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FastFacts


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Illustration by Jennifer Kearney
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 20, 2006
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Things you've always never wanted to know

The word fiasco, meaning failure, is derived from the ancient Italian art of glass blowing. If a Venetian glass blower made a mistake while creating a fine, delicate bottle, the ruined vessel was turned into an ordinary drinking flask, which is known in Italian as a fiasco.

It is estimated that a plastic container can resist decomposition for as long as 50,000 years.

Runners in ancient Greece believed that the spleen was a hindrance to endurance and long-distance running. They devised a vast pharmacopoeia of herbal concoctions especially designed to shrink this organ. Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, mentioned a certain mushroom that, when burned over the area of the spleen, melted the organ completely.

It is illegal to hunt a camel in Arizona ... unless it's coming right for you. Remember: Out in the desert, it's kill or be killed.

The mortality rate for infectious diseases is lowest between the ages of 5 and 15. After 25, the body is much more susceptible to disease. Watch out, super seniors.

George Washington was so beloved by the French that when he died in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered 10 days of mourning.

In the early 1920s, at the height of the inflation in the German Weimar Republic, one American dollar was equal to four trillion German marks.

When Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed, it took 15 whacks of the blade before her head was severed.

Dr. John Cohausen wrote a book in 1743 "proving" that one could live to be 115 years old by inhaling the breath of little girls. In his book, "Hermippus Redivivus," Dr. Cohausen gave the following prescription: take one pound of gum olibani, 2 ounces of styrae, myrrh and several other herbs, and mix, burn and inhale while at the same time ingesting the exhalations of the nearest girl.

An ostrich egg can make 11 1/2 omelets.

The Statue of Liberty's mouth is 3 feet wide.

In ancient China, doctors were paid when their patients were kept well, not when they were sick. Believing that it was the doctor's job to prevent disease, Chinese doctors often paid a patient who lost his health. If a patient died, a special lantern was hung outside the doctor's house. At each death, another lantern was added. Too many of these lanterns were certain to ensure a slow trade.

A newborn Chinese water deer is so small that it can be held in the palm of a hand.

RSVP is an abbreviation for the French "repondez s'il vous plait," meaning "please respond." It does not stand for "respond very promptly," as is sometimes supposed.



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