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Fast facts


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Illustration by Mike Padilla
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 21, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • Though it was not diagnosed until he had returned to Washington, Abraham Lincoln was suffering a mild case of smallpox when he delivered his historic address commemorating the new cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa., in Nov. 1863.

  • Margaret Mead's first foray into observation of human behavior occurred before she was a teenager. As a young girl of 8 or 9, she recorded the patterns of speech of her younger sisters.

  • The villagers of Gonesse, France, were sure their visitor from the sky was the work of Satan himself. They attacked the invader with pitchforks, then tied the wheezing, deflated carcass to the tail of a horse, whose dashes over the countryside tore it asunder. "It" was actually a rubberized-silk hydrogen-filled balloon - one of the first, in the year 1783.

  • Everyone dreams. Those who claim to have no dreams, simply forget their dreams more easily than others, laboratory tests show.

  • Norfolk County, Mass., is the birthplace of three United States presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams and John F. Kennedy.

  • Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, wore special gloves to hide the sixth finger on one of her hands.

  • At the court of Louis XIV, prestige was measured by the height of the chair one was allowed to sit in. Only the king and queen could sit in chairs with arms.

  • Deimos, one of the moons of Mars, rises and sets twice a day.

  • Many houses in the rural districts of Nepal are constructed of cow dung mixed with mud, sand and clay.

  • It has been estimated that if all the seas of the earth dried up, they would leave about 4,419,330 cubic miles of rock salt, enough salt to cover the entire United States with a layer 1.5 miles deep.

  • A sport practiced in ancient China consisted of placing two angry male quails in a large glass bowl and watching as the creatures clawed each other to death.

  • One out of every 10 men in the United States is impotent.


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