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Fast facts


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Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 9, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • It takes a person 15 to 20 minutes to walk once around the Pentagon.

  • In New York City in 1977, diplomats attached to the United Nations received a total of 250,000 parking tickets. The representative from Guinea led the list with 526 tickets.

  • The Tower of London is not one particular tower, but a group of buildings covering 13 acres along the north bank of the Thames River. The central "White Tower," built in 1078 and used as a fortress, a royal residence and finally as a prison, is the "tower" of which the English so often spoke in horror.

  • To preserve their elaborate coiffures, geishas in ancient Japan slept with their heads on bags filled with buckwheat chaff.

  • Austria was the first country to use postcards.

  • Martin Luther was the first person to put lights on a Christmas tree. Luther reportedly placed candles on his tannenbaum to represent the stars above Bethlehem on the night of Christ's birth. Many of his followers adopted the practice, and soon the custom spread throughout Europe.

  • The average person can live for 11 days without water, assuming his or her environment has a mean temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Before 1859, baseball umpires sat in a padded rocking chair behind the catcher.

  • A total of 63 errors were made in the 1886 World Series.

  • In 1920, Socialist Eugene Debs received 920,000 votes for president of the United States, yet he ran his entire campaign while in jail.

  • For his entire 47 years in government, Herbert Hoover turned over each of his federal salary checks to charity. He had become independently wealthy before entering politics.

  • When John Wilkes Booth leapt onto the stage after shooting the president, he tripped - on the American flag.


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