Sunday, May 18, 2008

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. The ‘Evel’ in Evel Knievel - world famous motorcycle stuntman - was originally ‘Evil’, a nickname bestowed on him by the police in his early life. He continued using the nickname, misspelling it to soften it and to rhyme with his last name.
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2. The term ‘sniper’ was first attached to sharpshooters who could shoot the most challenging of game birds, the snipe.
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3. Soviet era training jets had limited range by design - to prevent pilots from defecting.
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4. In the 17th century, a country’s nautical reach was governed by the so-called Cannon Shot rule - giving countries control of water up to 3 miles offshore, roughly the range of the cannon in those times. That rule held until the mid-20th century - though artillery saw great advancements - largely because nations saw no advantage in claiming more.
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5. Richard Nixon was a ace poker player. In fact, most of the funding for his first congressional run came from poker winnings.
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6. Built in 1956, the Southdale Shopping Centre in Minnesota is considered the world’s first true shopping mall.
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7. The myth that it is unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match is supposed to have been propagated by Swede Ivar Krueger - who ran a pan-European monopolistic matchmaking firm between the World Wars.
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8. One - or even a few - bullets puncturing the skin of an airplane is no big deal. The cabin of the airplane is pressurized and the hole creates a small leak, but the pressurization system will compensate for it.
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9. Though officially Route 66 ended a block away, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California is symbolically viewed as its west end.
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10. Originally, football and baseball players daubed a black stripe on their cheekbones to improve contrast sensitivity. The black stripes supposedly minimised the skin’s reflectivity and cut down on glare - helping them see better, particularly when looking at the sky or bright lights.
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