Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Mating invariably kills the drone, since his entire phallic area is torn from his body to remain inside the queen.

Australian researchers have discovered that honeybees can distinguish human faces. The insects were shown black-and-white photos and given treats whenever they recognized their subject. They also retained memory of that face, flying directly there with great accuracy (80%) for days after their initial experience.

Queens, predictably, do not feed themselves. They preen and devote themselves to reproductive duties. She’s bigger than workers, longer than drones; her slender waspish body is adorned with sparkling gold hairs. (For you language buffs, the Persian word for bee is Zanbur – “blonde woman.”)

In ancient times, and as recently as World War I, honey was used to treat battlefield wounds because it attracts and absorbs moisture, making it a valuable healing agent. …An organic substance with no caustic properties, honey contains vitamin and mineral elements that fight bacterial infection. Bacteria don’t seem to develop resistance to honey as they do to modern-day antibiotics!

Honey never spoils. Edible honey has been found in pharaohs’ tombs and in other archaeological sites.

On average, 21,000 germs per square inch are just on your desk – 400 times more than on the misperceived office toilet seat. Telephones have as many as 25,000 microbes per square inch, keyboards have more than 3,000, and computer mice over 1,500. Toilet seat: about 50. A toilet handle, however, can have as many as 80,000 bacteria per square inch.

You can download software from the SETI@home project ( to sift for alien signals from your home computer. Over 187,000 other people have already done so. SETI@home is privately funded, largely by the Planetary Society, a non-profit organization co-founded by Carl Sagan.

The most common birth month is August – with odds favoring a Tuesday afternoon.

In 2007, psychologist Frieda Birnbaum of New Jersey became the oldest woman (60) in the U.S. ever to bear twins. …An Austrian woman became a first-time mom at age 61, then bore her second child at 66. The oldest mother in the world to give birth was a 67-year-old Spanish woman.

The youngest known parents were a 9-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl in China. …In 1930, Russia claimed the world’s youngest mother, just 6 years old. That record was eclipsed in 1939 by a 5-year-old Peruvian girl.

Biotechnologists in New Zealand have discovered cows with a gene that lets them naturally produce skimmed milk. The first “skimmed milk” cow, Marge, was found in 2001….

Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes and cuts the vitamin content by over half. For generations, the advice has been “drink lots of milk for strong teeth and bones.” But although the U.S. produces and consumes more dairy products than any other country, we have the world’s highest per capita incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Both Africans and African-Americans consume less calcium and milk than Caucasians but have greater bone density and fewer instances of osteoporosis.

Sheep milk fans applaud its “rich, bland, slightly sweet taste” and find it much higher in nutritional solids than either cow or goat milk. It contains up to 200% of the calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins that cow milk provides. In 1993, the FDA approved the use of bovine growth hormone (BGH), a genetically engineered hormone that can increase milk production as much as 25%. Research shows a 700% increase in the risk of breast cancer in women, and a 400% increase in the risk of prostate cancer in men, with high levels of that growth factor.

Your Body:
Good health depends on balanced body chemistry, about an 80-20 alkaline-acid ratio. A wholesome ratio is 80% alkaline-producing foods (leafy and root vegetables, juice fruits, beans, other legumes, and tubers) and 20% acid-producing foods (proteins like meat, fish, and whole grains).

Women feel more pain than men.

Human brains continue to generate electrical impulses for more than a day after death.

…men have the same number of ribs as women. In each case, 24. One of every 20 humans has one pair more or less.

Your scalp has 100,000 hairs. Redheads have 90,000; black-haired people, 110,000.

…Humans are as hairy per square inch as chimps but don’t show it, since most hairs are too fine to be seen.

Healthy humans are capable of between 100 and 200 pounds psi biting pressure. Large dogs (Rottweilers, German shepherds, pit bulls) registered 320 pounds; wild dogs, 310; lions and white sharks, 600; hyenas and snapping turtles, 1,000; crocodiles, 2,500.

…many women lose sensitivity in their middle fingers when menstruating.

In 1998, researchers found a new mosquito species in the London Underground, descended from ancestors flying when the tunnels were dug 100 years earlier. Once bird feeders, they now feast on a menu of rats, mice, and people. For genetic reasons they rarely interbreed with above-ground colleagues. Their DNA varies from subway line to subway line.

One of the longest recorded sleepless stints dates back to 1964, when San Diego high school student Randy Gardner, supervised by Stanford University scientists, stayed awake for 264 hours and 12 minutes – a bit more than 11 days. It was previously believed that going without sleep for so long would cause serious mental damage. That proved untrue for Randy, who sacked out for 15 hours, then returned to his normal waking/sleep schedule with no noticeable aftereffects.

Insufficient sleep is linked to illness, diabetes, hypertension, psychosis, and mental decline. More than 18,000,000 Americans suffer from sleep apnea – the interruption of normal breathing for 10 seconds or more while asleep. This potentially dangerous disorder, left untreated, can lead to heart and respiratory problems or even death by stroke or cardiac arrest. Overt symptoms of sleep apnea are excessive snoring, gasping, and choking. Deeper symptoms may include high blood pressure and lowered metabolism (and consequent obesity).

A rat can tread water for three days, survive being flushed down a toilet, and return to the building via the same route. Adult rats can squirm through holes ½ in in diameter. They can chew through almost anything, with astonishing jaw power over 20,000 pounds per square inch – roughly 10 times the estimated biting power of a pit bull! (But you’re far more likely to be bitten by a human than by a rat.) Adult rats can leap 3 feet straight up and 4 feet outward, and climb almost anything with even a tiny paw-hold. They easily survive falls of 50 feet or more.

Rats are being trained to sniff out anti-personnel landmines and unexploded ordinance (UXO) that kill and maim innocent people in dozens of countries worldwide. Rats are faster, lighter, and nimbler than sniffer dogs.

They regulate their body temperature by constricting or expanding blood vessels in their tails. Although it takes up only 5% of the rat’s body surface, it dissipates 17% of its heat.

Cow’s tail to the west, weather the best; cow’s tail to the east, weather the least. Animals tend to graze with their backs to the wind. Since an east wind is more likely to bring rain, and a west wind good weather, the cow’s tail acts as a furry weather vane.

Crickets chirp faster in warm weather. Unlikely, but true. These little guys, who chirp by rubbing their legs together, are fairly accurate thermometers. Formula: count chirps for 14 seconds, add 40, and you have the local temperature in Fahrenheit.

When leaves are backward in the wind, bad weather is coming. Absolutely true. Trees grow in the prevailing (fair-weather) wind. In cyclonic (non-prevailing) wind, leaves are blown against their natural pattern and show their backsides.

Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) boasts of having the “best climate” with the least year-round variation of temperature (68 to 77 degrees F) and some 300 totally sunny days a year.

I got all these from a book I just finished and I can't remember the title! I'll get it up here if I can find it. It was by the editors of Discover magazine.

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