Strange Trivia #1

August 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Odd Factoids

The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”

The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan. There was never a recorded Wendy before.

A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.

The lifespan of a squirrel is around nine years.

More types of fish live in one Amazon River tributary than in all the rivers in North America combined.

The giant crab of Japan can be as large as 12 feet across.

The average elephant produces 50 pounds of dung each day.

All elephants walk on tip-toe, because the back portion of their foot is made up of all fat and no bone.

West Virginia consists of those counties of Virginia which refused to secede from the Union at the start of the Civil War. Maine used to be part of Massachusetts. The original colonies made all kinds of land claims for the frontier west of them.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the first to announce to the world that Maxwell House coffee is “Good to the last drop.”

More than 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from silkworm cocoons. For about 3,000 years, the Chinese kept this discovery a secret. Because poor people could not afford real silk, they tried to make other cloth look silky. Women would beat on cotton with sticks to soften the fibers. Then they rubbed it against a big stone to make it shiny. The shiny cotton was called “chintz.” Because chintz was a cheaper copy of silk, calling something “chintzy” means it is cheap and not of good quality.

Ellen DeGeneres was the first stand-up comedian Johnny Carson ever asked to sit on “The Tonight Show” guest couch during a first appearance.

Walt Disney named Mickey Mouse after Mickey Rooney, whose mother he dated for some time.

Burger KingĀ® uses approximately 1/2 million pounds of bacon every month in its restaurants.

Spiral staircases in medieval castles are running clockwise. This is because all knights used to be right-handed. When the intruding army would climb the stairs they would not be able to use their right hand which was holding the sword because of the difficulties of climbing the stairs. Left-handed knights would have had no troubles, except left-handed people could never become knights because it was assumed that they were descendants of the devil.

Organized crime is estimated to account for 10% of the United States’ national income.

There are 2,000,000 different combinations of sandwiches that can be created from a SUBWAY menu.

If you could cut out the United States, its center of gravity would be at Friend, Nebraska.

Odds & Ends

July 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Odd Factoids

55% of online teens use social networks
More than half (55%) of all online American kids ages 12-17 use online social networking sites, according to a national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

A Harris Interactive survey of small business execss found that 78% of respondents didn’t feel that Internet usage by their employees hurt their companies’ productivity.

A study conducted by a team led by Timothy Judge, Professor at the University of Florida, found that tall people make more money than short people by $783 per inch per year. In fact, height was more important in determining income than gender and experience does not limit the effect. The researchers suggested that there is a belief (myth, urban legend) that society respects tall people and holds a biased view that they are successful.

The auto union hourly workforce has declined at a yearly rate of 4.5% from nearly 250,000 in 1994 to about 120,000 today. The cost of retirements currently adds $1405 per vehicle – retirees peaked in 2008, and prices reflect this change.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission the pharmaceutical industry has increased its contributions to federal election campaigns tenfold since 1990; $2.4 million to $21.9 million.

Gail Collins’ book, America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines (William Morrow), delves into every facet of women’s contribution to our country and the way society has viewed them. Consider:

* In the 1800′s, tomboys were considered “little girls who showed the least tendency toward thinking and acting for themselves.”
* The true scarlet letter was a P for pauper. Like today, the most distressed segment of the economy are single mothers with children. In revolutionary Pennsylvania, a single mother with children who received public handouts had to wear a red P on their sleeve.
* During WWII, 1,000 women flew 60 million miles – most of the time they were shot at because they were towing targets through gunnery practice; or they were testing planes, grounded because of malfunctions.
* The first colonial lawyer that was a woman (Margaret Brent) filed 134 suits in eight years; but she did pull Maryland through a crisis.

Which jobs are on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list as the most dangerous, even during a period when on-the-job deaths fell 6.6% — to the lowest level since 1992? Timber cutters, pilots, fishermen, construction workers, structural metal workers, drivers – sales workers, roofers, electrical power installers, farm workers and truck drivers.

A study by Richard Jenning at the University of Pittsburgh shows that high blood pressure can age the brain by ten years. Even hypertension can contribute to short-term memory losses. PET scans showed that those with high blood pressure had less blood flowing to memory regions of the brain.