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Fifty Amazing, (but Completely Useless), Facts

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BigSkinny
919488.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:46 am Reply with quote

How many (if any) of these are Fact? Or indeed False?

1. In Japan, they have live lobster vending machines.

2. Wedding rings are placed on the third finger of the left hand because ancient Egyptians believed the vein located in that area ran directly to the heart.

3. The brightest star in the sky is called Sirius.

4. Upon exiting a cave, a bat will always turn left.

5. There is a small town in Kentucky called Monkey’s Eyebrow.

6. Factoring in inflation, what was worth $1.00 in 1950 is worth $0.12 today.

7. The sentence "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is grammatically correct. It utilizes the three meanings of the word “buffalo” – the city, the animal and the verb “to bully.” In the most simplified terms, the sentence means, "New York bison whom other New York bison bully, themselves bully New York bison.”

8. Every one of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was hand knit by his mother.

9. One of the ingredients of dynamite is peanuts.

10.The most money ever paid for a cow at auction was $1.3 million.

11.On average, the human head has 120,000 hairs; however, natural blondes can have as many as 140,000 while redheads often have as few as 90,000.

12.In Italy, police drive Lamborghinis.

13.Beetles taste like apples, wasps taste like pine nuts and worms taste like bacon.

14.What English-speakers call a “French kiss,” French-speakers call an “English kiss.”

15.On average, right-handed people live nine years longer than left-handed people.

16.The skeleton of Jeremy Bentham, an English jurist, philosopher and social reformer, is present at all major meetings at the University of London.

17.A little over a century ago, the majority of the Icelandic dog population was killed by an epidemic.

18.Honey is the only food consumed by humans that has been found to not spoil. In fact, honey found in ancient Egyptian tombs was sampled by archaeologists and deemed edible.

19.Dolphins sleep with one eye open.

20.Queen Elizabeth I took great pride in her cleanliness, once declaring that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not.

21.Slugs have four noses.

22.The number “57” on a Heinz ketchup bottle refers to the number of products the company sold. Even though they sold around 60 products at the time, Henry Heinz thought 57 was a lucky number.

23.In the film E.T., the sound of the alien walking was produced by a sound engineer squishing her hand in jelly.

24.Lucy and Linus from the Peanuts comic strip had a little brother named Rerun who sometimes played baseball with Charlie Brown.

25.In China, the three most well known Western names are Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.

26.Due to time zone shifts, if you had flown from London to New York on the Concord, you would arrive two hours before you left.

27.You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.

28.The largest number of children born of a single woman was 69. The woman, a Russian peasant, gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets from 1725 to 1765.

29.The word ‘nerd’ was first used in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo.

30.In Paraguay, dueling is legal as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

31.The United States has never lost a war – in which mules were used.

32.Nobody knows who built the Taj Mahal.

33.The Neanderthal’s brain is believed to have been larger than the modern day human’s brain.

34.According to scientists, dolphins were once four-footed land dwellers.

35.On average, people have four dreams per night. That’s 1,460 dreams per year.

36.The cost to run a 30-second commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl was $3 million.

37.J.K. Rowling was the first person to earn $1 billion as an author.

38.Fortune cookies are not Chinese; they were invented in San Francisco in 1920.

39.According to Nielsen, Americans spend, on average, 53 billion minutes a month on Facebook. That averages out to 4 hours, 39 minutes and 33 seconds per person, per month.

40.An octopus has three hearts.

41.Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but could never call his mother or his wife – they were both deaf.

42.Every human was but a single cell for approximately one half hour.

43.The number one employer in Brazil is Walmart.

44.Shakespeare was 46 when the King James Bible was written. In Psalm 46 of that work, the 46th word from the first word is “shake” and the 46th word from the last word is “spear.”

45.You cannot taste salt until you are four months old.

46.More than 37 percent of Americans begin their Christmas shopping before Halloween.

47.An Iowa man named Charles Osborne had hiccups for over 68 years. Studies claimed he likely hiccupped 430 million times.

48.In her lifetime, the average woman will do 215 miles worth of ironing.

49.Percy Spencer was inspired to invent the microwave oven after the chocolate bar in his pocket was melted by a vacuum tube.

50.Two-thirds of the world’s eggplant is grown in New Jersey.

 
cornixt
919550.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:00 pm Reply with quote

BigSkinny wrote:

3. The brightest star in the sky is called Sirius.

Erm, the Sun seems to have been overlooked.

 
Spud McLaren
919551.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:10 pm Reply with quote

Depends where you stand.

41, I think we've covered ad nauseam.

And I just knew my wife wasn't average...

 
'yorz
919580.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:37 pm Reply with quote

48 is no longer valid, methinks.

 
Spud McLaren
919581.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:39 pm Reply with quote

Not in our house, no.

 
'yorz
919583.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:41 pm Reply with quote

Not in most people's houses.

 
exnihilo
919584.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:46 pm Reply with quote

Just one of dozens of articles citing the study that came up with the ironing 'fact'. This is The Daily Mail from 2008, but most other papers ran it.

 
exnihilo
919586.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:47 pm Reply with quote

While we're at it, though...

44. Count back 46 words in Psalm 46 in the KJV you get 'in'.

 
suze
919605.  Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:20 pm Reply with quote

Let's have a look at a few of these, then ...

1. More or less true. Most people will have seen the fairground game where you put your money in and then have to use a mechanical arm to try and grab a teddy bear. It's a bit like that, except that the "prize" is a live lobster rather than a cuddly toy.

2. I thought it was Roman belief rather than Egyptian belief, but in essence this is true. In the Slavic countries, the wedding ring is worn on the corresponding finger of the right hand.

3. The apparently brightest star to an observer on Earth is the Sun, but Sirius (α Canis Majoris) is next. Apparent magnitude is a function of both a star's actual brightness and its distance from us; there are stars many thousands of times brighter than Sirius but which are much further away and cannot be seen with the naked eye.

4. Not true. End of.

5. True. Although because of the reluctance of the USA to allow apostrophes in place names, it is spelled Monkeys Eyebrow.

6. I imagine this fact refers to the USA, and I don't know where to find American inflation data. But based on British inflation data, £1 in 1950 was worth 3.5p at the end of 2011. 2009 is the only year in that period in which the annual change in RPI was negative.

7. True.

8. For those who don't know, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a long running children's TV show which originated in Canada but soon moved to the USA. There are probably examples on YouTube; it was pretty dated even when it was new, so must look very dated by now.

The claim that Mr Rogers' sweaters were all hand made by his mother is often made, but seems unlikely. Fred Rogers presented the show until he was 73; how likely is it that his mother was still alive and well and knitting sweaters? It's also claimed that the reason he wore long sleeved sweaters even during summer was to cover an armful of tattoos. His widow says that this is not true; he had no tattoos.

9. Peanut oil has been used in the manufacture of glycerol, which is one of the "ingredients" of dynamite. But there are other and easier ways to make glycerol, and in practice peanut oil does not normally feature.

10. True. Montpelier VT, 14 July 1985. The cow was called Mist, which probably makes it just as well that it was bought by a Boston lawyer and not a German.

That's enough for now.

 
Posital
919653.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:29 am Reply with quote

The answer is:
21 - true
22 - false
6 - indeterminate
1 - what are you thinking, moron?

 
exnihilo
919706.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:53 am Reply with quote

11. True

12. Not really. Two Lamborghinis were donated to the police by the maker for high speed chases. They crashed and totalled one almost immediately.

13. Taste is pretty subjective, but beetles and wasps I've eaten and I'd say this was false. People who have had worms say they taste of nothing much.

14. No they don't.

15. No they don't. There was a very poor study done in the 80s (Halpern & Coren) which suggested this 'fact' which keeps getting quoted now. Later, more reliable, studies (Aggleton et al) have comprehensively debunked it.

16. Incorrect. His body is on display most of the time for all to see but on the 100th and 150th anniversaries of UCL it was taken to the College Council meeting where it was listed as 'present but not voting'.

17. Iceland seems curiously susceptible to epidemics of canine distemper, there have been several outbreaks (most recently in 1966-67) which have done damage to the canine population and, indeed, there is one recorded in the 1800s but accurate figures of it's toll are not available.

18. There's spoiling and there's spoiling. Honey can keep for a very long time but it is susceptible to things like botulism if not properly stored.

19. True. Like many other animals they rest one hemisphere of the brain at a time to enable them to continue to watch for danger and, in the specific case of dolphins, to breathe.

20. False. While bathing was something of a luxury, Elizabeth was Queen a person to whom luxury was very much available. She is known to have bathed regularly (if not as regularly as we do) and to have been very particular about smells anywhere near her.

That, as suze says, will do for now.

 
Jenny
919834.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:52 am Reply with quote

BigSkinny wrote:

21.Slugs have four noses.

22.The number “57” on a Heinz ketchup bottle refers to the number of products the company sold. Even though they sold around 60 products at the time, Henry Heinz thought 57 was a lucky number.



21. Not true.

22. Henry Heinz's lucky number was 5, and he thought 7 had cultural significance as well as being his wife's lucky number - however, Heinz actually sold over 60 varieties by the time they adopted that slogan.

 
krollo
919842.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:34 am Reply with quote

23.In the film E.T., the sound of the alien walking was produced by a sound engineer squishing her hand in jelly.

Pretty much true, though the sound engineer was a man (John Roesch) and it was a t-shirt full of jelly that was squeezed.

24.Lucy and Linus from the Peanuts comic strip had a little brother named Rerun who sometimes played baseball with Charlie Brown.

Yup.

25.In China, the three most well known Western names are Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.

Very doubtful. I cannot find any watertight references for this, or anything else, but China isn't as insular as many people think.

26.Due to time zone shifts, if you had flown from London to New York on the Concord, you would arrive two hours before you left.

Sounds about right. Perfectly possible - 5 hour time difference, 3 hour journey.

27.You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.

Sleeping burns about 90 calories per hour, TV watching about 68. True.

28.The largest number of children born of a single woman was 69. The woman, a Russian peasant, gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets from 1725 to 1765.
Listed in the GWR 2004, so I assume it to be true - most sources simply say that it is in the 'church records'.

 
exnihilo
919845.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:47 am Reply with quote

23. According to the Foley Artist, John Roesch, a wet T-shirt crammed with jello was used to simulate the noise of E.T.'s walk.

24. True. Rerun van Pelt

25. Repeated, along with the rest of this list, all over the place but I've no idea how you'd go about demonstrating it to be true. However, if it ever was (in the '60s say) then I very much doubt it is now.

26. Was true due to passing through five time zones in three hours, now is not as the Concorde no longer flies.

27. Apparently, yes. The average calorie burn rate asleep is 77/hour, where watching TV is 56/hour if you just sit there like a lump. Apparently reading a book burns 100/hour so there's a lesson for us all in that.

28. According to Guinness World Records 2001, yes. The first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1707-1782) of Shuya, Russia. Between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 confinements, she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. 67 of them survived infancy.

29. True, in 1950. Although the first record of its use in the current sense dates to a Newsweek article from 1951, the proximity of dates and the fact that slang terms are generally in use before they're in print suggests it predates Seuss.

30. Not as far as I can tell. Uruguay, however, legalised duelling in 1920 and only repealed the law in 1992.

Yes, I'm bored.

 
exnihilo
919846.  Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:48 am Reply with quote

Looks like we were working on those at the same time!

 

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