Interesting Tab


Let's Talk Planets Facts About Mars
Because Mars has about one third the gravity of Earth there would be less gravity tugging on you – or anything else for that matter.

So if you can jump 3 feet (0.9 m) high on earth, you'd be able to jump almost 8 feet (2.4 meters) high on Mars.

If you can throw ball 25 feet (7.6 m) on earth you could throw the same ball more than 65 feet (19.8 m) on Mars.

If you want to jump high or throw far… It seems visiting Mars is a must!

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: Underground comic book writer Harvey Pekar of American Splendor often appeared on what popular TV show? What caused his final exit?
A: Cantankerous Pekar made eight appearances on Late Night with David Letterman until his on-air criticism of NBC and its parent company General Electric caused his expulsion

Q: John Berendt’s best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil depicts the eccentric characters surrounding a controversial murder trial in which great city?
A: Savannah, Georgia.

Q: What was Pac-Man's original name?
A: Puck Man. The name was changed to avoid vandalism by American teens intent on making a single letter substitution. Because this alteration is not an issue in non-English speaking countries, both Puck Man and Pac-Man machines can be found throughout Europe.

Q: What is "bullet time"? Who made it famous?
A: A special effect used in movies that enables audiences to see imperceptibly fast events in slow-motion while the camera circles the scene at normal speed. This technique was popularized by the Wachowski Brothers in the 1999 movie The Matrix.

Just Stuff Politically Speaking
Why are political positions referred to as "left" and "right"?
Over two hundred years ago, King Louis XVI of France was forced to convene a form of Parliament for the first time in more than a century. At the assembly, the more radical delegates took up seats on the left of the King, while their conservative counterparts sat on his right. Ever since, liberal views had been referred to as from the left, and conservative ideas as from the right.

Were those seeking political favor from elected officials said to be "lobbying"?
The term lobbying originates from the earliest days of the British Parliament, where an extensive corridor runs between the Chamber of the Lords and the House of Commons. Because the general public were allowed into this corridor, or lobby, it was where constituents waited to meet with their representatives in order to influence their votes on current legislation. This practice was called "lobbying" because it took place in the lobby.

Why do we say a political candidate on speaking tour is "on the stump"?
When early European settlers were moving west and clearing the land, every farm had an abundance of tree stumps in their fields. A "barnstorming" politician who looked for a place of prominence to be seen and heard by the gathered electorate would invariably find a large tree stump to stand on from which he would make his pitch. This gave us the expression "on the stump," which is still used to describe a politician seeking election.

How did March 17 become St. Patrick's Day?
When the time came to honor the patron saint of Ireland's birthday, church officials gathered solemnly to choose a day, then realized that most of St. Patrick's life was a mystery. They finally narrowed his birthdate down to either March 8 or 9th, but because they couldn't agree which was correct, they decided to add the two together and declared March 17 to be St. Patrick's Day.

How did the Shamrock become a symbol of St. Patrick?
In the fifth century, Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, transformed that country from its pagan roots to Christianity. During an outdoor sermon, Patrick was struggling to explain the holy Trinity when he spotted the Shamrock. He used its three leaves to illustrate how the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost grew from a single stem, symbolizing one God sustaining the Trinity, and ever since, the Shamrock reminds the faithful of that lesson.

Some More Stuff
In the early morning of March 18, 1990, two men dressed in police uniforms broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, stealing thirteen works of art, including paintings and drawings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, and Manet. It was the largest art theft in history. More than twenty years later the works have not been recovered and are valued today at around $500 million. In the museum, the frames of the stolen artwork remain in their places on the gallery walls as placeholders, empty and waiting for the return of the treasures.

According to the Art Loss Register, Pablo Picasso is the artist whose work is stolen most frequently. Hundreds of Picasso's have been stolen from museums, galleries, businesses, and private homes, including a theft in 2007 from the home of Picasso’s granddaughter.

In 1990 Vincent van Gogh's Portrait of Doctor Gachet set an all-time record for the highest auction price paid for painting when it sold for $82.5 million at Christie's in New York. The van Gogh painting held that record for fourteen years, until Pablo Picasso's Boy with a Pipe sold at an auction for $104.1 million in 2004.

Although scholars continue to hunt for documentation to the contrary, van Gogh appears to have sold only one painting during his lifetime. That was a piece called Red Vineyard, which sold in 1890 during an exhibition in Brussels.

Computers… Hmm
If all the data on a CD were stretched out in a single line, it would be 3.5 miles (5.6 km) long.

The first graphical computer game, "Tic-Tac-Toe," was created in 1952 by A. S.Douglas at the University of Cambridge. The game displayed crude symbols on a cathode tube attached to the computer's processor.

The first animated videogame was created in 1958 by William Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. It was called "Tennis for Two."

The first game designed exclusively for a computer monitor was called "Space War." It was created in 1962 by the programmer Steve Russell.

Interesting and Odd Animal Kingdom Facts
The beautiful fan of feathers you see is not the peacock's tail at all. Those long, lovely display feathers, or train, grow on the lower part of the back, just above the true tail, which consists of twenty short, stiff, plain colored feathers. When the peacock wishes to show off, the true tail lifts, fans out, and rises and supports the display feathers.

After raising their young, most birds go through a period of molting, shedding their feathers and growing new ones. They lose only a few feathers at a time from each wing, and new feathers quickly grow in two replace those lost.
      It is not well-known, however, that most waterfowl lose their ability to fly during molting. Swans, geese, ducks, and rails, among others, shed all their flight feathers at once. These birds may be totally incapable of flight for several weeks.

A person with low intelligence is often said to be birdbrained, from the belief that birds have tiny brains. Actually, a bird's brain is large and heavy in proportion to its body weight. Moreover, some birds – crows, for example – are quite intelligent.

The stork doesn't bring babies, as even young people know. But does it have magic powers? Some people in northern Germany think so. They believe that fire never comes to the place where the stork has its brood. So storks are allowed to rest on rooftops of homes everywhere.

Just Stuff Q& A
Q: Identify the movie from the following line:
     a) "No wire hangers!”
     b) "I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou."
     c) "So I got that going for me which is nice."
     d) "There is no spoon."
     e) "Can I borrow your underpants for ten minutes?"
A: a) Mommy Dearest. b) Fargo c) Caddyshack d) The Matrix e) Sixteen Candles

Q: Catnip drives pet felines wild. Does it also affect big cats like lions and tigers, too?
A: Yes, some "Big cats" are extremely sensitive to catnip, which is also sometimes called catmint. The herb contains a chemical, nepatalacetone, which triggers strong and often unusual feline responses.

Q: What is the name of the dog on the Cracker Jack box?
A: Bingo. Although Cracker Jack was first introduced in 1896, and was included in the song lyrics of "Take Me out to the Ballgame" in 1908, and started putting "A Prize in Every Box" in 1912, it was in 1918 that Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo, first appeared on the Cracker Jack's box. Bingo and his human pal, Sailor Jack, have changed their appearances over the years, primarily to keep up with changing fashion.

Let's Talk Planets Facts About Mars
Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system, just a little more than half the size of Earth.

Mars was named for the Roman god of war because of its blood red appearance in the sky.

Mars gets its redish color from the iron in its crust interacting with a very small amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. To put it simply, Mars is red because it's rusting.

For a planet only half the size of Earth, Mars has some really huge features on its surface – including the largest volcano and the largest canyon in the solar system.

Both Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars, are believed to be captured asteroids.

On Mars, a 100 pound (45.3 kg) person would weigh 37.9 pounds (17.1 kg).

To find out how much you weigh on Mars, multiply your birth weight by 0.379.

Early Medicine Egyptian Style
In ancient Egypt, a migraine headache was considered a special ailment that called for special treatment. The patient ate siluris (an electric catfish) that was fried slowly in peppered oil.

The word "cataracts" comes from the Latin cataracta, meaning a downward trickle of water. The Egyptians and Romans believed that cataracts were caused by liquid flowing from the brain into the eyes.

In ancient Egypt, cataracts where treated by applying a mixture of tortoise brain and honey. The Egyptians thought the tortoise brains, along with the sluggish honey, possessed magical properties that would stop the flow of fluids.

The first known surgery for cataracts was performed in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in about A.D. 100.

Computer Stuff 
The clock speed of the original IBM personal computer was 4.77 MHz. Today's computers are 500 times faster.

A standard compact disc (CD) is 4.8 inches (12 cm) in diameter.

You can store 74 minutes of music on a CD, equivalent to 783,216,000 bytes of information.

On a CD, information is "written" from the inside center hole to the outside edge.

Unlike data tape, a CD has only one track, which spirals from the CD’s center hole to its edge. Since the data is stored on a spiral, a greater concentration of it exists at the center of the CD then towards its edge.

More Stuff
How did we start the ritual of kissing a wound to make it better?
Everyone with children has kissed the small bruise or cut to make it better. This comes from one of our earliest medical procedures for the treatment of snakebite. Noticing that the victim could be saved if the venom was sucked out through the point of entry, early doctors soon began treating all infectious abrasions by putting their lips to the wound and sucking out the poison. Medicine moved on, but the belief that a kiss can make it all better still lingers.

How did flipping a coin become a decision-maker?
The Lydians minted the first coin in ten B.C. but it wasn't until nine hundred years later that the coin toss became a decision-maker. Julius Caesar's head appeared on one side of every Roman coin of his time, and such was the reverence for the Emperor that in his absence often serious litigation was decided by the flip of the coin. If Caesar's head landed upright, it meant that through the guidance of the gods, he agreed in absentia with the decision in question.

How did we start celebrating Mother’s Day?
In 1907 Miss Anna Jarvis of West Virginia asked guests to wear a white carnation to the church service on the anniversary of her mother's death. But Mother's Day became increasingly commercial, and Miss Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to restore its simplicity. The strain of her efforts to stop Mother's Day and what it had become led her to an insane asylum, where she died alone in 1948.

Stuff about The Mosquito
A mosquito's "nose" is located on its antennae, which are covered with what biologists call odorant receptors. The specialized receptors that are sensitive to human sweat are the ones that prompt a mosquito to bite. They're found only on female mosquitoes.

It seems likely that King Tut died from malaria, a disease transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.

Female Anopheles mosquitoes, the ones that transmit malaria, are responsible for about one million human deaths a year.

Just Stuff Q&A
Q: Identify the literary work from the following first line:
        a) "Call me Ishmael."
        b) "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
        c) "A screaming comes across the sky."
        d) "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead."
        e) "It was a pleasure to burn."
A: a) Moby Dick by Herman Melville. b) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. c) Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. d) Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce. e) Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Q: Identify the poet of the following first lines:
        A) "I saw the best minds of a generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…"
        B) "April is the cruelest month…"
        C) "I sing the body electric…"
        D) "Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me."
        E) "Lana Turner has collapsed!"
A: A) Allen Ginsberg, "Howl." B) T. S. Elliott, "The Wasteland." C) Walt Whitman, "I Sing the Body Electric." D) Emily Dickinson, "Because I could not stop for Death…" E) Frank O'Hara, "Poem (Lana Turner has collapsed!)"

Q: What school does Harry Potter attend?
A: The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Sorcery.

Interesting/Odd Facts About The Human Body.
An adult’s brain weighs three pounds, which is equal to the weight of three soccer balls.

Nerve impulses carry messages from your body to your brain at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour – the top speed of a fast car.

When you dive into water, your heartbeat slows down. This is one of your body survival tricks it slows down the effect of the lack of oxygen in your body and helps you hold your breath longer.

Your skin helps keep you cool by sweating salty water. On an average day, we sweat about half a pint, but on a very hot day you can lose as many as six pints of sweat.

Did you know…
When you go to buy bread in the grocery store, have you ever wondered which is the freshest, so you 'squeeze' for freshness or softness? Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day has a different color twist tie.
They are:
Monday = Blue,
Tuesday = Green,
Thursday = Red
Friday = White
Saturday = Yellow.

So if today was Thursday, you would want red twist tie; not white which is Fridays (almost a week old)! The colors go alphabetically by color Blue- Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday through Saturday. Very easy to remember. I thought this was interesting. I looked in the grocery store and the bread wrappers DO have different twist ties, and even the ones with the plastic clips have different colors. You learn something new everyday! Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.

Pass this information on to friends so they can be informed 

Some Stuff
Miscellaneous Odds and Ends
When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on
Body paint - Crisco mixed with food coloring. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour in to an empty film container and mix with the food color of your choice!

Preserving a newspaper clipping - large bottle of club soda and cup of milk of magnesia , soak for 20 min. and let dry, will last for many years!

A Slinky will hold toast and CD's!

To keep goggles and glasses from fogging, coat with Colgate toothpaste

To keep FRESH FLOWERS longer Add a little Clorox , or 2 Bayer aspirin , or just use 7-up instead of water.
Interesting uses for Kool Aid / Jello / Pam / Elmer’s Glue
Stinky feet - Jello

Kool aid to clean dishwasher pipes. Just put in the detergent section and run a cycle, it will also clean a toilet. (Wow, and we drink this stuff)

Kool Aid can be used as a dye in paint also Kool Aid in Dannon plain yogurt as a finger paint, your kids will love it and it won't hurt them if they eat it!

Tie Dye T-shirt - mix a solution of Kool Aid in a container, tie a rubber band around a section of the T-shirt and soak

Sticking bicycle chain - Pam no-stick cooking spray

Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands! Keep a can in your garage for your hubby

Elmer's Glue - paint on your face, allow it to dry, peel off and see the dead skin and blackheads if any.
Did you know these things are good for…
Budweiser beer conditions the hair
Pam cooking spray will dry finger nail polish
Cool whip will condition your hair in 15 minutes
Mayonnaise will KILL LICE, it will also condition your hair
Heavy dandruff - pour on the vinegar!
For Shiny Hair - use brewed Lipton Tea

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: What are the names of Santa's reindeer
A: According to the "Night Before Christmas," – or, The answer, Prancer, Dixon, Comment, Qubit, Donner, and Blitzen by the reindeer who pull Santa's sleigh for the appointed yuletide rounds.

Q: Where do reindeer live?
A: Other than some very special reindeer who reside with Santa at the North Pole, these creatures live in the arctic and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. The Sami in Scandinavia and the Nenets in Russia have domesticated them for centuries. There are wild reindeer in North America called caribou.

Q: Where was the game of badminton invented?
A: Badminton evolved from a Chinese game of the 5th century B. C. That involved kicking the shuttle. A later version of the sport, played with racquets, appeared in ancient Greece and India, and a game called shuttlecock appeared in Europe during the 1600s. British army officers brought an adopted game back to Britain from India in the mid-19th century. In 1873, the Duke of Beaufort introduced the game to royalty at his country estate, Badminton House, giving this sport its name.

Q: What does Cinco de Mayo celebrate?
A: May 5 celebrates the victory of General Zaragosa over a French army in 1862. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexican Independence Day. That holiday is celebrated on September 16.

Q: Why is Amerigo Vespucci’s name forever linked with the Western Hemisphere?
A: Amerigo Vespucci’s name was given to America. This Italian geographer explored the northern coast of South America for Spain in 1499 and 1500. It was German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller who named the western continents after Vespucci in 1507. Later, he had second thoughts about the name, but it was too late to take back.

Cleaning Aids:
Wine stains, pour on the Morton salt and watch it absorb into the salt.

To remove wax - Take a paper towel and iron it over the wax stain, it will absorb into the towel.

Remove labels off glassware etc. rub with Peanut butter!

Baked on food - fill container with water, get a Bounce paper softener and the static from the Bounce towel will cause the baked on food to adhere to it. Soak overnight. Also; you can use 2 Efferdent tablets , soak overnight!

Crayon on the wall - Colgate toothpaste and brush it!

Dirty grout - Listerine

Stains on clothes - Colgate toothpaste

Grass stains - Karo Syrup

Grease Stains - Coca Cola , it will also remove grease stains from the driveway overnight. We know it will take corrosion from car batteries!

Fleas in your carpet? 20 Mule Team Borax- sprinkle and let stand for 24 hours. Maybe this will work if you get them back again.

Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls.

Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's! Wipe off with a coffee filter paper.

Did you know these things to use for first aid of…..
Sunburn - empty a large jar of Nestea into your bath water
Minor burn - Colgate or Crest toothpaste
Burn your tongue? Put sugar on it!
Arthritis? WD-40 Spray and rub in, kills insect stings too
Bee stings - meat tenderizer
Chigger bite - Preparation H
Paper cut - crazy glue or chap stick (glue is used instead of sutures at most hospitals)
Athletes feet - cornstarch
Gatorade is good for Migraine Headaches (PowerAde won't work)
Puffy eyes - Preparation H
Fungus on toenails or fingernails - Vicks vapor rub


Just Stuff Sports-wise
Why do we call someone who is left-handed a “southpaw”?
When the first baseball diamonds were laid out there were no night games. To keep the afternoon or setting sun out of the batters’ eyes, home plate was positioned so that the hitter was facing east, which meant the pitcher was facing west. Most pitchers threw with their right arm, but the rare and dreaded left-hander’s pitching arm was on the more unfamiliar south side, and he was referred to, with respect, as a “southpaw.”

Why is an erratic person called a “screwball”?
In baseball, when a pitcher throws a curveball, it breaks to a right-hander’s left and a left-handers right. Early in the twentieth century, the great Christy Mathewson came up with a pitch that broke in the opposite direction and completely baffled opposing batters, who called it a “screwball.” It became a word used to describe anything eccentric or totally surprising- including some humans.

Why in sports does the home team wear white while the visitors wear darker colors?
Early television was in black and white and definition wasn’t nearly as precise as it is today. When the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was testing for live hockey broadcasts in 1952, they found that if both teams wore their traditional colors, it was impossible to tell them apart. They solved the problem by having the home team wear white, while the visitors stayed in their darker uniforms.

Why is a football field called a “gridiron”?
The word football first described a game involving two teams and an inflated animal bladder in 1486. The game evolved several times before North Americans introduced new rules, such as three chances to advance the ball five yards, that led to white lines being painted on the field. From the stands, these lines gave the field the appearance of broiled meat from the metal grating of a griddle or “gridiron,” and so that’s what they called it.

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: According to conspirators in the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, what is the Holy Grail?
A: The Holy Grail is not a chalice but a woman, Mary Magdalene.

Q: What are the most popular items employees pilfer from office supply rooms for matters unrelated to the job?
A: According to a report in USA Today, a recent office supply survey found that 60% of the respondents admitting to taking pens and pencils, 40% took Post-It Notes, 32% took envelopes, 28% took note pads, and 28% took writing paper.

Q: What were Jayhawkers?
A: Radical abolitionist fighters during the American Civil War.

Q: Who said, "First I lost my voice, then I lost my figure and then I lost Onassis"?
A: Maria Callas (1923 to 1977).

Q: What is the Bilbao Effect?
A: Named after the new Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain, the term refers to the revitalization of the city or region by a high-profile building by a world-class architect.

Some More Stuff - Minting Madness
In 2009 the United States Mint produced 3.548 billion circulating coins; 2.354 billion of those were pennies.

Pennies contain more zinc than copper. Nickels contains more copper than nickel.

The United States five-dollar bill has the shortest lifespan in circulation of any United States paper currency: about sixteen months. Ten-dollar bills stay in circulation for about eighteen months, and one dollar bills for twenty-one months.

Hippopotamuses are depicted on the fifty-franc banknote from the African nation of Burundi and the two-emalangeni banknotes from Switzerland.

Banknotes from Mozambique, Nepal, South Africa, and Tanzania all feature pictures of rhinoceroses.

The general manager of the mint in Chile was fired in February 2010 when it was discovered that thousands of fifty-peso coins had been issued with the name of the country spelled incorrectly: C-H-I-I-E instead of C-H-I-L-E.
      Interestingly, the coins had been put into circulation in 2008; it took two years for the error to be reported.

Just Stuff sports-wise
Why isn't it over, "till the fat lady sings"?
In the 1970s, Washington sports columnist Dan Cook wrote, "The opera isn't over till the fat lady sings." Later, basketball coach Dick Motta, referring to the Bulls' slim playoff chances, misquoted Cook when he said, It isn't over till the fat lady sings," and it's stuck. The inspiration might have been the old American proverb, "Church ain't out till the fat lady sings," but regardless, it's now excepted in sports as meaning: where there's life, there's hope.

Where did we get the expression "second string"?
In sports jargon, the "second string" is the second-best group of players on a given team. The term has also found its way into business, where it is used in much this same way. In fact, it comes from medieval archers, who always carried an extra string in case the one on their bow broke. Therefore the second string had to be as good as the first, as did the third and fourth strings.

Why do we say a person isn't "up to scratch"?
During the early days of bare-knuckle boxing, a line was scratched across the center of the ring, dividing it into two halves. This is where the fighters met to start the contest, or where they "toed the line" to begin each round. If, as the fight progressed, one of the boxers was unable to toe the line without help from his seconds, it was said that he failed to come "up to scratch."

More Stuff
The most popular reality-television show in the Arab world is Million's Poet, a competition in which participants read their own poems in front of three judges, a live studio audience, and tens of millions of television viewers who watch the contest--broadcast live from Abu Dhabi-- and vote for their favorite poets online and by text message. The winner receives a cash prize of 5 million dirhams, about $1.4 million.

The longest poem in the world is still being written, and it's growing by about four thousand verses a day.

A computer program created by Romanian web developer Andrei Gheorghe takes random tweets from Twitter social networking service and pairs them into rhyming couplets that are then added to the collective work he calls "The Longest Poem in the World."

The Mahabharata, at some seventy-five thousand verses and nearly two million words, is one of the longest epic poems ever written and arguably the most significant Hindu text in history. Numerous translations and interpretations have been published, but one started in the summer of 2009 is among the more unusual: An Indian academic is writing his own interpretation of the Mahabharata on Twitter. Because of the service’s message length restrictions, it is being published 140 characters at a time.

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: What is the Lisbon Traviata?
A: In 1958, Maria Callas made her stage debut at Lisbon's Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos where she gave a magnificent performance in the role of Violetta. The Portuguese National Radio (RDP) broadcast the opera live but the tapes were thought to be lost. Over the years, several imperfect bootleg editions of the Lisbon Traviata appeared, but it wasn't until 1997 that the original recording of the legendary performance were rediscovered in a radio storage room. A CD from the master tapes was eventually released.

Q: What was the Sensation Art Exhibit?
A: A controversial art exhibit in drawn from the collection of renowned art buyer Charles Saatchi. First shown at the Royal Academy of Art in 1997, the show featured works by many young British artists of the 1990's, provoking public fury because of the perceived inflammatory or offensive nature of many of the works of art. The show sparked both outrage and blockbuster ticket sales.

Q: Who was the designer of the original 1936 Volkswagen?
A: Ferdinand Porsche, who became well known for his line of elegant sports cars.

Q: Who was the first winner of the hit TV reality series Survivor?
A: Richard Hatch.

Strange Things About Space
Mercury has the fastest orbit of any planet in the solar system, completing one revolution around the sun in 88 days.

Because of Mercury’s rate of rotation and its unusual orbit, the sun appears to rise briefly, set, and then rise again before it travels westward across the sky. Then, at sunset, the sun appears to set, rise again briefly, and then set again.

Mercury has he greatest temperature range of any planet in our solar system. The side facing the sun reaches 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius) – hot enough to melt tin. The night side temperature drops to -361 degrees Fahrenheit (-218 degrees Celsius).

Astronomers estimate that 80% of Mercury’s core is iron-nickel, compared with Earth’s 32%.

Mercury has a very thin atmosphere composed of helium atoms captured from the solar wind.

Interesting Facts About Nature
"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" – as everybody has heard from My Fair Lady. But did you ever wonder if that's really true? It isn't, in the north and east of Spain (far from the plain), along the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic, the rainfall is so heavy that it often comes to 66 inches a year!

Lightning can and does repeatedly strike the same object – be it a lone tree in a field or a lightning rod on the roof of a building. The spire atop the Empire State Building is struck as often as 50 times a year. Are the people in the building at the time hurt in anyway by the lightning? No, they are not even aware that the building is being struck.

The tallest clouds are the great towering thunderclouds called cumulonimbus. They can be twice the height of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, and hold 500,000 tons of water.

Ready Set Invent
Optical fiber, those light carrying threads that are used in communication (and to decorate Christmas trees) was invented in 1966 by the British inventors Charles Kao and George Hockham.

Paper was invented in China about 100 B.C. But the physician Ts'ai Lun greatly improved it in A.D. 105 by adding tree bark and soft woods. This ancient paper was of very high quality and came to be known as "Marquis Ts'ai Paper."

The Chinese were the first to design gunfire-powered cannons. They used them to defend themselves against the Mongol threat from the north.

We owe our 60-based time system (60 minutes to the hour; 60 seconds to the minute) to the Babylonians.

Let's Talk Planets. Fact's About Earth's Moon.
There are several dark, smooth areas on the lunar surface called maria (pronounced MAR-ee-uh – the first syllable rhymes with car).

Not long after the planets and moons had formed, there was a great deal of leftover debris floating around in space.

Large pieces of this debris slammed into the moon, forming giant craters. Some of these impacts were so powerful, they cracked the lunar crust. Molten lava from the interior of the moon seeped through the cracks just like water seeping into a basement.

The lava eventually filled the craters and hardened, leaving the smooth surface. However, these smooth surfaces are deceptive. It turns out that maria have been collecting small craters for billions of years – as Apollo 11 astronauts found out.

Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) was chosen as a landing site for the first manned mission to the moon partly because of its crater-free appearance. Yet when Apollo 11 astronauts arrived, they found their crater-free landing site covered with small craters and boulders that had been invisible to telescopes on Earth and cameras in lunar orbit.

Despite the relatively rough terrain, they were able to find a flat spot to safely touch down— the rest is history.

Just Stuff Sports-Wise
Why is a boxing ring square?
In the days of bare-knuckle boxing, before modern rules, a circle was drawn in the dirt and prize fighters where ringed by the fans. When one of the men was knocked out of that circle, he was simply pushed back into the ring by the crowd. In 1867, the Marquess of Queensberry introduced a number of rules to boxing, including three-minute rounds and a roped off square, which fans continued to call the "boxing ring".

Why do we call the genuine article the "real McCoy"?
In the 1890s, a great boxer known as Kid McCoy couldn't get the champion to fight him, and so to seem beatable, he began to throw the odd bout, and fans never knew if they'd seen the "real McCoy." The plan worked, and he became the welterweight champion of the world. Once, while in a bar, McCoy was challenged by a drunken patron who didn't believe that he was the great boxer, and McCoy flattened him. When the man came around, he declared that the man who had knocked him out was indeed the "real McCoy."

Why is a fistfight called "duking it out"?
"Duking it out" and "put up your dukes" are both expressions from the early 1800s when bare-knuckle boxing was considered a lower-class activity. When Frederick Augustus, the then duke of York, took up the sport, English high society was shocked. The "Duke" gained so much admiration from the other boxers, however, that they began referring to their fists as their "dukes of York" and eventually as their "dukes."

How did tennis get the terms seeded and love?
Tennis was popularized by the French nobility, and because a zero looked like an egg that's what they called it. Egg in French is l'oeuf, which became "love" in English. The seeding or placing of the best players within favorable tournament positions required other players to graciously cede – yield or give up – the spots. In time, the word mutated to the spelling of its homonym, seed, and so players were said to be "seeded."

Just Stuff Q & A
Q: In what country did the TV show Big Brother originate?
A: The Netherlands.

Q: Who was called "The Velvet Fog"?
A: Mel Torme. A disk jockey gave this smooth-voiced singer the sobriquet in 1946. Torme hated the nickname (perhaps because critics dubbed him "The Velvet Frog"), but could never shake it.

Q: Was the Baby Ruth candy bar named after Babe Ruth?
A: That's a sticky question. The Curtiss Candy Company has always maintained that their tasty peanuts and chocolate candy bar was named after "Baby Ruth" Cleveland, the daughter of President Grover Cleveland. However, that contention seems a bit problematic" Baby Ruth first appeared in candy stores in 1921, a full seventeen years after the death of "Baby Ruth," but just as "the Sultan of Swat" was hitting his homerun stride.

Q: Was P.T. Barnum, considered to be one of America's greatest showmen, ever a mayor off an American city"
A: Yes. P.T. Barnum was elected the Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1875. He also served two terms as a representative in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Some more stuff
The 11th-century Tibetan Epic of King Gesar is considered to be the longest epic poem in existence. It contains more than a million versus, most of which were not written on paper, but were passed down through generations of storytellers.

Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer composed his most famous work, the four volume "Burundi Quartet," during the 10 years he was a political prisoner on Buru Island. Because he was forbidden to have pens or paper during most of his time in prison, he committed his stories to memory by telling them to his fellow prisoners every evening.

Poet John Milton went blind, probably from glaucoma, in 1652. He wrote his masterpiece, the twelve-volume poem Paradise Lost, published in 1668, by dictating it to his daughters and assistants.

Hmm, Just Stuff
St. Pantaleone was once the patron saint of Venice, Italy. He was later depicted in a play as a silly old man who wore long trousers. From the play, trousers were called pantaloons, later shortened to pants.

The Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, in London, England, contains the remains of many great writers and poets. This includes the ashes of Thomas Hardy. But his heart is not there. It is buried in a grave at Stinsford, in Dorset.

A temple to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy, was built in Hong Kong for a very unusual reason. About fifty years ago, workers were digging a well when suddenly a geyser erupted. It had crimson water because of deposits of mercury and sulfur there. But the diggers thought they had wounded a sacred dragon and it was the dragon's blood that they saw -- so they built a temple on that site.

At approximately 146,000 square miles, the total area of Japan is slightly smaller than the state of Montana. It is a chain of islands that has a north-to-south span of about 1,300 miles. This is such a long distance that the vegetation is completely different at each end of the country.

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