December 1, 2006
• The UPC code 4815162342 had been assigned to the 8 oz. can of New Coke, introduced on 4/23/1985 and discontinued on 8/16/1992. It is unclear whether the connection to the TV show Lost
is coincidental or intentional on the part of its producers.
• An "easter egg" in Windows Vista shows a brief home movie of Bill Gates' children.
• Jim Lehrer (of PBS' The NewsHour
) does not, and is not registered to, vote, so as not to appear politically biased.
• Nearly one-third of burn-related hospital visits by males aged 13 to 20 are due to an attempt at setting their flatulence alight.
• A Republican congressman from Texas recently introduced legislation intended to put a hold on military funerals in times of war because he feels that they "just serve to glorify the anti-war movement." The bill is not expected to pass.
December 4, 2006
• More of the fraudulent out of state ID cards seized in the United States resemble Kentucky identification than any other state.
• 18 percent of blog posts indexed by Google blog search begin with the word "so".
• Nine out of ten of hollywood paparazzi are divorced.
• More people recognize Mao Zedong than any other person in the world.
• The United States Patent and Trademark Office currently has 91 trademarks on file for colors.
December 7, 2006
• Thomas Edison invented the rotary nose hair clippers.
• The annual number of exorcisms has nearly tripled in the last ten years.
• The origin of the game hangman seems to have its roots in Salisbury, England around 1840, where a local hangman promised to free the condemned if they could guess a secret word. It's unclear if anyone ever guessed successfully or how long the practice lasted.
• Doctors smoke at over twice the rate as the general population.
• In Scotland, it is traditional to leave out haggis and mead for Father Christmas.
December 11, 2006
• Despite the snide saying "take a picture; it will last longer" a person is no more likely to remember the context of a photo than remember the event outright.
• Every year the U.S. Department of the Treasury estimates the value of the items mentioned in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas
as a festive means of gauging inflation. This year, the gifts would set the true love back $36,022.
• Because of its sexual proclivities, the mackerel is often called the Casanova fish.
• White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, contains more letters (31) than any other complete city/state name in the USA.
• The premise for the television show Survivor
was taken from a psychological research proposal which had been rejected by its review committee because it was deemed "needlessly sadistic."
December 13, 2006
• Montana is the only state that does not enforce a speed limit on elevators.
• When writing with a pencil, an average male aged 18 to 55 uses three pounds of force, as opposed to 4.5 pounds when using ballpoint pens.
• According to the National Association for Computing Safety, the most successful form of phishing is fake e-mails from banks.
• In 2005, The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada spent $553,000 on gambling accessories such as craps dice, roulette balls and playing cards.
• There is an approximately one in 750 chance that a randomly selected page in a randomly selected book will have at least one note written in the margin.
December 15, 2006
• A 747 jumbo jet has the same lifting power as every person in Indiana holding their hand out of a car traveling at 60 MPH.
• Electric cars have 15 times the rate of fatal vehicle-on-pedestrian accidents, seemingly because the pedestrian doesn't hear it approaching.
• The personal wireless telegraph is generally seen as the precursor to the modern cell phone and texting. First deployed in New York City in 1913 by Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company, it was a commercial failure partly because of the outbreak of World War I, but mostly because most people refused to learn Morse code.
• If identity theft continues to grow at its current rate, by 2015, Americans will have their identity stolen nearly three times per year.
• Sunset Blvd.
is loosely based on the life of silent film star Mary Pickford.
December 18, 2006
• Patrick Swayze's Road House
is the all-time top-grossing movie in Iceland.
• Linguists generally agree that "egg" is the most perfect word in the English language.
• Cats have twice the sense of smell of dogs, but cannot be easily trained to use it.
• The typical American child eats more kernels of candy corn than of corn.
• There are fewer than 200 giant pandas still alive, half of which are in zoos.
December 22, 2006
The Fact Check Forums
have been hard at work, researching our heroes of yesteryear, with one question in mind: What ever happened to...? A big thanks to fact checkers Udoboy, Taed and Athene.
• Rin Tin Tin and the original Lassie are buried in adjacent graves at the Forest Lawns cemetary in Los Angeles.
• Jeremy Miller, the child star who played Ben Seaver on TV's "Growing Pains," has spent the last decade acting in South Africa's renowned Liberty Theatre.
• Former Vice-President Dan Quayle now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and has recently signed a contract to write his autobiography entitled: "Potatoe, Potahto: My Life As VP."
• Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel was electrocuted in 2005 while trying to paw bread out of the toaster. However, the owner has trained another squirrel named Knotty to water-ski and she continues to tour under the name Twiggy.
• John Gilchrist, who played Mikey in the Life cereal commercials of the 1980s, retired from show business after the commercials and is now a nuclear physicist based in Taos, New Mexico.
December 25, 2006
• Roughly 500,000 mistletoe plants will give their lives to match hopeful suitors each Christmas season.
• Worldwide, Santa Claus is known by 265 different names.
• An average Christmas tree will be transported 125 miles from where it is grown to where it is sold.
• 92 percent of people admit to having "regifted" a Christmas gift at one point in their lives.
• The most common request made to Santa by children aged 3 to 7 is a puppy. The most common request by children ages 8 to 11 is a bicycle.
December 27, 2006
• Worldwide, 87 percent of the gifts given this Christmas were manufactured in China.
• 1450 tons of of chocolate were be consumed during the 2006 holiday season.
• When measured as biomass, 87 percent of all known organisms reproduce asexually.
• Mayonnaise was originally marketed as a skin care product.
• If the library of Alexandria hadn't burned down circa 48 B.C., anthropologists have theorized that nuclear arms would have been readily available during the American Civil War.
December 29, 2006
This week we've been busy. While holidays were being celebrated, the Fact Check Forums
were hard at work uncovering interesting and unusual factoids about patents and the intellectual property they protect. A big thanks to Athene, Udoboy and Taed for their splendid research.
• There have been over 3.5 million patent applications submitted for mousetraps. Of these, 97 percent are rejected as being too similar to an existing product.
• A company based in Tacoma, Washington holds the patent for the curled telephone cords common to most corded telephones. They are paid eight cents for each cord sold in the United States.
• Following its successful copyright on the :-( emoticon, Despair.com attempted to trademark the TM
symbol and patent the process for administering the patent process, but was thwarted on both counts.
• Over 300 different authors, including horror author Stephen King and science fiction author Christoper Golden, have attempted to patent their particular writing process. To date, none of the patent applications have been accepted.
• The Holy See (also known as Vatican City) is one of six internationally recognized countries without an official patent process.