Fast Facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 27, 2005

Things you've always never wanted to know

  • Massachusetts Puritans passed America's first law against gambling in 1638.

  • When traveling in Jordan, it is important for foreigners to know that the host may ask a visitor to stay for dinner. It is customary to refuse twice before accepting. Refuse seconds of any dish offered unless the host insists a couple of times, and even then accept only with a slight air of reluctance.

  • Danish pastry in Denmark is known as Vienna bread.

  • Every six hours, disposable diapers in the U.S. make up enough trash to fill a barge half a city block long.

  • Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. It travels through space at 660,000 mph.

  • English was not the native tongue of Queen Victoria. Her mother, the daughter of a German duke, spoke German in the home, and Victoria - though she ruled England for 64 years - was never able to speak English perfectly.

  • Thomas Jefferson invented the dumbwaiter.

  • By the end of the Civil War, 33 percent of all U.S. paper currency in circulation was counterfeit. This was a devastating situation for a nation struggling to recover economically from such a destructive war. On July 5, 1865, the Secret Service was created as a part of the Department of the Treasury to help suppress counterfeit currency.

  • A newborn baby's head accounts for about one-quarter of its entire weight.

  • Early hand-held lights used carbo-zinc batteries that did not last very long. To keep the light burning required that the user turn it on for a short time and then turn it off to allow the battery to recover. That's how they became known as "flashlights."

  • The term "cocktail" was invented in Elmsford, N.Y. A barmaid named Betsy Flanagan reportedly decorated her establishment with the tail feathers of cocks. One day a patron asked for "one of those cock tails." She served him a drink with a feather in it.

  • The average aardvark weighs about 150 pounds.

  • Although manatees are excellent swimmers, the deepest that one has been observed diving is 33 feet. Typically, the large, gentle creatures feed no deeper than about 10 feet below the surface of the water.