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Saturday, May 24, 2003

For fun: The Deck of Weasels (I had a similar idea, details to come)

And from the "in case you were wondering file":
>> Playing cards were issued to British pilots in WWII. If captured, they could be soaked in water and unfolded to reveal a map for escape.
>> The human body contains enough fat to make seven bars of soap and enough iron to make a single one inch nail.
>> Gordon Sumner, the rock star and actor known as Sting, got his nickname from the yellow-and-black jerseys he used to wear, which fellow musicians thought made him look like a bumble bee.
>> They live an average of 77 years and have the longest lifespan in the United States - nuns.
>> A state once attempted legislation rounding off the value of Pi from 3.14159265... to an even 3. [article]
>> Until 1890, Vatican choirboys were castrated to keep their voices from deepening.
>> In 1879 a drug was introduced to treat morphine addiction. The drug: cocaine.
>> The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "Its A Wonderful Life"
>> If you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will not be heads 5000 times, but more like 4950. The heads picture weighs more, so it ends up on the bottom.
>> If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in
the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural
>> "111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321"
>> The bones of a pigeon weigh less than its feathers.
>> At 90 degrees (F) below zero your breath will freeze in midair and fall to the ground.
>> The average person is about a quarter of an inch taller at night.
>> Charles Lindbergh took only four sandwiches with him on his famous transatlantic flight.
>> 3000 cows are needed to supply the leather for a year.s supply of NFL footballs.
>> The Hewlett Packard computer company.s first product was an automatic urinal flusher.
>> In a survey of 5,000 U.S. nurses, 40 percent said they would not
recommend the medical facility where they worked to a relative.
>> No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
>>When the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers play football at home, the stadium becomes the state's third largest city.
>> The only real person to be a Pez head was Betsy Ross.
>> The Sanskrit word for "war" means "desire for more cows."
>> It's impossible to snore in the weightlessness of space.
>> On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament Building is an American flag.
>> 101 Dalmatians and Peter Pan (Wendy) are the only two Disney cartoon features with both parents are present and don't die throughout the entire movie.

According to British law passed in 1845, attempting to commit suicide was a capital offense. Offenders could be hanged for trying.

Mailing an entire building has been illegal in the U.S. since 1916 when a man mailed a 40,000-ton brick house across Utah to avoid high freight rates.

A Boeing 747's wingspan is longer than the Wright brother's first flight.
All the gold produced in the past five hundred years, if melted, could be compressed into a 50-foot cube.
It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have only been 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world.
In Turkey, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, anyone caught drinking coffee was put to death.

In Victorian times, there was an intense fear of being buried alive, so when someone died, a small hole was dug from the casket to the surface, then a string was tied around the dead persons finger which was then attached to a small but loud bell that was hung on the surface of the grave, so then if someone was buried alive, they could ring the bell and whomever was on duty would go and dig them up. Someone was on the clock 24 hours a day- hence the grave yard shift.
A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

In the 19th century, the British Navy attempted to dispel the superstition that Friday was an unlucky day to embark on a ship. The keel of a new ship was laid on a Friday, she was named H.M.S Friday, commanded by a Captain Friday, and finlly went to sea on a Friday. Neither the ship nor her crew were ever heard of again.

All of the officers in the Confederate army were given copies of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, to carry with them at all times. Robert E. Lee, among others, believed that the book symbolized their cause. Both revolts were defeated.

A person uses more household energy shaving with a hand razor at a sink (because of the water power, the water pump and so on) than he would by using an electric razor.
Colgate faced a big obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command "go hang yourself."
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history. Spades - King David; Clubs - Alexander the Great; Hearts - Charlemagne; and Diamonds - Julius Caesar.
Each of the suits on a deck of cards represents the four major pillars of the economy in the middle ages: heart represented the Church, spades represented the military, clubs represented agriculture, and diamonds represented the merchant class.
Each of us generate 5 pounds of rubbish a day; most of it is paper.
Every year, over 8,800 people injure themselves with a toothpick.
Hallmark makes cards for 105 different relationships.
How valuable is the penny you found laying on the ground? If it takes just a second to pick it up a person could make $36.00 per hour just picking up pennies.
If done perfectly, any rubix cube combination can be solved in 17 turns.
If you lace your shoes from the inside to the outside, the fit will be snugger around your big toe.
In 1990, there were about 15,000 vacuum cleaner related accidents in the U.S.
In order for a deck of cards to be mixed up enough to play with
properly, it should be shuffled at least seven times.
Ivory bar soap floating was a mistake. They had been mixing the soap
formula causing excess air bubbles that made it float. Customers
wrote and told how much they loved that it floated, and it has
floated ever since.
Wild turkeys have been sighted in Manhattan [picture] [article]

So I missed Arbor Day again this year, but I did find a hardiness zone page to see what trees grow well in my area. The areas are interesting in how they map to the US states. [link]

The 150th Anniversary of Central Park brings up interesting parallels to the rebuilding of ground zero. [article]

I don't know if I can believe this story that was reported by Netscape and BBCi:

Miracle Baby Grew In Liver, Not Womb
Her name is Nhlahla. In Zulu, it means "luck," making it the perfect name for this miracle infant who developed in her mother's liver instead of the womb. This is how lucky Nhlahla is: Out of 14 documented cases of a baby growing in its mother's liver, she is only the fourth to survive such a pregnancy. BBC News Online reports that doctors in Cape Town, South Africa performed the difficult delivery on Tuesday.

Although the baby required oxygen at birth, she is now breathing on her own and weighs a very healthy 6.17 pounds. The mother, 20-year-old Ncise Cwayita is also doing well. Liver specialist Dr. Jack Krige, who helped deliver the baby, told a South African newspaper: "She is the real thing. She is truly a miracle baby." The BBC reports that in about 1 in 100,000 pregnancies, the fertilized egg falls out of the fallopian tube and can implant anywhere in the abdomen. Although such an occurrence is extremely rare, the embryo can attach itself to the liver, a very rich source of blood. The baby is protected inside the placenta, but since it doesn't have the added protection of the womb, it is more at risk. [article]

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Forgotten staues of NYC:

Work of RPI Graduates from 1931 Book