Fast Facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Things you've always never wanted to know

  • The U.S. produces 19 percent of the world's trash. The annual contribution includes 20 billion disposable diapers, 2 billion razors and 1.7 billion pens.

  • Before deciding on the name "Sherlock," Arthur Conan Doyle had named his now famous detective Sherrinford. The name was used in a short story Doyle wrote in 1886. Holmes' sidekick in the story was called Ormond Sacker, but he was renamed Thomas Watson.

  • There was originally a distillery on the site of America's first mint, the Philadelphia Mint, which opened in 1792.

  • Japanese children memorize 80 brush-stroke characters by second grade and have learned 2,000 characters in high school, enough to read a newspaper. Still, only 16.3 percent of test takers pass a national kanji (writing Chinese characters) exam that requires mastering about 2,000 characters. These days, more Japanese children are choosing computers over calligraphy. Even teachers are losing the knack of writing Japanese characters.

  • With a 6-inch wingspan, the cecropia is the largest moth in North America. Its charcoal gray wings are adorned with distinctive "eye spots" and bands of orange and white. The cecropia has feathery antennae and a furry, orange-striped body as big as a baby mouse.

  • According to the rules of Gaelic football, players may punch the ball, but the punching motion must be clearly visible to the referee. Players may not pick up the ball off the ground unless they first get their toe under the ball.

  • The first American-built West Coast lighthouse was the Alcatraz Lighthouse, built in 1854.

  • At sea level, there are 2,000 pounds of air pressure on each square foot of your body.

  • The average human heart beats about 100,000 times every 24 hours. In a 72-year lifetime, the heart beats more than 2.5 billion times.

  • Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood, we have only 206 in our bodies. One-fourth of the 206 bones in the adult human body are located in the feet.

  • Salt Lake City gets an average of 17 inches more snow annually than Fairbanks, Alaska. Santa Fe, N.M., gets an average of 9 inches more snow each year than New Haven, Conn.

  • The average woman's thighs are 1 1/2 times larger in circumference than the average man's.

  • Five percent of people who frequent restaurants claim they eat out because they do not know how to cook.