Fast facts

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Things you always never wanted to know

  • The first Chinese United States Marine Corps officer was Wilbur Sze, who was commissioned in 1943. The first African-American officer in the Marines, John Rudder, received his commission in 1948.

  • The natives of Kandahar, Afghanistan, wear turbans which, when unwrapped, are 20 feet long.

  • Up to 150 tons of meteorite fragments slam into Earth every year. As far as is known, only seven people have been struck.

  • By the end of the 16th century, there were about 11,600 courtesans in Venice, 12 times the number of patrician wives. The names and addresses of the courtesans were published in a book, copies of which may be seen today in the Library of St. Mark. The courtesans were the only commoners who mixed with ease with the Venetian upper class.

  • The fourth Mogul Emperor, Jahangir, who ruled from 1605 to 1627, had a harem of 300 royal wives, 5,000 more women and 1,000 young men. Outside the palace, he stabled 12,000 elephants, 10,000 oxen, 2,000 camels, 3,000 deer, 4,000 dogs, 100 tame lions, 500 buffalo and 10,000 carrier pigeons.

  • Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) wrote not only a 31-volume general history of Rome and a 20-volume history of Roman warfare, but also a 37-volume natural encyclopedia, an 8-volume Latin grammar set and a 6-volume manual of oratory. In addition, he was, at various times, a general, admiral and a governor of the Roman provinces in Africa, Spain, Germany and Gaul.

  • When Charles Darwin published his pioneer work on human evolution, "The Descent of Man" in 1871, not a single fossil that was known to be pre-human had been found to support his ideas. Although indications of the viability of his theory would be later discovered, it was formulated entirely without physical evidence and was based almost completely on speculation.

  • In looking at 200 fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, a rough scoring of the male and female characters reveals a strong dichotomy. There are 16 wicked mothers or stepmothers and only three wicked fathers or stepfathers. There are 23 evil female witches and only two evil male witches. There are 13 young women who kill or endanger men who love them, but only one man who harms his bride.