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spacer humor > > > things you may not know

Subject: Things you may not know

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40 Facts I Bet You Didn't Know
 - and Some Are Even True. 

We've all gotten the emails:


1. Money isn't made out of paper; it's made out of cotton. 
Actually, US currency paper is a blend of cotton and linen.

2. The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottle represents the varieties 
of pickles the company once had. 
False. H J Heinz's own story is that he liked an ad that said 
"21 different styles of shoes." He had well more than 57 
varieties of product, but he liked the number because it 
sounded large without sounding huge.

3. Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks 
-- otherwise it will digest itself. 

4. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. 
The first two drafts were written on hemp paper. About 
200 copies of the Declaration were printed (25 survive) on 
paper that may or may not contain hemp. A calligraphic copy 
was made after the printing and signed; this is the document 
on display in Philadelphia. It is on vellum parchment (animal skin).

5. The dot over the letter 'i' is called a "tittle". 

6. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce 
up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. 
Sometimes, depending on the raisin and the champagne. After 
a while it becomes soaked and sinks to the bottom and you have 
to suck it up with a straw. 

7. Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller. 
False, though Diller does have a daughter named Suzanne.

8. A duck's quack doesn't echo ... no one knows why. 

9. 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals. 
Probably false. Profits are one thing, sales another. Though the 
60s and 70s, major profits came through real estate and franchise 
fees. Over the last few years McDonald's has found it tough to be 
profitable. Happy Meals, introduced 1979, were a major sales 
boost, but so were McNuggets (1984). As a share of sales, Happy 
Meals probably aren't 40% except for unusual short term spurts 
(such as the Teeny Beanie toy that sold out in two weeks) though 
McD's sells enough to be one of the world's major distributors of 
small toys.

10. Every person has a unique tongue print (no licking at the 
scene of a crime!). 
More or less true.

11. 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled. 
"Webster's" is not a copyrighted term. Any dictionary can call 
itself Webster's. So which one of hundreds misspelled words?

12. The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor who had red eyes. 
He was albino. 
False. 7up, created by non-albino Charles Grigg and originally 
known as "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda," was introduced 
two weeks before the great stock market crash of 1929. In 1936, 
the name became 7up. The logo had a white "7UP" on a rectangular 
red background for many years. Sometimes, on specific products, 
the background was a red circle. The circle became a dot around 

13. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents 
Seriously doubtful.

14. During the chariot scene in 'Ben Hur' a small red car can 
be seen in the distance. 
False. Not only does the red van NOT appear during the chariot 
race, but its appearance would have been literally IMPOSSIBLE...
since the background outside the arena is actually a mattte 
painting!(see the 1994 documentary, "Ben Hur: The Making of an Epic"). 

15. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister. 

16. Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system; a few 
ounces will kill a small sized dog. 
True. Ferrets, too.

17. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into 
the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode. 
Only if you believe Flipper. Killer whales breach through ice, 
so they have the capacity to do this, but they seldom battle 
sharks. No one has ever witnessed an exploding shark.

18. Most lipstick contains fish scales. 
True ("pearlessence" is derived from fish scales).

19. Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he 
doesn't wear pants. 
False. Nor were they banned because Donald and Daisy 
weren't married.

20. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine. 
True (Dr. Miles Compound Extract of Tomato)

21. Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' 
because in the time when all original print had to be set in 
individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in 
the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 
'lower case' letters. 

22. Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with 
the other at the same time. 
Supposedly true but not reported by an eye-witness.

23. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during 
World War II were made of wood. 
False, they were made of plaster.

24. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos. 
True (or used to be).

25. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan, there 
was never a recorded Wendy before! 

26. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, 
purple, and silver! 
True regarding a "perfect rhyme." However "orange" and "silver" 
have half-rhymes (such as lozenge with orange and salver with 
silver), are technically speaking, pararhymes, or considered a 
half-rhyme.  Words that rhyme with "purple" are Steve Urkel, 
hurtful, circle and are also "half-rhymes.".

27. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 
10 years to paint Mona Lisa's lips. 
False. Scissors were around for centuries before Da Vinci and 
he worked on the Mona Lisa, off and on, for three or four years.

28. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly 
go mad and sting itself to death. 
False. The notion of a scorpion stinging itself to death is an 
ancient allegory. That is, if it is surrounded by fire or by 
enemies, or even if one puts liquor or alcohol on a scorpion 
that these things will cause it to sting itself is a falsehood. 
It is untrue since the venom has no effect on the scorpion itself, 
nor on any member of the same species.

29. The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" 
was a Captain Kirk mask painted white. 

30. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, 
you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in 
coins without being able to make change for a dollar. 

31. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't 
sink in quicksand. 
True. The fact is that most people can float on quicksand. It 
actually holds you up better than water. If you ever find yourself 
stuck in quicksand, try not to panic. Try gently falling backward 
spread-eagled. You may eventually have to roll or swimvery slowly
to solid ground.If you find yourself only in quicksand up to your 
waist, you will experience a vacuum when trying to remove your leg 
from the quicksand. To release the vacuum, slowly move your leg. 
Remember, quick movements will make the situation worse.

32. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law, 
which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider 
than your thumb. 
False. This notion was invented in 19th Century Britain to defend 
the notion of wife-beating. It was soon shown to be a fallacy. 
"Rule of thumb" comes from the fact that the final thumb joint is 
about an inch, so is used as a rough measuring guide. "Thumb" and 
"inch" are the same word in several European languages (French, 
Danish, Swedish, etc.)

33. American Airlines saved $40,000 in '87 by eliminating one 
olive from each salad served in first class. 

34. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record 
player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the 
market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola. 
False. The company was founded by Paul V. Galvin as the Galvin 
Manufacturing Corporation, in Chicago, Illinois, in 1928. Its 
first product was a "battery eliminator," allowing consumers to 
operate radios directly from household current instead of the 
batteries supplied with early models. In the 1930s, the company 
successfully commercialized car radios under the brand name "Motorola," 
a word suggesting sound in motion.

35. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat 
a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's 
the same with apples! 
True. (But it's not just the chewing; it's the chewing and the 
digesting that burns up the 6 calories per stalk).

36. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying! 
The latest how-to-peel-onions-without-crying trick! 
False (but your breath will smell better).

37. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher. 
Not really. Israel, like the US, uses vegetable glue on its 
stamps. Theoretically everything in Israel is kosher, but 
this is now a political issue with "true" kosher shops 
hanging out haredi signs.

38. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book 
most often stolen from Public Libraries. 
False. The American Library Association did a survey a few years 
ago. According to Larra Clark, ALA press officer, the titles 
most likely to go AWOL (absent without librarian) are books 
about dreams, witchcraft, astrology and the occult.

39. Back in the mid to late 80's, an IBM compatible computer 
wasn't considered a hundred percent compatible unless it could 
run Microsoft's Flight Simulator game. 
Sort of. In 1983, when Flight Simulator was introduced, standards 
were still a bit loose. If your machine could run Flight Simulator 
and Lotus 1-2-3, then it was probably compatible.

40. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into 
space! Passing wind in a space suit damages them. 
False. Three days before a flight, astronauts are put on a "low 
residue diet" so their diaper-style undies won't fill up so fast. 
If gas could damage a space suit there'd be a lot more astronaut 
fatalities. In 1968 the New York Academy of Sciences held a 
symposium on gastrointestinal gas, in part to examine fears 
that astronauts might asphyxiate themselves. As we all know, 
they don't.

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