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Fast facts


Photo
Illustration by Holly Randall
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • The Impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) painted more than 300 pictures of the same lily pads. The now-famous plants grew in a pond behind his house.

  • Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), one of the great French sculptors, was allowed to freeze to death by the French government even though they knew of his plight and could have saved him. Rodin, forgotten in the last years of his life, was refused financial aid several times by the French state, even while the statues he had donated to the country were kept warmly housed in museums. In the winter of 1917 Rodin's application for a room in one of these museums was rejected, and a month later he died in a garret from frostbite.

  • An ostrich may weigh as much as 300 pounds. Its intestinal tract is 45 feet long.

  • Venezuela's Angel Falls are a mile high.

  • More than 71 million gallons of water pass over Victoria Falls in Africa every minute.

  • Old Lyme, Conn., has the world's only museum dedicated to nuts. The world's largest nutcracker, 8 feet long, hangs outside on a tree.

  • The Library of Congress has 327 miles of bookshelves.

  • The Smithsonian Institution has more than 30 million fossils in its paleontology collection and more than 24 million insect specimens. It would take a minimum of 10 days to see everything at the institution.

  • Roulette was invented by the great French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It was a byproduct of his experiments with perpetual motion.

  • James J. Ritty, owner of a tavern in Dayton, Ohio, invented the cash register in 1879 to stop his patrons from pilfering house profits.

  • There are left-handed playing cards available. Normally the pips on a card are in the upper left-hand corner and lower right for the convenience of right-handed fanners. Left-handed playing cards have pips on all four corners.


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