Fast facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Things you always never wanted to know

  • Attila the Hun was a dwarf. Pepin the Short, Aesop, Gregory of Tours, Charles III of Naples and Pasha Hussain were all less than 3.5 feet tall.

  • The Mongol conqueror Timur the Lame (1336-1405), whom Christopher Marlowe called Tamburlaine, played polo with the skulls of those he had killed in battle. Timur left records of his victories by erecting 30-foot-high pyramids made of the severed heads of his victims.

  • There is no living descendant of William Shakespeare.

  • Volleyball was invented in a Holyoke, Mass. YMCA in 1895 by William George Morgan. The game was first called "mintonette" and was played by hitting a basketball over a rope.

  • Lacrosse was invented by American Indians.

  • During the American Revolution, more inhabitants of the American colonies fought for the British than for the Continental Army.

  • The area sold by France to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase was first offered to England, who refused it. The price paid by the United States for the land, some 100 million acres, averaged out to 4 cents an acre.

  • America purchased Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000 about 2 cents an acre.

  • George Custer was the youngest American officer ever to become a general in the United States Army. He made his rank at age 23.

  • During the heating months of winter, the relative humidity of the average American home is only 13 percent, nearly twice as dry as the Sahara Desert.

  • A rainbow can be seen only in the morning or late afternoon. It is a phenomenon than can occur only when the sun is 40 degrees or less above the horizon.