Friday, April 1, 2011

Amazing Facts - Continued ! :)

1. Hippopotamuses – incredibly dangerous creatures – have a very unique ability: instead of sweating, they exude a pink liquid which is a natural sun block. This, and their ability to spend an indefinite amount of time in the water helps to keep them safe from the blistering sun.

2. Kangaroos can’t fart. They convert the small quantity of methane they produce into an energy source which their body reuses. Scientists hope that they will be able to transfer the bacteria that causes this in kangaroos to cows, to reduce methane emissions to save the world from the latest fashionable catastrophe: global warming.

3. During the Cold War, the US military developed a rifle that fired nuclear war heads. It was called the Davy Crocket and production of this smallest nuclear weapon began in 1956, with a total of 2,100 being made. The weapon was deployed with U.S. Army forces from 1961 to 1971.

4. Have you ever noticed that when you have a bowl of nuts, the bigger ones make their way to the top? This event actually has a scientific name: the Brazil Nut Effect. The term refers to the phenomenon in which the largest particles end up on the surface when a granular material containing a mixture of objects of different sizes is shaken.

5. Rhode Island is the smallest state with the longest name. The official name, used on all state documents, is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

6. In 1859 a solar storm hit the earth (the largest in recorded history). It was caused by massive sunspots and solar flares. It was so intense that auroras were seen around the earth (even in the caribbean) and the ones over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that gold miners thought it was morning. It knocked out the telegraph systems of Europe and North America. If you wish to look it up for more information, it is called the “Solar storm of 1859″ or “Carrington Event”.

7. When correcting a person’s grammar on the Internet, invariably you make a grammatical error of your own. This is called Muphry’s Law (intentionally misspelt). Just remember that next time the grammar nazi in you decides to show its ugly head.

8. It is possible to get drunk in prison thanks to a special thing called “prison wine” or “pruno”. It is an alcoholic liquid variously made from apples, oranges, fruit cocktail, ketchup, sugar, and possibly other ingredients, including bread. Pruno originated in (and remains largely confined to) prisons, where it can be produced cheaply, easily, and discreetly. The taste is described as vomit flavored wine cooler.

9. The PhD is not the highest degree a person can receive. There is also a Doctor of Sciences (DSc/ScD) and Doctor of Letters (DLitt/LittD) which is normally awarded in Britain, Ireland, and the commonwealth nations though it is occasionally awarded in the United States. It is normally awarded for a substantial and sustained contribution to the art to which it applies – for example science and literature. Mark Twain was awarded a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University. Just to add to the confusion, there is also a PhB which is a bachelor of philosophy which is equal to a Masters degree despite its name.

10. Have you noticed that some people seem to have very appropriate (and entirely coincidental) names? Names such Usain Bolt (Jamaican sprinter), Lord Brain (brain surgeon). This is called an “aptronym” as in “aptly named”. Some people believe that the name can influence life decisions leading a person to work in a field relating to their name. This is called "Nominative Determinism".

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