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Fast facts


Photo
Illustration by Holly Randall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • Spiders have transparent blood.

  • The oil used by jewelers to lubricate clocks and watches costs about $3,000 per gallon.

  • William Shakespeare published two well-known textbooks on voice training for opera singers, The Art of Singing and Plain Words on Singing. This William Shakespeare, however, was not the famous playwright. He lived from 1849 to 1931 and was a distinguished concert and oratorio singer.

  • Turkish coffee is rich in flavor and traditions. It is known as the "milk of chess players and thinkers."

  • The Roman emperor Nero was an expert bagpiper. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, Nero "knew how to play the pipe with his mouth and the bag thrust under his arm." Toward the end of his life, the emperor played the instrument in public at the Roman athletic games. The bagpipe is not a Scottish invention, but an ancient instrument that musicologists have traced to pre-Christian Asia.

  • Montezuma, ruler of the Aztecs and adversary of the Spanish explorer Cortez, had a nephew named Cuitlahac. Translated, Cuitlahac's name means "plenty of excrement."

  • A mile on the ocean and a mile on land are not the same distance. On the ocean, a mile is known as a "nautical mile" and measures 6,080 feet. A land mile is 5,280 feet.

  • Bobbing for apples at Halloween originated as part of a divinatory technique practiced by the Druids. Participants floated apples in a tub of water on Oct. 31 (the Druidic New Year's Eve) and attempted to fish them out without using their hands. Those who succeeded were guaranteed a prosperous year.

  • In ancient Japan, public contests were held to see who in a town could break wind loudest and longest. Winners were awarded many prizes and received great acclaim.

  • According to the American Society for the Study of Headaches, 80 percent of migraine sufferers are women.


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