Saturday, August 29, 2009

Useless Trivia!

From The Amazing Book of Useless Information

The Chinese invented eyeglasses. Marco Polo reported seeing many pairs worn by the Chinese as early as 1275, 500 years before lens grinding became an art in the West.

The windmill originated in Iran in AD 644 and was used to grind grain.

When airplanes were still a novel invention, seat belts for pilots were installed only after the consequence of their absence was observed to be fatal - several pilots fell to their deaths while flying upside down.

Kleenex tissues were originally invented to remove makeup. Maybe that's why they're still called "facial tissues."

The first commercial vacuum cleaner was so large it was mounted on a wagon.

The first VCR, made in 1956, was the size of a piano.

Alexander Graham Bell applied for the patent on the telephone three days before he got it to work. Had Bell waited until he had a working model, Elisha Gray, who filed a patent application the same day, would have been awarded the patent. But the telephone system used today is technically more like that described in Gray's patent.

The bestselling chocolate bar in Russia is Snickers.

Per capita, the Irish eat more chocolate than Americans, Swedes, Danes, French, and Italians.

Vanilla is the extract of fermented and dried pods of several species of orchids.

Carrots have the highest vitamin A content of all vegetables.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


So I went to the BMV this morning to renew my driver's license. It expires Thursday of this week.

The BMV website now has a feature where you can schedule an appointment and they get you in and out within a half hour. So I scheduled an appointment for 9am. I got there at 8:40.

Everything was going swimmingly until they actually tried to print out my driver's license. There were two printers and one was printing just fine but the other was queued up and doing nothing. I sat there for 20 minutes after she told me it would be a minute and then someone noticed me still sitting there. Apparently they cannot fix this on location but had to call the Indianapolis office to take care of it. And apparently the Indy office was too busy to get to it right then. So I waited another 20 minutes and started throwing a fit. Well, not at first. I started throwing a fit when they told me they would give me a refund and I could come back another day.

Eventually they managed to delete the job waiting in the queue and then had to retake my picture - so I now have an angry photo on my license. ARGH!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Buckwheat Zydeco

Edith and I went to the Botanical Gardens on Friday to attend the Buckwheat Zydeco concert. I had not heard of them before but Edith was very enthusiastic about going. The event was moved from the BG to the Civic parking garage due to the threat of rain, and it was a good thing because it did pour in the middle of the concert. It worked out well, though, because we went up on one of the higher levels and could look down, like being on a balcony. I got a nice shot of the crowd at the end of one of the songs. I will definitely go again! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Critter Trivia

From The Ultimate Book of Useless Information

Sharks can detect the heartbeats of other fish.

In the Caribbean there are oysters that can climb trees.

The rattlesnake has the best heat-detecting equipment in nature. Using the two organs between its eyes and nostrils it can locate a mouse by its body heat at a distance of fifteen miles.

Iguanas, koalas, and Komodo dragons all have two penises.

The tip of an elephant's trunk is so sensitive and flexible that it can pick up a pin.

Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of the blue whale.

An elephant's trunk can hold 4 gallons of water.

The world's smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, weighing less than a penny.

Armadillos and humans are the only animals that can get leprosy.

Armadillos can walk under water.

The sloth can starve to death even with a plentiful supply of food if there are too many cloudy days in a row. It needs sunshine to raise its body temperature so that the bacteria in its stomach are warm enough to digest the food it eats. It can take up to four days to digest even a single stomachful of food.

The brachiosaurus had a heart the size of a pickup truck.

Most hamsters blink one eye at a time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Alcohol Trivia

From The Amazing Book of Useless Information

The strongest that any alcohol beverage can be is 190 proof (or 95 percent alcohol). At a higher proof, the beverage draws moisture from the air and self-dilutes.

Studying the experimentally induced intoxicated behavior of ants in 1888, naturalist John Lubbock noticed that insects that had too much to drink were picked up by nest mates and carried home. Conversely, drunken stranger ants were summarily tossed in a ditch.

Alcohol consumption decreases during the time of the full moon.

One glass of milk can give person a .02 blood alcohol concentration on a Breathalyzer test, enough in some states for persons under the legal drinking age to lose their driver's license or be fined.

Unlike wines, most beers should be stored upright to minimize oxidation and metal or plastic contamination from the cap. High-alcohol ales, however, which continue to ferment in their corked bottles, should be stored on their sides.

Nine people were killed and two houses destroyed on October 17, 1814, when a brewery tank containing 3,500 barrels of beer ruptured and created a giant wave.

According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock rather than continue to their destination in Virginia due to a lack of beer.

In Bangladesh, $5 will buy a beer... or a first-class train ticket for a cross-country trip.

If a young Tiriki man offers beer to a woman and she spits some of it into his mouth, they are engaged to be married.

Among the Bagonda people of Uganda, the widows of a recently deceased king have the distinctive honor of drinking the beer in which his entrails have been cleaned.

Bourbon is the official spirit of the United States, by act of Congress.

A mixed drink with a carbonated beverage is absorbed into the body more quickly than straight shots are.

British wine is different from English wine. British wine is made from imported grapes; English wine is not.

The vintage date on a bottle of wine indicates the year the grapes were picked, not the year of bottling.

Poor soil tends to produce better wines.

The entire production of kosher wine, including cultivation of the grapes, must be performed by Sabbath-observant Jews, and it remains kosher only if opened and poured by an orthodox Jew.

Vikings used the skulls of their enemies as drinking vessels.

In Uruguay, intoxication is a legal excuse for having an accident while driving.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Food Trivia

From The Amazing Book of Useless Information

Banana plants... are actually giant herbs of the same family as lilies, orchids, and palms.

Bananas have no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.

The number of seeds in a pumpkin can be accurately determined, give or take 10 seeds, by multiplying the number of fruiting sections by 16.

Lemons have more sugar than oranges.

Grapes explode when put in the microwave.

To make haggis, the national dish of Scotland, take the heart, liver, lungs, and small intestine of a calf or sheep, boil them in the stomach of the animal, season with salt, pepper, and onions, and add suet and oatmeal.

Water is the official state beverage of Indiana.

A common drink for Tibetans is butter tea, which is made out of butter, salt, and brick tea.

Pigturducken is a pig, stuffed with a turkey, which is stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, deep fried in oil.

The largest item on any menu in the world is probably the roast camel, sometimes served at Bedouin wedding feasts. The camel is stuffed with a sheep's carcass, which is stuffed with chickens, which are stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs.

China's Beijing Duck Restaurant can seat 9,000 people at one time.

A turkey should never be carved until it has been out of the oven at least 30 minutes. This permits the inner cooking to subside and the internal meat juices to stop running. Once the meat sets, it's easier to carve clean, neat slices.

The world's deadliest mushroom is the Amanita phalloides, the death cap. The five different poisons contained by the mushroom cause diarrhea and vomiting within six to twelve hours of ingestion. This is followed by damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system - and, in the majority of cases, coma and death.

In South Africa, termites are often roasted and eaten by the handful, like pretzels or popcorn.

According to many who've tried them, beetles taste like apples, wasps like pine nuts, and worms like fried bacon.

A pound of houseflies contains more protein than a pound of beef.

Van Camp's Pork and Beans were a staple food for Union soldiers in the Civil War.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Coffee Trivia

From The Amazing Book of Useless Information

In 1727, using seedlings smuggled from Paris, coffee plants were first cultivated in Brazil.

The Arabs are generally believed to have been the first to brew coffee. The first commercially grown and harvested coffee originated in the Arabian Peninsula near the port of Mocha. Turkey began to roast and grind the coffee bean in the thirteenth century and, by the sixteenth century the country had become the chief distributor of coffee, with markets established in Egypt, Syria, Persia, and Venice. Coffee was first known in Europe as Arabian wine.

In the sixteenth century, Turkish women could divorce their husbands if the man failed to keep his family's pot filled with coffee.

Scandinavia has the world's highest per capita annual coffee consumption.

In Sumatra, workers on coffee plantations gather the world's most expensive coffee by following a gourmet marsupial who consumes only the choicest coffee beans. By picking through what he excretes, they obtain the world's most expensive coffee - Kopi Luwak, which sells for more than $100 per pound.

In the early 1900s, coffee was often delivered door-to-door in the United States, by horse-pulled wagon.

Caffeine is on the International Olympic Committee list of prohibited substances. Athletes who test positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine may be banned from the Olympic Games. This level may be reached after drinking about five cups of coffee.

A scientific report from the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds that prevent cancer and heart disease.

Large doses of coffee can be lethal. Ten grams, or 100 cups over four hours, can kill the average human.

Dandelion root can be roasted and ground as a coffee substitute.