Fairly Useless Facts




Provided for your education and enlightenment (or an excuse for killing a couple of minutes doing something mindless – your choice…)



Albatrosses (think large, clumsy bird…) spend almost all of their time out on the ocean – eating, sleeping and just hanging out.  The only time they return to land is to breed and nest.




Contrary to popular belief, the black widow female spider does not normally – repeat, does not – kill the male after mating.




Microwave ovens (originally “radar ranges’) got their beginning when an engineer (Percy Spencer) at Raytheon was working with some radar equipment at Raytheon and noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted.





Can a duck’s quack produce an echo?  Of course it can, no matter what you hear to the contrary…




The US penny isn’t really made of copper.  It’s mostly zinc with a copper coating.




There are only two kinds of alligators – American and Chinese.  The Chinese guy is smaller and not very dangerous.  The American alligator can grow up to twenty feet long and eat your ass if it wants.

Note:  Unfortunately, the Chinese alligator is disappearing fast.  There are only about 150 individuals remaining in the world.



Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2002



All mammals have hair – at least at some point in their lives.  Even the armadillo (yes, it is a mammal) has hairs behind each scale.  (There are 20 different kinds – families – of armadillos)




The “Golden Gate Bridge” name has nothing to do with the color of the bridge.  It was named for the Golden Gate Strait which is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.




A U.S. penny weighs exactly one-half as much as a nickel.  The penny weighs 2.5 grams and the nickel weighs… well, you can figure it out…




The U.S. uses 360 million gallons of gasoline… every day!  Do you suppose there’s a remote possibility that some day we will have used it all up?




The surface temperature of the sun is about 9950 degrees F.  It takes eight minutes for light to travel from there to here.  Plan ahead – it will probably burn out in seven billion years or so.





In a dramatic moment in which movie, do we hear the following line: “I only have twenty-four hours to live and I ain’t agonna waste it here!”   (Answer below…)



A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.



Ever hear that because of their wing size and beat rate, bumblebees really shouldn’t be able to fly?  Forget it.  This myth began back in the 1930’s and has long since been put to rest…




Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.



Even though Thomas Crapper commonly (and erroneously) gets the credit for inventing the toilet flush mechanism, Alexander Cummings should probably get much of the thanks for his creativeness way back in 1775 even though a rudimentary system apparently was developed long before that in the late 1500’s.




Cherrapunji, India has received as much as 87 feet of rain in one year.  Stateside – Holt, Missouri once got bombarded with 12 inches of rain in just 42 minutes.  Whew…




The line “I only have….” is from “A Bug’s Life” – 1998, a comment by a fly watching the circus bugs.




February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.  Believe that?  Well, you shouldn’t even though you’ve probably seen this listed as a “fact” at least a couple of times.  February is the only month that can not have a full moon - but the last time this occurred was 1999.  It’s not all that uncommon…





The world’s human population is increasing at a rate of over 6 million a month.  Whew…




The first friction match (developed in 1827) could ignite explosively, smelled bad and were sold as “lucifers”.




Tornados have occurred in the US in all 50 states.


Additional info on tornados…




Tapirs and rhinoceroses have three hooves (or toes) on each foot… unlike horses that only have one hoof – or cattle, deer, sheep, etc. that have two.




In 2005, the US Mint produced over 15 billion US coins – nearly 8 billion of those were pennies.




The Cardinal is the most popular state bird (7 states) while the Western Meadowlark comes in second with 6 states.  And the California Seagull is the favored bird of which state?  Of course… Utah




Earthworms don’t have eyes, ears or lungs.  Each individual however, does have both male and female reproductive organs.  Some tropical species can grow to be 11 feet long.




There are 1,860 steps from street level to the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building.  The ESB gets hit by lightening about 100 times a year.




The first bent-wire paper clip was patented by Samuel B. Faye in 1867.  The “Gem” design in common use today was first advertised in 1892.




The first electric toaster was marketed by General Electric Company in 1909.  It only cooked the bread one side at a time.  Oooops… careful with the bread flip…




Speaking of firsts, the first interlocking zipper was invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913 (“Hookless Fastener”) and patented in 1917 as the “Separable Fastener”.  The name “zipper” was created by B. F. Goodrich Company in 1923.




The design on the reverse of the US one dollar bill hasn’t changed much since 1935.  The only modification has been the addition of “In God We Trust” in 1957.  The average life of a $1 bill is about 22 months.




The acorn woodpecker drills holes in tree trunks to store… yep, acorns.




A group of iguanas is called a “mess”.  Really…




A cat has 32 muscles in each ear – and can move each ear independently of the other.




House-flies can’t bite.  Their mouth parts will only permit them to ingest liquids.  The females can lay up to 500 eggs during their lifetime.  I wonder who had to count that…?




A shark’s skin structure and pattern helps prevent barnacles and other ocean organisms from attaching to it.  This design is being tested in coatings to see if it will accomplish the same thing for ships.




A tuna will die if it stops swimming.




The most Oscar wins by a film honors are shared by “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) with each film winning eleven Oscars.




Logizomechanophobia is the fear of computers.  You don’t have to worry about it…




Ketchup originally contained no tomatoes.  It was simply a term for a sauce made from mushrooms or fish brine with added herbs and spices.  Other popular ingredients were anchovy, oyster, lobster, walnuts, kidney bean, cucumber, cranberry, lemon and grape.




Some early slot machines paid with different flavors of chewing gum.  The fruit symbols (cherry, melon, etc.) used today started out as pictures of the flavors on these machines. The common “bar” symbol originated as a logo of the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.





The dollar sign ($) is derived from a handwritten abbreviation for “peso” in old Spanish-American books.  It was originally written as the letter “p” with a super-script “s”.




Clogging is the official state dance of Kentucky.




The highest point in Florida is Britton Hill (in Walton County in the panhandle), measuring in at a whopping 345 ft above sea level.




The world’s tallest building is presently (4/06) the Taipei 101.  It’s 1,469.8 ft from ground level to the roof – and 1,666.7 ft to the tip of the spire.




In 2005, airlines in the U.S. carried over 660 million passengers.  That’s an average of over 1.8 million a day.




The most snowfall ever recorded in the US was at Mt. Baker, WA during the 1998-99 season with a total of 1,140 inches.




“Facetious” and “abstemious” appear to be the only English words that contain all five vowels in order without repeating.




Flamingos feed by hanging their bills upside down facing “backwards” in the water.




The “Google” name is based on the mathematical term “googol” which stands for a 1 followed by 100 zeros.




Pizza Hut began life in Wichita, Kansas in 1958 by two college students (Frank and Dan Carney) on a borrowed $600.  It is now the largest pizza restaurant chain in the world.  They use over 700 million pounds of pepperoni every year…!




A polar bear’s hair is clear, hollow and filled with air.  And oh yeah, their skin is black.




Many butterflies can taste with their feet.  Really…




Blue whales, the largest mammal to ever inhabit the earth, can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh over 100 tons.  (That would be equivalent to the weight of 14 large African elephants.)




At one time, Walt Disney had visualized providing a small 8 acre park for his employees and their families next to the Burbank studios. This idea was the foundation for the concepts and plans for Disneyland.




If gymnophobia is the fear of nudity and gynophobia is the fear of women, would gymno-gynophobia be the fear of naked women?




The first sliced bread was offered for sale by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, MO in 1928.




Some beers are produced using a substance obtained from fish swimbladders.  That sounds pretty appetizing, huh?  OK, would you accept red algae as a substitute?




The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "shah mat", which means "the king is left unable to escape".




Using a half dollar, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, there are 292 ways to make change for a dollar.





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