Monday, October 02, 2006

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s largest lake (by volume) and contains 1/5th of the world’s unfrozen fresh water.
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2. The Great Flu epidemic of 1918 is popularly referred to as the Spanish Flu despite being a global outbreak. This is because it received more press attention in Spain, which wasn’t a part of the great war and therefore had no wartime censorship.
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3. The suffixes ‘chester’ or ‘cester’ in an English place name are derived from the latin word ‘castrum’ meaning ‘fortified place’ and suggest the presence of a Roman fort at the place.
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4. During World War II, nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the abandoned invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall. American military casualties of the following sixty years - including the Korean and Vietnam Wars - have not exhausted that stockpile.
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5. The phrase ‘expletive deleted’ entered the english language with the release of the Nixon tapes in connection with the Watergate scandal. To shield the public sensibilities from the foul-mouthed profanities of the President, the transcipts were littered with the phrase ‘expletive deleted.’
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6. Many traditonal languages around the world use the same word to refer to the colours blue and green.
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7. Cows have four stomachs. (Most ruminants have four, although camels and some other ruminants have three.)
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8. Earth has an asteroid named Cruithne orbitting around it.
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9. The first thing sold on eBay was a broken laser pointer by Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s founder.
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10. Zimbabwe literally means ‘House of Stone’ in the native Shona language.
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