Ten Random Facts
The custom of saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes was first used by ancients when they believed that breath was the essence of life, and when you sneeze a part of you life is escaping. Evil spirits rush into your body and occupy the empty space. By saying "God bless you" the speaker is protecting the sneezer from that spirits.
The largest known egg ever laid by a creature was that of the extinct Aepyornis of Madagascar. The egg was 9.5 inches long. It had a volume of 2.35 gallons.
“Paniolos,” Hawaiian cowboys, took their name from a mispronunciation of "españoles," or Spaniards. This was the title of Mexican cowpunchers who came to the Hawaiian islands in the 1820s.
Female blackbirds are not black, but brownish-gray.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, freight was carried by Conestoga wagons, driven by six horses, whose bridles were decorated with several dozen bells. When a wagon would break down, possibly for a broken axel, it would be up to a passerby to help the driver. As a reward for their help, the driver would give them a bell. Many times the wagons would arrive at their destinations with little or no bells left, giving rise to the saying “I'll be there with bells on,” meaning the speaker planned to arrive safely with after an uneventful journey.
In the winter of 1724, while on an outing at sea, Peter the Great of Russia caught sight of a foundering ship, jumped in the water, and helped in the rescue. He caught cold, suffered from high fever, and died several weeks later.
The numbers on opposite sides of a die always add up to 7.
Outside Death Valley in California is a 134-foot steel-and-concrete thermometer in the tiny town of Baker, population 500. The immense, $750,000 East Mojave Desert landmark, built in 1991 to boost tourism, can be seen from five miles away so tourists traveling along the interstate know exactly how hot it is in the frequent record-holding "hot spot" in the nation.
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