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Fast facts


Photo
Illustration by Mike Padilla
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 11, 2005
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  • Information travels along nerves at speeds up to 268 mph.

  • The three most common fears in order are snakes, heights and flying.

  • The ancient Vikings navigated by depending on the instincts of birds. They took on board a number of ravens and released them one by one as they sailed to the west. If the raven flew back, the Vikings continued due west. But when a raven flew a different way, the ships would change course and follow its flight path to search for new lands.

  • The male pipefish carries fertilized eggs in a pouch in its belly, which are then deposited by the female. The eggs incubate for 17 to 21 days and then emerge from a slit in the pouch.

  • The tail propulsion of dolphins is superior in efficiency to that of ship propellers - they use less energy to achieve a given speed.

  • order to populate the frontier, Congress in 1862 passed the Homestead Act. It offered free 160-acre farms to all homesteaders who would live on them and farm the wilderness. Good farms that size at that time cost about $1,000.

  • One-third of all the automobiles in New York City, Boston and Chicago in 1900 were electric cars, with batteries rather than gasoline engines.

  • "Red tape," the rigid application of regulations and routine, resulting in a delay in getting business done, got its name from the color of the tape that was commonly used to tie official papers. The term occurs as early as 1658.

  • Cotton Mather, the Puritan minister whose writings on sorcery helped set off the Salem witch hunt, was so esteemed as one of the premier scientists of the colonies that he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of England after he had written many books on medicine, physics, astronomy and biology.

  • President James Garfield, ambidextrous and schooled in classical languages, could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other - simultaneously.


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