Interesting Tab


Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: One of these people doesn't belong in the list: Bix Beiderbecke, Gerald Ford, William Frawley, Herbert Hoover, Ann Landers, Glenn Miller, Donna Reed, Henry A. Wallace, John Wayne, Grant Wood. Name the anomaly.
A: With the exception of Gerald Ford, all of these Americans were born in Iowa. Ex-president Ford was born in Nebraska.

Q: In what country is Timbuktu located?
A: Mali.

Q: What does Iceland sit atop?
A: The mid-Atlantic ridge, which separates two great geologic plates, the North American and the Eurasian plates.

Q: Istanbul, Turkey is located in two continents, Europe and Asia. What country has other cities in two continents?
A: Kazakhastan. The cities of Uralsk and Atyrau straddle the Ural River, the hypothetical boundary between Europe and Asia.

Q: Pizza Hut is well known for their fast, efficient delivery service. What was their most historic Moscow delivery?
A: In 1991, after putting down an attempted coup, Russian President  Boris Yelstin and his supporters were still hold up in the Parliament Building, tired and apparently very hungry. With food supplies dwindling, the portly president and his triumphant comrades decided that they had a huge hankering for pizza. They dialed up Pizza Hut, ordered 260 pizzas (including some with extra toppings), 20 cases of Pepsi and enough hot coffee to keep them awake for the next counter-revolution. After the gunfire stopped, Yeltsin called Pizza Hut headquarters to thank them for their counter-revolutionary support.

Odd Laws and Lawsuits
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the state house of representatives passed a law stating that the sum of $.25 can be charged to cut the hair of bald men.

In Nogales, Arizona, they "let it all hang out": It is illegal to wear suspenders.

A law in Boston, Massachusetts, has rendered it illegal bathe without a written prescription from a doctor.

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, there is a law making it illegal for a rain puddle to remain on your front lawn for more than 12 hours.

Two attorneys in Hartford, Connecticut, wrote their own wedding vows. The vows of Bernard Prothroe and Annamarie Kendall covered 47 single-spaced, 8 ½ x 14-inch, type written pages. It took the officer more than five hours to read them. By the time the ceremony was over, 90% of the guests had left – including the parents of the bride and groom.

Early Medicine
One remedy that apothecaries (whom we now call pharmacists) borrowed from a recipe by the Greek doctor Galen, was called theriac or treacle. It included over 50 ingredients, including the bark of trees and skins of snakes, took 40 days to prepare, and had to "cure" for 12 years! Medieval doctors claimed that treacle cured everything – and most people believed them.

Astrology was important to doctors during the middle ages. Astrologers were often called on to forecast the spread of the Black Death.

Several famous female herbalists lived in the 10th and 11th centuries. The most prominent was Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179), a German nun who composed music that is still performed today.

To treat smallpox, a medieval doctor would arrange red drapery around the patient's bed. This practice may have had a magical reason, or perhaps was an attempt to protect the patient from disturbing light.

In medieval times, thousands of people died from what are treatable diseases today – influenza, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, and tuberculosis.

How Stars Get Together –
Star Groups: The Milky Way
Our sun is located in a spiral galaxy recalled the Milky Way.

Shaped like a huge, flattened pinwheel, the main disk of our galaxy is about 160,000 light-years in diameter and 2000 light-years thick. The spiral arms are located within this disk.

At the center of the flattened disk is the galactic core, a bright sphere of stars 7,000 to 10,000 light-years in diameter. Within the very center of the core, astronomers believe there is a giant black hole – one that contains the mass of 2.6 million suns.

Our sun is located along one spiral arm within the galaxy’s main disk, about 26,000 light years from the core.

From Earth, the Milky Way can best be seen in the evening skies from August through October. During these months, observers see a narrow, hazy streak of light stretching across the sky from the north to the south. This streak is made up of the light of billions of stars located within the more distant spiral arms of the Milky Way.

Stars located within the same spiral arm as our sun can be seen every night, stars such as the North Star and the ones that make up the constellations.

Interesting Customs
In hot climates, perspiration is good for the body, and a dry skin is an indication of fever. So in Cairo, many people greet each other with the salutation "How do you sweat?"

Everybody knows about Big Ben, the Bell in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London. But why is it called Big Ben? It was originally called St. Stephen's Bell. The Commissioner of Works, Sir Benjamin Hall, had much to do with putting up the new Houses of Parliament in 1851. He was an enormous man, and folks called him Big Ben. When the question came up in Parliament what to name the great bell that was to be hung in the tower, a member called out, "Why not call it Big Ben?" – and the name stuck.

The most unusual commuters in the world are Turks who make a 10 minute ferry trip every day. They go across the Bosporus from Uskudar to Istanbul. In those 10 minutes they actually commute from one continent, Asia, to another, Europe.

With the globalization of film, television, and all kinds of communication, customs, clothing styles, and even food are becoming more and more alike all over the world.
            One of the things that people in Europe and America have taught the rest of the world is to kiss! The Chinese didn't have the custom of kissing. Neither did the Japanese. In Samoa, the kiss is really a sniff. The Polynesians – and the Eskimo – rub noses together.
            So the kiss, as a form of affection, actually developed rather late in human history. But it seems to be here to stay.

In certain countries, different dialects are spoken in different sections. But in India, while Hindi and English are the chief official languages, hundreds of other languages are spoken. In fact, a great many Indians cannot understand Indians from another part of their own country at all!

About Space
Astronomers can determine if stars are moving away from us, and how fast, by noting the color of the light they produce in a spectrometer. A "red shift" indicates motion away, since the light waves are stretched into longer wavelengths of red and orange. A "blue shift" reveals motion towards us, as light waves are compressed into shorter wavelengths of blue and violet.

A ring of ice and rock orbits the sun beyond planet Neptune. Called the Kuiper Belt, astronomers believe that it's the remains of the debris that clumped together to form the solar system 5 billion years ago. The new planet, Quaoar, was discovered in the Kuiper Belt.

Most meteorites come from the asteroid belt, others come from the moon, Mars, and from comets.

The astronomer Harvey H. Nininger is considered the "Father of Meteoritics.” He was the first to do an extensive study of Arizona's Meteor Crater in 1939. His discovery of silica bombs and shocked quartz at the site proved that the crater was formed by impact and not by volcanic activity. Nininger was also the first to use the then novel metal detector to find meteorites.

Meteorites are one of the most valuable sources of information about the formation of the early solar system.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q:How old is Tony the Tiger?
A: Tony's exact age is uncertain, but when he was first introduced as a Kellogg's spokes- tiger in 1952, he already had an imposing growl, Tony the Tiger got the job after besting Katy the Kangaroo in a close nationwide vote the previous year. Katy, Elmo the Elephant, Newt the Gnu and the other losers disappeared without a trace.  

Q: Which mint is "two mints in one"?
A:Certs, which is both a breath mint and a candy mint.

Q: If you "ask any mermaid you happen to see, ’what's the best tuna?’"
A: Chicken of the Sea. But, is that the first question you would ask a mermaid?

Q: Speaking of mermaids: Who played the nautical flapper in the 1984 movie splash?
A: As a part-time mermaid, Daryl Hannah won the hearts of Tom Hanks and millions of moviegoers.

Q: Fill in the blanks for these sixties advertisements:
            1) "… is the one beer to have when you're having more than one."
            2) "Hey, Mabel, …"
            3) "When you're out of … you’re out of beer."
 A: 1) Schaefer. 2) (Carling) Black Label. 3) Schlitz

A little of this – a little of that.
How short can the name of a place be? It can have just one letter - In France there is a village named Y, and A is the name of a village in Norway.

Mexico City is built on an underground reservoir. Each year, the number of people in the city grows, and more water is taken out of the reservoir. As a result, the city is slowly sinking at a rate of about 6 to 8 inches a year.

If you've eaten in a Chinese restaurant recently, you've probably received a fortune cookie along with the check. (By the way, fortune cookies are as American as apple pie.) The D & E Research Institute in Ithaca, New York, evaluated the effect of these fortune cookies.
      The Institute contacted the owners of local Chinese restaurants, who agreed to help with this three-week study. After restaurant guests were given their text, and divided up their cookies, and had read their fortunes, the waitpersons would record their names, addresses and phone numbers, and the fortune that was written on the message tucked in the cookie. A year later these people were contacted and asked: In the last year, was the following statement (their fortune) true about your life?
     Amazingly, 80% said that the fortune predicted had come true.

Strange stuff about ordinary things.
Rice paper isn't made from rice but from the small "rice paper tree" (Tetrapanax papyriferum) that grows in China and Japan.

Apples are more efficient than caffeine in waking you up in the morning. The apples contain a form of fructose that’s particularly effective for alertness.

Banana oil doesn’t come from banana’s but from petroleum.

Pumice is a stone so porous that it floats in water.

Magnetic iron (magnetite) is produced from iron by the metabolism of tiny bacteria that live in iron ore. Living without light or air, these bacteria eat the ore, which then undergoes a molecular transformation and is excreted as magnetite.

Star Groups: Galaxies
A galaxy is the largest collection of astronomical objects in the universe.

In addition to containing anywhere from a few millions to hundreds of billions of stars, galaxies contain planets, comets, moons, and everything else that I've mentioned in the past.

Galaxies also come in different shapes:
Spiral galaxies look like twirling pinwheels with small, bright, round scores.

Elliptical galaxies can be egg-shaped or almost completely round like a ball.

Irregular galaxies have no common shape. Instead, they look more like odd-shaped clouds.

Peculiar galaxies have large amounts of intense radiation pouring out of them, and astronomers aren't sure why.

Odd Laws And Lawsuits
In Oklahoma there it was a legendary legislator named "Alfalfa Bill" Murray. He was a rather tall chap and was continually irked when he went into hotels and found the bed linens too short to cover his long, lanky body. So in 1908 he had a law passed requiring all hotels to have 9 foot sheets.
You can file suit against the devil himself and have your day in court, Adolph found, but you won't necessarily get any satisfaction. Adolph filed a civil rights action against "Satan and his staff." The defendant, he claimed, had "on numerous occasions caused him misery" and had "placed deliberate obstacles in his path and caused his downfall."
            That might well be, said the judge, but there wasn't anything he could do about it. First, he noted, "we question whether Adolph may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district." Nobody knew for sure whether Satan had his legal residence there.
            The case might be considered in a class action, the judge went on, but that was going to be tough given the vast size of the "class" – and the question of whether Adolph’s claims were representative of everyone else's. Finally, the judge noted, Adolph hadn't given any instructions as to exactly how the US Marshall was supposed to serve process on Satan and his servants.
            In this case, at least, the Devil came out "not guilty."

As the salutatorian of her high school class, Shelly took her grade point average seriously – very seriously. One day she missed algebra class. Since she had no excuse, the teacher lowered her grade – and that meant a slip in her overall grade point average from 95.478 to 95.413.
            Now .065 might not sound like much; but to Shelly’s dad, Ralph, you start letting the little things go and pretty soon the big ones will follow. Ralph saw only one solution: to sue the school board for $1 million.
            That docked grade point was a violation of his daughters Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Ralph told the court. The judge consented to the reinstatement of the grade points, but he refused to award any money. Ralph appealed the decision, hoping at least to get his attorney's fees paid – but the appeals court judge was so exasperated he took the grade points away again. "Patently insubstantial" was how the judge saw the case.

Ready Set Invent
The first submarine was designed in 1578 by an English mathematician. The first submarine was built in 1620 by Cornelius van Drebbel a Dutch inventor.

In 1776, the American colonist David Bushnell billed the first submarine used for military purposes. Used in the American Revolution, this one-man "Turtle" was powered by hand-cranked wooden propellers.

Air-filled tires were used on bicycles before they were used on cars.

The first machine to show animated movies was called the "wheel of life" and patented by William Lincoln in 1867. The machine, lit by an arc lamp, showed a series of drawings, which appeared to move when rotated and then viewed through a slit.

A 4,700 year-old coffin from an Egyptian pyramid at Saqqara was found to be made of six layers of wood veneer, sandwiched and glued together like plywood. The woods were cyprus, juniper, and cedar of Lebanon.

Around 1750, the first glue formula was patented in Britain. It used fish oil.

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: What product advertised that "a little dab will do you"?
A: Brylcreem.

Q: "Where's the Beef?" was the ad slogan for what hamburger chain?
A: Wendy’s.

Q: Fill in the product name blanks: "Hot dogs, … hotdogs. What kind of kids love … hot dogs? Fat kids, skinny kids, kids to climb on rocks."
A: Armour. And what to tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chickenpox put on their Armor hot dogs? "Mustard, ketchup, lots of relish too, pickles, onions, even peanut butter too."

Q: Of which cola is it said, "It's the real thing"?
A: Coca-cola.

Q: What coffee is "Good to the last drop"?
A: Maximal House coffee. The advertising slogan reportedly comes from a 1907 comment by President Theodore Roosevelt. After he was served with a cup of the beverage, Roosevelt reportedly opined that the coffee was "good to the last drop."

Interesting & Odd Facts About Nature

If you measure a day as lasting from sunrise to sunset, there is a time of year in Spitzbergen, Norway, when a "day" day lasts three and a half months! The town is so close to the North Pole that the sun shines continuously all summer.

If you stand on a scale at the equator, you will weigh less then at the North Pole. This is because the equator is further from the Earth's center, and the pull of gravity is less there.

Everyone can see mist rising from boiling water but, strictly speaking, that is not steam. Steam is not only invisible, it is not even wet! It ceases to be steam and becomes a visible mist when water droplets are formed by a drop in temperature.

The Danish island of Mano, which is off the mainland, Jutland, is reached by its inhabitants in an unusual way: They drive to it on the bottom of the sea.
     During ebb tide, the sea is between the island and the mainland becomes a road. There is a track marked by dead trees, and automobiles and carts can go back and forth on this road. But that's only during six hours a day. When the high tide returns, the road is covered by five feet of water.

About the computer and such.

In the mid-1940s, engineer John von Neumann made important improvements in computer design. His "stored memory" design allowed a computer to handle more complicated programs, and his idea for a central processing unit (C P U) allow electronic functions to be concentrated in a single source. In 1951, the UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer) became the first computer to use these features. One of the UNIVAC's impressive early achievements was predicting that Dwight D. Eisenhower would win the 1952 presidential election.

The language used to create web pages is called HTML, which stands for "hypertext markup language." HTML allows webmasters to insert special tags into their pages that tell the browser how to display text and graphics.

Computers that store and deliver information to other computers across the Internet are called servers. They "serve" by receiving a request from your PC, called a client, and delivering the data.

A fumbling beginner on the Internet is sometimes referred to as a "newbie."

The standard protocol for sending e-mail is SMTP, for "simple mail transfer protocol." This protocol packages your message into a kind of envelope and sends it to a series of servers. Each server leaves information on the message so that the receiver may see the message route.

How Stars Get Together

Star Groups: Open Clusters
Open clusters are small groups that contain anywhere from 50 to 1000 stars.

Stars within these clusters were all formed from the same diffuse nebula. Since these young stars are all about the same age, an open cluster is sometimes compared to a kindergarten class.

The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, is one of the brightest examples of an open cluster in our skies.

Although several stars will stay together as multiple star systems, this cluster as a whole will gradually drift apart.

Star Groups: Galactic Clusters
Galactic cluster is just another name for "open cluster" – a group of 50 to 1000 young stars.

These clusters form within the plane of our galaxy. The term galactic helps astronomers to distinguish these clusters from the larger globe Euler clusters that formed on the outer fringes of the galaxy.

Star Groups: Globular Clusters
Globular clusters are huge, tightly packed spheres containing anywhere from 50,000 to 1 million stars.

These brilliant clusters formed early during the creation of our galaxy, so they are made up of fairly old stars.

And these old stars aren't going anywhere. They are trapped within the cluster by the strong combined gravity of all the other stars.

Globular clusters can be found above and below the plane of our galaxy in a region known as the galactic halo. As result, they are much farther away from us then open clusters and appear fainter in our skies.

Even at such great distances, the globular cluster is a beautiful sight to look at through a telescope.

Odd Stuff In History
Sometimes we feel that good bathrooms are a sign of the advance of modern civilization. At Knossos, on the island of Crete, there are ruins of a palace that was built about 4,000 years ago. It contains complete bathrooms with modern drainage systems.

Gold certainly has a way of changing history. A gold rush will cause all kinds of people to settle in faraway places. And gold changed the whole history of Australia.
            The British used to send convicts from their overflowing prisons to the American colonies. After the War of Independence, they had to find another place – and picked Australia.
            Between 1788 and 1868, the British transported 155,000 convicts to Australia, which made it quite a penal colony. But in 1851 gold was discovered there, and that changed everything. The gold rush brought all kinds of "good people" from all over the world to Australia – and the new continent started a whole new life.

The first escalator in Britain was put in Harrods department store in 1898. An attendant waited at the top and handed a glass of brandy to any customer who was upset by the ride.

The only people in all of Europe who speak a Semitic language are the natives of the island of Malta. It is believed by some experts that Maltese is partly derived from the ancient dead language of the Phoenicians. But it is definitely a Semitic language, like Arabic and Hebrew.

About Mother Earth
Unlike other terrestrial planets in our solar system, Earth has only about 120 impact craters on its surface. Water and wind erosion, as well as erupting volcanoes and earthquakes, have erased most of them.

Geologists have identified an 112-mile (180 km) diameter crater in Mexico that they believed was formed by a particularly violent meteoritic explosion. The meteorite, estimated to be 6 miles (9.6 km) in diameter, may have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. The crater, named Chixalub (pronounced "sheesh-ah-loob”) is estimated to be about 65 million years old.

The largest known impact crater on Earth is the Vredefort Ring in South Africa. It has a diameter of 186 miles (299 km) and was formed about 2 billion years ago.

The Marianas Trench, and elongated valley on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest depression on Earth. A United States Navy bathyscape reached the bottom in 1960 and measured its depth at 35,798 feet (10,739 m).

Deep in the Marianas Trench, the temperature of the water is always just above freezing, and the pressure is more than 1000 times what is on the surface, but many bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates: home.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: Who invented roller skates?
A: It is generally believed that a Belgian mechanic and maker of musical instruments named Joseph Merlin built the first roller skates in 1770. Merlin wore his invention to a party in a fashionable section of London, where he ended up crashing into an expensive mirror. After this, he wisely put his skates away. The first patent for roller skates was issued to a Monsieur Petitbled in France in 1819. But, despite his claims to the contrary, they were not great at making turns.

Q: When was roller-skating introduced to America?
A: In 1863, Massachusetts businessman James Plimpton decided to place skate wheels on springs, with two parallel sets of wheels, one pair under the ball of the foot and the other pair under the heel. Plimpton skates were the first that could gracefully turn and maneuver a curve. After this improvement, roller-skating caught on all over the world.

Q: Where is the National Museum of Roller Skating?
A: Founded in 1980 and opened in 1982, the National Museum of Roller Skating is on the northwest corner of Forty-eighth and South Streets in Lincoln, Nebraska. The museum possesses the largest collection of historical roller skates in the world. The museum is closed on holidays and weekends.

Q: In the on unenlightened days before cigarette advertising was banned, ads for cigarettes were everywhere. Can you match the ad slogans with the cigarette brands?
1) "I'd rather fight than switch."                          
2) "I'd walk a mile for a …"                                            
3) " … Tastes good like a cigarette should."      
4) "… /M.F.T. … Means fine tobacco."                

A. Lucky Strike      B. Winston    C. Camel    D. Tareyton

A: 1=D.    2=C.    3= B.    4= L.S./M.F.T

Q: Can you identify the toothpaste brand, and finished this line? "You'll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with …"
A: Pepsodent.

Interesting Customs
So many people in Wales have the same surnames, they have to find ways to set themselves apart. In one small Welch village, there are so many Joneses that they refer to one another as Jones the Fish, Jones the Baker, Jones the Railway, etc. and the undertaker is Jones the Death.

The "sun lunch" is part of the celebration in Greenland to greet the arrival of the sun. During the early part of winter there is no sun, only darkness. On the day the sun is due to appear again, the "sun lunch" is held – and the luncheon table is placed near a window so that the sunshine can come in as the honored guest.

If you ever entertain British royalty, be sure there are no finger bowls on the dining table. It seems that back in the days when many people of England considered the exiled Catholic Stuarts the rightful claimants to the throne, they would drink the royal toast in a special way. They held their glasses over the finger bowls, symbolically drinking to "the king over the water," meaning "across the sea." It was considered an act of treason then, and it's still not proper to have finger bowls when the king or queen is present.

Cutting the fingernails is part of appearing neat and proper. We may even do it before starting out on a trip. But not the Japanese. They believe the fingernails must never be cut before starting out on a journey – or it will bring disgrace to the person before he reaches his destination.

Pin money is actually part of the history of women's lib. As far back as the 14th century, many people believed women shouldn't have money of their own to spend. In the fight against this, a husband would agree to give his bride a sum of money every year to spend on anything she wished. Since it would usually be spent on clothing and ornaments to go on clothing – and since pins were just being introduced – it came to be known as pin money.

Stuff About Space
In a sword duel with one of his students over a math problem, in the 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe lost his nose and wore a silver replacement nose for the rest of his life.

Scientists have come to understand in recent years that an enormous amount of material has been exchanged between Earth and extraterrestrial sources such as moons, asteroids, comets, and plants. Some scientists theorize that living microbes could survive the trip through space and perhaps even thrive on our planet. Since the origin of the earth is still a mystery, new theories suggest that our planet might have been "seeded" with alien life forms, which over the course of several million years evolved into humans. These theories suggest that we could all be the descendents of space travelers.

The only inanimate symbol in the zodiac is Libra, the scales.

An object that streaks the sky with light and burns up in the atmosphere is called a meteor.

And extraterrestrial object that hits the ground and survives is called a meteorite.

An object that drifts in space before hitting our atmosphere (if it ever does) is called a meteoroid.

Astronomers classify meteorites into three major types: iron, stone, and stony iron. These types have many subcategories.

Star Groups
When you go outside at night and look up, you see hundreds of individual stars. At least, that is what it looks like. In reality, it is hard to find a star that is truly all by itself.

Take our own star, for example. Even though the sun is in a single-star system, it – along with several thousand other stars – lies within one spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy.

The Milky Way contains several billion stars.

Our galaxy is just 1 of 40 different galaxies that make up a collection known as the Local Group of galaxies.

In other words, there are stars everywhere!

Interesting And Odd Facts About Nature
Carat for carat, the ruby is more valuable than the diamond.

Mirages are popularly associated with conditions of extreme heat. The ever-receding puddle on the sizzling highway surface, the unreachable oasis in the desert, these are what come to mind when one thinks of a mirage. Mirages are actually as common under conditions of cold as they are under conditions of heat. Mirages associated with the Arctic are, in fact, larger and more enduring than those associated with the deserts.
Arctic mirages differ from their desert counterparts in that they reflect something that actually exists, although not in the place it is located. Whereas the traveler in the desert may see a lake that doesn't exist anywhere, the traveler in the Arctic may see a land that exists – but not in the place he sees it.
Whether an image has a real or imaginary origin, all mirages can be photographed. The lens of the camera reacts to any mirage as does the human eye.

You see a rainbow when the sun, shining on drops of water, is broken up into seven main colors. On the ground, you only see half a rainbow. In a plane, you see the whole circle of a rainbow.

It gets mighty cold in Oymyakon, a town in eastern Siberia. A temperature of -90.4°F has been recorded there.

What grows in the interior of Greenland? Nothing. What was there? Nothing. It is just one immense mass of ice, often several thousand feet thick. There is no other place like it on earth.

Diamond is the hardest known natural substance in the world. It can scratch every other material. The only thing that will scratch a diamond is something called Borazon. It is made up of boron and nitrogen.

Early Medicine
It was reported by his contemporaries that Galen kept at least 20 scribes on hand to jot down his every thought.

Galen's errors persisted for nearly 1500 years until the Vesalius, the 16th-century Italian antonimst, began to correct them.

The Middle Ages produced no great doctors to take the place of such important figures as Imhotep and Hippocrates in the ancient world.

The first early medieval medical university was founded in the 10th century in Salerno, Italy, where Greek manuscripts written by such physicians as Hippocrates were studied. At the time, this was the only school of healing that allowed female students. It was headed by a woman named Trotula, or "Dam Trot," as she was then known.

In the 10th century, a book of herb recipes appeared called The Leach Book of Bald. This book, written by a monk, contained herbal information from traditions of the Druids in Wales and combined them with Greek and Roman herbal knowledge.

Most medieval medicines were "simples," made of herbal ingredients that were eaten raw or made into teas.


Just Stuff  Q & A

Q: Why was the baseball park in Chicago old Wrigley Field?

A: In 1926, Cubs Park was renamed Wrigley Field after Chicago Cubs owner William Wrigley Junior.

Q: When was Wrigley Juicy Fruit gum first introduced to the public?

A: In 1892, William Wrigley Jr. was a baking powder salesman who came up with an innovative idea: As a promotional device, he began giving away two free packs of chewing gum with each can of baking powder. When he saw that the chewing gum was more popular than the baking powder, he realized that he was in the wrong business. His first two Wrigley chewing gum brands were Lotta and Vassar, and Jucy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint were introduced the following year.

Q: Who said "you can buy a Model T in any color you want, as long as it's black"?

A: Henry Ford.

Q: When was Campbell Condensed Soup first sold to the public?

A: In 1869, fruit merchant Joseph Campbell and ice box manufacturer Abraham Anderson formed the business called the Campbell Preserve Company, which sold canned foods and other products. Decades later, Campbell's chemist, Dr. John T. Dorrance invented condensed soups. He was able to reduce the water in the can, making it much cheaper and easier to ship canned foods. Campbell's Condensed Tomato soup was first sold in 1897, just a year before the classic red and white can appeared.

Q: When were the Campbell Soup kids introduced in Campbell Soup’s advertising?

A: In 1904, these ever hungry youngsters made their first appearance on ads on trolleys and in magazines. In the 1930s, after radio to come along, the same cherubs started humming "M’m, M’m, Good!”

A Little Of This – A Little Of That
Guilty or not guilty is the choice of a verdict for criminal offenses in all countries – except Scotland. In trials for criminal offenses there, three verdicts are permitted: guilty, not guilty – and not proven. Not proven amounts to acquittal. 

One of the most clever tasks of design and engineering was accomplished by Filippo Brunelleschi, an Italian architect who lived in the 15th century.
            When he constructed the dome on the Cathedral of Florence, this Renaissance architect left the small opening in the top through which a shaft of light streams in every June 21. The opening, in its relation to the sun, was so precisely arranged that the sunbeam shines squarely on a brass plate set in the floor of the sanctuary. For more than five centuries, this ray of light has never failed to cover the plate completely.
            Brunelleschi knew that once there was the slightest divergence of light from the plate it would mean that the cathedral had shifted its center of gravity and the structure would have to be bolstered to prevent its collapse. The cathedral, however, was so perfectly designed that it has stood firmly on marshy ground for nearly 600 years. 

It doesn't take a great invention to make money for the inventor. Many people thought of simple little things have made fortunes from them. Here are a few examples: the man who thought of putting the rubber eraser on lead pencils made $100,000 a year; a man named Harvey Kennedy made $2.5 million a year for inventing the shoelace; the woman who invented a certain kind of curling iron got a yearly royalty of $40,000; and Doctor Plimpton, the inventor of the roller skate, made $1,000,000 from his patent.
Strange Stuff About Ordinary Things
Because of the danger of ultraviolet light from acetylene torches and burners, glass blowers wear special glasses that contain the elements neodymium and praseodymium. These elements have proved to be effective absorbers of UV rays.

The emerald gem is actually a form of beryl (crystal aluminum) that contains the metal chromium. The ruby is another form of crystal aluminum called a corundum. 
The green coating that covers copper objects is a salt called copper carbonate. The salt forms as the copper reacts to moisture in the air.
Adding the metal zirconium to steel creates flint – a metal that sparks when struck or rubbed.

Combining titanium with steel makes it less brittle; adding tantalum makes it harder.
Stars – Going out with a bang – Old Blue Giant Stars
Old blue giant stars go out with a bang! In fact, when they blow up, is one of the most powerful explosions in the universe.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First they have to use up all their fuel.

As old blue giant stars burn through their tremendous supply of hydrogen, helium, carbon, and heavier elements, they go through a series of contortions that make old sun-like stars look as if they were just warming up.

Why are old blue giant stars so different from old sun-like stars?

Because blue giant stars are so massive, the pressures and temperatures in their cores are much higher than those found within sun-like stars. These extreme conditions allow nuclear reactions take place at a much faster rate.

When all the hydrogen within the blue giant’s core is converted to helium, the nuclear reactions stop. Its core collapses and heats up, while its surface expands – just like the old sun-like star.

However, since a blue giant star was much larger than our son to begin with, when it swelled in size, it passes the red giant stage and becomes a red supergiant.

            Note: If a red supergiant star were to replace our sun, the four inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars will all be swallowed up by this monster star.

The star doesn't stay this big for long. Soon afterward, helium begins fusing in the core, and the star shrinks back to its normal size.

Then after it uses up all the helium, the old blue giant swells again into a red supergiant.

The series of contractions and expansions continue at a faster and faster pace as heavier and heavier elements fuse together within the old stars core. From this point, carbon and helium fuse into oxygen – then – oxygen and helium fuse into neon – then – neon and helium fuse into magnesium – carbon and oxygen fuse into silicon – oxygen atoms fuse into sulfur – silicon atoms fuse and iron, and from here things change really fast.

Up until this point, every nuclear reaction that has taken place has released more energy than was required to make it.

This extra energy pushes out against the strong gravity pushing in, keeping the star relatively stable.

This balance is destroyed when silicon fuses into iron because it takes more energy to make iron than is released when the reaction is complete.

With the sudden drop in energy output, the strong gravity pushing in on the star immediately takes advantage of the situation and causes the star to collapse. The collapse happens fast, taking less than a second. Material within the star collides with itself, and the star is ripped apart in a tremendous explosion.


This supernova, the most powerful explosion in the universe – a spectacular end to a brilliant but short-lived star.

You would think that when a star is completely ripped apart by a supernova, that would be it.

For some, it is. A cloud of gas and dust known as a supernova remnant will be all that remains of low-mass blue giants.

            Note: A supernova remnant is different from a diffuse nebula (a type of stellar cloud.) A supernova remnant contains many different elements that were all formed within the old star. A diffuse nebula contains mostly hydrogen and a little helium.

For more massive blue giant stars, the end isn't at as straight forward.

The larger the star, the more mass is left over after the supernova.

Sometimes there is enough debris left over that its combined gravity will cause it to collapse into a small ball. Astronomers call this small dead start a neutron star.

Sometimes, if there is a great deal of debris left over from a supernova, it will gather together and collapse beyond the point of a neutron star.

From here, the gravity is so strong that nothing will be able to stop it. It will continue to collapse until everything that was the old blue giant star is now crammed into a singularity – a point with incredible mass that doesn't take up any space. More commonly known as – a black hole.

In summary, all blue giant stars will in their lives with a supernova – the largest explosion in the universe. Then depending on how much debris remains, you will find either a dust cloud, a neutron star, or a black hole.

Botanical Oddities
Juniper berries smelled so strongly of evergreen trees that they have been chewed as a breath freshener, steeped for tea, ground into poultice, and made into jam.

In early 17th century Europe, tea was so expensive that it was kept in locked metal boxes called canisters.

The poinsettia plant was brought to the United States in 1828 by Doctor Joel Poinsett, the first US Ambassador to Mexico. The plant, called "flower of the blessed night" in Mexico, was renamed in Poinstee’s honor.

The North American plant called the bloodroot was used by the Algonquin Indians as a source of red dye for their faces and bodies. They called it puccoon.

The herbs bloodroot, boneset, currant, and magnolia all have fever-reducing properties. Botanists refer to these herbs as antipyretics. 

The California redwood, coast redwood, and giant sequoia are the tallest and largest living organisms in the world. However, the oldest living thing in existence is not a California redwood, but a 4,600-year-old bristlecone pine from the White Mountains of California.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: In which John LeCarre novel does the character George Smiley not appear?
            a) Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy
            b) A Perfect Spy
            c) The Little Drummer Girl
            d) The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
            e) The Looking Glass War
A: A Perfect Spy

Q: In John LeCarre novels, the British Intelligence Agency is called:
            a) The Agency
            b) MI5
            c) Cambridge Central
            d) The Circus
            e) Control
A: The Circus.

Q: Complete the following expressions from Seinfield:
            a) "A Festivus. . .”
            b) " Serenity. . . ”
            c) “Sponge. . .”
            d) “These pretzels. . .”
            e) “Yada, . . .”
A:  a) “A Festivus for the rest of us.” b) “Serenity now.” c) “Sponge-worthy.” d) “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” e) “Yada, yada, yada.”

Q: What is the pseudonym that George Costanza chooses when impersonating someone on Seinfield?
A: Art Vanderlay. The ever-versatile Art is both an importer/exporter and an architect.

Q: How did the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" become so famous?
A: "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was written in 1830 by Sarah Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book.  She was inspired after watching young Mary Tyler's pet lamb follow the girl to school, which, of course, was against the rules. The poem became immortal more than fifty years later when Thomas Edison used it as the first words ever spoken and then recorded on his new invention, the phonograph.

Q: Who was Little Jack Horner in the nursery rhyme?
A: At a time when Henry VIII was confiscating church property, one monk appeased the king with the gift of a special Christmas pie. Inside the crust were deeds to twelve Manor houses secretly offered in exchange for his monastery. The steward who carried the pie to London was Jack Horner, who along the way extracted a plum deed for himself. It was for Mells Manor, where Horner's descendents still live to this day.

Odd Stuff In History
The great modern auction houses have had some strange items, under their hammer, but nothing as strange as that which went on the block in Rome in 193 CE. The bids taken at that auction were for possession of the Roman empire, an area than covering several million square miles.

The oldest surviving writing paper dates back to about 110 CE, and was made in China.

Without an Englishman named Congreve, the United States would not have had its national anthem.
            The rockets that inspired Francis Scott Key as he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry on that historic night during the War of 1812 were the invention of Sir William Congreve, royal fire master to the king. They were also the first rockets ever seen in America.
            Made of narrow wooden tubes filled with gunpowder and tipped with iron warheads, the rockets were guided by simple, polelike rudders and launched from rows of tilted frames in a series of giant assaults. With a range of 2 miles, they were designed to explode on impact, scattering deadly shrapnel over a wide area.
            Streaking across the sky, tales hissing and blazing, these new missiles were a terrifying sight. But they did not win the war for England. Instead, Congreve’s rockets were remembered today only because they're brilliant "red glare" gave America its great "Star-Spangled Banner."

About the computer and such:
The most famous and powerful computer to come out of World War II was the Electronic Integrator and Computer (ENIAC), funded by the U.S. government and designed by the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, and 5 million soldered joints. The computer was so massive it consumed 160 kw of power – enough energy to dim the lights in an entire section of Pennsylvania.

The design of the computer keyboard evolved from the typewriter keyboard, which was invented in 1868.

In computer terminology, "protocol" means a set of rules for exchanging data that both sides, in this case two computers, you agree to follow.

Although transistors were responsible for smaller, more efficient computers, they were also hot and could damage a computer's wiring system. To get around this problem, engineers began looking at the electrical conducting properties of silicon, made from quartz. In 1958, Jack Kilby, an engineer with Texas Instruments, developed a 3-component integrated circuit or "chip." This made much smaller computers possible. The chip was ahead of its time, and unfortunately, Kilby didn't renew his patent by the time chips became a standard feature in every computer.

In July of 1993, a fire destroyed Japan's Sumitomo Chemical Company. Since Sumitomo supplied over 60% of the world’s cresol (used to make memory chips), the price of memory chips skyrocketed.


Interesting and Odd Animal Kingdom Facts
The electric eel is not really an eel; it is more closely related to the carp and catfish than to eels. One difference is that a true eel breathes in the water, while an electric eel cannot. The gills of the electric eel are simply too primitive to obtain oxygen directly from the air.

Contrary to what many people suppose, the electric eel is not unique in its ability to generate electricity. There are many species of fish that can do this. However, the electric eel can generate a greater electric current than any other electric fish. The average electrical discharge is 350 volts, but it can release a charge as high as 600 volts. Fortunately the amperage is low, about one ampere, a charge powerful enough to stun a man – but not kill him. This electric discharge is used not only to stun the eel’s prey and ward off its enemies but also as a navigational device. It allows the electric eel to make its way safely through the muddy waters in which it often lives. Small electric currents are constantly sent out and reflected by objects in the eel’s path, and the animal is thus able to sense the nature of its surroundings. This, of course, is exactly what a sophisticated radar system does. The electric eel not only generates electricity but also operates a true radar system.

Just Stuff
Who owns the song "Happy Birthday"?
"Happy Birthday" began as "Good Morning Dear Children" and was written by educators Mildred and Patty Hill in 1893. In 1924, a publisher changed the opening line to "Happy Birthday to You," and it became a ritual to sing the song to anyone celebrating his or her birthday. In 1934, after hearing the song in a Broadway musical, a third Hill sister, Jessica, sued the show and won. The Hill family was thereafter entitled to royalties whenever the melody was performed commercially.

What's unusual about the music to the American national anthem?
In 1814, after a night in a pub, Francis Scott Key was taken prisoner during the war between Canada and the United States. When he saw the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry, he was inspired to write his famous lyrics with one particular barroom song, "To Anacreon In Heaven," still in his mind. And so "The Star Spangled Banner" was written to the tune of a traditional old English drinking song.

Who was Matilda in the song "Waltzing Matilda"?
In the Australian song "Waltzing Matilda," a billabong is a pool of stagnant water. A swagman was someone who carried around everything he owned in a knapsack. Waltzing meant hiking, and Matilda wasn't a woman but rather an Australian word for a knapsack. So, waltzing Matilda means "walking with my knapsack."

Strange and Unusual Stuff About the Senses
Can a clean smelling room make you a better human being? Apparently so. A recent study at Brigham Young University found that people who live and work in clean smelling environments treat others more fairly and act more charitably than those in rooms with no particular smell at all. To test that theory, researchers compared the behavior of people in rooms cleaned with citrus-scented spray cleaner with those in "unscented" rooms. The individuals in the citrus-scented group proved to be more trustworthy and more eager to volunteer their time and money for charitable cases.

Just as they have fingerprints, humans have "odor prints," and no two are the same. That's how bloodhounds can tell the difference between one person and another – even identical twins. This is great news for law enforcement: Even if a criminal doesn't leave fingerprints at the scene of the crime, his sent is still evident. By swabbing the scene, investigators can pick up identification traces that they can match with scent samples taken from suspects.

The former East German secret police – the Stasi – used specifically designed seat cushions to collect odor samples from suspected enemies of the state during interrogations.

People with synesthesia interpret sensory information in unusual ways. They might see letters and numbers in distinct colors, even if the printed type they are reading is black. They might taste sounds or hear colors – perceiving two separate sensory triggers where most people would perceive only one.

The number of people with some form of synesthesia has not been determined. It could be as high as one in every twenty people.

Many male animals use their sense of smell when searching for a mate, and it turns out that this includes human males. A Florida State University study found that men's testosterone levels increased when they sniffed a T-shirt that had been worn by a woman who was ovulating.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: Where did the bearded figure Uncle Sam come from?
A: Sam Wilson was a meat packer who supplied preserved beef to the United States Army in the nineteenth century. The barrels of meat were stamped "U.S." to indicate they were property of the United States, but the soldiers joked that the initials were actually those of the supplier, "Uncle Sam" Wilson. The bearded figure of "Uncle Sam" was drawn and introduced by Thomas Nast, the same cartoonist who created the Republicans’ elephant and the Democrats’ donkey.

Q: How did the Mercedes automobile get its name?
A: In 1990, the Daimler Corporation was commissioned to design and build a special racing car to add to the fleet of a wealthy Australian named Emil Jellinek. Mr. Jellinek gave the special car the nickname "Mercedes," which was his daughter’s name. Jellinek was so impressed with the car that he bought into Daimler, and when the company merged with Benz in 1926, company officials decided to keep the name and market a commercial car as the Mercedes-Benz.

Q: Why were dancers in the thirties and forties called "jitterbugs"?
A: Band leader Cab Calloway coined the word jitterbug as a description of both the music and dancers during the big band era. It came from a time when drinking alcohol was prohibited by law, giving rise to the popularity of the illegal booze. Because of its hangover effect, moonshine had long been called "jitter sauce," and Calloway, while watching the intoxicated dancers, labeled them "jitterbugs."

Q: How did the soft drink Dr. Pepper get its name?
A: In Virginia in the 1880s, Wade Morrison, a pharmacist’s assistant, wanted to marry his boss's daughter. But her father considered Morrison too old for her and asked him to move on. After Morrison had settled down and opened his own drug store in Waco, Texas, one of his employees came up with a new soft drink idea, which Morrison developed and named after the man who gave him his start in the drug business: his old girlfriend’s father, Doctor Kenneth Pepper.

Q: Was there a real person named Chef Boyardee?
A: Yes. Italian-born Hector Boyardi was a well-known chef, who worked at various places, including West Virginia’s Greenbriar Hotel, where he catered Woodrow Wilson’s wedding. After enjoying success at his Cleveland restaurant, he began selling his foods nationwide. To make himself more marketable, he “Americanized” his last name. When the good chef died in 1985 he was a rich man.

Let's Talk Planets Facts About Mercury
Mercury versus the Moon
Because of its grey color and many craters, Mercury is often mistaken for our moon.

While the two look very similar in photos, there is a distinct difference that will help you tell them apart.

Mercury is completely covered with round impact craters. Our moon has craters too. But it also has several large, dark, smooth areas called maria (pronounced MAR-ee-uh; mar sounds like car).

So if you aren't sure whether you're looking at a picture of the moon or Mercury, look for large, dark, crater-free areas. If you see any, it's the moon for sure. If all you see is craters, chances are good that you're looking at Mercury.

The Human Body Scientifically Speaking
Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear fully formed until the child reaches nearly six years of age.

Because an infant's brain grows so quickly, the plates of its skull do not fuse together for several years.

Fingerprints appear in a fetus by the age of three months.

Fingerprints evolved to provide better traction for picking up things.

Every second, five people are born and two people die. This results in a net gain of three new people per second.

Just Stuff About Saliva
On a roadside in Grunstadt, Germany, a young man flagged down a passing car. When a female driver stopped to help him, he unfolded a map and asked for directions. Distracted by the map, she didn't notice when he reached into the car and swiped her wallet. After she pointed out the route he was looking for, in a gentlemanly gesture, he kissed her hand and thanked her. When she discovered her wallet had been lifted, she went to the police, who swabbed the back of her hand and collected enough DNA evidence to identify the crook.

The protein composition of a woman saliva changes as she ages.


Interesting/Odd Facts About the Human Body
The normal adult human body has 206 bones, but infants have more bones than adults. The underdeveloped skull of a newborn baby has six gaps or "holes" in it, the largest of which is located in the middle of the top of the head. By the age of two, the skull bones have grown sufficiently to close those "soft spots" – thus reducing the number of bones in the skull.

Also the last five vertebrae at the lower end of a child's backbone gradually join to form a single bony structure, the sacrum.

In addition, the coccyx or tailbone, located below the sacrum at the very end of the backbone, consists of four tiny bones in some people but five in others.

Did you know that you are taller in the morning than you are at night? This is because you have soft pads (called disks) between the bones of your spine. They expand slightly overnight, making you taller.

Your entire body slows down its growth rate when you get older. Only your ears keep growing.

The human skin consists of four layers. The top, or fourth layer, the stratum corneum, is constantly being shed from the body. No sooner do the cells in this top layer slough off into clothing or into the air then they are replaced by cells from the lower layers beneath. It takes about four weeks for a single cell to rise from the lowest or first layer to the top layer. Our entire skin, therefore is replaced every twenty-eight days.

You have about 5 million hairs on your body. Many of them are so fine, you can hardly see them. They grow at an average of half an inch per month, but a little faster when the weather is warm.

Why Is Its Surface so Stormy?
The core of the Sun isn't the only place where interesting things are going on. Weird things are happening on the solar surface as well.

The Sun has spots that appear and disappear at random, clouds that are made of hot glowing gases (not cool, refreshing rain), and sudden explosions that release tremendous amounts of energy into space. All these features are caused by the same thing – a fluid, twisting magnetic field.

Sunspots Appear and Disappear
There aren't always sunspots on the sun. Sometimes there are many, sometimes there are few, and sometimes there are none at all.

The periods of time without sunspots on the surface and little, if any, solar activity are what astronomers call solar minimum.

During the 5.5 years following a solar minimum, the number of sunspots gradually increases until the sun reaches what is known as a solar maximum – when there are many sunspots.

Then, over the next 5.5 years, the sunspot activity gradually decreases until the sun has returned to a solar minimum.

This eleven year period, from solar minimum to solar maximum and back, is known as the sunspot cycle.

Some Animal Facts
The mucus trail that a snail produces is so effective that a snail can travel across the edge of the razor without getting cut.

The fastest speed recorded for a garden snail was 0.0313 miles (0.05km) per hour.

Earthworms are made up of many segments called annuli. The annuli are covered in tiny hairs that grip the soil, allowing the worm to move as it contracts its muscles.

A chameleon's body is only half the length of its tongue.

The capybara is an Amazon water hog that looks like a guinea pig, except that it weighs more than 100 pounds (45 kg). It is the world's largest rodent.

A healthy mole can tunnel through 300 feet (90 m) of earth in one day.

Just Stuff  Q & A
Q: Whose home provides the grounds for the Arlington National Cemetery?
A: Robert E. Lee. Arlington House was the home of Robert E. Lee for thirty years until Virginia joined the Confederacy and federal troops occupied the estate. During the Civil War, the grounds were appropriated for a military cemetery after Brigadier General Montgomery C. Meigs ordered that dead Union soldiers be buried in Mrs. Lee's rose garden. Many historians believe that Miegs directive was an act of revenge to prevent Lee from ever returning home.

Q: What is an "October Surprise"?
A: An extraordinary news event timed to influence the outcome of the United States presidential election in November. Notable October surprises include Lyndon Johnson's announcement of the cessation of North Vietnam bombing in 1968 and Henry Kissinger's statement about eminent peace in Vietnam in 1972. The "October Surprise conspiracy" alludes to reports that Ronald Reagan made an informal deal with Iranian officials to prevent the release of American hostages shortly before the 1980 election.

Q: What condition did Lizzie Borden, Emily Dickenson and Henry VIII share?
A: They were all redheads.

Q: What famous baby doctor participated in the Olympics before becoming a famous author?
A: Benjamin Spock was a member of the 1924 USA Olympic rowing team. He went on to be the author of the best seller Baby and Childcare, which has been translated into 39 languages and has sold more than 50 million copies.

Q: Which bird is the largest bird?
A: The ostrich, which can grow up to nine feet tall and weigh more than 350 pounds. This flightless species is also the fastest running bird; it can run at speeds greater than 40 miles per hour.

Odd Stuff In History
Men used to go to a barbershop for more than just a haircut. Each shop had a red-and-white striped pole outside. This was because barbers used to “bleed” people. They cut a person's arm and let it bleed. This was thought to cure some illnesses. Barbers wrapped the used bandages around the pole and left them outside as an advertisement of their services.

Vesuvius, 70 CE. That historic explosion buried all of Pompeii under a hot, suffocating blanket of ash and pumice 32 feet deep and claimed the lives of more than 20,000 inhabitants. So quickly did the disaster take place that only a few had time to escape. Most victims died suddenly in their homes and shops or as they fled toward the safety of the nearby bay.
            As the deadly sediment cooled, it hardened around its victims, forming natural and perfect molds of their bodies. Over the centuries, these bodies gradually turned into dust, but the hard molds that outlined the once-living contours remained intact.
            Almost 2,000 years later, workmen digging carefully down through the hard ash to unearth the ancient city would hear their tools tap on a hollow place. This sound told them that the body mold of a Pompeiian and killed by Vesuvius lay beneath.
            Upon this discovery, a hole would be carefully bored into the top of the "mold," and through this opening would be poured enough plaster of Paris to fill the empty space within. When the plaster hardened, the ancient covering would be broken away, revealing an absolutely lifelike case of one of the Vesuvius’s long dead victims.

Tourists who visit Warsaw are actually looking at a city that has been almost entirely rebuilt. The rebuilding was done using the original designs going back, in some cases, hundreds of years. During World War II, 90% of Warsaw was destroyed, and its population fell from 1,300,000 in 1939 to 162,000 in 1944.

Odd Stuff In History
In Alaska, when it was still a Russian possession, there was a tribe of Indians called the Tlingit. They carved totem poles. When Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States, they carved a huge wooden likeness of him. It can be seen now in a museum in Juneau.

A collection that begins as a hobby can become quite important. Thomas Jefferson was a great collector of books. His collection was so fine that it eventually became the nucleus of the Library of Congress after the original holdings of the library were destroyed by fire in 1814. Incidentally, there are now more than 29 million books in the Library of Congress.

A Washington museum in England? Yes. It's Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire. It was George Washington's family home, and it has been restored and refurbished and made into a museum.

Because all modern presidents were born citizens of the United States, it is widely assumed that all presidents were natural born citizens. Actually, the first seven presidents were not born United States citizens, but British subjects. When these presidents were born, to put it simply, there was no such thing as the United States. Martin Van Buren (1837 – 41), the eighth president, was the first United States born president.

The United States Constitution requires that "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president." Once the Constitution was ratified, unless they declined citizenship (which many Loyalists did), all former British subjects automatically became citizens of the United States. The first seven presidents were thus granted citizenship and became eligible for the office.

Alexander the Great, who lived about 2,300 years ago, ordered all his soldiers to shave their heads and faces. This prevented an enemy from grabbing a soldier by the hair to cut his head off.

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