Fast Facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

  • Literacy in Iceland is 100 percent. Every Icelander must graduate from school in order to get a job, and has to be able to speak three languages. The native language, Icelandic, is spoken in no other country.

  • The Scottish writer Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, who won a seat as a Liberal member of Parliament in 1886, was suspended from the House of Commons for having the audacity to use the word "damn" in a public speech.

  • Not until Nov. 18, 1951, had anyone in the United States seen both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans "live" and simultaneously. To demonstrate the power of television, Edward R. Murrow's first "See It Now" telecast on that day spanned the continent on a split screen.

  • Water freezes faster if cooled rapidly from a relatively warm temperature than if cooled at the same rate from a lower temperature.

  • The hardness of ice is comparable to that of concrete.

  • February originally had 29 days every year. In 8 B.C., the Roman Emperor Augustus renamed the 30-day month of Sextilis, giving it the name of August to honor himself. He took a day from February so that his month would have as many days as July, which had been named for Julius Caesar.

  • Elephants, lions and camels roamed Alaska 12,000 years ago.

  • A "claque" is a group of people hired to applaud an act or performer.

  • Myrtle Beach, S.C., has the most mini-golf courses per square mile in the U.S. There are 47 in a 60-mile area.

  • Shambu Tamang was the youngest person ever to ascend Mount Everest. He was 17 years, 6 months and 15 days old when he reached the summit.

  • Progeria is a disease that causes the entire life cycle to be compressed into less than 20 years. By the time a sufferer is 7 years old, he looks, feels and acts like an old person, and he may die of "old age" by the time he is 11 or 12 years old.

  • Cyndi Lauper cleaned dog cages before her career as a pop star.

  • Golfer Tiger Woods is the most searched-for sports figure on the Internet.

  • The Vatican's Web site is powered by three host computers named after the archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel.

  • Grandfather clocks with metal pendulums lose time in warm weather. The solid expands, making the pendulum bigger and thus slower-moving.

  • Stevie Wonder was 11 when he signed his contract with Motown.

  • Rita Moreno was the first performer to win an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award.

  • Stone Street in New York was the first paved street in the U.S. It was paved so that beer wagons could get to and from the breweries.

  • The youngest person to win a Nobel Prize was 25-year-old William Lawrence Bragg, who shared the award for physics with his father in 1915 for work done on the determination of crystal structures by X-ray diffraction.