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Fast Facts


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Illustration by Taejun Lim
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
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Things you've always never wanted to know

  • The albatross drinks seawater. It has a desalinization apparatus that strains out and excretes all excess salt.

  • The largest great white shark ever caught measured 37 feet and weighed 24,000 pounds. It was found in a herring weir in New Brunswick in 1930. The harmless whale shark is the largest fish. The largest caught was 59 feet long, which was captured in Thailand in 1919.

  • The standard escalator moves 120 feet per minute.

  • The first Union shot of the Civil War was fired by Gen. Abner Doubleday in 1861 at Fort Sumter.

  • A recent study conducted by the Shyness Clinic in Menlo Park, Calif., revealed that almost 90 percent of Americans label themselves as shy.

  • Pope Julius II set the time of his coronation in 1503 according to astrological calculations, despite the fact that the church during the Renaissance frowned on the occult as bordering on heresy.

  • Ivy has long been identified with immortality. Because it's always green and clings tenaciously to life, it is often used as a symbol of eternal life in Christian art.

  • Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth (outside our solar system), but it is too dim to be seen without a telescope.

  • Kielbasa, a smoked sausage of coarsely chopped beef and pork and flavored with garlic and spices, is Polish for sausage. Kielbasa sausage literally means "sausage sausage."

  • Every bird must eat at least half its own weight in food each day to survive. Young birds need even more. A young robin, for example, eats as much as 14 feet of earthworms a day.

  • Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest waterfall known. At 3,230 feet, it is more than 20 times higher than Niagara Falls.

  • A plaice, a large European flounder, can lie on a checkerboard and reproduce on its upper surface the same pattern of squares, for camouflage.

  • The Gulf Stream travels 111 miles across the Atlantic Ocean each day.


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