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Curious Facts

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Disclaimer: Niles + Associates takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the following curious facts...just have fun!
Laughter is an instinctive behavior, produced and recognized by people of all cultures.
 
Of those who died during the Civil War, two-thirds died of disease.
 
More than any other of the major plant groups, flowering plants are ecologically related to animals. Modern animals, including humans, and flowering plants are equally dependent upon each other. Most flowering species rely on animals for reproduction. Insects carry pollen from the stamens to the carpels; bats and birds participate in pollination of some species.
 
It takes up to 50 million years for the energy produced at the core of the Sun to reach its surface.
 
If coloring weren't added to Coca-Cola, it would be green.
 
Lighting on a painting needs to be dimmer at night and brighter during the day.
 
The early Olympic Games were celebrated as a religious festival from 776 B.C. until 393 A.D., when the games were banned for being a pagan festival (the Olympics celebrated the Greek god Zeus). In 1894, a French educator named Baron Pierre de Coubertin proposed a revival of the ancient tradition, and thus the modern-day Olympic Summer Games were born.
 
Trees are the longest living organisms on the planet.
 
Komodo dragons have thrived in the harsh climate of Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islans for millions of years, although amazingly, their existence was unknown to humans until about 100 years ago.
 
The FDA allows an average of 30 or more insect fragments, and one or more rodent hairs, per 100 grams of peanut butter.
 
Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward, so the easiest way to read his notes was to hold them up to a mirrow. It's not clear why he did that , but da Vinci filled notebook after notebook with sketches and backward writing. About 6,000 pages of his notes still exist.
 
The four suits in a standard deck of playing cards is thought to have originated in the Middle East. The suits started out as being coins, cups, swords and sticks. These suits evolved into today's playing card suits with the coins now being diamonds; the cups, which stood for "love", turning into hearts; the spades replaced the swords, and the sticks are now clubs.
 
Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula" and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, "L.A."
 
If you see food labels that read "artificial coloring" and "color added" that means most likely you'll be eating bugs along with the other ingredients. The FDA does not require companies to be more specific about their food coloring. Therefore, companies choose not to label "crushed beetles for red dye," a label that might discourage consumers from buying their products!"
 
The United Kingdom and the United States are both in the top ten for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) -- and poverty.
 
Australia has the lowest precipitation of the world's inhabited continents.
 
Remains of cheese have been found in Egyptian tombs over 4000 years old.
 
The names of Popeye's nephews are Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye and Poopeye.
 
In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
 
Though weighing only 11 ounces on average, a healthy heart pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day.
 
20 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute. This is comparable to Hollywood releasing 86,000 new films every week.
 
Basset Hounds cannot swim.
 
Fingernails grow nearly four times faster than toenails.
 
The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
 
Pigeons now join chimpanzees, gorillas, dolphins and elephants in having the ability to recognize themselves, which means that particularly large brains aren't necessary to the ability. It seems that we are learning that the other forms of life we share our planet with are quite a bit smarter than we’ve traditionally given them credit for!
 
Dorothy Parker's epithaph reads, "Excuse my dust."
 

A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will continuously bounch up and down.

 
Machu Picchu in Peru was probably created around 1450 near the height of the Inca Empire. No one knows what the real purpose of Machu Picchu was. Some people speculate it was a prison and some say it was a defensive retreat, but the most common belief is that Machu Picchu was the estate of an Inca emperor. One of the most significant features of Machu Picchu history is the architecture. Like the pyramids of Egypt, it was created using massive stones hauled over great distances. However, unlike the Egyptians, the Incas did not use any kind of mortar to bind their stones together. Instead they cut the stones with such precision that they fit together so tightly that you could not even fit a thin knife blade between them.
 
At Andrew Jackson's funeral in 1845, his pet parrot had to be removed because it was swearing.
 
A blue whale's tongue weighs more than an elephant.
 
A condition that results from an excessive pressure of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, dementia (such as Alzheimer's disease). The condition is called "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus" (NPH) and is caused by having too much CSF, i.e. too much fluid on the brain. One study suggested that 1 in 20 diagnoses of demential or Parkinson's disease were actually NPH.
 
The deepest part of any ocean in the world is the Mariana trench in the Pacific with a depth of 35,797 feet.
 
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president of all 50 states (Alaska + Hawaii added), was the first president to appear on color television, was a wonderful chef, and carried three coins in his pocket for good luck.
 
Mars has the largest canyon in the solar system. It would reach from Los Angeles to Chicago if it was on Earth.
 
Lipstick contains fish scales and lead. On average, a woman will ingest eight tubes of lipstickin her natural life. This is not to be confused with the fact that the average human will ingest at least eight living spidesr in their sleep!
 
A snail can sleep for three years.
 
All polar bears are left handed.
 
In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, giving their exact size and speeds of rotation. He did this more than 100 years before either moon was discovered.
 
Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute.
 
There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
 
Cranberries are sorted for ripeness by bouncing them; a fully ripened cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball.
 
Severe drought and dust storms exacerbated the Great Depression because they dried out farmlands and forced families to leave their farms. On May 9, 1934 a dust storm carried an estimated 350 million tons of dirt 2,000 miles eastward and dumped four million tons of prairie dirt in Chicago. The drought and dust killed tens of thousands of animals.
 
Percentage of American men who say they would marry the same woman if they had it to do all over again = 80
-- Percentage of American women who say they would marry the same man if they had it to do all over again = 50
-- Percentage of American men who say they are happier after their divorce or separation = 58
-- Percentage of American women who say they are happier after their divorce or separation = 85
 
Termites eat wood twice as fast when listening to heavy metal music.
 
APOPO (www.apopo.org), a non-profit organization, trains African Giant Pouched Rats, also known as giant pouched rats or Gambian pouched rats (genus Cricdetomys), can be trained to detect land mines and tuberculous.
 
While we do not know what dreams are intended for, an average human has approximately 1,460 dreams each and every year.
 
A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a ballpoint pen.
 
Unlike most creatures, goats have rectangular pupils.
 
It is possible to lead a cow upstairs but not downstairs.
 
The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.
 
It was Aristotle who first observed in 340 B.C. that dolphins gave birth to live young that were attached to their mothers through an umbilical cord.
 

In 1950, President Harry Truman threw out the first ball twice at the opening day Washington DC baseball game, once right-handed and once left-handed.

 
The Earth Flag
The Earth Day Flag was designed by John McConnell, who proposed the idea of Earth Day observance in 1969. The flag now stands not only as a symbol of Earth Day, but also as a motif of universal interest. Earth Day celebrations fly this flag in hundreds of American cities, as well as numerous countries throughout the world.
 
The symbol on the "pound" key (#) is called an octothorpe.
 
An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's will.
 
The average garden variety caterpillar has 248 muscles in its head
 
Gray whales were once known as "devilfish," due to the ferocity with which a female gray whale will protect its young. While whalers would sometimes harpoon a humpback or bowhead calf in order to lure its mother to the same fate, the wrath of a mother gray whale was far too risky for such a trick. Enraged females were known to smash or overturn the whalers' open boats in retaliation.
 
Alexander the Great is said to have founded and named a city Peritas, in memory of his dog.
 
The four kings on playing cards stand for real people: The King of Diamonds is Julius Caesar, the King of Spades is King David, the King of Hearts is Charlemagne, and the King of Clubs is Alexander the Great.
 
Garlic, a traditional vampire repellent, has been used as a form of protection for over 2,000 years. The ancient Egyptians believed garlic was a gift from God. In several cultures, brides carried garlic under their clothes for protection, and cloves of garlic were used to protect people from a wide range of illnesses. Modern-day scientists found that the oil in garlic, allicin, is a highly effective antibiotic.
 
Wine grapes rank number one among the world's fruit crops in terms of acres planted.
 
A monotreme is an animal that lays eggs and suckles its young. The world's only monotremes are the platypus (a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania) and the echidna, (also known a spiny anteater).
 
Number of different familial relationships for which Hallmark makes cards: 105
 
They have square watermelons in Japan...they stack better but are very expensive.
 
Thomas Jefferson was an avid inventor who is credited with inventing the coat hanger, hideaway bed and dumbwaiter.
 
The first novel written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer.
 
Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button. It was eliminated when he was sewn up after surgery.
 
The brain never stops changing, but scientists once thought the maturation of the prefrontal cortex from childhood to adulthood was nearly complete by the age of 13. Maps of the brain created through magnetic resonance imaging suggest the development of some functions may continue a decade beyond adolescence, maybe longer. The part of the brain that regulates reasoning, impulse control and judgement is definitely affected by the slow maturation process.
 
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.
Many expressions now taken for granted in English first appeared in Shakespeare's works, including "elbow room," "love letter," marriage bed," "puppy dog," "skim milk," "wild goose chase," and "what the dickens."
 
The reason a whip makes a cracking sound is that its tip is traveling faster than the speed of sound, or faster than 760 miles per hour.
 
In Old English, human men were referred to as wer, while the term man was used to describe humanity as a whole. During the thirteenth century, man gradually replaced wer as the term for an adult human male while also maintaining its use as an expression for the entire human species.
 
James Garfield could perform a very unique parlor trick that entertained many. He could write in Latin with one hand, while writing in Greek with the other hand at the same time.
 
The human brain has about 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) neurons.
 

Giraffes can clean their own ears with their tongues.

 
There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
Chocolate is a natural mood enhancer. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which belongs to a group of chemical known as endorphins that have a stimulating effect on the brain. Normal effects include a sense of happiness and well being as well as an increase in positive energy. PEA is also found in cheese and certain kinds of sausages.
 
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
 
The anti-nuclear emblem, or the peace sign, was invented on the request of Lord Bertrand Russell, head of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CDN). Russell was also sponsor of mass marches and sit-downs in London. The graphic was designed by Gerald Holtom, a member of the CND movement, as the badge of the direct action committee against nuclear war for the 1958 demonstration against Aldermaston, a British research center for the development of nuclear weapons.
Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President at 6'4" and the first to include African-Americans in his parade in 1865.
The first five-seat bicycle, the quindem, was built in 1940.
Although Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, it was only in 1938 that Howard Florey and Ernst Chain found a way to produce, demonstrating it only in 1942.
London Zoo's food bill is large and a bit odd; here are just some of the requirements to keep the animals fed:

90,000 ants daily (for the 3 Anteaters)
29 tons of bananas a year
15,860 lettuce heads a year
250kg of honey a year
11.5 tons of sprats (a small marine food fish (Clupea sprattus) of northeast Atlantic waters that is eaten fresh or smoked and is often canned in oil as a sardine. Also called brisling.
In the old days, sea captains kept pigs on board because they believed, should they be shipwrecked, pigs always swam toward the nearest shore.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal. Pigs are part of the order artidactyla (even toed, hoofed animals). There are more than 180 species of pigs, found on every continent except Antarctica. They come in just about any size and colour, have an average lifespan of 20 years and litters from 2 to 12 piglets.

Pigs are often thought to be dirty, but actually keep themselves cleaner than most pets. They are seen laying in mud because they do not have sweat glands and constantly need water or mud to cool off.

The Poodle haircut was originally meant to improve the dog's swimming abilities as a retriever, with the pom-poms left in place to warm their joints.
The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Renaissance Florence to shave them off.
The drug known as "acid" was discovered accidentally by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann who had the world’s first acid hit in 1943, when he touched a drop of lysergic acid diethylamide. He was actually searching for a chemical to help induce childbirth. 
The tomato is the world's most popular fruit. And yes, just like the eggplant and the pumpkin, botanically speaking it is a fruit, not a vegetable. More than 60 million tons of tomatoes are produced per year, 16 million tons more than the second most popular fruit, the banana. Apples are the third most popular (36 million tons), then oranges (34 million tons) and watermelons (22 million tons).

Tomatoes were first cultivated in 700 AD by Aztecs and Incas. Explorers returning from Mexico introduced the tomato into Europe, where it was first mentioned in 1556. The French called it "the apple of love," the Germans "the apple of paradise."

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C and fibre, and are cholesterol free. An average size tomato (148 gram, or 5 oz) boasts only 35 calories. Furthermore, new medical research suggests that the consumption of lycopene - the stuff that makes tomatoes red - may prevent cancer. Lycopene is part of the family of pigments called carotenoids, which are natural compounds that create the colours of fruits and vegetables. For example, beta carotene is the orange pigment in carrots. As with essential amino acids, they are not produced by the human body. Lycopene us the most powerful antioxidant in the carotenoid family and, with vitamins C and E, protect us from the free radicals that degrade many parts of the body.

The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean "wolf peach." It is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna, also known as the nightshade or solanaccae. There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes.

Tomatoes are used in many food product, including, of course, tomato sauce (ketchup), pasta and pizza. According to a Steel Packing Council survey of 1997, 68% of chefs use canned tomatoes for convenience, quality and flavouring. It hasn't changed much since.

A fruit is the edible part of the plant that contains the seeds, while a vegetable is the edible stems, leaves, and roots of the plant.

Cooked tomatoes have higher concentrations of lycopene than non-cooked tomatoes.

Don't store ripe tomatoes in the fridge. Cold temperatures lessen the flavour in tomatoes.

Traffic jams are nothing new. In 45 BC, Rome banned all vehicles from within the city - and in other cities vehicles, including horses, were allowed only at night...because of traffic jams.
The Antpitta avis canis Ridgley is a bird that looks like a stuffed duck on stilts and barks like a dog. The bird was discovered by ornithologist Robert S. Ridgley in the Andes in Ecuador in June 1998. Thirty of these long-legged, black-and-white barking birds were found. It apparently had gone undetected because it lives in remote parts and, of course, doesn't sing. The size of a duck, it is one of the largest birds discovered in the last 50 years.

There also are dogs that do not bark. The basenji, smallish dog with a silky copper coat, does not bark. Instead, it yodels when it get excited. Wild dogs like the African Wild Dog also do not bark.

Forks were first used in the Middle Ages, but eating with one was considered scandalous. In the 11th Century, when a Greek princess died shortly after introducing forks at her wedding with a Venetian Doge (chief magistrate) Domenico Selvo, it was perceived as divine punishment.
William Shakespeare had to build two Globe Theatres; the first was burnt to the ground in just 2 hours on 29 June 1613. Fortunately William was able to rebuild a new theatre quickly and it re-opened in 1614. To help the increasingly diverse audience different colored flags were placed outside the globe to show what type of performance to expect:
White designated a comedy,
Black indicated a tragedy, and
Red was for an historic tale.
The concept of the organ appears to have been created in 246 BCE by Ctesibius of Alexandria. He invented a mechanical flute-playing instrument with wind pressure regulated by means of water pressure, called a hydraulis.
Until 1796, there was a state in the United States called Franklin. Today it's known as Tennessee.
The human body produces roughly 10,000 gallons of saliva in an average lifetime and our saliva has a boiling point three times greater than that of regular water.
The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1
The word 'byte' is a contraction of 'by eight.'
 
Honey is the only food that doesn't spoil.
 
The word "typewriter" is the longest word you can spell using only a single row of typewriter buttons.
 
A duck's quack doesn't echo.
 
What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common? All were invented by women.
 
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
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