Ten Random Facts
"Cook's Illustrated" conducted blind taste testings of vanillas, and the staff was surprised to find that, in baked goods, expensive, aromatic vanillas performed almost exactly the same as the cheaper brands of real vanilla. The differences virtually disappeared during cooking.
Rocky Mountain bighorn rams have a double-layer skull. This allows them to absorb the extraordinary impact of head-butting with other rams without suffering brain or head injury. The winner of a head-butting contest gains control of the bighorn herd.
The Boston Nation, a newspaper published in Ohio during the mid-nineteenth century, had pages seven and a half feet long and five and a half feet wide. It required two people to hold the paper in proper reading position.
A mother giraffe often gives birth while standing, so the newborn's first experience outside the womb is a 1.8-meter (6-foot) drop. Ouch!
Karl Marx was targeted for assassination when he met with two Prussian officers in his house in Cologne in 1848. Marx had friends among the German labor unions, and he was considered a threat to the autocrats. Dressed in his bathrobe, he forced the officers out at the point of a revolver, which, it turned out, was not loaded.
Most shark attacks are not deadly. Less than 20 percent of those attacked are killed. Contrary to popular belief, sharks don't tear their prey to pieces. After the initial attack, they tend to circle around waiting for the victim to die from blood loss. This gives time for rescue. Before you start having shark nightmares, however, remember this: More Americans are killed each year from bee-attack than from shark-attack.
Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.
Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
Kettle drums were once used as currency on the island of Aler in Indonesia.
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