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Fast Facts


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Illustration by Patricia Tompkins
By Things you've always never wanted to know
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 20, 2005
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  • Oscar Wilde once spent two years doing hard labor after being found guilty of homosexuality.

  • Domesticated turkeys cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are also fast on the ground, outpacing a man at up to 30 miles per hour.

  • The Chinese used to open shrimp by flaying the shells with bamboo poles. Until a few years ago, in factories where dried shrimp were being prepared, "shrimp dancers" were hired to tramp on the shells with special shoes.

  • Nearly 65 percent of America's aluminum cans are recycled.

  • A nanosecond is one-billionth of a second.

  • A rhinoceros has three toes on each foot.

  • A koala eats nothing but eucalyptus leaves and does not drink water.

  • Hawaii has the highest percentage of cremation of all the states in the U.S., with a 60.6 percent preference over burial.

  • On Catalina Island, the number of cars is strictly regulated. The wait time for a permit can last between eight and 10 years, and most residents drive gasoline-powered golf carts.

  • Mark Twain referred to the accordion as the "stomach Steinway."

  • France and Mexico were involved in a yearlong conflict popularly known as the Pastry War in 1838. Mexico refused to pay for damage done by Mexican army officers to a restaurant run by a French pastry chef in Tacubaya, now a section of Mexico City.

  • Vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream, accounting for 29 percent of all sales.

  • The first performer to win Grammy Awards for jazz and classical recordings in the same year was Wynton Marsalis in 1984. His albums were Trumpet Concertos and Think of One.

  • During the American Revolution, many brides wore red wedding gowns as a symbol of rebellion.

  • At least 100,000 different chemical reactions occur in the normal human brain every second.

  • In past times, it was said a young girl could conjure up her future spouse by visiting a graveyard on St. Valentine's eve at precisely midnight. She would then have to sing a prescribed chant and run around the church 12 times, and her mate would be the first eligible man she met after sunrise.


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