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Fast facts


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Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 8, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • A housefly can transport germs as far as 15 miles away from the original source of contamination.

  • In his diary entry of Aug. 2, 1882, Lewis Carroll (author and publisher) estimated that even if he sold the entire 2,000-copy first printing of "Alice in Wonderland" he would lose 200 francs. By selling another 2,000 copies, he would make 200 francs. If he sold additional copies, he would then realize a bigger gain, but "that I can hardly hope for." Before his death, in 1898, about 180,000 copies had been sold.

  • Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote.

  • James Garfield was the first president to use a telephone.

  • The lungfish can live out of water in a state of suspended animation for three years.

  • The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, Calif., is the largest tree in the world. It weighs more than 6,000 tons.

  • Poison oak is not oak. Poison Ivy is not ivy. Both are members of the cashew family (Anacardiaceae).

  • Stamp collecting is the most popular hobby in the world.

  • The principality of Monaco consists of only 370 acres.

  • In bumblebee hives, the entire colony, except for the queen, dies at the end of each summer. Each year an entirely new colony of bees must be produced.

  • Prior to the adoption of the 12th Amendment in 1804, the candidate who ran second in a presidential race automatically became vice president. Thomas Jefferson became John Adams' vice president this way.

  • When gentlemen in medieval Japan wished to seal an agreement, they urinated together, crisscrossing their streams of urine.

  • Gibbon spent 20 years writing "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire." Noah Webster spent 36 years writing his dictionary.

  • All the proceeds earned from James M. Barrie's book "Peter Pan" were bequeathed to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London.


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