Fast facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 25, 2005

  • Dueling was so popular among wealthy gentlemen in Ireland during the 18th century that travelers could always find a special set of dueling pistols at an inn - in readiness for those who had forgotten their own.

  • Many Americans in the 18th century could read but did not know how to write. While religious and political ideals dictated that all children should learn a smattering of history and to read the Bible (and many did), writing was not considered essential. In addition, writing was time-consuming and expensive to learn, given the high cost of paper and ink and the difficulty of keeping a quill pen in repair.

  • The brain of a normal bottle-nosed dolphin weighs about 1,550 grams. An average human brain weighs 1,400 grams.

  • The Babylonians auctioned marriageable girls every year. Men had to bid for the most attractive girls, and their money provided dowries for those girls not auctioned off so they in turn could find husbands. Herodotus considered this the wisest of Babylonian customs.

  • Marco Polo gained the confidence of Emperor Kublai Khan and was appointed head of the Yang-chau administration. He ran the city for three years.

  • There are small ice-free patches of land in Antarctica. Altogether, it comes to an area of 2,900 square miles or 0.06 percent of Antarctica. The patches are kept bare by the wind.

  • The pressure at the center of the Earth is 27,000 tons per square inch. At the center of Jupiter, the pressure is only three times as great.

  • In the 1920s and 1930s, Charlie Chaplin was probably the most celebrated man in the world. On a visit to his native London, the motion picture comedian received 73,000 letters in just two days.