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Fast facts


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Illustration by Holly Randall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • During the early 1920s, at the height of inflation in the German Weimar Republic, one American dollar was equal to 4 trillion German marks.

  • Every year, 3 million Americans become cigarette smokers.

  • Smokers suffer 65 percent more colds and 167 percent more nose and throat irritations, and have a 300 percent greater incidence of chronic coughs than nonsmokers.

  • The 1905 peace treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War was signed in Portsmouth, N.H.. Though the United States had nothing to do with the war, the treaty was arranged and negotiated by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

  • Every student at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., receives financial aid from George Washington. Washington left the university a land grant of 50,000 acres, which was, at that time, the largest legacy ever donated to an American university. Today that land is worth several million dollars, and all the interest on profits from its sale is used to help students.

  • The first belch ever broadcast on national radio was heard in 1935. Melvin H. Purvis, head of the Chicago office of the FBI, was making a guest appearance on a program sponsored by Fleischmann's yeast. In the middle of delivering a commercial for Fleischmann's, Mr. Purvis inadvertently emitted the dreaded sound, and for years afterward the brand of yeast was known as "Purvis's folly."

  • A single orchid of the genus Cymbidium was sold in the United States in 1952 for $4,500.

  • Each seed of the palm tree Lodoicea seychellarum weighs 30 pounds.

  • In ancient China and certain parts of India, mouse flesh was considered a great delicacy. In ancient Greece, where the mouse was sacred to Apollo, mice were sometimes devoured by temple priests.


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