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Fast facts


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Illustration by Holly Randall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 23, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • During the Renaissance, blond hair became so much de rigueur in Venice that a brunette was not to be seen except among the working classes. Venetian women spent hours dyeing and burnishing their hair until they achieved the harsh metallic glitter that was considered a necessity.

  • The foundations of the great European cathedrals go down as far as 40 or 50 feet. In some instances, they form a mass of stone as great as that of the visible building above the ground.

  • Though Lyndon B. Johnson's presidential message of Jan. 8, 1964, was only 3,059 words long, 24 writers worked six weeks on the draft and made about 16 major revisions.

  • When future U.S. President William Howard Taft was president of the Philippine Commission in 1900, Secretary of War Elihu Root cabled him to ask how he was, having heard he was ill. Taft, who weighed more than 350 pounds, reassured Root by cabling that he was much better and that he had, in fact, just returned from a 25-mile ride on horseback. Root cabled back, "How is the horse?"

  • The most cronic pain that American's complain of is backpain.

  • In his search for a planet beyond Neptune, Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory found himself at times struggling with a single photographic plate that contained as many as 400,000 stars. His mission, using many plates, was to see if any of the stars moved.

  • In 435 B.C., the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras suggested that the sun was not just a small glowing circle of light. He maintained that it was a glowing rock a hundred miles across. For that outrageous statement, he was exiled from Athens.

  • The English naval hero Viscount Horatio Nelson chose to be buried in St. Paul's Church in London rather than in the national shrine of Westminster Abbey because he had heard that Westminster was sinking into the Thames.

  • A law was passed in England in 1668 requiring all corpses to be buried in a wool shroud, thereby extorting support for Britain's flagging wool trade. The act was repealed 148 years later.


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