Interesting Tab


Weird and True - Tree-Time
Ginkgo trees come in male and female varieties. Female trees produce fruit that contains butyric acid, which smells (depending on whom you ask) like rancid butter or vomit.
     About one in every two hundred male ginkgo trees also will produce these putrid fruits.
     A handful of ginkgo trees survived the atomic bomb assault on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II. They are still alive today.

Autumn leaves in Europe tend to be mostly yellow, while those in North America turn orange and red as well. The seasonal change in color depends upon what happens to the chlorophyll in the leaves. Leaves turn yellow when the green chlorophyll in them breaks down, allowing the leaves’ natural yellow pigment to show through. Leaves turn red because they start to produce a new red pigment called “anthocyanin,” when the chlorophyll breaks down. Why the latter occurs in North America and not in Europe is still a subject for debate and research.

Hmm, Just Stuff
When people say "Rome," they usually mean the capital of Italy. But there are cities called Rome on every continent! In the United States, there are Romes in New York, Virginia, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Georgia. And there are two Romes in Argentina!

During the Middle Ages, from 1000 CE onward, the peasants of northern Europe carved wooden shoes called sabots. These shoes were identical to the present day Dutch wooden shoes.
Interestingly, the word sabotage comes from sabot. When a peasant wished to avenge himself on his landlord, he trampled the landlord's crops with his sabots. Sabotage today means to destroy deliberately.

A hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is shaped like a huge ship. Appropriately, it's called the Normandy – after the French liner that inspired the design of the hotel.

The fossil bones of certain ancient reptiles were dug up in North Yorkshire, England. The local residents there called them fallen Angels. They believe these bones belong to Angels who are cast out of heaven for having rebelled.

For a certain estate in Yorkshire, England, the tenant has been paying the same rent for hundreds of years. It is a red rose at Christmas and a snowball at Midsummer. The original landlord felt this would make it very hard to pay the rent. But the tenant doesn't mind. He grows roses under glass, and he collects snow from the moor on the estate. Sometimes, however, the snowball is about the size of a pea!

All varieties of domestic canaries are descendents of the wild canary. The wild canary is a native of Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands. Although the canary bird is in fact named after the Canary Islands, the islands themselves owe their name to another animal.
The Romans called the islands Insulae Canariare, which means "islands of the dogs." The Romans gave the islands the name because so many canines lived there. The Canary Islands, therefore, are not named after the birds but after dogs.

Some Ocean Facts
All clams start out as males, but some change into females later in their lives.

A goldfish turns white or light yellow if you keep it in the dark or place it in a body of running water, such as a stream. The more familiar orange pigment developed to protect a fish that's not moving from the sun's ultraviolet radiation.

The Pacific Giant Octopus is the largest octopus in the world. In its two-year lifespan, it grows from the size of a pea to a 30-foot (9m) wide, 150-pound (68kg) monster.

An octopus’s mouth is a bony beak located directly under its fleshy head.

The giant squid is the largest creature without a backbone. It can weigh up to 3 tons and grow to nearly 60 feet (18m) long.

Porpoises can be taught to recognize reflections of themselves. Some will even preen and pose before a mirror!

A male saltwater catfish keeps the eggs of his young in his mouth until they are ready to hatch. During this three-week incubation period, he will not eat.

Freshwater catfish have over 30,000 taste buds. Humans have 9,000.

A female mackerel can lay about 500,000 eggs at one time.

It takes a lobster about seven years to grow to weigh one pound.

Let's Talk Planets
The Planets: Rocky versus Gas Giants
Although all the planets are unique and interesting individuals, several of them have some common features.

Astronomers have classified the planets into two basic groups: the small rocky planets, and the large gas giant planets.

The Small Rocky Planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars
     FEATURES: They are relatively small, close to the sun, few if any moons; they have a rocky surface, surface craters, mountains, valleys and plains.

The Gas Giant Planets are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
     FEATURES: They are very large, composed mostly of hydrogen and helium gas, far from the sun, they have no surface to stand on, many moons and rings.

The Planets: Biggest and Smallest
Biggest Planet: Jupiter
Jupiter is so big, you could fit eleven Earths across its diameter.

Smallest Planet: Mercury
Ganymede (Jupiter's largest moon) and Titan (Saturn’s largest moon) are both bigger than this tiny planet. Compared with Earth, you could lineup 2.5 Mercury’s across the diameter of our planet.

About Space
Every exploded star, or nebula, contains the seeds of a new star. This seed is called the protostar.

Each square yard on the sun's surface sends out enough energy to power 700 cars, but only about two-billionths of this energy reaches the Earth's surface.

The sun rotates on its axis about once a month.

The surface temperature of the sun is around 10,000°F (5,538°C). However, Earth lightning is over five times hotter – about 50,000°F (27,700°C).

The sun is moving at about 12 miles (19 km) per second toward the constellation Hercules.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: What is a snark
A: A linguistic style of speech or writing that can be described as a snide remark. The term was popularized by the Television Without Pity website to describe sarcastic, often mocking, reviews of TV shows. The term bears no relationship to Lewis Carroll's imaginary creature.

Q: What is Oceanic Flight 815?
A: The fictional airline flight that crashed in the TV series Lost.

Q: What is "shoegazing"?
A: A style of music characterized by the use of distortion and layers of guitar riffs mixed with a strong underlying melody. The music emerged as part of the British indie rock scene in the late 1980s, and the term referred to the tendency of the guitarists to stare at their feet while playing. My Bloody Valentine is frequently cited as the forefather of shoegazing bands.

Q: What is Buffyverse?
A: The fictional universe shared by Joss Wheedon’s first two television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. While debate persists about which, if any, graphic novels and comics are part of Buffyverse, the TV series are considered canon.

Q: According to Buffyverse gospel, how did the vampire Angel gain his human soul?
A: After killing the favorite daughter of the Kalderash Clan Gypsies, Angel was cursed by the Clan who restored his human soul. The human soul inflicted a conscience on Angel, causing him to suffer an eternity of remorse and guilt over his vampire actions.

Q. What is Spike's real name on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
A. William the Bloody. He received the name originally for his bloody awful poetry; when he became a vampire, it assumed more sinister connotations.

Weird yet True / Coloring - Crazy
Red dye:
The natural coloring used to make foods, cosmetics, and such toiletries as shampoo red or orange comes from the crushed bodies of female cochineal beetles found in Peru, Mexico, and the Canary Islands. It takes about seventy thousand insects to yield one pound of die.

Because pure white bread was considered to be of higher quality then brown bread, medieval bakers would whiten their flour by any means necessary – mixing it with alum, chalk, clay, or even ground bones.
     With that in mind… In fourteenth century England and France, bakers who were caught tampering with the purity of their bread were punished by being a lead through the streets and to the pillory with a loaf of bread tied around their neck. If they were caught a second time, they might be beaten or their ovens destroyed. After a third offense, they would be run out of town.

Weird Food Facts
Most of the people who drink tea have no idea of what it takes to produce it. For example, the tender bud and the top two leaves of the plant are called a tea flush. Each one has to be picked by hand. And it takes more than 3,500 tea flushes to make a single pound of processed tea.

Because protein isn't readily available in many parts of Kenya, the natives drink blood. The blood of cattle, that is. They bleed cows and mix the blood in a gourd with milk. The cow is not injured, and the natives get the protein they need.

During the summer of 1857, the Mabie Circus was making a tour through the southern United States when one of the clowns suddenly decided to leave the troop. The manager called on the ballyhoo man, Pete Conklin, to fill in.
      Conklin did pretty well, but when he asked for a raise, the manager said Conklin wasn't that good. So Conklin quit in a huff. But because he was broke, he tagged along with the circus as a lemonade seller.
      One hot day, Conklin did such a brisk business that he ran out of lemonade. Rushing into a nearby tent, he picked up a bucket of water, stirred in some tartaric acid, and was in business again. It wasn't until he poured the first class that he noticed that his new lemonade was pink. He couldn't imagine how the color had changed. But he decided to make the most of it.
      "Strawberry lemonade," he shouted. "Try the new strawberry lemonade." People did try it, and today pink lemonade is sold that every circus.
And how did Conklin's lemonade get that color? Well, a performers red tights had just been soaking in that bucket of water!

The Human Body - Scientifically Speaking
There are more than 50 trillion cells in the adult human body.

It takes ten years for the cell structure of the skeleton to completely rejuvenate itself.

Ninety-nine percent of the calcium your body stores is found in your bones and teeth.

Enamel, found in your teeth, is the hardest material in your body.

Electrical nerve impulses travel at more than 250 miles (400 km) per hour throughout the brain and spinal cord.

The human head contains twenty-two bones.

The human neck has the same number of vertebrae as a giraffe’s.

The longest, strongest bone in the body is the femur, or thighbone.

The lungs of an average adult, unfolded and flattened out, would cover an area the size of a tennis court.

The left lung is smaller than the right lung to make room for the heart.

When fully inflated, an adult’s lungs can hold about three liters (0.79 gallons) of air.

The largest human organ is the skin, with a surface area of about 25 square feet (2.25 square meters).

The Planets: 
The Coldest
Neptune's average temperature is a frigid -375°F (-226°C).
Though cold beyond belief, Neptune isn't the coldest object in the solar system. That prize currently goes to the dwarf planet Eris.

The Hottest
You might think that Mercury would be the hottest planet since it is the closest to the sun. But it's not.
With an average temperature of 900°F (480°C), Venus – by far – holds the hottest planet record. And that temperature can be found all over the planet, day and night, at the equator or at the poles.
During its hottest day, the temperature on Mercury reaches only 660°F (350°C). Then at night, the temperature plummets to well below freezing.

Strange Stuff About Ordinary Things
Today, gold is painstakingly extracted from quartz, pyrite, and other ores. The ore is crushed to a powder to expose the small gold particles. These are dissolved by adding a cyanide solution. The solution is drained off into a separate container. Finally, zinc powder is added to force the (now purer) gold to solidify again so it can be sifted out and collected.

In ancient Egypt, alchemists tested gold for purity by smelting it and heating it. According to the Papyrus of Leyden, if the gold became whiter, it contained silver. If it became rough and hard, it contained copper or tin. If it softened and turned black, it contained lead.

Because of its softness, pure gold is combined or alloyed with silver, tin, or copper to give it more strength.

Gold is completely impervious to damage by air, water, acids, or bases. This is probably why it was – and is – so highly valued. However, gold can be damaged if submerged in liquid mercury.

Synthesized in 1918, arsenic trichloride, or "butter of arsenic," is a waxy chemical used in the ceramic industry for creating glazes. A stickier liquid form is used to create pesticides for trees and shrubs.

The drinking straw was probably invented by Egyptian brewers to taste fermenting beer without removing the important fermenting ingredients that floated on the top of the container.


Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: At the time of the first American census in 1790, which city has the greatest population?
A: According to the 1790 enumeration, the biggest city in the United States was Philadelphia with 42,000 residents. Next in population were New York, Boston, Charleston, and Baltimore.

Q: What year earned the name "the Year Without Summer"?
A: The Summer of 1816 was the most severe in New England meteorological history. The period from March through September was marked by invasion after invasion of frigid arctic air. Snowstorms and frost were widespread throughout the region. On June 6, 10 inches of snow fell in some places. This unseasonable weather, which destroyed 90% of the year's crops in many places, has been attributed to several factors. Some weather historians believe that it was caused by major volcanic eruptions; others, by high sunspot activity or cold ocean temperatures. In any case, the year deserved its contemporary nickname as "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death."

Q: How long have cockroaches been on the planet?
A: Cockroach fossils have been found that are over 250 million years old! Cockroaches adapt well to climatic changes, to say the least.

Q: In 1900, what was the life expectancy for American males and females?
A: According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average female born in 1900 lived 48.3 years. A typical male born that year would have a life expectancy of 46.3 years.

Q: What were the life expectancies for Americans in 2001?
A: According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, the life expectancy for men was 74.4 years and for women 79.8 years.

Interesting and Odd Facts About Nature
A volcano is potentially dangerous because it might erupt. But on the Italian island of Stromboli, there is a volcano that nobody seems to fear – not even the birds. It is an active volcano that rumbles away continuously on the inside – yet flocks of birds have made their home on the 3,000 foot cone.

Nobody likes erupting volcanoes, but the Italians have had to put up with them a really long time. In fact, records of eruptions go back farther in Italy than in any other country. Maybe that's why the words volcano and lava are both Italian. There are still three active volcanoes in Italy: Stromboli, Etna, and Vesuvius.

A hill near Abergavenny in Wales is called Skirrid Fawr, or Holy Mountain. That's because there is a notch in the mountain that the local people believe was caused by an earthquake that shook the world at the crucifixion.

Many people are fascinated by volcanoes. They love to climb up to the top and peer down into the crater – even with fumes arising from it.
            If that's your idea of a fun trip, Costa Rica is a good place to visit. Costa Rica measures only 288 miles at its greatest length and 170 miles at its widest point, but there are volcanoes all over, and many of them erupt frequently.

Early Medicine
Instruments found throughout the Roman Empire show that surgery had advanced tremendously. In fact, surgery was probably the greatest contribution the Romans made to the practice of medicine.

Most Roman surgical instruments were made of bronze, or occasionally silver. Iron was considered taboo by both the Greeks and Romans and so was never used for surgical instruments on religious grounds.

There were no medical services available to Roman soldiers. But Roman officers always bought along their personal Greek physicians to battles.

The Roman philosopher Cicero believed that the herb dittany would cause arrows to fall out of the bodies of wounded soldiers.

Because stars are so far away from us, we are actually looking back through time when we look into space.

Alpha Centauri is 4.2 light-years from Earth. That means that the light leaving Alpha Centauri must travel for 4.2 years before it reaches our planet.

So by the time the light reaches us, it is 4.2 years old. We are seeing the star the way it looked 4.2 years earlier.

Other stars are much farther away. Rigel, in the constellation of Orion, is 773 light-years away. Anyone looking at Rigel during the year 2017 is actually seeing what the star looked like when its light left Rigel during the year 1244.

Time travel without a time machine.

A little of this – A little of that
In the Cambodian hamlet of Paoy Pet, children outnumber adults five to one. The voting age is seven, and the mayor is only nine. Because children rule, they can punish their parents if they've been bad.

A dog can hear a range of sounds – from quiet to loud – 2 1/2 times greater than that heard by humans. A human can make a range of sound nearly twice as great.

The worship of stones is a very ancient and widespread stage in the development of religion. This is probably because ancient people believed that when a person died, his or her spirit entered the stone and lived there. For example, in parts of Central America, when an important man died, a stone was put into his mouth to receive his soul.
            Are stones still being worshiped today? Among some people in India and China, yes. And among Native Americans, the Pueblos believe that when they go hunting, their success depends entirely on the stones they carry with them.

In West Africa there are several tribes that use poisons both for hunting and to preserve tribal law and order by the "ordeal of poison." They use a poison called mauve in their trial-by-ordeal rituals. Mauvi is made by scraping the bark from certain tree – known only to the witch doctor – and mixing it with water.
            The rights of the ordeal are very specific. The brew is given to both the accused and his accuser. The natives believe that the guilty one will die. If the brew is good, death will be quick: vomiting, convulsions, then death – rapidly and in that order. If it turns out that both parties merely throw up and live, then the brew is declared badly prepared and the contest is, temporarily a draw – temporarily because a new brew is prepared and the contest continues until death actually points its ghastly finger at the wrongdoer. When death does finally occur, the guilty ones wife and children are also put to death. All terms of the tribal contract are carried out and overseen by a highly rewarded tribal officer who must also pay the brewers fee. The natives believe this test is infallible, and submit to it eagerly to prove their innocence if they are ever accused of evil deeds.

Botanical Oddities
Botanists define an herb as "a plant with a fleshy stem, which, after the plant blooms and seeds, dies down to the ground." This isn't a perfect definition, because herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary have woody stems (although without bark). An addition: the herb should be useful as either a seasoning, medicine, fragrance, or aromatic oil.

Many of the herbs we use today as seasonings were originally medicines. Herbs were kept in apothecary shops (early drugstores) in dried form so they could be used all year. The English word "drug" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word drigan, to dry.

In medieval England, "herb" and "vegetable" where the same thing. Later, the herb became the part of the vegetables that grew above ground. For example, the turnip was a vegetable, but it's leafy top was called an herb.

The lorcel mushroom contains such a powerful poison that even smelling it can cause nausea, dizziness, and severe headaches.

There are three basic growing subculture plants:
            *Annuals live for only a year. They start out as seeds, grow flowers, and make their own seeds.
            *Biennials live for two years. In the first year they grow from seeds to plants. The plants die in the winter but the roots live and produce new seeding plants in the spring.
            *Perennials live for many years. Every winter they store food in their roots, and they grow new foliage each spring.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: The Yellow Kid is considered the forerunner of modern comic strips. When did it first appear?
A: Richard F. Outcault created the Yellow Kid character in his 1895 New York World strip. Hogan’s Alley. However, it wasn't until after William Randolph Hearst had lured the popular sketch artist to his New York Journal that that Kid was honored with his own strip name.

Q: This comic strip has been credited also with providing the name for what journalistic trend?
A: Many media historians believe that the term "yellow journalism" derived from the newspaper circulation war epitomized by the Hearst-Pulitzer struggle for publication rights to The Yellow Kid comic strip.

Q: When was the first American blast furnace built?
A: The first American blast furnace for processing iron was built in 1622 in Falling Creek, Virginia. Hostile Native Americans destroyed it the following year.

Q: In 1784, North Carolina officials made deer hunting at night a misdemeanor. What was the ban?
A: Citizens were complaining that cows and horses were being killed by errant shots. Apparently at least some Americans weren't yet sharpshooters.

Q: Which state has the most lighthouses: Maine, Massachusetts, or Michigan?
A: Most people guess Maine, but with about 90 lighthouses, Michigan actually suppresses the Pine Tree State. Maine has approximately 80 friendly sea beacons.

Interesting Facts About the Human Body
It's not how fast man travels that can be dangerous to the human body. It's how fast the acceleration, deceleration and change of direction take place. These forces quickly increase the weight of organs in the body, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, and put great strain on muscles, veins, and arteries – possibly more than they can endure.

More people in the United States die in January and February than in any other months. The lowest rate of mortality is in the months of July, August, and September. Most of this difference is due to the seasonal changes in respiratory diseases especially influenza and pneumonia.

Did you know that your thumb is a very important part of your body? A bigger part of your brain is used to control it than is used to control your stomach or chest.

A tower of skulls in Yugoslavia was built by a Turkish ruler with the skulls of Serbs killed during an uprising in 1809 – as a warning to the Serbs not to try again to overthrow Turkish rule.

About Clouds
Most low-level cumulus clouds have fluffy tops. The reason for this has to do with cooler, drier air at higher elevations. As water vapor – the "stuff" of clouds – moves up through the atmosphere, it enters cooler air. Since cooler air holds less moisture than warmer air, the rising water vapor condenses into tiny droplets that form the foamy "whiteness" of the cloud. An easy way to see this phenomenon is to breathe out on a very cold day. The moisture of your breath can't be absorbed by the cold air and so condenses into droplets: the "cloud" that you exhale.

Cumulonimbus clouds, the most dangerous – not only because of the precipitation they produce in the form of rain, hail, or snow, but because of their ground seeking lightning.

A cumulonimbus is a cloud that creates precipitation. It has a ragged bottom because of violent downdrafts, and a fluffy top that can reach as high as the troposphere extends: 9 miles (15 km). Sometimes the top of a cumulonimbus cloud punches through the troposphere and into the stratosphere, where it becomes icy and creates a wispy "anvil" shape. The anvil of a cumulonimbus cloud can contain over a million tons of water.

Altocumulus clouds exist above 8500 feet (2600 m) and form in hot, dry climates. They can create showers, but these are unlikely to reach the ground since the surrounding air is very dry and cool.

One of the most beautiful sky objects you can see on a clear day is a lenticular cloud. This smooth "flying saucer" formation is the result of high, strong winds and little upward movement in the atmosphere. You might think of lenticular clouds as "polished" altocumulus clouds. Lenticulars are important to pilots because they can show the existence of dangerous downdrafts along the slopes of mountains. Meteorologists use the initials ACSL for lenticulars. It stands for "altocumulus standing lenticular."

Another way to classify clouds involves measuring the height of the cloud base from sea level. A typical cumulonimbus rain cloud has a base level of about 5,000 feet (1,500 m). A mid-level altocumulus floats between 12,000 and 18,000 feet (3,600 and 5,400 m). Those wispy cirrostratus clouds that drift by at heights of well over 25,000 feet (7,500 m).

A relatively new classification has been invented for a small cloud that exists within the precipitation of a larger, higher cloud. It is called a fractostratus of bad weather. These are the dark, ragged clouds that sometimes form under bursting rain clouds.

One of the rarest and oddest cloud formations to be seen are the noctilucent clouds. These exist in this thermosphere (up to 372 miles or 600 km) above sea level, and are believed to be remnants of comet dust. Look for one just after dusk. You can recognize it by its wispy shape and slight luminosity.

Stars: Light-Years
Because stars are so far away from us, astronomers had to come up with a new unit to measure such vast distances. The unit they came up with was the light-year.

A light-year is the distance light travels in one year.

We usually don't think of light needing time to travel. After all, when a light switch is turned on, the light hits you immediately, without delay. We don't notice any delay because light travels extremely fast – faster than anything else in the known universe.

At the incredible rate of 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km per second), a beam of light could circle our planet almost 7.5 times in just one second. And yet even at such a fast speed, it takes light time to travel the distances between the planets and stars.

For example, it takes light from the sun in 8 minutes and 20 seconds to travel the 93 million miles (150 million km) to our planet.

Beyond our solar system, it takes light from Alpha Centauri (our closest stellar neighbor) 4.2 years to get to Earth. So astronomers say that Alpha Centauri is 4.2 light years from Earth.

To calculate the exact distance light travels in one year, take the speed of light (186,000 miles per second, or 300,000 km per second) and multiply it by 60 seconds per minute, then by 60 minutes per hour, then by 24 hours per day, and finally by 365 days per year.

186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 = 5.9 trillion miles per year
300,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 = 9.5 trillion kilometers per year
So one light-year is equal to 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers).

At 4.2 light-years, Alpha Centauri is actually 24,600,000,000 miles (39,700, 000,000,000 km) away. And it's the closest star.

You can see that it is much easier to measure stellar distances and light-years. There are fewer zeros to sort out!

Odd Laws and Lawsuits
If you happen to be on a shopping spree in Joliet, Illinois – beware. It illegal for you to try on more than six dresses in any one store.

It is illegal to sell suntan oil after noon on Sunday in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

In the 1950s it was illegal for a flying saucer to land in the vineyards of France. It's now okay.

In San Francisco, California, you'd better not get caught wiping your car with used underwear. It's unlawful.

In California, a woman in a housecoat is forbidden to drive a car – and in Alabama you cannot drive a car while barefoot or in bedroom slippers.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a woman cannot drive a car unless a man is running or walking in front of the car waving a flag to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists.

In Roderfield, West Virginia, only babies are allowed to ride in baby carriages.

A local ordinance in Brewton, Alabama, forbids the use of motorboats on city streets.

In Glendale, Arizona, a car is forbidden to back up.

Botanical Oddities
Bananas are one of the easiest foods to digest and trigger very few allergies. This is why they are an ideal food for babies.

Alexander the Great discovered bananas in his conquest of India and 327 B.C.

In eastern Africa you can buy banana beer, which is brewed from fermented bananas.

The riper a banana, the more brown spots it will have on its skin.

A banana is technically an herb because it grows on dense, water filled leaf stalks that die after the first fruit is produced. Botanists call the banana plant a herbaceous perennial.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: Who invented the Internet?
A: Tim burners-Lee created Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) at Switzerland's CERN labs. This became the prototype for the World Wide Web.

Q: Do all dogs bark?
A: No. The Basenji from central Africa chortles, growls, and snarls, but never barks.

Q: Who were the victims of Chicago's famous Saint Valentines Massacre?
A: On February 14, 1929, in a modern gangland slaying, seven men were lined up against a Clark Street garage wall and gunned down by members of Al Capone’s gang, who were dressed as policemen. Six of the victims were members of George "Bugs" Morgan's Chicago gang; the seventh was a young optometrist who enjoyed hanging around "real gangsters."

Q: How old is Mickey Mouse?
A: Like all celebrity rodents Mickey is shy about revealing his age. However, we know that he's passed 70: In fact, Walt Disney always maintained that November 18, 1928, was Mickey's birthday. That's the date of the debut of Steamboat Willie, which was the first animated film with sound, at the Colony Theater in New York City.

Q: In what newspaper did Krazy Kat debut?
A: George Herriman’s Krazy Kat first appeared in the New York Journal in 1913.

Interesting & Odd Animal Kingdom Facts
Sorry, but all those cartoons that show mice gobbling up cheese as if it were their favorite food, are wrong. Mice do not prefer cheese and often will not touch it if other food is available.

The largest member of the rodent family, the capybara, is about 4 feet in length and weighs as much as 150 pounds. This animal lives near streams and rivers in Central and South America and swims expertly. Its jaws and teeth are extremely strong, able to cut through a metal bar.

A strange creature called the hyrax can be found in Jordan. It's rather small and resembles a rodent but has hooves and can climb trees. Zoologists are trying to figure out what it is – they believe it may belong to the same family as the elephant.

All animals need water, but not all animals get their water by drinking. The kangaroo rat, an inhabitant of desert regions in southwestern United States, is able to go long stretches without drinking water, getting its moisture from the plants it eats. Other animals very seldom drink water. Giraffes can go for weeks without drinking. They, too, manage to get enough moisture from the foliage on which they feed. Most sheep and gazelles drink infrequently. A few lizards are able to meet their water needs largely by absorbing it through their pores.

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