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Fast facts


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Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 14, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • John Milton wanted to reform politics with poetry. When he realized that this was impossible, he gave up his long-held dream of being a superlative poet and chose instead to devote himself almost exclusively to writing revolutionary manifestoes in prose, which he did for more than a score of years. After the Restoration, he returned to poetry and wrote "Paradise Lost."

  • In 1800, more than one in every five Americans lived in the state of Virginia.

  • At Versailles, during the reign of Louis XIV, it was considered gauche to knock on a door with the knuckles. Instead one scratched with the little finger of the left hand and for this purpose courtiers let that particular nail grow long.

  • In Elizabethan England, the spoon was such a novelty, such a prized rarity, that people carried their own folding spoons to banquets.

  • More than half a million Americans died during the influenza epidemic of 1918. Better get your shots! Oh, wait ... sorry.

  • The amount of play money printed each year for use in the Parker Brothers game Monopoly totals more than the amount of real currency issued annually by the U.S. Government.

  • The oboe is considered the most difficult of all woodwind instruments to play correctly.

  • Verdi wrote the opera "Aida" at the request of the khedive of Egypt to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal.

  • If a car is moving at 55 miles per hour it will travel 56 feet on average before the driver can shift a foot from the accelerator to the brake.

  • The average smoker - the smoker who inhales one and a half packs of cigarettes a day - smokes 10,950 cigarettes a year. A heavy smoker may smoke as many as 30,000 cigarettes a year, a nonstop chain smoker as many as 40,000.

  • The Hessian soldiers hired by the British to fight the colonists during the Revolutionary War were paid about 25 cents a day.


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