Did you Know?

---"The face that launched a thousand ships"  is a reference to Helen of Troy. She was said to be so beautiful that, when she was abducted, a fleet of a thousand ships set sail to win her back from Paris, sparking the Trojan Wars.

---Teruo Tojo, the second son of Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, became chairman of Mitsubishi Motors.

---You don't use boiling water with green tea. Optimal temperature is 160-180F.

--- As late as1850 most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, with no difference between the right and the left shoe.

---According to Greek historian Plutarch, in his “Life of Lycurgus,” the Spartans used long and heavy iron rods as their currency in hopes that it would discourage them from pursuing large amounts of wealth. This unusual currency was called “obeloi” and was supposedly so cumbersome that carrying multiple rods would require oxen.

---Despite the severity with which some contemporary English-speakers vehemently attack “incorrect” uses of the language, English used to belong to the people. In the formative years of the language, it was only spoken by “commoners,” while the English courts and aristocracy mostly spoke in French. 

--- From 1912 to 1948, the Olympics held competitions in the fine arts, with medals being awarded for architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture.

---Humans started wearing shoes about 40,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, new anthropological research suggests.

---According to the WHO, Libya has the greatest number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 at over 73 per year.

---Polydactyly (extra digits) overall runs about one in 500 live births. 

---Smallpox, one of the deadliest diseases in history, was fortunately eradicated by 1980 as a result of worldwide vaccination campaign. It is impossible to tell how many people died from smallpox but only during the 20th century, the disease is estimated to have claimed from 300 to 500 million lives.

---Research by some scholars provides population estimates of the pre-contact Americas to be as high as 112 million in 1492, while others estimate the population to have been as low as 8 million.  

---Although many think of bed-wetting as a childhood problem, about 26 million American adults are affected by urinary incontinence.

---Finland has the highest percentage of female doctors at a bit over 50%.

---Montana has the highest road fatality rate in the US at 22 per 100,000

---The Yamato dynasty (the current line of emperors in Japan) is at least 1,500 years old, and much older if the first 29 Emperors actually existed.

---The city of Uruk, today considered the oldest in the world, was first settled in c. 4500 BCE and walled cities, for defence, were common by 2900 BCE throughout the region. This city is thought to have given its name to the nation in which it is currently located; Iraq.

---While the US has the greatest amount of debt than any other nation, as a percentage of GDP Japan leads that listing at 225% (US News and World Report)

---The greatest consumers of cheese are the French, who average 26.3 Kg per person per year.

---According to an article in the 11 January Washington Post, telemarketing was first used by Ford Motor Company who, in 1976, had a small army of 15,000 call over 20,000,000 numbers, resulting in the sale of 40,000 cars.

---Carlo Maria Cipolla, an economic historian, is famous for his essays about human stupidity, such as "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity". He viewed stupid people as a group, more powerful by far than major organizations such as the Mafia and the industrial complex, which without regulations, leaders or manifesto nonetheless manages to operate to great effect and with incredible coordination.

These are Cipolla's five fundamental laws of stupidity:

  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

---Most sake is diluted down to 15-16% alcohol from its fermented 18-20%. Undiluted sake is called genshu.

---There were 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone, 92 of them were written by Rod Serling himself (SciFi.com).

---The button was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old.

---the oldest company that is still around today is Kongo Gumi, a Japanese construction company that dates back to the year 578 A.D

---It is estimated that in the world's history, there have lived between 106 and 140 billion homo sapiens.

---According to recent info from Experian, Americans are most likely to be defrauded from an on-line business in Miami, FL than any other place in the US.

---On April 13, 1961, the last US soldier to be executed was U.S. Army Private John A. Bennett, who was hanged after being convicted of rape and attempted murder.

---The infamous Tzar Bombareached probably 224 dB (releasing one fourth of the Krakatoa explosion), and accounts for the largest human-made noise. 

---In Ancient Rome, being an entertainer, an athlete, or a performer, put you at the very bottom of society; below even prostitutes. This runs contrary to modern society’s immense reverence of musicians, actors, and athletes.

---After Pope Gregory IX associated cats with devil worship, cats throughout Europe were exterminated in droves. This sudden lack of cats led to the spread of disease because infected rats ran free. The most devastating of these diseases, the Bubonic Plague, killed 100 million people.

---Each strand of human hair contains up to 14 different elements, including traces of gold.

--- The largest rifled gun ever built was the German 'Gustav' railway gun. It's caliber was 80 cm, or 31.5 inches.

---Probably over 95% of Americans would tell you that the pilgrims came here for freedom of religion. But they were free to believe as they liked in the last European country they settled in. What they didn't have was the power to tell others how to live. They were also put off by having to put up with others' equal religious freedom. Almost as soon as they landed here they banned all celebration. Including Christmas which they considered too Papist (Catholic) and pagan. Shortly after the 1st buildings were up they hanged one of their own for idolatry. A small crucifix was found secreted among her belongings and she would not renounce it.