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Fast Facts


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By Jill Holt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 22, 2003

· We are in the middle of an Ice Age. Ice ages include both cold and warm periods; at the moment we are experiencing a relatively warm span of time known as an "interglacial period." Geologists believe that the warmest part of this period occurred from 1890 through 1945, and since 1945, things have slowly begun freezing up again.

· The average lead pencil will draw a line 35 miles long or write approximately 50,000 English words. More than 2 billion pencils were manufactured each year in the United States. If these were laid end to end they would circle the world nine times.

· Some say George Washington was not the first president of the United States. The first president was John Hanson, Maryland's representative at the Continental Congress. On November 5, 1781, Hanson was elected by the Continental Congress to the office of "President of the United States in Congress Assembled." He served for one year.

· During the American Revolution, soldiers in British General John Burgoyne's regiment who misbehaved were not flogged or imprisoned. They were simply made to wear their coats inside-out. Yet so much respect did Burgoyne's men have for their general that his troops had the lowest disobedience record of any soldiers in the war.

· In the mid-16th century, Hideyoshi so-called peasant ruler of Japan ordered that all the swords in the nation be collected and melted down. The metal was then used, in 1586, to construct an enormous statue of Buddha. It took 50,000 artisans more than six years to build the statue, and exactly ten years after it was completed, an earthquake destroyed it. Not a trace of the giant figure remains today.

· On June 1, 1946, there were only 10,000 television sets in the United States. Five years later, there were 12 million.

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