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Fast facts


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Illustration by Arnie Bermudez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 12, 2004
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Things you always never wanted to know

  • Faust, the protagonist of works by Christopher Marlowe, Goethe and dozens of other writers, was an actual person. Johann Faust was a 16th-century doctor of theology at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. Many stories were told about him during his lifetime, including one in which he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for eternal youth and wisdom. The tale captured the imagination of authors for centuries afterward.

  • George Washington left no direct descendants. Though his wife Martha had four children by a previous marriage, Washington never sired a child to continue his line.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, the most popular president ever to hold office in the United States, did not carry his home county of Dutchess, N.Y., in any of his four elections.

  • Loud talk can be 10 times more distracting than the sound of a jackhammer. Loud, incessant chatter can make a listener nervous and irritable, and even start him on the road to insanity. So stop it, stop it, STOP IT!!!

  • Louis XIV owned 413 beds.

  • The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas carols.

  • Edwin Booth is the only actor in the American Hall of Fame.

  • Saturn's rings are 500,000 miles in circumference but only about a foot thick.

  • When astronauts remain weightless in space for prolonged periods, their bones lose a measurable amount of weight and thickness. This means that weightlessness actually causes human beings to shrink.

  • In the early 19th century, the words "trousers" and "pants" were considered obscene in England. Women referred to trousers are "inexpressibles" or "a pair of dittoes." Later in the century the taboo was carried to such lengths that piano legs were covered lest they remind one of their human counterparts.

  • Women were not allowed to vote in France until 1944.


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