Fast Facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 10, 2005

Things you've always never wanted to know

  • The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans ages the equivalent of five human years for every day they live, usually dying after 14 days. However, when stressed, the worm goes into a state of suspended animation that can last for two months or more. The human equivalent would be to sleep for about 200 years.

  • The art of mapmaking is older than the art of writing.

  • Florence Harding, wife of Warren G. Harding, was the first divorcée to live in the White House as first lady.

  • The Mushroom Council of California recommends cooking shiitake mushrooms before they're eaten, although it's fine to eat all other cultivated mushrooms raw. The shiitake has an enzyme that may cause an upset stomach, depending on how much is consumed and a person's sensitivity to the enzyme.

  • Raw broccoli, cup for cup, has twice as much vitamin C as an orange and almost as much calcium as milk.

  • Assuming all the offspring survived, 190 quintillion flies could be produced in four months by the offspring of a single pair of flies.

  • Baskin-Robbins introduced the flavor "Lunar Cheesecake" to commemorate America's landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.

  • Bricks are the oldest manufactured building material still in use. Egyptians used them 7,000 years ago.

  • Everyone dreams. Those who claim to have no dreams, laboratory tests have determined, simply forget their dreams more easily than others.

  • U.S. congressmen expressed surprise on learning in 1977 that it takes 15 months of instruction at the Pentagon's School of Music to turn out a bandleader, but merely 13 months to train a jet pilot.

  • John Tyler had more children than any other American president. He had eight sons and seven daughters and was married twice.

  • A bolt of lightning can strike the Earth with a force as great as 100 million volts.

  • Vampire bats need about two tablespoonfuls of blood each day. The creature is able to extract its dinner in approximately 20 minutes.

  • Boulder Dam is as thick at its base (660 feet) as a city block is long.

  • Billie Jean King holds the distinction of being the oldest woman to receive a singles seed at Wimbledon. She was 39 years, 209 days old when she got the No. 10 seed in 1983.

  • Monaco boasts the highest per capita ownership of Rolls-Royces in the world. An early 1990s survey put the figure at one for every 65 people.