Monday, March 05, 2007

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. In 1457, King James II of Scotland banned football and golf because these distractions were stopping his subjects from practicing military skills such as archery.
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2. Virga is rain or snow that evaporates before hitting the ground.
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3. The Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish Nationalist organisation, first commissioned John Phillip Holland to develop submarines as a way to sink Royal Navy ships. Eventually the two parted company on issues of payment and time delays - and Holland ended up selling his prototypes to the US Navy first and then to the Royal Navy.
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4. ‘Fat Man’ - the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki - was named for Winston Churchill.
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5. Hank Williams Sr was nicknamed the ‘Hillbilly Shakespeare’ for his narrative approach to songwriting.
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6. Slave trade was the middle passage of what was then known as the “triangular trade.” Slave ships left European ports for west Africa with rum, guns, textiles and other goods to exchange for slaves, and then transported them across the Atlantic to sell to plantation-owners, and then returned with sugar and coffee.
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7. All revellers at Venice’s carnival are addressed by the same name - Sior Maschera (Mr.Mask.)
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8. An economic model, dubbed as Extinction vortex, has found that placing a species on an endangered list might cause its value to go up and speed its disappearance, thanks to the human thirst for rarity.
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9. Ben Lomond Peak, a 9,712-foot mountain that dominates the skyline in Ogden, Utah, is supposedly the inspiration for the mountain in the Paramount logo. William Wadsworth Hodkinson, the man who started Paramount and came up with the logo, originally hailed from Ogden.
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10. Steve Allen - a comedian, musician and entertainer - is credited with inventing the TV talk show. It was his show on NBC, named Tonight!, that forged the template for late-night talk shows: the set of a desk and chairs, the opening monologue, a stunt or skit, and a series of guest interviews.
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