a time they can never truly know, dinosaurs were actually only a small minority of the species present at the end of the cretaceous period. Small wonder life on earth managed to continue on without them...

Atmospheric oxygen levels declined from 35% to 28% during the cretaceous period. Could this decline in the oxygen level have contributed to the decline of the dinosaurs?

Half the population of China is myopic (near-sighted), and a further 30% require some sort of vision correction. The market potential for disposable contact lenses is staggering.

On their recent world tour the financially cagey Rolling Stones requested to be paid in yen. The steep drop in the value of the dollar against the yen added over $2 million to the tour income.

The daily commuter trains arriving or departing Bombay India every 2 minutes were designed to carry 1700 standing passengers, but are routinely packed with over 7000 passengers in what officials call dense, super dense, and hyper dense crush loads.

Which is the real party of the rich? Even though the Republicans are the majority, 8 out of the 12 wealthiest people in Congress are Democrats.

Every commercial aircraft is struck by lightning at least once per year. Actually, its more like planes get in the way of the lightning as the bolt continues on elsewhere after exiting the aircraft. The metal skin and structure of a conventional plane conducts the electricity relatively harmlessly around the outside of the plane instead of through the passenger compartment or fuel tanks.

With all the voltage driving a lightning bolt, it's a pretty irresistible force. If it encounters resistance, heat quickly builds up and burns through resistant or insulating materials. Advanced composite materials finding increasing applications in aircraft don't conduct electricity and might be more susceptible to heat damage from a strike. One solution currently in use is to layer or embed metal fibers in the composite material to provide the needed electrical conductivity.

According to Information Week (Sept. 6, 1993), the annual productivity loss by US Businesses due to employees playing computer games is an estimated $100 Billion - which works out to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product.

According to the March/April 1993 D & B report, the US loses an estimated 6 million jobs per year due to information stolen through industrial espionage. The annual US revenue loss due to information stolen through industrial espionage is estimated at $200 Billion.

The annual cost of unauthorized software duplication is estimated at $4 Billion.

Those who promote mass transit often quote the statistic that motor vehicles are the primary cause of smog - implying that private automobiles are the main problem. According to a recent American Automobile Association study, automobiles and light trucks are no longer the main cause of smog in the United States. 2/3rds of the smog in the 10 major cities in the study came from smokestacks, refineries, big trucks, and busses. Since mass transit is a greater cause of pollution than the "problem" it claims to solve, could it be that our independent freedom of movement is the real "enemy" the self appointed social engineers are attacking? Its awfully hard to divide and conquer if the "conquered" keep moving around and mingling.

According the the Wall Street Journal, the proposed Federal budget is roughly $1.5 trillion. The total cost of defeating the Axis powers in WWII was $4.5 trillion. Over the next 3 years, the US government will in peace time spend more than it cost to win WWII, to lose the wars on poverty, drugs, and crime.
  


SPREADING PLAGUE AS RECREATION:

New San Francisco study shows that new HIV infection cases are almost 4 times the number in 1987. In a recent article in The Village Voice, Michael Warner writes: "Large numbers of homosexual men are currently engaging in unsafe sex because the risk of death adds to the experience. The appeal of queer sex for many lies in its ability to violate responsiblizing frames of good right thinking people."

The last ice age endured for over 90,000 years before the current warm stable period began 11,000 years ago. But when the ice age did come to an end, it did so in just 20 years - just one human generation. Imagine the generation gap between the adults who'd grown up in a world dominated by the unforgiving ice and cold, and the first generation of children growing up in a benign temperate climate.
 
A snake's forked tongue allows it to "taste" the air in stereo - providing it with a "nose" that can detect both the presence and direction of "interesting" odors - such as the pheromones of a female snake during the mating season.

Mass produced PC products make up less than 10% of the $92.8 billion software market in the US.
  


RODENT FACTOIDS

Rats (and most rodents) memorize specific pathways and use the same routes habitually.

Rats can get into your home through a hole about the size of a quarter.

Rats damage structures, chew wiring and cause electrical fires, eat and urinate on human and animal food, and carry many diseases.

Thousands of rat bites are reported each year in the U.S. alone and many go unreported.

Accidental poisonings occur among humans and pets from poorly planned efforts to poison rats.

Within urban areas, rats derive their life supports from waste-management systems and food processing and storage areas.

Rats rely predominantly on smell, taste, touch and hearing as opposed to vision. They move around mainly in the dark, using their long, sensitive whiskers and the guard hairs on their body to guide them.

Rats are cautious, and if their food is in an exposed area where it cannot be consumed quickly, they usually carry or drag it to a hiding place.

Rats have an excellent sense of taste, enabling them to detect certain compounds, including rat poisons, at extremely low concentrations very quickly.

Rats are omnivorous, eating nearly any type of food, including dead and dying members of their own species.

The Chichineca-Jonaz, in the Mexican state of Guanajuanto, were eating rats as part of their basic diet as late as 1950.

Rats continue to be important food items in many countries, and the large grass-cutter rat is caught and raised for market sale in some African countries -- much as rabbits are in American and European markets.

The word "mouse" can be traced to the Sanskrit word "musha" which is derived from a word "to steal."

Of all the mouse species that invade human structures, only the house mouse usually becomes a long-term inhabitant if not controlled.

Some scientists speculate that mice developed from rats under conditions where it was less important to be large and ferocious than to be able to get into a smaller hole.

Mice are more acceptable to humans than rats, possibly because of what is known as the "Disney influence."

Mice are capable of being transported for long periods of time in closed containers, such as boxes, trunks or barrels.

The house mouse is found throughout the world from the tropics to the Arctic regions. There are believed to be about 300 separate varieties of house mice in the United States.

The house mouse has a protective mechanism that responds to environmental stress -- excessive heat for example -- by inducing a torpor or dormancy that conserves its physiological reserves.

Many fires of "unknown cause" may have been caused by mice chewing through electrical wires.

In six months, one pair of mice can eat about four pounds of food and produce some 18,000 fecal droppings.

Mice feeding on colored crayons will produce droppings based on the color of the crayon they were feeding on.

Mice are not blind but have bad vision and cannot see clearly beyond about six inches.


SMOKING CESSATION FACTOIDS

47 million Americans smoke - 80% of them would quit, if they could quit.

3,000 smokers die each day

More people die of smoking each year than of car accidents, plane fatalities, heart attack and AIDS - combined.

When Smokers Quit...

Just 20 minutes after you've smoked that last cigarette, your body begins an ongoing series of beneficial changes (from the American Cancer Society).

  After:
 

  

WOLVES
  Did you know ...

A wolf has 42 teeth.

A wolf's odor detecting ability is 100 times greater than manís.

The largest gray wolf is the tundra wolf.

The smallest gray wolf is the Mexican gray wolf.

Wolves howl to assemble the pack, identify individuals and express emotional state.

There are two species of wolves: gray wolf and red wolf.

Currently all Mexican gray wolves are found only in captivity, they are extinct in the wild.

There are approximately 152 Mexican grays held at 29 facilities.

There are 3 subspecies of red wolves but today only one remains in existence - Canis rufus gregoryi.

Red wolves have been released back into the wild in:  North Carolina, Tennessee, and several island release sites in South Carolina, Florida and Mississippi.

There could be as many as 105 red wolves in the wild, but exact numbers are difficult to obtain.
  



 
ECOSYSTEM FACTOIDS

Landfill Factoids, From The Earth Work's Group Recycler's Handbook:

The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.

There were 5,345 landfills in the U.S. and its terrorities in 1992.

A total of 67% of waste was landfilled in 1992, compared to 81% in 1980 and 62% in 1960.

More than 15 million tons of waste destined for landfills had to cross a state line to get there. This may change dramatically depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court resolves its upcoming flow control cases. At least 27 states currently have flow control laws.

At the current pace, we'll be generating 222 million tons of waste by the year 2000. Currently about 130 million tons of MSW ends up in landfills each year (NSWMA).

In a recent survey of World Wastes subscribers, of those owning landfills, 53% expect their site to remain open 10+ years; 12% said 5 to 9 years; 7% reported 3 to 4 years and a whopping 26% said less than 3 years.

Subtitle D regulations will provide minimum standards for the nation's public and private landfills. It involves the use of composite liners and having an elaborate monitoring system. The costs of the regs. will result in a regionalized approach for volume-based business and a dramatic decrease of publicly owned facilities. Also specifies that landfill obtain an amount sufficient to close and cap the site and perform care and maintenance for 30 years after closure.
 
FACT: The greenhouse effect is a natural process that makes life on Earth possible.

The greenhouse effect is a natural process by which various gases act like the glass of a greenhouse, trapping heat near the Earth's surface.  These gases, commonly called greenhouse gases, are naturally occurring and include carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and other trace chemicals.

FACT: Man-made pollution has caused a massive buildup of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere.

Human activities are changing and enhancing the greenhouse effect. We are essentially thickening the walls of the greenhouse with a build up of gases. Activities that contribute to a buildup of these gases include the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and certain agricultural activities and industrial practices. These activities are unleashing billions of tons of carbon into the environment. Since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric levels of carbon have increased by more than 30%. We are now experiencing carbon dioxide levels that are unsurpassed in the last 160,000 years.

FACT: The increase in greenhouse gas pollution has intensified the natural greenhouse effect, creating global warming.

Global warming is a pollution problem, created by the burning of oil, coal, and to a lesser extent, natural gas. As concentrations of greenhouse gases have continued to rise, global average temperatures have risen by approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit. The average temperatures for the first six years of the 1990s already make this the warmest decade ever recorded in thehistory of Earth. 1995 was the warmest year on record, and despite severe winter storms around the world, 1996 was the 6th warmest. Unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, the Earth's mean temperature is projected to rise by 2 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit in the next century -- a rate faster than any observed during the last 10,000 years.
 
FACT: The United States is the number one contributor to global warming.

The United States has been the leading emitter of greenhouse gases for decades.  With only 4% of the world's population we account for 22% of global emissions. We emit more carbon dioxide than any other country in the world.

FACT: Global warming may increase the incidence of many infectious diseases.

Changes in climate may drastically expand the ranges of many disease carrying insects and rodents. Thereby increasing the incidence of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, schistosomiasis, and tick-borne diseases, all of which disproportionately affect children. In the next century, global warming may increase the global incidence of malaria by as much as 50 to 80 million additional cases each year, possibly exposing 60% of the world's population to the risk of infection. There is no vaccine for malaria.

FACT: Global warming may lead to increased incidence of food and water-borne diseases.

Climate-related increases in sea surface temperature and sea levels are expected to increase the incidence of cholera, a deadly diarrheal disease which killed 120,000 people in 1995, mostly children. Increased sea temperatures are also expected to promote algae blooms that can spur the growth of organisms responsible for red tides, increasing the incidence of shellfish poisonings.
 
FACT: Effects of global warming on weather patterns may lead to additional adverse human health impacts.

Regional stress on agriculture may cause up to 300 million cases of malnutrition.  The availability of fresh drinking water may be threatened by extremes of the hydrologic cycle (floods and droughts), which are projected to become more common. Diseases associated with flooding, such as cryptosporidiosis, as well as diarrheal diseases in developing countries where drought compromises personal hygiene, could affect millions more people every year.
 
The equivalent of ten city blocks of rainforest is destroyed every minute, that's an area the size of Pennsylvania lost   every year.

7% of the earth's dry land surface is rainforest, home to more than 50% of the world's plants and animals.

A bulldozer must remove 60 rainforest trees to reach one mahogany tree.

There are 100 different species of large trees in a single acre of rainforest.

Source: the Smithsonian Institute



Quick Facts about Forests

About one- third of the United States,737 million acres, is forested.

Annual growth exceeds harvests and losses to insects and disease by 33% each year in the commercial forests.

Private owners account for 59% of the nation's 490 million acres of commercial forestland; government owns 27%; and the forest industry owns 14%.

More than 259 million acres of federal land are set aside by various government agencies.

Over 1/3 of the 33 million acres of old growth forest which existed in Oregon, Washington, and California before World War II still exists.

In 1993, some 1.7 billion seedlings were planted in the U.S.- more than 5 new trees a year for every American. Millions of additional trees were naturally regenerated.

The forest industry planted 43% of those seedlings; 41% were planted by private landowners; and 16% by government.

Source: America's Forest & Paper Industry

Trees not only provide us with wood, paper, fruit, nuts shade, natural beauty and a buffer against noise, they play an   important role in Earth's natural cycles. Trees capture carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide, and release oxygen.

 Trees also help prevent flooding and help control soil erosion.

Every week more than 500,000 trees are used to produce the two-thirds of newspapers that are never recycled. Source: 1996 Environmental Defense Fund



Antartica
Antarctica is the highest, driest and coldest continent.

Antarctica is a little larger than Europe.

It is 4,000 miles across Anarctica at its widest point.

Its 5.4 million square miles make it larger than Europe. At its widest point, Antarctica is about 4,000 miles across.

Average temperatures are never above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, even in summer. In winter, the temperature averages minus 76 degrees. The coldest temperature ever recorded was at the Russian station Vostok in July 1983: minus 128.6   degrees.

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station sits at 9,100 feet. It has as many as 130 residents from December through March --  summertime at the Pole.

There are 42 other year-round research stations on Antarctica. All told, about 4,000 people live on Antarctica in summer, 1,000 in winter.

Antarctica is 98% ice, 2% barren rock. The average thickness of the ice sheet is 7,200 feet; this amounts to 90% of all the ice and 70% of all the fresh water in the world. If the ice cap were to melt, the sea level would rise by an average of 230 feet.

The Pole is actually a desert environment, averaging about the same amount of monthly rainfall as the Sahara Desert.

It is the HIGHEST continent.

It's the DRIEST continent. Antarctica is a desert.

It's the COLDEST continent, averaging minus 76 degress F in the winter! Once the thermometer registered minus 128.6 degrees F!

90 % of all the ice in the world in on Antarctica.

If all the ice on Antarctica melted, the oceans would rise by 230 feet!

Dogs have been banned from Antarctica since 1994 , not even sled dogs are allowed. It is feared that the seal population might catch distemper.



Nutrition

The earliest recorded dietary advice is in the Bible Genesis 3:1-6 when Adam and Eve were told they could eat anything they wanted in the garden of Eden except that from the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. So from the very start people ate what they weren't supposed to but today we can't get people to eat fruits and vegetables.

The first controlled dietary trial is also found in the Bible within the book of Daniel 1:8-16; Daniel didn't want to defile himself by eating the king's meat so he asked that 4 children be fed pulses (high fiber foods) and water while others were fed meat and wine. At the end of 10 days the children fed the pulses had fairer faces and were fatter in flesh.

The best selling category of books, other than textbooks, is cookbooks; second best seller is diet books. A connection, you ask?

The basic four food groups concept was not abandoned because most Americans thought the groups were pizza, Mexican, beer, and chocolate.

Nutrition and evolution is a fascinating area with a lot of heat and not much light. Obviously, evolutionary advantage was gained by having enough calories and other nutrients to grow and keep one step ahead of predators. The nutritional requirements for that are probably quite different from those that might prevent chronic diseases.

Speaking of chronic diseases, the death rate has not changed since records have been kept. It is still one per person! Reports of exceptions are welcome.

The oldest book in the world has more nutritional advice; in I Timothy 5:23 is the admonition to "drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."  So the French didn't really discover this.

A texas horned toad can shoot blood from the corners of its eyes if angry.

A cubic foot of aluminum weights more than the same volume of concrete. (168.5lbs vs 145lbs.)

Got a tape measure? The westernmost part of Alaska is farther from the easternmost part than San Francisco is from New York City.

There is a larger percentage of left-handedness in mathematicians than in any other field.

Birds have an average body temperature of 108 degree F.

The Dalmatie ant cooks its food by chewing into patties and baking them in the sun.

It takes about 50 years for a sponge to grow to "Bath size."

In a poll it was found that most New Yorkers can't name the only state in the U.S. that ends in a 'K.'

A human head contains 22 bones.

More people have died from having eaten sharks than from having been bitten by them.

The U.S. Federal government once spent $27,000 to find out why inmates want to break out of jail.

The only insect with the ability to turn only its head without moving the rest of its body is the preying mantis.

In ancient tombs of Egypt, archaeologists once found honey, still edible.

Only female mosquitos suck blood. And even then, not to eat, but to collect protein to lay eggs.
 
Camels have three eyelids on each eye.

Most people who stutter don't stutter when they whisper or sing.

Rain can make a mushroom swell up 100 times its size dry.

Every snail is both male and female. They pair up to fertilize each other.

Possums don't stop growing as long as they live.

A steel ball will bounce higher than a glass ball. And a glass ball will bounce higher than a rubber ball.

The creature with the best sense of sight on earth is the hawk.
 
Whenever there are Northern Lights, there are simultaneously Southern Lights.

Three quarters of people surveyed put on their left sock first. Meanwhile, 22 out of 25 people put on their right shoe first.

Two out of three people struck by lightning will survive.

Flamingos are pink because they eat pink brine shrimp. If they ate white food, they would be white.

The word "fossil" is from the Latin for "dug up."

Elephants do not fight over territory, unlike most animals.

What is the one place where the United States flag flies 24 hours a day, never goes up or comes down, or flies at half-mast, and where it doesn't get saluted?  The Moon.

If you inject a wide awake rabbit with blood from a sleeping rabbit, he'll fall instantly asleep.

More people have died from bee stings than from shark bites.

The Australian mound builder bird is the only known bird that can fly right after hatching.

Peanuts are used in the manufacture of dynamite.

Seaweed in the Pacific can grow to over 183 meters (600 feet).

The French eat about 500 million snails a year.

There are 14,000 types of moss.

Baby whales are born tail first.

If you wrap your hand completely around an egg, you'll find it almost impossible to break by squeezing.

A jumbo jet uses almost 4000 gallons of fuel to take off.

An ounce of gold can be beaten into a thin film that covers 9.2 square meters.

Bamboo can grow a meter in a day.

During Queen Elizabeth 1st' reign, there was a tax on beards.

In Tokyo there is a restaurant that caters to dogs.

A shark can detect a drop of blood in the water 200 meters away.

Just before someone is struck by lightning, their hair stands on end.

The Indian Atlas moth has a wing span of 12 inches.

Solar energy was used to power toys in 1615.

If a human being could jump the same relative height as a flea, he could jump over St. Pauls Cathedral.

Australian earthworms can grow up to 10 feet long.

Sound travels so well in the Arctic that on a still day you can hear a conversation 1.8 miles away.

More Italians live in New York than in Rome.

A queen termite can live for over 50 years. And lay over 1 billion eggs.

Lead melts at 326C and Tin melts at 230 degree C, but combine them and you get solder which melts at only 179 degree C.

The Pacific Ocean is 25% larger than the combined area of land on earth.

The only bird with the ability to fly backwards is the hummingbird.

To make 1 pound of honey the combined distance the bees will travel can surpass 45,000 miles.

Stewardesses and reverberated are the two longest words (12 letters each) that can be typed using only the left hand.

The longest word that can be typed using only the right hand is lollipop. Skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

In the 1940s, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not re-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group of geese in the air is a skein.

The underside of a horse's hoof is called a frog. The frog peels off several times a year with new growth.

The San Fransisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.

The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

The shape of plant collenchyma cells and the shape of the bubbles in beer foam are the same - they are orthotetrachidecahedrons.

The word 'pound' is abbreviated 'lb.' after the constellation 'libra' because it means 'pound' in Latin, and also 'scales'. The abbreviation for the British Pound Sterling comes from the same source: it is an 'L' for Libra/Lb. with a stroke through it to indicate abbreviation. Sames goes for the Italian lira which uses the same abbreviation ('lira' coming from 'libra'). So British currency (before it went metric) was always quoted as "pounds/shillings/pence", abbreviated "L/s/d" (libra/solidus/denarius).

Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

The word "checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".

Pinocchio is Italian for "pine head."

Camel's milk does not curdle.

In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.

An animal epidemic is called an epizootic.

Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.



Chemistry Factoids
 
What is a chemical garden and how can I make one?

Looking for some good science fun? The following is the procedure to make a beautiful chemical garden: Pour a mixture of 4 tablespoons of salt, 4 tablespoons of bluing, and 1 tablespoon household ammonia into a dish or bowl with a few coals or bricks inside. Then add a few drops of green or red ink in different places. After a few days, pure white crystals will grow like plants and form like corals. Results may vary on its environment. If you try it, please post about it in our forum and have fun!

Why does liquid water take up more space than ice?

You may have noticed how a putting a glass of water in the freezer turns the water into ice and then the glass cracks. This is because water at freezing temperatures is denser than ice. Why is it like this? In the solid state, the hydrogen bonds between the water molecules create empty pours which take up extra space. While as in the liquid state, water
doesn't have these bonds, and thus more molecules can fit in smaller spaces.

Who developed the periodic table of elements and how?

Probably the most widely used tool that a chemist uses is his or her periodic table of elements. What this does is provides the chemist an organized chart of all the known elements who's categorization provides the chemist assumed clues to the elements' properties. The person who developed this was Dimitri Mendeleev, a Russian scientist whose hair was even worse than Einstein. Anyway, he sought to organize all the fragmented and scattered lists of elements and put them in a logical format. He found out that the elements' properties recur in a periodic manner based on their atomic weight (Try making a graph with the atomic weight on one side and a numerical value property on another side and you'll see what he got at). As a result, he arranged them vertically by similar properties and horizontally by ascending atomic weights (it was later discovered that it was the atomic masses that were the determining factor). But at his time (1920s) there were only 63 known elements. So he made gaps or predictions where new elements would be found, plus he guessed what their properties would be like. Low and behold, he was right in his predictions with very astute accuracy. To commemorate his accomplishment, element 101 was named after him 50 years later and his work is one of the most widely used documents worldwide.

  What chemical is most abundant chemical in the universe?

Many educated theories by many scientists and researchers believe that 75% of the universe's mass is made of  hydrogen and 90% of all atoms are hydrogen atoms. They also believe that the rest are mostly helium atoms. This is probably due to the physics of the big bang which spawned these atoms. Hydrogen, being the simplest atom, could readily be created faster and in larger numbers.

  What elements are liquid at room temperature?

  There are a total of 4 elements that are liquid at or close to room temperature.
   Mercury - Hg - element 80 - liquid at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
   Bromine - Br - element 35 - liquid at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
   Gallium - Ga - element 31 - liquid at 30 degrees Celsius
   Cesium - Cs - element 55 - liquid at 28.5 degrees Celsius
 
What ever happened to the philosopher's stone?
In medieval times, alchemists used to believe that a certain substance held special magical powers such as the ability to turn normal metals into gold or silver. It was also believed that it could restore and prolong life. The search for such powers has resulted in many findings of several substances. However, the magic of this philosopher's stone still remains
in legend and undiscovered.

How "rare" is rare?
The term rare used in this context does not refer to their scarcity of occurrence in nature. Rare, as it relates to gases, refers to the very low density gases at room temperatures. These are better none as the inert gases who cannot combine with other elements due to their zero valence.

What element has the highest density?
Studies show that osmium and iridium share the highest densities. The reason why there are two is because there are slight discrepancies between the different measurement systems. Speaking of densities, a pinhead's volume of a piece of a dwarf star would weight more than the earth.

What is heavy water?
Within normal amounts of ordinary water (H2O), there are small portions of it called heavy water. What this is D2O (deuterium oxide) which is composed of oxygen and two hydrogen atoms in the structure of deuterium. This special structure creates for a larger mass; deuterium oxide has an atomic mass of 20 while ordinary water has an atomic mass of 18. Heavy water can be extracted via special distillation and is used for special purposes that require this extraordinary liquid.

What is a mole and what is mole day?
In chemistry it is too cumbersome to speak of atoms' weights using their exact weights. As a result, moles (Mol) are used as a representative weight to identify a substance's weight in grams. For example oxygen has an atomic mass of 16. Therefore a 1 mole of oxygen would weight 16 grams. In technical terms, a mole refers more accurately to 6.02 x 10^23 atoms of what it represents. This is called Avogadro's number, and because of its complexity, the term Avogadro's number is used to represent such astronomical numbers. The word mole is also used in Mole day which is a day celebrated each year on October 23rd to celebrate and generate more excitement and action in chemistry.



Biology Factoids
 
Which of the following is stronger: steel or spider's webbed silk?

Amazingly, the silk from a spider's web is stronger than steel; if a piece of steel were the same size as a spiders web it would be 5 times weaker. Also, spider's silk has the second strongest tensile strength, the amount of tension an object can resist without breaking apart.
 

How does a firefly make it's light?

Fireflies or lightning bugs (Photinus pyroles) create rhythmic flashes of light from their anus with intervals between 4 to 8 seconds. Some scientists speculate that it's a way to send signals to each other, attract prey, or signal a warning. Whatever it may be, their light has been a mystery for years. The light has recently been defined by the concept of bioluminescence. This is caused when oxidation of carbon and hydrogen occurs quickly within only a few steps. This quick reaction produces a lot of harmful energy and instead of being rid of by heat, some organisms rid of it in the form of light, such as fireflies. Specifically, in fireflies, the substance luciferin under the presence of the enzyme luciferase undergo oxidation. And, moreover, the whole process is controlled by the nervous system.
 

  What makes Mexican jumping beans jump?

Mexican jumping beans' jumping ability is not caused by the beans themselves. Instead it's an insect called the bean moth (Carpocapa saltitans) that creates this phenomenon. The moth lays its eggs around a bean flower or in the seed pod of the spurge. Then the egg will hatch within the shell and a caterpillar or larva will be living within the shell.
Then, when the bean is exposed to heat, such as the heat of your hand, the insect will start to become annoyed and begin moving.
 

What is the Genome Project?

One of the biggest things in government-funded biological projects is the Genome Project. The project, started in 1990 with $3 billion in funds, is an on-going project that's main objective is to map out the whole complete human genome. Genome stands for the broad set of all genes that compose an organism, which stands to be a monumental task for the biomedical community. There are over 50,000 to 100,000 genes to be mapped and so far 2,000 have been identified and mapped. The knowledge that'll be obtained from this 15 year project will benefit the public greatly in uncovering and accelerating biomedical advances in understanding inherited disorders, evolutionary traces, old age, diseases, and many more.
 

How much DNA is in the average human cell?

DNA is one of the basic genetic materials of a human cell. They're composed of very tiny and thin strands that are wrapped around within the nucleus. If the DNA of an individual human cell were laid out it would total 6.5 feet. And with the trillions of cells that encompass the whole human body, all the DNA in a human would constitute 10 to 20 billion miles. That's over 600,000 times across the earth's equator!
 

What causes tree leaves to change color in the fall?

The bright red, green, purples, and brown colors which we all see on the leaves of the trees in the fall are not caused by chlorophyll. They're caused by pigments called carotenoids which are always present within the plant cells. The green chlorophyll just covers it up during the growing season. Then in the fall, when the chlorophyll production declines, the carotenoid's colors become visible.
 

  Is four the most leaves a clover can have?

Surprisingly, getting a clover with four leaves is NOT the most you can get. Within the Trifolium genus of plants, there's clovers with fourteen leaves! One is the white clover (Trifolium repens) and the red clover (Trifolium pratense), both of which are found in the US and both of which are the most common nitrogen-fixating legumes.
 

Can birds fly upside down?

Yes, there is a only one specie of birds that can fly that way. It is the smallest specie of birds and is the only specie that can fly backwards. It's the humming bird, which can fly upside down and backwards because of it's angled wing structure. This also allows it to hover around and pollinate flowers.
 

What is REM and Non-REM sleep?

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. This is a stage during sleep (measured by an EEG of electrical waves from the brain) in which the eyes move rapidly under the eyelids and the body starts to twitch. This is also a stage in which the person is near awakefullness. Previously, it was believed that dreams occurred during this stage and the movements acted out the dream. In actuality the dreams occur during Non-REM sleep. As it's name suggests, it's the opposite of REM, in which the body slowly enters a relaxed state in which the heart beats become slower, muscle tension is released, and the body is far away from awakeness. Dreams occur during this stage, and it is also the stage that is attributed to deep sleep or to having had a good night sleep.
 

  What is the difference between dolphins and porpoises?

Dolphins and porpoises are so similar to each other that most people couldn't tell you the difference between the two. Even a more educated biology student might tell you that they're the same specie. In actuality they belong to their own Families! The difference is that dolphins have cone-shaped teeth and a beak-like snout, while porpoises have flat or
spade-shaped teeth and a rounded snout.
 

The two longest marriages were both for 86 years. One couple from India and a couple from the United States. That's not only a record but a miracle too.

Greenland has 1 person for every 15 miles. That's room to roam.

Macua has 69,706 people per mile which is like living in a state fair.

Life expectancy for the world average is 63.9 years. For the U.S. it is 75.4 years.

The world's population grows at the rate of 180 per minute!

The first person to walk around the world was an American by the name of David Kunst. He wore out 21 pairs of shoes in 4 years.

If you want to go for a long cruise, hop on the Pan-American Highway, running from Alaska to Brazil. It is over 15,000 miles long.

The fastest bed maker was from Australia. It took 28.2 seconds to make a perfect bed from a bare mattress.

The youngest college graduate in the U.S. was 11 years 8 months old.

The youngest person to earn a doctorate was 12 years old from the University of Giessen, in Germany.
 

Physics Factoids
 
Why are there dimples on golf balls?

  The dimples on golf balls help the ball to move larger distances by reducing drag. This is because the dimples cause air to cling more to ball providing a barrier for small wind obstacles such as eddies. The result, you get a ball that goes more than 350% farther than a smooth ball would go.
 

  What does LASER stand for?

You may not realize it by laser is an acronym. It means "light amplification by stimulated emissions of radiation". What this means is that it takes photons and shoots them forward in very high concentrations with pure and uniform wavelengths. It differs from normal light which shoots out stray random photons in all directions. In addition to its high concentration of photons, lasers also have very low frequencies of wavelengths. Because of its properties, lasers are used
for many activities. It is used at times to cut things due to its high intensity and strength. It's also used by eye doctors because the reflection/refraction lasers can be measured very accurately.
 

Which is more economical, driving with the windows open instead of using the air conditioner?

Surprisingly, at 40 mph or greater, you need less fuel power with your windows closed and the air conditioner on than with your windows open. This is based on the drag effect in that with your windows closed makes your car more aerodynamic as it moves through the fluid air. This provides significant improvement since the requirement for horsepower increases exponentially as the drag increases.

 
Is there more than 3 states of matter?

The most common states of matter that you are familiar with are gas,  liquid, and solid. However, there is a fourth state called plasma. This is when gas atoms become electrically charged. Such instances of plasma are in stars, in the sun, and in things such as lightning. It also happens in neon signs in which an electric current is emitted through the neon gas. This results in ions and independent moving electrons taken from the gaseous atoms. This creates a very violent state of matter and has different properties which is why scientists section it off as a 4th state of matter.
 

What causes a boomerang to return to its thrower?

We're probably all aware of what boomerangs are and that they have an interesting special feature; if thrown right boomerangs, will return to its thrower. This is a very interesting concept of physics that relies on the concept of lift and the concept of spinning gyroscopes' unwillingness to veer off it's position. So when someone throws a boomerang properly, it will spin vertically forward. The smooth curved surface on the top gives it lift. However, boomerangs are designed so that one wing will get more lift than the other will. As a result, that wing will tend to lift itself higher
than the other does at a particular moment. This will attempt to twist the boomerang over to be spinning horizontally, which it can't because it is going at a high speed spinning vertically. To compensate for this, the makes an opposite reaction to it's velocity and the arc of the boomerang becomes a full circle return back to its thrower. This concept is much like a gyroscope and it's complex movements which give it its properties.
 

What is planet X?

Many scientists speculate the existence of a 10th planet in our solar system. It has been named tentatively Planet X and will remain that way until it is discovered. The reason for the prediction of its existence is because of certain oddities and discrepancies in Uranus's and Neptune's orbits. Scientists first believed that this slight gravitational pull at certain
points in their orbit was caused by Pluto. However, it was proven that Pluto was too small to create such a pull. As a result, satellites and other space bound objects are also on course to discover what force, possibly this planetary force from Planet X, that is causing this disturbance.
 

What is actually saved by recycling aluminum cans?

Many people take recycling for granted, thinking that a little can doesn't make much of a difference. However, reports show that the total energy saved from recycling a can of soda is equal to about half a gallon of gasoline. That is a lot of energy, and recycling drastically reduces corporations' needs to gather raw materials.
 

How are do sea shells give off their unique music?

When a sea shell is placed near the ear, sounds that resemble the sea can be heard. These sounds are basically small flows of air, which cause tiny ambient sounds within the shell. The result is that the spiral shape and acoustics of the shell causes the sound to resonate in random patterns which causes an audible soothing sound which resembles the ocean.
 

What is meant by nuclear winter?

 Nuclear winter refers to a hypothetical, almost sci-fi, time in the future in which post-nuclear war causes many drastic and apocalyptic changes. Thing such as firestorms, cloud blankets of soot, sand, and dust leaving only 1% of the sun's light to shine through. This nightmare term was coined by American physicist Richard P. Turco. Although his work of
such a pessimistic future was criticized, documents based on years of research reinforced his prediction.
 

What is the economically optimum speed for driving on the freeway?

In order to save gasoline fuel there are certain speeds that save fuel the best when you can trade a few mph for more fuel in the tank. Driving at 50 mph gets 28% more miles per gallon than driving 70 mph, and 55 mph gets 21 % more.

 
Alcohol Factoids

85% of family violence is alcohol and other drug-related

65% of high school dropouts have an alcohol or other drug involvement

75% of teen pregnancies have an alcohol or other drug involvement

80% of crime has an alcohol or other drug involvement (50% for alcohol)

50% of homicides are alcohol-related

25% of older adults have an alcohol or other drug problem

25% of all emergency room admissions are alcohol-related

50% of all hospital admissions are alcohol-related

50% of first time admissions to mental hospitals are alcoholics

35% of high school seniors have 5 or more drinks in a row at least every two weeks

  4% of high school seniors drink daily

  74% of alcohol and drug-dependent women report sexual abuse, including rape and incest

  52% of men convicted of rape or other sexual assault had been drinking prior to the offense

  33% of child molestation cases are alcohol-related

  54% of drug treatment programs will refuse treatment to pregnant women

  25% of American families have an alcohol-related problem

  73% of elementary school children referred to counseling may have alcohol and other drug-related problems in their
  homes
 

OCEAN AND OCEAN LIFE FACTOIDS

 Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface - 360 million square km

 The average depth of the ocean is 4 km

 The area of the Pacific Ocean exceeds that of all the land

 The world's oceans contain 328 million cubic miles of sea water

 The deepest spot in the ocean is in the Mariana Trench at 11.7 km

 There may be as many as 6 million diatoms, tiny floating plants in a cubic foot of sea water
 In the world's oceans are:

Two thirds of the phyla, the major grouping below the kingdom level, are exclusively or dominantly marine

Global fish production excceds that of cattle, sheep, poultry or eggs, and is the biggest source of wild or domestic
protein in the world.

86% of fish landings in 1989 were marine

15 of the world's 17 largest fisheries are overfished or in trouble less than 30% of the coral reefs in Japan, Philippines and Costa Rica are in good or excellent condition

The Great Auk, Steller's Sea Cow, Panamanian Fire Coral, San Diego Mud Snail & Eelgrass Limpet are now extinct.
 
Human blood travels 60,000 miles per day on its journey through the arteries, arterioles, and capillaries and back the
venules and veins.

The average smell weighs 760 nanograms report Japanese researchers. The researchers weighed odors by dissolving
them in fat and using an ultra-sensitive quartz crystal microbalance.

The 20,000 year old expanse of Antarctic ice known as the Larsen Ice Shelf has developed a crack 65km long. This,
combined with the separation of a large iceberg with a surface area of around 2,900km and a thickness of 200 meters
(now making it's way north), will require the drafting of new maps of Antarctica. Both changes have been attributed to
global warming.

It takes 43 of your muscles to form a frown, but only 17 to make a smile. (Why don't you try it and notice how many
muscles are used for each)

An estimated 80% of animals on Earth have six legs (i.e., insects). The more than 10 quintillion bugs fall into some
800,000 species.

Captain Cook lost 41 of his 98 crew to scurvy (a lack of vitamin C) on his first voyage to the South Pacific in 1768. By
1795 the importance of eating citrus was realized, and lemon juice was issued on all British Navy Ships.

A Smithsonian researcher managed to remove a lens from the compound eye of a half-billion year old trilobite, attach it
to a microscope, and take a photograph of a building.

By the year 2025 the human population of the planet will reach 8.3 billion, a 50% increase on the current level. Two
thirds of these people are expected to be living in urban areas.

Giant worms, six feet long, have been recovered alive from a depth of 8,530 feet in the Pacific Ocean.

One hour of downhill skiing burns 550 calories. That's equivalent to 100 brussel sprouts, 6.1 servings of Tofu, 3.9
Twinkies®, or one Double Cheeseburger.

Martian dust soil is magnetic. The only region on Earth with magnetic soil is in Africa.

Among the treasures the ancient Egyptians loaded into Tutankhamen's tomb for his use in the afterlife was a recipe for beer.

Scientists estimate that some dinosaurs migrated 2000 miles each spring and fall - farther than any migrating land animals today.

Humans, chimpanzees, and some gorillas are the only animals who can recognize themselves in a mirror.
 

Coastal Factoids

Coral reefs cover about 600,000 square miles of habitat globally and are home to over 500,000 species.

The net biological productivity of coral reefs is more than tropical rain forests on average. Unwise development, unsustainable fishing practices (using cyanide and dynamite), and pollution threaten many coral reefs around the world.
Source: T. Beatley, D. Brower, & Anna Schwab, An Introduction to CoastalZone Management, Island Press, 1994; 23.

Shrimp trawlers have the highest rate of bycatch (i.e., other unwanted fish caught along with the desired fish). Shrimp trawlers have a bycatch rate of up to 80% in some areas; much of the bycatch dies. Moreover, shrimp trawlers drag heavy nets and chains along the sea floor which kills starfish, urchins, shellfish, crustaceans, and basically wreaks havoc on the sea floor ecosystem.
Source: Peter Weber. Net Loss: Fish, Jobs, and the Marine Environment, WorldWatch Institute, July 1994, p.20.

Sources of Marine Pollution (percentage by weight):
 Run-off and discharges from land: 44%
 Airborne emissions from land: 33%
 Shipping and accidental spills: 12%
 Ocean dumping: 10%
 Offshore mining and oil and gas drilling: 1%

Source: The State of the Marine Environment, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Regional Seas Reports and Studies, #115 1990.

Less than 10% of U.S. coastline is tested for water quality. According to the EPA, less than 10% of the U.S. coastline is regularly tested for water quality.

Runoff water pollution, also called non-point source water pollution, is often the #1 source of near-shore water pollution in coastal U.S. urban and suburban areas. It is a growing problem. Vehicles, farms, and golf courses are the main contributors to runoff pollution. Pavement and concrete allow it to flow to the coast very quickly and with no natural pollution filtration effects.

As unbelievable as it sounds, many U.S. States (such as North Carolina, Georgia and Oregon as of 1995) have NO regular water quality testing program for near-shore ocean water.
Source: Testing the Waters V, Natural Resources Defense Council, June 1995.

The state of Mississippi has 81 miles of coastline. There is no regular coastal water testing. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) last had a testing program in the summer of 1989 when over 70% of the water test results (for fecal coliform bacteria) showed levels that well exceeded the state's standards.
Source: Testing the Waters V, the Natural Resources Defense Council, June 1995, p. 80.

Approximately one-third of the pollutants from non-point source water pollution (often the #1 cause of near shore water
pollution in surburban/urban areas) entering the marine waters comes from air pollution that settles onto or washes into the oceans; much of this air pollution that pollutes the oceans is concentrated in the coastal zone.
Source: "Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources: Facts and Figures," United Nations Environment Programme, Industry and the Environment, 1992.

An incoming wave, which often travels at around 15-20 mph, will break in water that is approximately 1.3 times as deep as the wave height. Source: Willard Bascom. Waves and Beaches, Anchor Books, 1980, p. 216

A 4 foot' wave has about one-fourth the energy of an 8 foot' wave. The energy of a wave can be computed with the formula: WAVE ENERGY equals the WEIGHT of a cubic foot of water (64 lbs) multiplied by the WAVE LENGTH multiplied by the square of the WAVE HEIGHT with all of that divided by 8. Wave Length is the distance between the crests of 2 adjacent waves. So with all else being equal (it never is in the ocean) when the wave height is doubled, wave energy is quadrupled.
Source: Willard Bascom . Waves and Beaches,  Anchor Books, 1980, p. 216

The biggest threats to the coastal environment in the U.S. are habitat depletion from over-development and water pollution caused by non-point sources (polluted runoff). Resources devoted to protecting the coast should be allocated accordingly. The media tends to concentrate on big events like oil spills which has resulted in polls showing that the general public believes that oil spills are the #1 coastal environmental problem. Source: Pierce Flynn, Executive Director. Surfrider Foundation, 9/11/96.
 

Gastroenteritis and hepatitis are the most common swimming-related illnesses
Worldwide, the 2 most common swimming-related illnesses are gastroenteritis and hepatitis. Gastroenteritis is a common term for a variety of illnesses that can be caused by some bacteria or viruses. Symptoms for gastroenteritis include one or a combination of vomiting diarrhea, stomachache, nausea, headache, and fever. Hepatitis is a serious liver ailment (liver inflammation) that can knock you out for weeks or months at a time.

Source: Testing the Water, National Resources Defense Council, 1976, p. 7.
 
 
Extinction of species is high in modern era
There are many endangered species in and around the coastal zone. Since the Pilgrims landed in North America in 1620, about 376 years ago, more than 500 species, subspecies, and varieties of plants and animals have become extinct in the U.S. For comparison, during the 3,000 years of the Pleistocene Ice Age, all of North America was losing about 11 species to extinction every 376 years. Source: Why Save Endangered Species?, A pamphlet by the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Sea Level is rising
Sea level is rising at about 1-2 millimeters per year and has risen about 1 foot in the last century. Along gently sloping beaches, a 1 foot rise in sea level can result in up to a 1,000 foot (or more) retreat of shoreline. It is expected that the rise in sea level will accelerate in coming decades (partly because of global warming due to greenhouse gas buildup). Source: , T. Beatley, D. Brower, and A. Schwab. An Introduction to Coastal Zone Management, Island Press, 1994, p. 27.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), beaches, rivers, and lakes are the number 1 vacation choice for Americans and are part of the $380 billion recreation and tourism industry (the 2nd largest employer in the U.S. after health care).

 

Bacterial Factoids

  I. Time
  fossil bacteria date back to 3.5 - 3.6 BYA (billion years ago)
  the earliest eurkaryotes date to 1.8 BYA
  animals date back to 0.58 BYA

  II. Habitat
  billions of bacteria in a gram of rich garden soil
  human skin has about 100,000 bacteria per square centimeter
  10% of human dry weight is due to bacteria
  bacteria live at temperatures from the coldest glacial puddles to the geyser springs in Yellowstone National Park
  to ocean vents at a temperature of 480° F
  above 160° F, all life is bacterial

  III. Utility
  oxygen first produced by cyanobacteria about 2 BYA
  all mammals depend on bacteria in gut to digest food
  30% of atmospheric methane due to action of methanogenic bacteria
  most atmospheric nitrogen converted in to ammonia or nitrate is done by bacteria
  sewage degradation
  oil spill cleanup
  cheese and yogurt production
  vinegar production; MSG production

  IV. Biomass
  they're everywhere, they're everywhere!!!
  bottom of the ocean
  9,000 feet under ground
  earth contains 100 trillion tons of bacterial in the ground alone
  underground bacteria equivalent to a layer on the surface 5 feet thick
  


Moo Juice

Milk Producers original ad campaign slogan: "Everybody needs milk." What the Federal Trade Commission called the "Everybody needs milk" slogan: "False, misleading and deceptive." Milk Producer's revised campaign slogan: "Milk has something for everybody"
  The dairy industry tells us: Whole milk is 3.5% fat
  The dairy industry doesn't tell us: That 3.5% figure is based on weight, and most of the weight in milk is water
  The dairy industry doesn't want us to know: The amount of calories as fat in whole milk is 50%
  The Dairy Council tells us: Milk is nature's most perfect food
  The Dairy Council doesn't tell us: Milk is nature's food for a baby calf, who has four stomachs, will double its weight  in 47 days and is destined to weigh 300 pounds within a year
  The Dairy Council tells children: To grow up big and strong, drink lots of milk
  The Dairy Council occasionally tells children: The enzyme necessary for digestion of milk is lactase
  The Dairy Council never tells children: 20% of caucasian children and 80% of Black children have no lactase in their  intestines.
Source: John Robbins, Pulitzer Prize nominee, Diet for a New America.
 

Multi-name cats

Mountain lions are known by more than 100 names, including panther, catamount, cougar, painter and puma. It's scientific nameis Felis concolor, which means "cat of one color." At one time,mountain lions were very common! They lived all over North and South America. Now they are scarcer, although in California they are making quite a come-back. In the US today they can be found in the western states, southern Texas, and Louisiana and Arkansas.

There are a few lions left in Florida, maybe 30 or 40 adults. The Florida mountain lion is called the Florida panther. This is the rarest type of mountain lion. It's also the rarest large mammal in North America. There is a picture of him on some of Florida's license plates.

The large cats of the world are divided into two groups- those that roar, like tigers and African lions, and those that purr. Mountain lions purr, hiss, scream, and snarl, but they cannot roar.

A full-grown male mountain lion may be 9 feet long, including his tail!

An adult mountain lion can jump a distance of 30 feet, and leap as high as 15 feet.

Mountain lionís favorite food is deer, but they'll eat other critters as well. They hunt alone, not in packs like wolves. They sneak up on (stalk) their prey just like a house cat sneaks up on a bird or toy- one slow step at a time. A lion can eat ten pounds of meat at one time! That's equivalent to 40 quarter-pounder hamburgers!

Don't "Bug" Me!

Leafcutter ants cut neat scallop shapes out of leaves, which they carry home to their underground colonies. They raise "mushrooms" (fungus) on the leaves, which is a source of food for the ants.

Queen ants can live to be 30 years old!

Female wasps have been known to stuff cranky male wasps head-first into empty nest cells.

Dragonflies can flap their wings 28 times per second and they can fly up to 60 miles per hour!

As fast as dragonflies can flap their wings, bees are even faster...they can flap their wings 435 times per second!

The largest beetle in the Americas is the Hercules beetle, which can be 4 to 6 inches in length.
 
  


Space Mania

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it doesn't have a moon. It's atmosphere is so thin that during the day the
temperature reaches 750 degrees F, but at night it gets down to -300 degrees F.

Venus is nicknamed the "Jewel of the Sky." Because of the greenhouse effect, it is hotter than Mercury, even though it's not as close to the sun. Venus does not have a moon but it does have clouds of sulfuric acid!

Mars is nicknamed the "Red Planet," because it looks reddish in the night sky. Mars has 2 moons.

Jupiter is the largest planet. If Jupiter were hollow, you could fit 1000 earths inside! It is made up of gas and is not solid. The most famous feature on Jupiter is its Red Spot, which is actually an enormous hurricane that has been raging on Jupiter for hundreds of years! Sixteen moons orbit Jupiter.

Saturn is a very windy place! Winds can reach up to 1,100 miles per hour. Saturn is also made of gas. If you could find an ocean large enough, it would float. This planet is famous for its beautiful rings, and has at least 18 moons.

Uranus is the third largest planet, and is also made of gas. It's tilted on its side and spins north-south rather than east-west. Uranus has 15 moons.

Neptune takes 165 Earth years to get around the sun. It appears blue because it is made of methane gas. Neptune also has a big Spot like Jupiter. Winds on Neptune get up to 1,200 mile per hour! Neptune has 8 moons.

Pluto is the farthest planet from the sun... usually. It has such an unusual orbit that it is occasionally closer to the sun than Neptune. Pluto is made of rock and ice.  


TAXONOMY

Kingdom
  This it the largest unit of classification. Initially it was thought that there were only two kingdoms, plants and animals.
  Eventually microscope and other tools helped clarify the existence of other organisms. Now, there are a total of 5
  kingdoms.
Animalia - the largest with  over 1 million named species, fish, humans;
Plantae - 350,000 species, trees, grass;
Fungi - 100,000 species, mushrooms, lichen;
Protista - 100,000 species, green, golden, brown, and red algae, flagellates;
Monera - 10,000 species, blue-green algae or cyanobacteria.

Phylum/Division
  The next most specific unit of classification. This further divides the kingdom into 20 or so divisions based on very
  distinct and defining characteristics. For example, within the Animal Kingdom, a major division is the chordates that
  are animals with notochords. This includes humans, fish, mammals, etc. Flowering plants are defined into the
  antrophyta division of the Plant Kingdom.

Class
  This further classifies the organism. It separates them into categories that make them very similar in terms of certain
  basic features. For example the class mammalia includes all animals that breast-feed, which includes humans, cows,
  dolphins, etc. Another class would be reptilia which includes cold-blooded and scaled animals.

Order
  Organisms of the same order are more similar that that of the same class. A lot of obvious evolutionary connections
  can be drawn from looking at the order; only a few features separate the organisms as a breaking in the evolutionary
  chain. One example is that within the class Mammalia, carnivores are separated into the order Carnivora while Insect-
  eaters are separated into the order Insectivora.

Family
  Even more specific, the animals within this share a very close similarity between each other. Most will probably have
  the same behavior patterns, feeding habits, and general functions. An example is the Cat Family (Felidaes) which all
  have whiskers, sharp claws, and include animals such as Lions and Cats.

Genus
This is the part that makes up the first word of the binomial nomenclature of an organism. All the organisms within their genus may look very similar to each other. And although it is at most times not healthy, organisms of the same genus may breed with each other.

Species
The most specific unit of classification is the species. The species makes up all the organisms and their apparent ancestors and descendants. Members of the species are much similar to their parents and can freely breed with other members of the same species without much complication.

Introduction
One of the most interesting fields of interest in the study of Biology is taxonomy. Although there are other fields out there such as ecology and embryology, taxonomy is easy to comprehend, restricted to a small set of structural information, and is good to know as reference. Taxonomy, also called systematics, is the study of the classification of all living organisms. The current method of taxonomy was started by Carlous Linnaeus which features organisms arranged into groups within groups within groups, on and on until an organism is defined within it's own species or individual group. This orderly classification helps scientists in a number of ways. One is that it keeps them clearly in sync with other scientists because of the existence of a universal system.

How it works
Originally, when Linnaues founded taxonomy, organisms were divided based on sole visible physical characteristics. Now they're separated based on any unique and defining features mainly external physical features and secondarily based on other features such as feeding habits.

Each organism is based on binomial nomenclature. This is in which an organism has two words to it's name. The first name is the genus and the second name is the specie. For example, humans are scientifically called Homo Sapiens - genus Homo, species Sapiens. The words that make up the names for the individual groups of taxonomy are based on  the Greek or Latin language. This makes for a universal language throughout the world. Otherwise an English scientist mentioning a "cat" to a Chinese person would be misunderstood because of language differences.

There are international commissions out there that help filter and record an updated listing of the classifications. Some names are based on the equivalent characteristics of the organism in Latin, or they could have no meaning at all and
are just named after their founder.

The Origins of Taxonomy
Classification has been around on earth ever since people paid attention to organisms. One primeval system that was  developed was based on "harmful" and "non-harmful" organisms. Then, the beloved Aristotle was the first to form a useful system of classification during the 300s BC. His was first based on whether the organism had red blood or didn't have red blood. Then he subdivided organisms such as plants by physical characteristics such as size and features. This
 system is somewhat crude by today's standards, yet it lasted over 2,000 years.

Eventually, as communication improved and science had advanced to a reasonable point, modern classification started to develop. The most popular founder was the Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus in the 1700s. He developed the system by which organisms are classified based on the unique characteristics that they had. He also invented the binomial nomenclature for naming. Linnaeus agreed with scientists that his work was somewhat crude, but it's purpose and general concepts were continually applied. Over time, as evolutionary studies were extrapolated, the classification system has become more advanced showing different groups and links. And as time goes on, classifications continue to change and are ever-growing.
 

There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms.

In just one acre there can be over a million earthworms
 
Baby worms are not born, but hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.
 
The Australian Gippsland Earthworm grows 12 feet long and can weigh 1½ pounds.
 
The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of it's tail.
  


DID YOU KNOW . . .

that Albert Einstein was considered retarded, Isaac Newton was thought to be a slow learner, Joseph Priestly (the discoverer of oxygen) never took a science course, and Louis Pasteur got a ďCĒ in chemistry.

that in 1876 when G. G. Hubbard learned of his future son-in-law's invention, he called it "only a toy." This daughter was engaged to a young man named Alexander Graham Bell.

that in 1969 the New York Times published an apology for once printing derisive comments about an inventor's theory.
 

Robert Goddard was on the receiving end of the Time's criticism of his contention that rockets could operate in outer space. The apology was printed the day after Apollo 11 left earth orbit for the moon.

that in the early 1940's a GE engineer was charged with a task of utmost importance to the war effort: develop a cheap substitute for rubber that would be used to produce tires, gas masks, and a whole host of military gear. James Wright tackled the task diligently -- and wound up inventing Silly Putty. Good thing he didn't work on the artificial heart.

that neither Wilber nor Orville Wright graduated from high school. However, they were both avid readers .

that Charles Goodyear began his experiments on rubber in a debtors' prison. He was there so often that he referred to it as his "hotel."

that Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox thought TV was just a passing fancy. In 1946 he said, 'Video won't be able to hold any market after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."

that in the fall of 1989 the Cold Fusion panel of the Energy Research Advisory Board to the DOE concluded, "The panel recommends against special funding for the investigation of phenomena attributed to cold fusion."



Long Live the Queen

The evolution of social life in ants and termites has been accompanied by an extraordinary royal perk -- a 100-fold increase among queen ants in average maximum lifespan, with some queens surviving for almost 30 years. This longevity can be attributed in part to the sheltered and pampered life of the royal egg layer.

SOURCE: Drs. Keller and Genoud in Nature


3-D..NA

Researchers are developing an evidence-detection system that would, with the aid of a flashing lamp and a pair of modified 3-D video game goggles, make organic substances such as semen and hair appear to blink, allowing investigators to locate potential evidence more quickly.

SOURCE: Sandia National Laboratories


Cat Giving You Ulcers?

Domestic cats, long considered a reservoir for H. pylori, the bacterium that causes most ulcers, have been given a clean bill of health by recent studies.

SOURCE: The American College of Gastroenterology


Moving Experience

Bore-hole seismometry indicates that the land in Oklahoma moves up and down 25cm throughout the day, corresponding with the tides. Earth tides are generally about one-third the size of ocean tides.

SOURCE: Oklahoma Geological Survey


Ah So

An electric Japanese toilet seat newly available in the US offers deluxe comforts including heating, a water spray, fan and antibacterial glazing- all for only US$800.

SOURCE: WSJ


Hedgehog Heaven

The New World has no hedgehogs of its own, only porcupines. A Canadian firm now offers overnight shipping of Erinaceus europaeus (the European Hedgehog) anywhere in the world.

SOURCE: Fairview Hedgehog Farm


Pumpkin Projectiles

The world distance record for heaving a pumpkin without the use of explosives is 2,710 feet, held by the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator. The pumpkin achieved a velocity of 600 mph. The same team will attempt Mach I with its next pumpkin launch.

SOURCE: WSJ


Channel Changes

Why is there no channel 1 on television sets? Back in 1939, the dawn of TV era, RCA angered the Federal Communications Commission, which responded by giving channel 1 bandwidth ot FM radio.

SOURCE: Discovery Channel



Songs of  Sea, on Air

A new radio station in Vancouver, British Columbia, broadcasts continuous, live transmissions from beneath the ocean's surface. ORCA FM allows researchers to tune in to the squeals and clicks of hundreds of whales, along with assorted fish grunts and mussel pops.

SOURCE: Vancouver Aquarium



Stuff It, Honey

When female wasps return to the colony after foraging, they may initiate aggressive encounters with males and stuff them head first into empty nest cells. Cornell University researchers who observed the behavior call it "male-stuffing," and believe it contributes to the colony's fitness by making more food available to larvae.

SOURCE: Cornell University



Universe Rejuvenated

Physicists now believe the universe to be three billion years younger than previously thought. New information gathered by the Hipparcos satellite, combined with a reanalysis of other distance data, has enabled researchers to refine the lower age limit of the universe to 9.6 billion years.
 
SOURCE: Lawrence Krauss et al., Case Western Reserve University



Digital Confessional

Alcoholics are twice as likely to confess a drinking problem to a computer than to a doctor, say researchers in Wisconsin.

SOURCE: New Scientist, 10/97



Medication Nightmare

The bathroom medicine cabinet is one of the worst places to keep medicines. The heat and moisture of the bathroom are just the conditions required to alter medication chemistry, making them weaker and possibly ineffective, and in some cases, toxic. A cool dry area away from sunlight and children is optimal.

SOURCE: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center



Top 10 Backyard Birds

The most frequently seen birds at feeders across North America last winter were the Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch and American goldfinch, along with downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees, house sparrows, northern cardinals and european starlings.

SOURCE: Project Feederwatch



Eat Healthy

Between three and four million cases of cancer worldwide -- 375,000 in the United States alone -- could be prevented  annually through dietary change

SOURCE: New report by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund



Big Fish

The largest Great White Shark ever caught measured 37 feet and weighed 24,000 pounds. It was found in a herring weir in New Brunswick in 1930. The harmless Whale Shark, holds the title of largest fish, with the record being a 59 footer captured in Thailand in 1919.

SOURCE: Ocean Link



Immortal Worm

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ages the equivalent of 5 human years for every day they live, usually expiring after 14 days. However, when stressed, the worm goes into a state of suspended animation that can last for 2 months or more. The human equivalent would be to sleep for about 200 years.

Source: Science 8/15/97



Dino Digger

At first they didn't believe three-year old David Shiffler when he claimed to have found a dinosaur egg with his toy backhoe. However, a trip to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science eventually showed he had discovered one of the oldest (150 million years) dinosaur egg known.

Source: Wires 6/97



Health Irony

Men who donate blood have a 30% reduced risk of heart disease compared to those who do not. The difference is attributed to reduced levels of iron following blood donation.

SOURCE: David Meyers, M.D., University of Kansas, in the journal Heart



EXCLUSIVE CLUB

Skunks, long forced to live on the same taxonomic branch as weasels (Mustelid) have now been given their own family classification, Mephitidae. In addition to the hog-nosed, striped and spotted skunks of North America, the family includes the stink badger from Asia.

SOURCE: Journal of Mammology, Summer 1997



TINY TUNES

Nanotechnology has produced a guitar no bigger than a blood cell. The guitar, 10 micrometers long, has six strummable strings.

SOURCE: Cornell University



SUNNY WEED KILLER

Sunflowers have long been used to control weeds in field crops. They possess a property called allelopathy by which they produce natural plant toxins around their roots.

SOURCE: NY Times



MUSSEL POWER

Mussels can thrive in polluted water because of an inborn ability to purify bacteria, fungi and viruses. Swedish scientists have isolated the purifying protein used by the mussel and hope to market a new alternative to chlorine and other methods now in use for cleaning water.

SOURCE: Micro Active Protein AB



FLYING TOADS

Motorists driving near the town of Villa Angel Flores near Culiacan, exico were surprised by a shower of  live toads. The phenomenon was attributed to a toronado grabbing the the amphibians  from nearby pond.

SOURCE: Reuters



STICKY FINGERS

A fingerprint left at a crime scene  can provide enough DNA to profile a suspect, aiding forensic efforts at solving crime.

SOURCE:  R. van Oorschot and M. Jones of the Victoria Forensic
Science Centre in Victoria, Australia, published in the journal Nature.



MOUNTAIN MAN

The tallest man in documented medical history was Robert Pershing Wadlow. Shortly before his death in 1940 in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 22, Wadlow was measured at 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall.  His height was attributed to a medical condition known as gigantism, in which a tumor of the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone.

SOURCE:  Johns Hopkins University



NANOTUBULAR

A cousin to the buckball, a new molecular form of carbon known as the fullerene nanotube, can now be made in the lab. These single carbon molecules are so small that nanotubes sufficiently long to span the 250,000 miles between earth and the moon could be loosely rolled into a ball the size of a poppyseed.

SOURCE: July-August 1997 issue of AMERICAN SCIENTIST



POTATO PLANET

The potato is the most widely grown vegetable in the world. About 1.4 million acres of land in the U.S. are used to produce potatoes each year. About seventy percent (70%) of these potatoes are produced in the northern regions of the country, namely Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Maine and the State of Washington.  The annual value of the U.S. crop is estimated to be nearly $3 Billion.

SOURCE: Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture



LOSE SLEEP, LOSE MONEY

The direct costs of sleep disorders and sleep deprivation in the United States may have been as much as $15.9 billion in 1990. Some studies indicate that insomnia can be predictive of future mental illness.

SOURCE: Study by The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research



THANKS

The average teacher spent more than $400 from his or her own pocket for classroom materials in 1994-1995.

SOURCE: Survey of public school teachers released by the National Education Association.



AMAZONIA

The Amazon region contains the largest body of fresh water and the
largest rain forest in the world.  It is home to at least 15,000  documented animal species, 8,000 of which were new to biology when  they were discovered. At least 40% of the world's freshwater fish and 25% of the world's bird species reside there.

SOURCE: Agronomy Department of the University of Wisconsin, Madison



THE PLOT THICKENS

In Victorian times, estate gardeners never planted grape vines without first burying a dead donkey underneath the plot.

Source: Sue Phillips, "Garden Party"



PIGS FLY (VIRTUALLY)

Given sufficient amounts of  chocolate candies,  pigs can master video game skills, and perform far better than dogs.

SOURCE: Professor Stanley Curtis, Pennsylvania State University on the BBC's QED



GASP!

Citizens of smog-ridden Los Angeles can now avail of snorts of pure oxygen at a number of oxygen bars. Twenty dollars gets you 20 minutes of plain or fruit scented oxygen.

SOURCE: AAP



HAZMAT

Proper decontamination procedures for those spilling pure H20 include 'irrigating thoroughly with water', wearing rubber gloves and diluting any spillage with, yes, plenty of water.

SOURCE: Data sheet from British chemical wholesaler BDH



KILLER READ

Road pizza fans won't want to miss a the release of the first book designed to help identify flattened creatures, "Common Animals of Roads, Streets and Highways: A field guide to flattened fauna", by Professor Roger Knutsen.

SOURCE: Wires



NOT SO COMMON

Eleven species of common birds in England are dwindling fast, including sparrows, partridges and skylarks. Their numbers are down 89%, 82% and 58% from 1969, respectively. The decline is attributed to increased use of pesticides.

SOURCE: Joint Nature Conservancy Committee



GO WITH THE FLOE

Fifteen members of a high school science class field trip spent an unexpected three days on an ice berg when the ice field they camped on broke free and floated away. They were rescued by helicopter 25 miles from where they began.

SOURCE: AP



KEEP UP THE PACE

A 115 year old man received a new pacemaker after the one he received when he was 104 wore out.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins University



A REAL BLAST

Olympus Mons, a volcano found on Mars, is the largest volcano found in the galaxy. It is 370 miles across and rises up 15 miles

SOURCE:  SATLINK Magazine 


GOT A SPARE TRILLION?

The estimated value of services provided by the global ecosystem (water, food, materials etc.) runs between $16 and $54 trillion per year.

SOURCE May 15th, 1997  issue of the journal Nature, co-authored by 13 ecologists, geographers and economists.



GOLF BALL CONSUMPTION

European health experts have issued a strong warning to the public on the hazards of golf ball licking. A patient who habitually licked his golf ball clean before teeing off  ended up in the hospital with liver disease associated with pesticides on the balls. His prognosis improved when he stopped cleaning his balls in this manner.

SOURCE: April 1997 issue of the British Medical Association's journal "Gut", reporting research by  Dr. Connor Burke of James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.



FOLIC MUTATION

Up to 15% of people may have a genetic mutation inhibiting folic acid metabolism. This would put them at risk for folic acid deficiency even if they consumed the recommended amounts of this essential nutrient.

SOURCE: Lancet, May 30, 1997



DILLO FACT

Female armadillos usually bear litters of  identical quadruplets. The female armadillo can also delay implantation of a fertilized egg for as long as two years after mating.

SOURCE: Dr. Eleanor Storrs, research professor of biology emeritus at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.



ANOTHER 'DILLO FACT

Because of their unusually low body temperatures, armadillos are prone to leprosy. Scientists are studying this phenomenon in hope of learning more about leprosy in humans.

SOURCE: Dr. Eleanor Storrs, research professor of biology emeritus at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.



GRIZZLY FACTS

A grizzly can sprint 50 yards in three seconds. Don't worry though, grizzly bears get 80 percent of their diet from roots, nuts, vegetation and berries. Not only that, more people are struck by lightning each year than attacked by grizzlies.

SOURCE: PBS



INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

Contrary to popular belief, modern man is actually shorter than his prehistoric forbears. The average person was about ten percent taller 30,000 years ago compared with the average person today. The human brain has also shrunk over the millennia.

SOURCE: Johns Hopkins anatomy professor Dr. Christopher Ruff 



MASSIVE DENSITY

The nucleus of the atom has a very high density (1.0 x 10 to the 14th g/mL).  One milliliter of nuclear matter would have a mass of 1.1 x 10 to the 8th tons! Where would look for such a thing? In a black hole in space.

Source:  In Preparation for College Chemistry, Fourth Ed.; William S. Seese & G. William Daub; Prentice Hall 1990.



AS LONG AS IT'S GENETIC

Americans are more likely to support gay rights, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and funding for research on mental illness if they think certain behaviors are determined primarily by heredity and genes rather than by upbringing and environment.

SOURCE: Quality-Quotient poll from U.S. News & World Report and Bozell Worldwide. 


FIRST OFFENSE?

An Australian man was convicted recently of assaulting a policeman after chewing garlic and breathing on the constable during a traffic stop.

SOURCE: Reuter


SMELL THAT COFFEE

There may be three times as much antioxidant cancer-fighting power in the steam coming from a cup of coffee as there is in three oranges.

SOURCE: Study by University of California at Davis chemist  Takayuki Shibamoto presented at  the 213th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.


SEVEN CHOICES

Two-thirds of cancer deaths can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices. The American Cancer Society suggests seven choices:

Cut out tobacco
Hold the fat
Opt for high-fiber fruits, vegetables and grains.
Intake of alcohol: only in moderation.
Call your doctor for regular checkups
Exercise every day
Safeguard your skin from the sun.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society


RATS

A cash-for-rats campaign has seen the rodent population in Vietnam decline by eight million in the past six months. The governnment instituted the program to safeguard crops.

SOURCE: Reuter


EAT YER CHOCOLATE

Desperate to increase veggie intake among children in Britain, researchers have developed chocolate-flavored carrots, pizza-flavored corn and baked-bean flavored peas.

SOURCE: Cancer Research Campaign


CHOCOLATE CHIRPS

Insects are the  entrees at Purdue University's annual Bug Bowl, April 18-20. The menu  includes chocolate chirpy chip cookies, mealworm chow mein and a trail mix called "caterpillar crunch." Recipes available at the web site.

SOURCE: Purdue Bug Bowl 


LIFE IS A BOWL OF COLD CEREAL

People who regularly start each day eating a bowl of cold breakfast cereal tend to consume more fiber and calcium -- but less fat -- than people who breakfast on other foods.

SOURCE: University of  North Carolina at Chapel Hill study presented at the Experimental Biology 1997scientific meeting in New Orleans.


Early Flight

Researchers have found the fossilized remains of what may be the first vertebrate to fly. Born 250 million years ago, Coelurosauravus jaekeli, was a one-foot long lizard with strange detached rod-like bones in wing area.

SOURCE: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Hans-Dieter Sues.


Making the Grade

Percentage of high school seniors with an A average who smoke cigarettes daily: 7.
Percentage of seniors with a D average who smoke daily: 46.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society


HAIR TODAY

Number of men who have undergone hair transplants: one in 547.

SOURCE: American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons


IRON FACT

One in 10 toddlers, young girls and women of childbearing age do not get enough iron in their diets, according to a new study of  more than 24,000 people.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association.


SUNSCREEN ANYONE?

The risk for developing malignant melanoma has increased 1,800% in the US since 1930. The cancer now claims a life every hour.

SOURCE: Dr.  Darrell Rigel. at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.


GENOME BIZ

Scientists expect 3,000 and 10,000 new drug targets to emerge from genomics research. They are just not sure when.

SOURCE: Nature,  April 1997 


HEY OLDTIMER

In 1960, an estimated 4,000 people were over 100 years old in the U.S. By 1995 the number had jumped to : 55,000.

SOURCE: Center for Demographic Studies, Duke University


PLAGUE!

Bubonic plague killed millions of people throughout Europe in the Dark Ages. In 1996, five  cases of plague were reported in the U.S.

SOURCE: Department of Health and Human Services


VANISHING SEAHORSES

 More than 20,000,000 seahorses are harvested each year for folk medicinal purposes. The world seahorse population has dropped 70% in the past 10 years.

SOURCE: Amanda Vincent, on the NOVA special "Kingdom of the Seahorse" 


High Flyers

The snow goose completes its 3,000 mile return to its Arctic home at an altitude of  3,000 feet and an average speed of  50 miles per hour. It  achieves this task on a diet of  grass, bulbs, berries and slugs.

SOURCE: Audubon


Birdland

About 80 percent of all bird species in the world inhabit wetlands. These wetlands provide rest stops for migrating birds with water, bountiful food supplies and shelter.

SOURCE: Audubon


Cost of Laughing

The cost of having a good laugh went up three percent this year, based on the Cost of Living Index, a compilation of leading laughter indicators including the wholesale price of rubber chickens and the going rate for an half-hour TV comedy script.

SOURCE: Humor Consultant Malcolm Kushner


Where Eagles Dare

The ongoing Australian campaign to eliminate its non-native rabbit population by spreading a bunny-killing virus may be working too well. The public is now being warned to be on the alert for hungry eagles attacking motorists on some highways.

SOURCE: Wires



CHUB FACTOR

More than one-third of Americans are overweight. However, some are more overweight than others. New Orleans and San Antonio have the highest rate of chubbiness, while San Diego and Denver have the lowest.

SOURCE: Coalition for Excess Weight Risk Education


FERTILE GROUND

A survey of one square-yard of pasture in Denmark yielded 50,000 small earthworms, 50,000 insects and mites, and nearly 12 million roundworms. A single pinch of that soil contained more than 30,000 protozoa, 50,000 algae, 400,000 fungi and unknown numbers of types of bacteria, with billions of individuals in each species.

SOURCE: Stanford ecologist Gretchen Daily


TRIPLES QUADRUPLE 

The number of triplets born in the US in 1994 (4,594) was more than triple the number born in 1971 (1,034), an increase attributed to older age of the mothers and the use of fertility-enhancing drugs and techniques.

SOURCE: The National Center for Health Statistics


WATER YOU SAYING?

Ten trillion tons of water are stored in reservoirs all over the world at any given moment. This water storage interupts the natural hydrological cycle, shifting the weight of the Earth towards the poles. Because of the conservation of angular momentum, the end result is that the length of a day is now 0.000008 of a second shorter than it was forty years ago.

SOURCE: Brendan McWIlliams, "Weather Eye"


GARLIC DRAWS BLOODSUCKERS

Garlic repels bloodsuckers? Under laboratory conditions, two out of three leeches survyed preferred to attach to hand smeared with garlic rather than a clean hand.

SOURCE: Norwegian Medical Journal, Tidskrift for Den Norske Laegfoerning, 1994;114: 585-86. 


ORBITAL STRIKE

An object of space debris less than 1/8 in diameter traveling at 22,000 mph would strike an orbiting space station with the equivalent force of a bowling ball traveling 60 mph.

SOURCE: National Research Council


EAU DE PEW

Good news for skunk lovers- an Illinois company is now manufacturing "Eau de Pew" a perfume created from diluted skunk scent. Interested? Call (800) 8-WHIFFY

SOURCE: Wires


BEDROOM PREFERENCES

A vast majority of married men sleep on the right hand side of the bed (facing from the headboard), regardless of race, creed or age. Divorced men often switch to left side.

SOURCE: Lancet, 1996; 348:970


POINTED STATISTIC

55,700 people in the US are injured by jewelry each year. SOURCE: 1996 US Statistical Abstract 


SPUD FACTS

Some 250 varieties of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are grown in the United States today. Andean natives were already cultivating three thousand varieties before the Spaniards arrived.

SOURCE: Ethnobotany 


Saint Pat's Other Day

Saint Patrick's day should properly be celebrated on March 21. His death is reported falling on the vernal equinox in 461 A.D. In that year, the calendar date for the vernal equinox had fallen back approximately four days since the establishment of the Julian calendar in 46 BC from March 21 to March 17.

SOURCE: Irish Times


BATTY

The two main species of Irish bats are distinguishable by the churches they attend. Natterer's bats are found only in Protestant belfries while Long-eared bats take up residence only in Catholic churches. Biologists attribute this to differences in roof construction.

SOURCE: Irish biologist Kate McAney


SPUD SLAVES

The Spanish who invaded South America fed potatoes, in combination with another well-known plant, coca, to their Indian silver mine laborers, which kept the slaves working at a feverish pitch under incredibly difficult conditions.

SOURCE: Ethnobotany


STOUT-HEARTED MAN

Lord Guinness, the Irish aristrocrat that acquired the Dublin brewery that bears his name in 1759, liked the product so much he insisted on a long-term lease, 9000 years to be exact.

SOURCE: Guinness Home Page


POTATO DIVERSITY

The failure of the potato crop in Ireland leading to the Great Famine of 1845 during which one million people died, while caused by a fungal infection, can be attributed to a lack of genetic diversity among potato crops in Europe at that time.

SOURCE: Ethnobotany


GREEN GENES

Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin are studying the genetic basis of Irishness. A team of geneticists are analyzing small segments of DNA from Irish people in different parts of the country and comparing them with corresponding DNA segments from people elsewhere around Europe and the world.

SOURCE: IRISH TIMES


HEARTS AND FLOWERS

The first known heart medicine was discovered in an English garden. In 1799, physician John Ferriar noted the effect of dried leaves of the common foxglove plant, digitalis purpurea, on heart action. Still used in heart medications, digitalis slows the pulse and increases the force of heart contractions and the amount of lood pumped per heartbeat.

SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 


YOU'RE DYNAMITE, VALENTINE

In 1867, nitroglycerin, a key ingredient of dynamite, was found to relieve symptoms of angina, or chest pain. It is still used in medicines to open arteries and lower blood pressure.

SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 


A STIMULATING RELATIONSHIP

In 1901, researchers isolated adrenaline, a substance secreted by the adrenal glands. Used in medicines to stimulate the heart, adrenaline is obtained from the glands of cattle. It takes 12,000 head of cattle to produce one pound of adrenaline, but the substance can also be synthesized.

SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 


WASHINGTON CONFUSION

George Washington considered his birthday to be February 11 (1731) for the first 19 years of his life. The date changed to February 22 when the Britain became the last country in Europe to replace the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar now in use.

SOURCE: New York Public Library Desk Reference


HAPPY LUPERCAL, VAL...

The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility began on February14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine.

SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY 


FEBRUARY CAN'T BE BEAT

On the Roman holiday Lupercal (February 14) goats were sacrificed and the blood was smeared on two specially chosen youths. The youths would then run all around Rome with strips of goat hide in their hands. Women would strive to be beaten with these strips, known as februa (purifiers). Hence, February gets its name as the month of purification.

SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY 


IN A HEARTBEAT

The average heart beats 100,000 each day.

SOURCE: American Heart Association 


HAVE A HEART

If all major forms of cardiovascular disease were eliminated, human life expectancy would increase by 9.78 years.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics 


LINCOLN LINKS

Lincoln's Secretary was named Kennedy, while Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln. Both presidents were succeeded by Southerners. Both successors were named Johnson.

SOURCE: Oliver Stone Club


CAT-ASTROPHE

For the first time, the number of pet cats in the US now outnumbers the number of dogs, 60 million vs. 50 million.

SOURCE: Cornell University


LONG JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

Astronomers at the University of Maine have spotted what appears to be the longest single structure yet seen in the universe, a supercluster of galaxies about one billion light-years in length.

SOURCE: American Astronomical Society


THE GOING RATE

Various companies offer to freeze your body after death for potential reviving later. Current prices:

SOURCE: WSJ 1/31/97 


TREEHOG

The groundhog "Marmota monax" also known as the woodchuck is actually a good tree climber and swimmer. The natural range stretches from southern Alaska to northern Georgia.

SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine 


WHY FEBRUARY 2?

Celestially speaking, Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the midpoint of winter.

SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine 


HOGGING THE LIME LIGHT

Specially bred groundhogs have played a key role as laboratory animals in the fight against liver disease. Research with the animals provided proof that hepatitis B virus infection is the proximate cause of liver cancer and that immunization against the virus can prevent liver cancer.

SOURCE: Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine 


PREDICTING WHAT?

In the past 60 years, the groundhog has only predicted the weather correctly 28% of the time. The rushing back and forth from burrows is believed to indicate sexual activity, not shadow seeking.

SOURCE: New York Public Library Desk Reference 


ANNIVERSARY 1797

Two-hundred smoke-filled years ago the first cigarette was produced, in Cuba. Tobacco itself was first described 500 years ago by a monk accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New World.

SOURCE: Nature


FACE THE FUTURE

The Christmas holidays are the busiest time in plastic surgeons offices. The average "facelift" will set you back about $4156.00

SOURCE: American Society of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.


ANNIVERSARY 1897

In 1897 Joseph John Thomson identified the electron, the first atomic particle to be described. He received the Nobel Prize in 1906.

SOURCE: Nature


ANNIVERSARY 1897, Pt.2

One hundred years ago the German chemist Adolf Wilhelm von Baeyer synthesized the indigo dye, which soon drove the world's indigo planters into bankruptcy.

SOURCE: Nature


GOOD NEWS SPROUT LOVERS

Brussel srouts contain a compound called sinigrin, which is in a class of cancer-fighting compounds called glucosinolates. In early studies, a single dose of singrin suppressed cancer in lab. animals.

SOURCE: New Scientist 12/96


AULD LANG HOLLY BUSH?

The world's.oldest plant appears to be a unique Holly bush growing on the island of Tasmania. Evidence suggests the plant has been clonally reproducing for 40,000 years. The "Lomatia tasmania", the only known specimen, is only 26 feet high, but at lest a mile wide.

SOURCE: Stephen Harris, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.


IT'S OFFICIAL, IT'S COLD OUT!

The Northeast US shivered its way through the eighth coldest November for the region in 102 years of record. The average temperature for the 12-state region was 34.6 degrees -- 4.7 degrees colder than normal. The record is 32.8 degrees, set in 1901.

SOURCE: Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. 


VILLAGE PEOPLE

If the world's population were considered as a village of 1,000 people: There would be 584 Asians, 124 Africans, 84 Latin Americans, 95 Eastern/Western Europeans, 55 (former) Soviets, 52 North Americans, 4 Australians and 2 New Zealanders. There would be 330 children and only 60 people over the age of 65. The professions would include seven teachers and one doctor.

SOURCE: The World Village Project 


TINY BUBBLES

Careful chemical analysis reveals that for the bubbliest bubbles champage should include: a good mix of chardonnay varietal grapes and nine to 18 months of aging in the bottle.

SOURCE: Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 12/18/96


COSTS A LEAPING?

The cost of purchasing every item mentioned in the "12 days of Christmas" has increased 5.7% from last year, to $13,196. While swans and golden rings have dropped in price, dancers and milkmaids fees have increased.

SOURCE: PNC Bank Corp.


BLUE NOSE SPECIAL?

Fearing drunkenness and debauchery, our Puritan forebears did not celebrate Christmas. Excessive eating, drinking and making merry were strictly prohibited and punished with a fine of five shillings.

SOURCE: Stephen Nussbaum, "The Battle for Christmas", Knopf.


HAVE A SUPER SATURNALIA!

 Long before there was a Christmas, Egyptians brought green palm branches into their homes on the shortest day of the year in December as a symbol of life's triumph over death. Similarly, the ancient Romans adorned their homes with evergreens during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, their god of agriculture.

SOURCE: US Christmas Tree Organization


LUCKY DOG

 Americans spend five BILLION dollars a year on gifts for their pets. Aside from dogs and cats, some 40% of birds and 48% of hamsters are on gifts li sts.

SOURCE: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.


OH CHRISTMAS TREE

 It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height (6 feet), but the average growing time is 7 years. While all 50 US States produce Christmas trees, the top producing states are Oregon, ichigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina.

SOURCE: US Christmas Tree Organization


HAIR OF THE DOG

Pet lovers are lining up to have winter wear made from the fur of their favorite Fido's. For about $400, any qualified dog clothing professional will spin a bag of fallen fur into yarn and then make a truly one-of-a-kind sweater.

SOURCE: WSJ, 12/6/96.


LUCY

 Lucy, the famous 3 million year old female Australopithecus skeleton found in Ethiopia 1974, was named after the Beatles hit "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", a song that could constantly be heard playing in the campsite at the time.

SOURCE: Lucy Home Page


FRIGID AIR

 Space-based measurements of the temperature of the Earth's lower stratosphere indicate that September 1996 was the coldest month on record since measurements began in 1979. The chill is attributed to ozone loss in the stratosphere.

SOURCE: NASA


HAPPIER HEIFERS?

The latest item in cow comfort is a Dutch-designed bovine waterbed. The makers claim that, after the cows get used to it, milk production increases

SOURCE: Dunlop-Enerka, Ltd.


KERMIT JR.?

A new species of diminutive frog discovered in Cuba is believed to be the smallest terrestrial vertebrate in the Northern Hemisphere, measuring only 10 mm in length.

SOURCE: The journal Copeia, 12/96 .


CANINE RESOLUTIONS?

 If your mutt is getting porky why not enroll it in one of the new doggy health spas, such as Total Dog in Los Angeles, CA. A fee of $800 per year gets your dog access to treadmills, swimming pools, massage, spa cuisine and of course, personal trainers.

SOURCE: WSJ.


BATTY

 The two main species of Irish bats are distinguishable by the churches they attend. Natterer's bats are found only in Protestant belfries while Long-eared bats take up residence only in Catholic churches. Biologists attribute this to differences in roof construction.

SOURCE: Irish biologist Kate McAney.


SPIDER BARBS

 Tarantulas are the latest pet craze. The bite of the tarantula spider is unlikely to harm most humans. But watch out for their hairy legs! When angered, tarantulas can fling the barbed leg hairs into the eye's of unsuspecting pet owners causing serious medical complications.

SOURCE: Archives of Disease In Childhood, 12/96


HOT STUFF

The heat of spicy red peppers comes from the capsaicin molecule produced in the placental ridges, not the seeds, as often thought.

SOURCE: Thai Guy


TALKING TRASH

 What's in our trash?

SOURCE: Eco Web 


WORMS WITH THAT?

Microscopic worms called nematodes are now widely used to combat the black vine weevil which can destroy cranberry crops. Millions of nematodes are sprayed periodically onto cranberry fields as an ecologically benign control method.

SOURCE: SOURCE: Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada


TURKEY CHICKEN? 

Turkey was a staple in the diet of many Native Americans. However, while some natives venerated the bird, the Cheyenne and Apache feared it would make them cowardly and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers.

SOURCE: Butterball


TURKEY TIME 

Turkeys will peck to death members of the flock that are physically inferior or different. This may represent an instinct to preserve the species by preventing the reproduction of inferior gene stock.

SOURCE: Dr. Frank T. Jones, professor of poultry science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 


DRINK ANYONE? 

It is not a myth, flocks of turkeys have been known to drown in the rain as one after the other raises its beak for a drink. The turkey's appear to be obeying the nstinct to follow the leader.

SOURCE: Dr. Frank T. Jones, professor of poultry science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. 


TURKEY BOOM

The number of wild turkeys in the US has increased from an all time low of 30,000 to more than four million today. One state park in Iowa now boasts more than 100 turkeys per square mile.

SOURCE: National Wild Turkey Federation


PUMPKIN LOVE 

Male volunteers subjected to a variety of scents displayed the greatest increase in pelvic blood flow when exposed to pumpkin pie spices, and the least stimulation in response to the odor of cranberries.

SOURCE: Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment Foundation. 


SPACE TURKEY

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate roasted turkey from foil packets at their first meal on the moon.

SOURCE: Butterbal l


PER DIEM

An apple a day really DOES keep the medical profession at bay. A study of 11,000 English people showed that those who ate fresh fruit every day had significantly fewer heart attacks and strokes than those who did not.

SOURCE: British Medical Journal 9/27/96


VEGGING OUT

Broccoli consumption has increased 940 percent in the USA since 1971. His and other essential broccoli information is available at new interactive web page dedicated to the cruciferous vegetable.

SOURCE: Broccoli World


TOP TEN BUGS

A new government survey reveals: the top 10 most common reported infectious diseases in the US are- SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


FRENCH FOOD?

In Miami, Florida, roosting vultures have taken to snatching poodles from rooftop patios.

SOURCE: PBS- WILD WORLD


SHARK PROTECTION FACTOR?

For the first time, marine biologists have demonstrated that sharks exposed to full solar radiation (AKA sunshine) develop increased skin concentrations of the pigment melanin (AKA sun tan).

SOURCE: Christopher Lowe and Gwen-Goodman Lowe of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in the journal Nature


TIGER VANISHING ACT

At current rates of exploitation, all of the tigers in India's will all be wiped out within five years. The traditional Chinese medicine trade pays top prices for tiger bones, skins, teeth, penises and nails.

SOURCE: The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency 


ONKEY BUSINESS

Back in 1919 the Russian transplant pioneer Serge Voronoff made headlines by grafting monkey testicles onto human males. The procedure became popular in the US and his patients included the rich, famous, and...physicians.

SOURCE: The Monkey Gland Affair, Dr. David Hamilton


DO THE MATH

111,111,111 multiplied by 111,111,111 equals 12,345,678,987,654,321

SOURCE: Jim Cobb


FAST BREAKFAST

Thirty-six percent of adult Americans have had cold pizza for breakfast within the past month. Another 29% start off the day with soft drinks while a dedicated eight percent begin with cookies. Only 11 percent of families eat breakfast together daily.

SOURCE: General Mills survey of 500 Americans (1996)


BUTTERFLY, WHY?

UK geneticist Cyril Clarke solved the mystery of Rh hemolytic disease in humans while pursuing his hobby of hand-mating butterfies, the key observation being that all hybrid butterflies were sterile.

SOURCE: New Scientist, 3 Feb '83


WELCOME HOME

During her record long 188 day stay in the Mir Space Station, NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid covered 75 million miles circling the Earth 3,008 times, aloft longer than any US atronaut.

SOURCE: NASA


SURFIN' VOTERS

Web surfers are active voters. More than nine out of ten Web users responding to a recent on-line questionnaire reported they were registered to vote, while 63 percent said they had participated in the most recent local, legislative or national elections.

SOURCE:Georgia Institute of Technology researcher Jim Pitkow


GENERAL GUMBALL

The same man who led the attack on the Alamo, Mexican Military General, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, is also credited with the invention of chewing gum. After retiring to Staten Island, NY, the General successfully commercialized a gum product developed from a wad of chicle (dried sap of the Sapodilla tree) he had brought with him.

SOURCE: AOL Fabulous Facts


NIGHT LIGHTS

Not simply invisible, the aurora borealis, or "northern lights", does not occur in daylight. This finding followed 150 million measurements made by five weather satellites. These showed that auroral intensity correlates to the level of electrical conductivity in the ionosphere, higher and more stable during the daytime.

SOURCE: Nature. June 27, 1996.


SUN BURPS

The Sun burps a couple times each day, luckily not in our face. These "coronal mass ejections" of hot, electrically charged gas from the star's corona can change the Earth's magnetic field and induce electrical currents in power grids strong enough to destroy transformers and bring down electrical power distributions systems over substantial areas.

SOURCE: Conference on "Coronal Mass Ejection", August 1996, Montana State University-Bozeman. 


POUND OF FLESH

The average human has about 20 square feet of skin weighing about six pounds

SOURCE: G. Bandreth, "Your Vital Statistics", Guinness BWR.


ARS

So far, only 12 meteorites found on Earth have been determined to have originated on Mars.

SOURCE: NASA


DOGGY DNA

A biotech company has developed a precise DNA testing system for use in canine parentage determination.You just have to get the dog to sit still while you swab some tissue from inside its cheek.

SOURCE: PR NEWSWIRE


DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME

1,000s of asthamtics converge on the Indian city of Hyderabad once each year to swallow live fish stuffed with an herbal treatment. The herbal recipe has been in a single family for generations

SOURCE: REUTERS


FLYING FOXES

Australians are being warned to 'take reasonable precautions' when handling flying foxes. The animals harbor a morbilivirus that can cause illness and death in humans.

SOURCE: Australian Dr. 


RHINOS

The earliest known relative of the rhinoceros was just four inches long. A later cousin stood over 33 feet high.

SOURCE: PALEOWORLD


LIVER IT UP

October has officially been designated "Liver Appreciation Month" by the US Congress. The liver is the heaviest internal organ. At 3 pounds or more, it is four times heavier than the heart.

SOURCE: Liver Lovers Anonymous


GOOD DOG

A terrier that withstood countless bites from a five-foot long poisonous snake after diving off a balcony to rescue three children from the reptile has become Australias first animal to receive a medal for valor, the RSPCA's Purple Cross Bravery Award.

SOURCE: Reuters


STUBBORN CHROMOSOMES

ules (offspring of donkey and mare) widely believed to be sterile, have on occasion produced offspring, as have hinnies (offspring of stallion and she-ass). Fertile she-mules mated with donkeys have produced mules, while she-mule mated with stallions have produced horse foals. It is all the more remarkable since donkeys have 62 chromosomes while horses have 64.

SOURCE: British Mule Society


CHOMP!

The jaws of Tyrannosaurus rex could exert a force of 3,011 pounds, enough to crush your car. By comparison, a human exerts a maximum force of about 175 pounds with the rear teeth, an African lion about 937 pounds, and an alligator slightly less than 3,000 pounds.

SOURCE: Nature 8/21/96


ICE HOT

An average iceberg would require burning 2 million gallons of gasoline to reduce it to a liquid state.

SOURCE: Tufty, 1001 Questions Answered About Hurricanes, Toronadoes and other Natural Air Disasters


BIG PEEVES

Top five pet peeves in the workplace?

5. Speakerphones
4. Foul Language
3. Overbearing difficult boss
2. Office gossip
1. Co-workers annoying habit.

SOURCE: Survey by Norelco Inc.


BY A NECK

Three percent of the 100 million ties sold in the US each year are bow ties.

SOURCE:Neckwear Association of America


GENERAL GUMBALL

The same man who led the attack on the Alamo, Mexican Military General, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, is also credited with the invention of chewing gum. After retiring to Staten Island, NY, the General successfully commercialized a gum product developed from a wad of chicle (dried sap of the Sapodilla tree) he had brought with him.

SOURCE: AOL Fabulous Facts


NIGHT LIGHTS

Not simply invisible, the aurora borealis, or "northern lights", does not occur in daylight. This finding followed 150 million measurements made by five weather satellites. These showed that auroral intensity correlates to the level of electrical conductivity in the ionosphere, higher and more stable during the daytime.

SOURCE: Nature. June 27, 1996.


SUN BURPS

The Sun burps a couple times each day, luckily not in our face. These "coronal mass ejections" of hot, electrically charged gas from the star's corona can change the Earth's magnetic field and induce electrical currents in power grids strong enough to destroy transformers and bring down electrical power distributions systems over substantial areas.

SOURCE: Conference on "Coronal Mass Ejection", August 1996, Montana State University-Bozeman. 


POUND OF FLESH

The average human has about 20 square feet of skin weighing about six pounds

SOURCE: G. Bandreth, "Your Vital Statistics", Guinness BWR.


ARS

So far, only 12 meteorites found on Earth have been determined to have originated on Mars.

SOURCE: NASA


DOGGY DNA

A biotech company has developed a precise DNA testing system for use in canine parentage determination.You just have to get the dog to sit still while you swab some tissue from inside its cheek.

SOURCE: PR NEWSWIRE


DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME

1,000s of asthamtics converge on the Indian city of Hyderabad once each year to swallow live fish stuffed with an herbal treatment. The herbal recipe has been in a single family for generations

SOURCE: REUTERS


FLYING FOXES

Australians are being warned to 'take reasonable precautions' when handling flying foxes. The animals harbor a morbilivirus that can cause illness and death in humans.

SOURCE: Australian Dr. 


RHINOS

The earliest known relative of the rhinoceros was just four inches long. A later cousin stood over 33 feet high.

SOURCE: PALEOWORLD


SPACE SHUTTLE COCK

The shuttlecock has been clocked at speeds up to 200 miles per hour in championship badminton matches.

SOURCE: UPI


OLYMPIC SACRIFICE

A record 21 pigeons were shot by a Belgian contestant during the "Live Pigeon Shoot" event in the 1900 Olympics.

SOURCE: Olympics Factbook, Visible Ink Press


IRISH GOLD

Ireland's Michelle Smith has won three Gold Medals in swimming events at the 1996 Olympics. Amazingly, there is not a single 50 meter pool in all of Ireland.

SOURCE: The San Diego Union


CROQUET

Croquet made a brief appearance as an Olympic event in 1900.

SOURCE: Olympics Factbook, Visible Ink Press


FLYING SAUCERS

Thanks to the effects of the Coriolis force, a discus thrown in the tropic latitudes will fly an inch farther when heaved eastward than westward.

SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette


WHAT'S NEW, ATLANTA?

The 1996 Summer Olympics feature 24 new events including mountain biking, beach volleyball and women's softball. SOURCE: NBC


CLOSE SHAVE

Shaving the body hair can be expected to shave a second off a swimmer's 100 meters race.

SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette 


OLYMPIC STADIUM

The original Olympics in Ancient Greece featured only one event, a foot race. Next came longer races, boxing and chariot races.The length of the original race was measured by poles called stadia, giving us the word 'stadium'.

SOURCE: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...

Only 11 events in three sports are open to both men and women. The three sports are badminton, equestrian and yachting. Equestrian is the only sport in which no events are strictly for men or women.

SOURCE: NBC


OLYMPICS I

Contrary to popular belief, the Olympic Games did not originate in 776 BC, but as much as 500 years earlier in Olympia, Greece. 776 BC was the year outsiders were first allowed to participate, and the year from which records were kept scruplulously.

SOURCE: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature


OZONE AT THE OLYMPICS

The atmospheric ozone layer over Atlanta could be as much as 10 percent thinner than normal this summer, raising the risk of sunburn and cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation.

SOURCE: Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, interviewed by Reuters.


IN THE SWIM

Swimming is one the least efficient forms of human locomotion. A top freestyle swimmer achieves a speed of only four miles per hour. Fish, in contrast, have been clocked at 68 mph.

SOURCE: The Science of the Summer Games by Vincent Mallette 


WATCH YOUR STEP

Parisian politicians have addressed the mounting problem of the 500,000 tons of dog excrement dumped annually on the streets of city with a recommendation that dog toilets (canisettes) be installed on city streets and that dog owners should be taxed according to the weight of their animals.

SOURCE: Reuters, 6/20/96


HAVE YOUR CAKE

Students at Purdue University have created an edible birthday cake candle that uses hydrogenated soybean oil instead of petroleum-based paraffin. The peppermint-flavored candles don't drip, either, an added attraction for moms who flinch at the globs of wax left behind after the birthday wish blow-out.

SOURCE: Purdue University News Service


RARE FIND

A hitherto unknown tribe of tall, white-skinned natives has been located in the remote Bird's Head Peninsula in western Irian Jaya, Indonesia. The tribesmen use tame parrots to warn of approaching strangers, at which point they vanish into the dense jungles.

SOURCE: Antara News Agency


ONE MAN'S PEST IS ANOTHERS PIE

Environmental control experts pull 100,000 lamprey eels (each capable of killing 40 pounds of fish per year) out of the Great Lakes each year. A pilot program will now try and market the unwanted eels in Portugal, where they are considered a delicacy.

SOURCE: University of Minnesota News Service


DO AS THE ROMANS

Today, each inhabitant of an industrialized country consumes as much energy in one day as a citizen of ancient Rome used in one year.

SOURCE: DISCOVERY CHANNEL


BRAIN FREEZE

Summer is the height of ice-cream headache season. The pain from an ice-cream headache reaches its height 25 to 60 seconds after exposure to cold food or drink. During an ice-cream headache, the skin temperature on your forehead falls by almost 2 degrees F. The mechanism of these headaches remains a mystery.

SOURCE: Temple University Health Sciences Center


EARLY SUTURES

In tenth century BC Egypt, wund closure was accomplished by holding an ant over a wound until it seized the wound edges in its jaws. It was then decapitated and the ant's death grip kept the wound closed.

SOURCE: Wound Closure Home Page


SMALL POX SEND-OFF

All remaining supplies of small-pox virus (variola) stored in Russia and the US will be destroyed on June 30, 1999. A supply of small-pox vaccine for 500,000 pople will be kept on hand just in case of a surprise outbreak.

SOURCE: WHO Announcement


SPACE MAIL

Signatures of some 250,000 people from around the world will be included in the cargo of the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft. The craft is expected to launch in 1997, arriving in 2004.

SOURCE: Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


DOLPHINS SAFE

International efforts to protect dolphins from tuna nets have resulted in a 98% decline in fishing-related dolphin deaths since 1986.

SOURCE: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission


HAIR OF THE DOG?

Citizens of the English village of Bruntingthorpe are required to submit hair samples of their dogs, the better to determine which pets are fouling public footpaths. The samples are added to a DNA database maintained at a local University.

SOURCE: Reuters.


EAT YOUR KUDZU

Kudzu, the invasive vine also known as pueria lobata, has become a plague on America's open spaces. It's also quite delicious and can be made in jellies and syrups, according to former science teacher Diane Hoots of Georgia who last year sold 20,000 jars of kudzu jam. She also offers kudzu gift baskets via home shopping networks.

SOURCE: Reuters


BROCCOLI?

It's official, broccoli is America's favorite vegetable, at least according to a new survey. Corn came a close second. America's least favorite veg? The lowly Brussels sprout.

SOURCE: Survey by Land O Lakes' butter company


CHERNOBYL

The explosion of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl some ten years ago released 200 times as much radation as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs put together.

SOURCE: AP


Mouse-aerobics

The typical laboratory mouse runs 2.5 miles per night on its treadmill.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, '96 Conference


MEASLES

Morbidity and mortality rates for measles have declined in the US by 99.9% since the vaccine was introduced in 1963. There were 288 cases with no deaths in 1995, compared to 500,000 cases and 500 deaths annually before 1963.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Preventiion, Atlanta


CAN SHE SING?

A 5 ft. 5 inch tall 27-year-old women weighing in at 374 pounds outflabbed 1,000 chubby competitors to win the title of fattest person in China. Her prize- a supply of diet food.

SOURCE: Xinhua News Agency


RIGHT STUFF

Each year 12,000 young Americans will aspire to fly jets, yet only 1,400 will meet the standard requirements, and only 140 will actually get to fly.

SOURCE: "Top Flight", on the the Discovery Channel


EARTHDAY 2025

By the year 2025 the human population of the planet will reach 8.3 billion, a 50% increase on the current level. Two thirds of these people are expected to be living in urban areas.

SOURCE: Joint Report by the World Bank, UN, and World Resources Institute, issued 4/18/96


EGATOXIC

The 103 million gallons of mixed chemical and radioactive waste in the Department of Energy's underground storage tanks are as complex and heterogeneous a material as man has ever created. The DOE has been trying to figure out what to do with the stuff since 1994.

SOURCE: Scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, at the 211th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, 1996.


GASP!

The number of Americans living in urban areas where the air is officially classified as unsafe to breathe at some time of the year exceeds 100 million.

SOURCE: EPA


IN HOT WATER

Enzymes from the microscopic Thermus aquaticus from the geyser basin hot pools in Yellowstone National Park were used to perfect methods for artificially duplicating DNA, helping create a billion-dollar industry.

SOURCE: National Park Service literature


VANISHING PHOSPHATE

The world's supply of rock phosphate, an element used as fertilizer for virtually all food crops, may be depleted by 2050 if the usage trend of the past 45 years continues. Humans use about 150 million metric tons of phosphate rock a year.

SOURCE: Study by Luther Tweeten, a professor of agricultural marketing, policy and trade at Ohio State University.


TAXTOID

The average US worker toils for two hours and 47 minutes of each working day just to pay income tax. Indeed, the average American pays more in taxes than for food, clothing and shelter put together.

SOURCE: WSJ, 4/10/96


GOOD NEWS KIDS!

The temperature of the armpit is as reliable for fever diagnosis as that from any other orifice in patients of any age, report pediatricians.

SOURCE: A study in the 1/96 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 


SCRAPIE

Scrapie, the prion disease of sheep believed responsible for the current outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease) in the United Kingdom, gets it's name from the fact that infected animals scrape their wool off with their teeth.

SOURCE: British Press


NO LAUGHING MATTER?

The annual laughter/price index, measured by determining the cost of a dozen rubber chickens, a copy of Mad magazine, tickets to a comedy club, and a pair of Groucho glasses, has increased 1.6 percent since last year.

SOURCE: AP


GIANT WORMS

Giants worms six feet long have been recovered alive from a depth of 8,530 feet in the Pacific Ocean.

SOURCE: IFREMAR, the French Ocean Research Institute


YOUR TAX DOLLARS...

Not willing to see the "ER" docs and "NYPD Blue" cops get all the glory, a team of scientists has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to create a TV pilot for a drama featuring the lab coat set.

SOURCE: WSJ, 3/20/96 


MOO DUNNIT

A new DNA test kit utilizing Polymerase Chain Reaction technology promises to settle all paternity disputes among cows. Some 400,000 cattle are already tested in the US by blood typing to verify paternity each year.

SOURCE: PRNewswire, 2/27/96 


SKI-MANIA

Two British skiers, Lucy Dicker and Arnie Wilson skied their way around the world. Skiing every day for a total of 3678 miles and 472,050 vertical feet, their one-year trek took them to 237 resorts on five continents.

SOURCE: PBS- NOVA 


BEATS SHOVELING

One hour of downhill skiing burns 550 calories. That's 110 Brussel Sprouts, 6.1 servings of Tofu, 3.9 Twinkies, or one Double Cheeseburger

SOURCE: PBSNOVA 


LAUGHTER

Humans begin laughing at two to three months of age. Six year olds laugh about 300 times per day, while adults laugh from 15 to 100 times per day.

SOURCE: NYT, Dr. William F. Fry, Stanford University 


COSTLY CULTURE

A small sample from the original mould used by penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming sold recently at auction for $35,000. The back of the slide contains Fleming's autograph.

SOURCE: NEWS WIRES 


SHAMROCK SHORTAGE

There is a shortage of wild shamrocks in Ireland. The lack is attributed to an even worse winter than usual for the island country. Commercial growers who protected their crops under glass are expected to make up the difference and everyone should be able to get a little of the tiny, three leafed, clover-like plant.

SOURCE: HIBERNIAN INFORMATION SERVICE 


GREEN GENES

Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin are studying the genetic basis of Irishness. A team of geneticists are analyzing small segments of DNA from Irish people in different parts of the country and comparing them with corresponding DNA segments from people elsewhere around Europe and the world.

SOURCE: IRISH TIMES  


SEEING SEA WEED

Using a satellite-based Global Positioning System, Irish researchers are mapping the habitat of Yellow weed ( Ascophyllum nodosum). The sea weed is among the most commercially and scientifically valuable of the macroscopic marine algae.

SOURCE: RTE Radio 


GOOD FOR PICNICS?

The Nanjing Jinling Ant Research Healing Center has developed a new product, Chinese Ant-King Wine, based on the medicinal qualities of ants. The wine apparently improves the symptoms of arthritis and prevents senility.

SOURCE: The Beijing Economic Daily Newspaper.  


EUROPEAN STANDARD

The European Community, known for its precise rules and regulations, has now determined that condoms sold in Europe must measure at least 6.8 inches long and 1.76 to 2.24 inches wide. The new standard was developed to ensure that condoms can be sold across borders without having to meet different requirements in each country.

SOURCE: WIRE SERVICES  


GROSS PROFIT

The going rate for removing hog waste from storage lagoons on farms is $0.0125 per gallon. The waste is recycled and used for fertilizer.

SOURCE: AACE Environmental Services Inc., a leading hog waste company.  


PARASITES! HOW THOUGHTFUL 

A woman proudly wearing a valuable pearl necklace is actually displaying an entombed parasitic worm, not a coated grain of sand. The free, spherical pearl is produced when the larvae from a parasitic flatworm, which comes from seabirds, burrows inside the oyster to begin the process.

SOURCE: Pearl Expert Prof. Peter Fankboner, Simon Frasier University  


MOTHER OF ALL PEARLS 

A Canadian marine biologist claims to have cultured the world's biggest abalone pearl. Measuring 27 millimetres (just over one inch) across its base, the pearl is approximately five millimetres bigger than its next-largest known counterpart which was cultured in Japan.

SOURCE:Simon Fraser University  


GLOBAL COOLING? 

The composite global temperature in the lower atmosphere was below average for the second consecutive month, while a record low temperature in the stratosphere was recorded in January, 1996. This could be caused by the greenhouse effect and/or ozone depletion.

SOURCE:Dr. John Christy, associate professor of atmospheric science in the Earth System Science Lab at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.  


ENIAC 

ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. The original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, had 17,000 tubes.By comparison, a desktop computer today can store a million times more information than an ENIAC, and 50,000 times faster.

SOURCE: ENIAC ONLINE BIRTHDAY PARTY 2.96  


NEW BREATHALYZER 

The going rate for breath consultants in New York City is $125/hour. This gets you a breath-analysis using a gas sensor and a computerized gum thermometer. The sensor detects sulphur compounds, a by-product of bacteria in the mouth. You then get a 'breath make-over'.

SOURCE: Reuters News Wires, 2/96  


RECOMBINANT COW JUICE

A telephone poll of nearly 2,000 households in the US revealed that 53.8% of consumers are skeptical about drinking milk from cows fed recombinant bovine growth hormone. 94 percent thought milk should be labeled to distinguish milk from rBGH-treated cows.

SOURCE: UW- Madison Survey  


DNA TRAIL MIX 

Research biologists from the National Biological Service are using DNA samples from mountain lion feces to evaluate the cats' dietary patterns.

SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite 


TIGHT SQUEEZE 

Lacking a collar-bone, the deer mouse can flatten it's body so much it can sqeeze into an opening one quarter of an inch high.

SOURCE: US Park Service, Yosemite 


HAPPY LUPERCAL

The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility began on February14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine.

SOURCE: OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY  


LUPERCAL- II

On the Roman holiday Lupercal (February 14) goats were sacrificed and the blood was smeared on two specially chosen youths. The youths would then run all around Rome with strips of goat hide in their hands. Women would strive to be beaten with these strips, known as februa (purifiers). Hence, February gets its name as the month of purification.

SOURCE: Oxford Classical Dictionary 


FAX ME, SWEETHEART

The time honored 'dig me' message has been deleted from those little candy valentines, only to be replaced with 'fax me'.

SOURCE: SF Chronicle 


SNACK FOR THOUGHT

The average American ate 22 pounds of salty snacks in 1994, up from 17.5 pounds in 1988, when the industry started tallying.

SOURCE: The Snack Foods Association, Alexandria, Va. 


AIDS PIPELINE

The FDA has so far approved 30 drugs for AIDS and AIDS-related conditions. Another 110 anti-HIV drugs are in various stages of development and clinical testing. But it might be a while, since it takes an average of 15 years and some $400 million to bring a drug from the laboratory to the pharmacy.

SOURCE: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America 


AMAZONIAN PLOT

A plot of land in Amazonia the size of a suburban lawn supports 300 species of trees.

SOURCE: Biodiversit y Online 



Facts and Neat Info


These are actual phobias. Do any of them sound familiar?

Source: The Phobia List

Now, where would you like to go?  To Top of Page, Phobias, Factoids & Trivia or just return Home?


Groupies of Life

A group of....

Source: The Archive of Useless Facts

Now, where would you like to go?  To Top of Page, Phobias, Groupies or just return Home?


Factoids and Trivia

  • 1/100th of a second is called a "jiffy".
  • The Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific Ocean.
  • The bones of a pigeon weigh less than its feathers.
  • In medieval England beer was often served with breakfast.
  • The right lung takes in more air than the left.
  • Source: Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts

    Top 10 Most Widely Spoken Languages
    1)  Mandarin Chinese 2)  English 3)  Hindustani 4)  Australian 5) Spanish 6)  Russian 7)  Arabic 8)  Bengali 9)  Portuguese 10) Japanese

    Source: Trivia Daily

  • Right field was the only baseball position not identified in Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" comedy routine. The remaining players were named as follows: first base - Who, second base - What, third base - I Don't Know, shortstop - I Don't Care, catcher - Today, pitcher - Tomorrow, left field - Why, & center field - Because.
  • Of the seven wonders of the world noted in the Antipater of Sidon in the second century B.C. only the Pyramids of Egypt (the oldest of the seven) remain.  The other six are: the hanging gardens of Babylon,  the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Pharos (Lighthouse) at Alexandria.
  • Source: The New York Public Library's The Book of Answers

  • At 90 degrees (F) below zero your breath will freeze in midair and fall to the ground.
  • Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
  • In ancient China, doctors received their fees only if their patients were kept healthy.  If the patient's health failed, the doctor sometimes paid the patient.
  • Source: The Bathroom Trivia Book

  • Research indicates that mosquitoes are attracted to people who have recently eaten bananas.
  • The average person is about a quarter of an inch taller at night.
  • Source: Daily Miscellany

  • There are more stars in the universe, than grains of sand on all the beaches in the world?  There is proof that there are over 100 billion billion as of 1982.
  • If there were ever an ocean big enough, Saturn would be the only planet that could float? This is because its density is lighter than that of water (it is mostly gas).
  • There are over 500,000 craters on the moon that can be seen from the planet Earth?  It would take over 400 hours to count them all, not including the ones on the far side of the moon.
  • Source: Trivia Daily

  • In the 1940s, the FCC assigned television's Channel 1 to mobile services (two-way radios in taxicabs, for instance) but did not re-number the other channel assignments. That is why your TV set has channels 2 and up, but no channel 1.
  • Source: H.A.N.D.


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