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Fast Facts


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Illustration by Jennifer Kearney
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 3, 2005
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Things you've always never wanted to know

  • Although the official language of India is Hindi, there are 14 regional languages that are officially recognized for conducting national affairs. In addition, there are approximately 170 other languages and more than 500 dialects. Of the Indian population of more than 548 million, only about 134 million understand Hindi.

  • The intestinal tract for an average 300-pound ostrich is 45 feet long.

  • A robin has 3,000 feathers.

  • Joan of Arc was not French. She was born in 1412 in Domremy, which at the time was an autonomous state outside the jurisdiction of the French monarchy. Neither was she a heroine in France until the 19th century. Napoleon needed a hero symbol to promote nationalism in France, and thus hit upon Joan d'Arc.

  • There are about 15,000 different varieties of rice.

  • Half of the foods that are eaten throughout the world were once developed by farmers in the Andes Mountains. Potatoes, maize, sweet potatoes, squash, all varieties of beans, peanuts, manioc, cashews, pineapples, chocolate, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, papayas, strawberries, mulberries and many other foods were first grown in this region.

  • A peasant named Kirilow was presented to the empress of Russia in 1853 for his impressive virility. His first wife bore him 57 children, including four sets of quadruplets, seven sets of triplets and two sets of twins. His second wife gave birth to 15 children, including six sets of twins and a set of triplets. All 72 of Kirilow's children were alive at the time of his presentation to the impressed empress.

  • A pulsar is a small star made up of neutrons so densely packed together that if one the size of a silver dollar landed on Earth, it would weigh about 100 million tons.

  • In 1637, then-Gov. Wilhelm Kieft estimated that a quarter of the shops in New Amsterdam (soon to be New York City) were taverns.

  • A caterpillar has more than 2,000 muscles.


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