Saturday, December 26, 2009

Many More Fascinating Fast Facts.

Science fast facts

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Sound travels through water 3 times faster than through air.

A square piece of dry paper cannot be folded in half more than 7 times.

Air becomes liquid at about minus 190 degrees Celsius.

Liquid air looks like water with a bluish tint.

A scientific satellite needs only 250 watts of power, the equivelant used by two hour light bulbs, to operate.

The thin line of cloud that forms behind an aircraft at high altitudes is called a contrail.

Radio waves travel so much faster than sound waves that a broadcast voice can be heard sooner 18,000 km away than in the back of the room in which it originated.

A US ton is equivalent to 900 kg (2000 pounds). A British ton is 1008 kg (2240 pounds), called a gross ton.

Industrial hemp contains less than 1% of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.

Since space is essentially empty it cannot carry sound. Therefor there is no sound in space, at least not the sort of sound that we are used to.

The Space Shuttle always rolls over after launch to alleviate structural loading, allowing the shuttle to carry more mass into orbit.

The word "biology" was coined in 1805 by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

Most of the air is about 78% nitrogen gas. Only 21% consists of oxygen. The remaining 1% consists of carbon dioxide, argon, neon, helium, krypton, hydrogen, xenon and ozone.

Argon is used to fill the space in most light bulbs. Neon is used in fluorescent signs. Fluorescent lights are filled with mercury gas.

Hydrogen gas is the least dense substance in the world.

Water expands by about 9% as it freezes.

The surface of hot water freezes faster than cold water but the rest of the water will remain liquid longer than in a cold sample.

The smallest transistor is 50-nanometres wide - roughly 1/2000 the width of a human hair.

A compass does not point to the geographical North or South Pole, but to the magnetic poles.

The double-helix structure of DNA was discovered in 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick. The length of a single human DNA molecule, when extended, is 1.7 metres (5 ft 5 in).

In a desert, a mirage is caused when air near the ground is hotter than air higher up. As light from the sun passes from cooler to warmer air, it speeds up and is refracted upward, creating the image of water.

The typical bolt of lightning heats the atmosphere to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

An electric oven uses one kilowatt-hour of electricity in about 20 minutes, but one kilowatt-hour will power a TV for 3 hours, run a 100-watt bulb for 12 hours, and keep an electric clock ticking for 3 months.

In the 6th century BC Greek mathematician Pythagoras said that earth is round - but few agreed with him.
Greek astronomer Aristarchos said in the 3rd century BC that earth revolves around the sun - but the idea was not accepted.
In the 2nd century BC Greek astronomer Erastosthenes accurately measured the distance around the earth at about 40,000 km (24,860 miles) - but nobody believed him.
In the 2nd century AD Greek astronomer Ptolemy stated that earth was the centre of the universe - most people believed him for the next 1,400 years.

Technology fast facts

160 billion emails are sent daily, 97% of them are spam.

Spam generates 33bn KWt-hours of energy every year, enough to power 2.4 million homes, producing 17 million tons of CO2.

9 out of every 1,000 computers are invected with spam.

Spammer get 1 response to every 12 million emails they send (yet it still makes them a small profit).

A twillionaire is a twitterer with a million or more followers.

There are some 1 billion computers in use.

There are some 2 billion TV sets in use.

There are more than 4 billion cell phones in use. About 3 million cell phones are sold every day.

The first known cell phone virus, Cabir.A, appeared in 2004.

Since 2008, video games have outsold movie DVDs.

About 1.8 billion people connect to the internet, 450 million of them speak English. See list of internet languages.

Google indexed it's 1 trillionth unique URL on July 25, 2008. That is thought to be about 20% of all the pages on the Internet but a high percentage of the World Wide Web (the public Internet).

One google search produces about 0.2g of CO2. But since you hardly get an answer from one search, a typical search sension produces about the same amount of CO2 as does boiling a kettle.

Google handles about 1 billion search queries per day, releasing some 200 tons of CO2 per day.

The average US household uses 10.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) electricity per year.

Google uses an estimated 15 billion kWh of electricity per year, more than most countries. However, google generates a lot of their own power with their solar panels.

The first public cell phone call was made on April 3, 1973 by Martin Cooper.

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first cell phone sold in the US; launched on April 11, 1984, it was designed by Rudy Krolopp and weighed 2 pounds.

About 20% of the videos on YouTube is music related.

10 hours of video viewing is uploaded every minute on YouTube.

People view 15 billion videos online every month.

On average, US onliners view 100 videos per month each.

Flickr hosts some 3 billion photographs, FaceBook hosts more than 10 billion.

1 Bit = Binary Digit
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte
1000 Petabytes = 1 Exabyte
1000 Exabytes = 1 Zettabyte
1000 Zettabytes = 1 Yottabyte
1000 Yottabytes = 1 Brontobyte
1000 Brontobytes = 1 Geopbyte
Technically speaking, the sum is 1024 bytes.

Earth and the universe

The order of the planets, starting closest to the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

The one place where a flag flies all day, never goes up or comes down, and does not get saluted, is the moon.

Earth is not round; it is slightly pear-shaped. The North Pole radius is 44mm longer than the South Pole radius.

A green diamond is the rarest diamond.

The ozone layer averages about 3 millimeters (1/8 inch) thick.

The crawler, the machine that takes the Space Shuttle to the launching pad moves at 3km/h (2 mph).

Summer on Uranus lasts for 21 years - but so does winter.

The Sahara desert expands at about 1km per month.

Oceanography, the study of oceans, is a mixture of biology, physics, geology and chemistry.

More than 70% of earth's dryland is affected by desertification.

The US has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialised world, with more than 2 million fires reported each year.

The sun is 330,330 times larger than the earth.

The largest iceberg ever recorded was 335km (208 miles) long and 97km (60 miles) wide.

Luke Howard used Latin words to categorize clouds in 1803.

Hurricanes, tornadoes and bigger bodies of water always go clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. This directional spinning has to do with the rotation of the earth and is called the Coriolis force.

Winds that blow toward the equator curve west.

Organist William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 with the first reflecting telescope that he built. He named it Georgium Sidium in honour of King George III of England but in 1850 it was renamed Uranus in accordance with the tradition of naming planets for Roman gods.

Planets, meaning wanderers, are named after Roman deities: Mercury, messenger of the gods; Venus, the god of love and beauty; Mars, the god of war; Jupiter, king of the gods; and Saturn, father of Jupiter and god of agriculture; Neptune, god of the sea.

During a total solar eclipse the temperature can drop by 6 degrees Celsius (about 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

The tallest waterfalls in the world are Angel Falls in Venezuela. At 979 m (3,212 ft), they are 19 times taller than the Niagara Falls, or 3 times taller than the Empire State Building.

Although the Angel Falls are much taller than the Niagara Falls, the latter are much wider, and they both pour about the same amount of water over their edges - about 2,8 billion litres (748 million gallons) per second.

There are 1040 islands around Britain, one of which is the smallest island in the world: Bishop's Rock.

All the planets in the solar system rotate anticlockwise, except Venus. It is the only planet that rotates clockwise.

Earth is the densest planet in the solar system and the only one not named after a god.

Earth orbits the sun at an average speed of 29.79 km/s (18.51 miles/sec), or about 107 000 km/h (about 67,000 miles/hour).

One year on earth is 365.26 days long. One day is 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds long. The extra day in a leap year was introduced to compensate for the discrepancy in the Georgian calendar.

Plates carrying the continents migrate over the earth's surface a few centimetres (inches) per year, about the same speed that a fingernail grows.

On average, 13,000 earthquakes are located each year.

The magnetic north pole is near Ellef Ringes Island in northern Canada.

The magnetic south pole was discovered off the coast of Wilkes Land in Antarctica.

There is zero gravity at the centre of earth.

The deepest mine in the world is Western Deep Levels near Charletonville, South Africa. It is 4,2km (2.6 miles) deep.

The deepest point in the sea: the Mariana Trench off Guam in the Pacific Ocean; it is 10,9 km (6.77 miles) below sea level.

The tallest mountain on earth is under the ocean: Mauna Kea in Hawaii is 10,200 metres (33,465 ft) high. Mount Everest is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) high.

Earth is slowing down - in a few million years there won't be a leap year.

The tail of the Great Comet of 1843 was 330 million km long. (It will return in 2356.)

There are more than 326 million trillion gallons of water on Earth.

About 500 small meteorites fall to earth every year but most fall in the sea and in unpopulated areas.

There is no record of a person being killed by a meteorite but animals are occasionally hit.

The Dead Sea is 365 m (1,200 ft) below sea level.

A storm officially becomes a hurricane when cyclone winds reach 119 km/h (74 mph).

Statistics fast facts

In 1750 there were about 800 million people in the world. In 1850 there were a billion more, and by 1950, another billion. Then it took just 50 years to double to 6 billion.

Half the world's population earns about 5% of the world's wealth.

There are more than 600 million telephone lines, yet almost half the world's population has never made a phone call on a land line. However, more than half the world's population has made a cell phone call. There are more than 2 billion cell phones in use.

More personal telephone calls are made on Mother's Day in the USA than on any other day in any other country.

Most reverse charge calls takes place on Father's Day.

One in ten people in the world live on an island.

The opposite sides of a dice cube always add up to seven.

If you count the seconds without stopping, it would take you eleven-and-a-half days to reach one million, and 32 years to reach one billion.

In the US, murder is committed most frequently in August and least frequently in February.

In 1870 there were more Irish living in London than in Dublin.

In 1870 there also were more Catholics living in London than in Rome.

The chance of being born on Leap Day is about 684 out of a million, or 1 in 1461. Less than 5 million people have their birthday on Leap Day.

The odds of being struck by lightning are about 600,000 to one.

About 27% of food in developed countries are wasted each year. It's simply thrown away.

Almost 1,2 billion people are underfed - the same number of people that are overweight to the point of obesity.

The world average of egg consumption per capita is 230.

In the US, about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations.

Half the world's population is under 25 years of age. 10% are over 60 years of age.

On average in the West, people move house every 7 years.

US Post Office handles 43% of the world's mail. Its nearest competitor is Japan with 6%.

In the developed countries, the proportion of adults married has declined from 72% in 1970 to 60% in 1996. The chance of a first marriage ending in divorce is between 50% and 67%. The chance that a second marriage will end in divorce is about 10% higher than for the first marriage.

The world's average school year is 200 days per year. In the US, it is 180 days; in Sweden 170 days, in Japan it is 243 days.

Since 1972, some 64 million tons of aluminum cans (about 3 trillion cans) have been produced. Placed end-to-end, they could stretch to the moon about a thousand times. Cans represent less than 1% of solid waste material.

More than a billion transistors are manufactured... every second.

92% of Chinese belong to the Han nationality, which has been China's largest nationality for centuries. The rest of the nation consists of about 55 minority groups.

According to the US Census Bureau, 19% of US children live in poverty.

In 1998, American people, foundations and corporations gave more than $175 billion to charities and churches. Churches received 40% of the contributions, while public charities and educational organizations received the remainder.

According to the US Weather Service, their one day forecasts are accurate more than 75% of the time. They send out 2 million forecasts a year.

There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia, a nation of 17 million people.

New Zealand is home to 4 million people and 70 million sheep.

Inventions and inventors

In 1894, Lord Kelvin predicted that radio had no future; he also predicted that heavier-than-air flying machines were impossible.

The word "sneaker" was coined by Henry McKinney, an advertising agent for N.W. Ayer & Son.

Charles Macintosh invented the waterproof coat, the Mackintosh, in 1823.

Air-filled tyres were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.

The paperclip was invented by Norwegian Johann Vaaler.

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Optical fibre was invented in 1966 by two British scientists called Charles Kao and George Hockham working for the British company Standard Telecommunication.

Joseph Niepce developed the world's first photographic image in 1827.

The videophone was invented by Bell Laboratories in 1927.

The very first projection of an image on a screen was made by a German priest. In 1646, Athanasius Kircher used a candle or oil lamp to project hand-painted images onto a white screen. Modern projectors emit more than a thousand Lumens! Choose from the list of LCD projector bulbs available here at very reasonable prices!

The first neon sign was made in 1923 for a Packard dealership.

The first vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria around 215 BC. When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of water.

The can opener was invented 48 years after cans were introduced.

The hair perm was invented in 1906 by Karl Ludwig Nessler of Germany.

Leonardo da Vinci never built the inventions he designed.

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

The Monopoly game was invented by Charles Darrow in 1933. He sold the rights to George Parker in 1935, then aged 58. Parker invented more than 100 games, including Pit, Rook, Flinch, Risk and Clue.

One hour before Alexander Graham Bell registered his patent for the telephone in 1876, Elisha Gray patented his design. After years of litigation, the patent went to Bell.

Thomas Edison filed 1,093 patents, including those for the light bulb, electric railways and the movie camera. When he died in 1931, he held 34 patents for the telephone, 141 for batteries, 150 for the telegraph and 389 patents for electric light and power.

The first fax process was patented in 1843.

Count Alessandro Volta invented the first battery in the 18th century.

During the 1860s, George Leclanche developed the dry-cell battery, the basis for modern batteries.

In 1894 Thomas Edison and W K L Dickson introduced the first film camera.

In 1895 French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere demonstrated a projector system in Paris. In 1907 they screened the first public movie.

The first electronic mail, or "email", was sent in 1972 by Ray Tomlinson. It was also his idea to use the @ sign to separate the name of the user from the name of the computer.

Queen Elizabeth of Britain sent her first email in 1976.

In 1889, Kansas undertaker Almon B. Strowger wanted to prevent telephone operators from advising his rivals of the death of local citizens. So he invented the automatic exchange.

Famous people fast facts

In the West the most popular male names are James and John. The most popular female name is Mary.

The name Wendy was first used in JM Barrie's Peter Pan.

There are about 5,000 prince and princesses in each Saudi Arabian royal.

Lady Peseshet of Ancient Egypt (2600-2100 BC) is the world's first known female physician.

The 16th century Escorial palace of King Phillip II of Spain had 1,200 doors.

Adriaan van der Donck was the first and only lawyer in New York City in 1653.

A Duke is the highest rank you can achieve without being a king or a prince.

The British royal family changed their surname (last name) from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, the name of their castle, in 1917.

Before writing 007 novels, Ian Fleming studied languages at Munich and Geneva universities, worked with Reuters in Moscow, and then became a banker and stockbroker.

Julius Caesar was known as a great swimmer.

There are more than 600 million telephone lines today, yet almost half the world's population has never made a phone call.

When Alexander Graham Bell passed away in 1922, every telephone served by the Bell system in the USA and Canada was silent for one minute.

The people killed most often during bank robberies are the robbers.

Orville Wright numbered the eggs that his chickens produced so he could eat them in the order they were laid.

On New Year's Day, 1907, Theodore Roosevelt shook hands with 8,513 people.

The oldest person on record is Methuselah (969 years old).

An exocannibal eats only enemies. An indocannibal eats only friends.

Alexander Graham Bell never phoned his wife or mother because they were deaf.

Burt Reynold's father was the chief of police in West Palm Beach, Florida.

On 5th October 1974, four years, three months and sixteen days after Dave Kunste set out from Minnesota, he became the first man to walk around the world, having taken more than 20 million steps.

English sailors came to be called Limeys after using lime juice to combat scurvy.

English soldiers were called Tommies because the example name on the soldier forms was Thomas Atkins. (The example name on US forms is John Smith.)

The word "Machiavellian" is named after Niccolo Machiavelli, who was friends with Leonardo da Vinci.

The US has the highest documented per capita rate of imprisonment of any country in the world. About 2% of white males, 4% of Hispanic males and 10% of black males are incarcerated. There are more black males in prison than in colleges in the US.

Queen Isabella of Castile, who dispatched Christopher Columbus to find the Americas, boasted that she had only two baths in her life - at her birth and before she got married.

Leonardo da Vinci could write with the one hand and draw with the other simultaneously.

Until he was 18, Woody Allen read virtually nothing but comic books but did show his writing skills. He sold one-liners for ten cents each to gossip columnists.

In the 18th century Dr Monsey of Chelsea, England tied a piece of catgut around a patient's tooth, threaded the other through a hole drilled in a bullet, loaded the bullet into his revolver and pulled the trigger.

Thomas Jefferson wrote his own epitaph without mentioning that he was US President.

Winston Churchill was a stutterer. As a child, one of his teachers warned, "Because of his stuttering he should be discouraged from following in his father's political footsteps."

The 17th-century French Cardinal Mazarin never traveled without his personal chocolate-maker.

King Louis XIV of France established in his court the position of "Royal Chocolate Maker to the King."

Napoleon reportedly carried chocolate on all his military campaigns.

The word "electric" was first used in 1600 by William Gilbert, a doctor to Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1973, Swedish confectionery salesman Roland Ohisson was buried in a coffin made entirely of chocolate.

There are four types of marriages: monogamy, polygyny (polygymy), polyandry, and group marriage. Monogamy is one wife, one husband. Polygyny is one husband, several wives. Polyandry is one wife, several husbands. Group marriage is by far the rarest and has never been the prevailing form of marriage in any known society.

Animal fast facts

Is a world population of 6 billion too many? Compare that with animals. There are more than a million animal species. There are 6,000 species of reptiles, 73,000 kinds of spiders, and 3,000 types of lice. For each person there is about 200 million insects. The 4,600 kinds of mammals represent a mere 0,3% of animals and the 9000 kinds of birds only 0,7%. The most numerous bird species is the red-billed quelea of southern Africa. There are an estimated 100 trillion of them.

Mammals are the only animals with flaps around the ears.

African elephants only have four teeth to chew their food with.

There are about one billion cattle in the world of which 200 million are in India.

A house fly lives only 14 days.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

The Big Five is a group of animals of Africa: cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino. The term "Big Five" was coined by hunters who referred to the difficulty in hunting these wild animals because of their ferocity when cornered.

The oldest breed of dog is the Saluki.

The bee hummingbird of Cuba is the smallest bird in the world.

An ostrich can run up to 43mph (70 km/h).

An annoyed camel will spit at a person.

The world's smallest dog is the Chihuahua, which means "tiny dog in the sky."

Pea crabs (the size of a pea) are the smallest crabs in the world.

75% of wild birds die before they are 6 months old.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal but are mentioned only twice in the Bible

Sheep are mentioned 45 times and goats 88 times in the Bible. Dogs are mentioned 14 times and lions 89 times, but domestic cats are not mentioned.

Pork is the world's most widely-eaten meat.

In Denmark there are twice as many pigs as people.

Dinosaurs did not eat grass: there weren't any at that time.

The coyote is a member of the dog family and its scientific name, "canis latrans" means barking dog.

A giraffe can clean its ears with its 50cm (20 in) tongue.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle - a group of geese in the air is a skein. More animal collective nouns

The South American giant anteater eats more than 30,000 ants a day.

It is impossible to out-swim a shark - sharks reach speeds of 44 mph (70 km/h). Humans can run about 21 mph (35 km/h).

The sailfish is the fastest swimmer, reaching 68 mph (109 km/h), although a black marlin has been clocked at 80 mph (128 km/h).

The slowest fish is the Sea Horse, which moves along at about 0.01 mph (0.016 km/h).

Dolphins can reach 37 mph (60 km/h).

Of the 650 types of leeches, only the Hirudo medicinalis is used for medical treatments.

The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car.

The tongue of a blue whale is as long as an elephant.

A blue whale weighs as much as 40 rhinos.

The scales of a crocodile are made of ceratin, the same substance that hooves and fingernails are made of.

A crocodile's tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth and cannot move it.

A snail has two pairs of tentacles on its head. One pair is longer than the other and houses the eyes. The shorter pair is used for smelling and feeling its way around.

The heaviest crustacean ever found was a lobster weighing 42 lb (19 kg), caught in 1934.

The largest jellyfish ever caught measured 7'6" (2,3 m) across the bell with a tentacle of 120 ft (36 m) long.

The largest giant squid ever recorded was captured in the North Atlantic in 1878. It weighed 4 tons. Its tentacles measured 10 m (35 ft) long.

The giant squid has the biggest eyes of any animal: its eyes measure 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter.

Domestic cats purr at about 26 cycles per second, the same frequency as an idling diesel engine.

Sharks are immune to all known diseases.

Sharks and rays also share the same kind of skin: instead of scales, they have small tooth-like spikes called denticles. The spikes are so sharp that shark skin has long been used as sandpaper.

Animals also are either right-handed or left-handed. Polar bears are left-handed - and so is Kermit the Frog.

There are 701 types of pure breed dogs.

There are about 54 million dogs in the US, and Paris is said to have more dogs than people.

Some bird species, usually flightless birds, have only a lower eyelid, whereas pigeons use upper and lower lids to blink.

Fish and insects do not have eyelids - their eyes are protected by a hardened lens.

Flatfish (halibut, flounder, turbot, and sole) hatch like any other "normal" fish. As they grow, they turn sideways and one eye moves around so they have two eyes on the side that faces up.

Measured in straight flight, the spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird. It flies 106 mph (170 km/h). Second fastest is the Frigate, which reaches 94 mph (150 km/h).

Millions of trees are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and then forget where they hid them.

There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia, a nation of 17 million people.

New Zealand is home to 4 million people and 70 million sheep.

Also see A-Z of animals

Arts and literature fast facts

In 1961, Matisse's Le Bateau (The Boat) hung upside-down for 2 months in the Museum of Modern Art, New York - none of the 116,000 visitors had noticed.

Picasso could draw before he could walk and his first word was the Spanish word for pencil.

Sumerians invented writing in the 4th century BC.

The first book published is thought to be the Epic of Gilgamesh, written at about 3000 BC in cuneiform, an alphabet based on symbols.

The first history book, the Great Universal History, was published by Rashid-Eddin of Persia in 1311.

The first novel, called The story of Genji, was written in 1007 by Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu.

William Shakespeare wrote his first play The Taming of the Shrew in 1593.

The German PJ Reuter started a foreign news agency in 1858. Today Reuters is one of the biggest news agencies in the world.

The oldest surviving daily newspaper is the Wiener Zeitung of Austria. It was first printed in 1703.

The Bible still is the world's best selling book.

In 1097, Trotula, a midwife of Salerno, wrote The Diseases of Women - it was used in medical schools for 600 years.

The world's longest nonfiction work is The Yongle Dadian, a 10,000-volume encyclopaedia produced by 5,000 scholars during the Ming Dynasty in China 500 years ago.

Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote Meteorologica in 350 BC - it remained the standard textbook on weather for 2,000 years.

The first illustrated book for children was published in Germany in 1658.

Barbara Cartland completed a novel every two weeks, publishing 723 novels.

The word "novel" originally derived from the Latin novus, meaning "new."

A 18th century London literary club was called Kit-Cat Club.

Ian Fleming's James Bond debuted in the novel "Casino Royale" in 1952.

Johannes Gutenberg is often credited as the inventor of the printing press in 1454. However, the Chinese actually printed from movable type in 1040 but later discarding the method.

The Statue of Liberty is the largest hammered copper statue in the world.

The largest statue in the world is Mount Rushmore, the heads of four US Presidents carved into the Black Hills near Keystone. The heads are 18 m (60 ft) tall.

The largest horse statue in the world, the Zizkov Monument in Prague, stands 9 metres (30 ft) tall.

It is said that if a statue of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, like the Zizkov Monument, the person died of natural causes.

The words "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" were penned in the 17th century by English philospher John Locke.

To save costs, the body of Shakespeare's friend and fellow dramatist, Ben Jonson, was buried standing up in Westminister Abbey, London in 1637.

The first novel sold through a vending machine - at the Paris Metro - was Murder on the Orient Express.

Jean-Dominique Bauby, a French journalist suffering from "locked-in" syndrome, wrote the book "The Driving Bell and the Butterfly" by blinking his left eyelid - the only part of his body that could move.

When Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1912, 6 replicas were sold as the original, each at a huge price, in the 3 years before the original was recovered.

When Auguste Rodin exhibited his first important work, The Bronze Period, in 1878 it was so realistic that people thought he had sacrificed a live model inside the cast.

Rodin died of frostbite in 1917 when the French government refused him financial aid for a flat, yet they kept his statues warmly housed in museums.

Vincent van Gogh, the world's most valued painter, sold only painting in his entire life - to his brother who owned an art gallery. The painting is titled "Red Vineyard at Arles."

Ernest Vincent Wright's 1939 novel Gadsby has 50,110 words, none of which contains the letter "e." See below

In 1816, Frenchman J.R. Ronden tried to stage a play that did not contain the letter "a." The Paris audience was offended, rioted and did not allow the play to finish.

The shortest stage play is Samuel Beckett's "Breath" - 35 seconds of screams and heavy breathing.

There are more than ten billion web pages on the internet.

The world's libraries store more than a 100 million original volumes.

The largest web bookshop,, stores almost 3 million books.

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, stores 18 million books on approximately 850 km (530 miles) of bookshelves. The collections include 119 million items, 2 million recordings, 12 million photographs, 4 million maps and 53 million manuscripts.

2 billion people still cannot read.

The problem of missing teeth was first discussed at length in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard in his book The Surgeon Dentist.

The first colour photograph was made in 1861 by James Maxwell. He photographed a tartan ribbon.

The first English dictionary was written by Samuel Johnson in 1755.

Noah Webster, who wrote the Webster Dictionary, was known as a short, pale, smug, boastful, humourless, yet religious man.

The first Oxford English Dictionary was published in April 1928, 50 years after it was started. It consisted of 400,000 words and phrases in 10 volumes. The latest edition fills 22,000 pages, includes 33,000 Shakespeare quotations, and is bound in 20 volumes. All of which is available on a single CD.

When Jonathan Swift published 'Gulliver's Travels' in 1726, he intended it as a satire on the ferociousness of human nature. Today it is enjoyed as a children's story.

Don't believe that a novel could be without any e's? Here's an excerpt from page one of Wright's Gadsby:
"If youth, throughout all history, had a champion to stand up for it; to show a doubting world that a child can think; and, possibly, do it practically; you wouldn't constantly run across folks today who claim that "a child don't know anything." A child's brain starts functioning at birth; and has, amongst its many infant convolutions, thousands of dormant atoms, into which God has put a mystic possibility for noticing an adults act, and figuring out its purport."
- Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright. Published 1939

Fast facts about your body

Hiccups happen when the diaphragm, the muscle that controls our breathing, becomes irritated and start to spasm and contract uncontrollably. With each contraction, air is pulled into the lungs very quickly, passes through the voice box, and then the epiglottis closes behind the rush of air, shaking the vocal chords, causing the "hic" sound. The irritation can be caused by rapid eating, emotional stress and even some diseases. The best cure? Breathing into a paper bag. This calms the diaphragm by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream.

The length from your wrist to your elbow is the same as the length of your foot.

Your heart beats 101,000 times a day. During your lifetime it will beat about 3 billion times and pump about 400 million litres (800 million pints) of blood.

It is impossible to lick your elbow. Well, for most people... but a few can.

Your mouth produces 1 litre (1.8 pints) of saliva a day.

On average, people can hold their breath for about one minute. The world record is 21 minutes 29 seconds, byDavid Merlini.

The human head contains 22 bones. More on the head and brains

On average, you breathe 23,000 times a day.

Breathing generates about 0.6g of CO2 every minute.

On average, you speak almost 5,000 words a day - although almost 80% of speaking is self-talk (talking to yourself).

Einstein's brain was of average size (1375 grams - 49oz).

Over the last 150 years the average height of people in industrialised nations increased by 10 cm (4 in).

In the 19th century, American men were the tallest in the world, averaging 1,71m (5'6"). Today, the average height for American men is 1,75m (5'7"), compared to 1,77m (5'8") for Swedes, and 1,78m (5'8.5") for the Dutch.

The tallest nation in the world is the Watusis of Burundi.

If the amount of water in your body is reduced by just 1%, you'll feel thirsty.

It is impossible to sneeze and keep one's eyes open at the same time.

55% of people yawn within 5 minutes of seeing someone else yawn.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, suggested that a woman could enlarge her bust line by singing loudly and often.

A person can live without food for about a month, but only about a week without water.

You'll drink about 75,000 litres (20,000 gallons) of water in your lifetime.

After a certain period of growth, hair becomes dormant. That means that it is attached to the hair follicle until replaced by new hair.

Hair on the head grows for between two and six years before being replaced. In the case of baldness, the dormant hair was not replaced with new hair.

Men loose about 40 hairs a day. Women loose about 70 hairs a day.

In the Middle Ages the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow was called an ell.

A person remains conscious for eight seconds after being decapitated.

The first human sex change took place in 1950 when Danish doctor Christian Hamburger operated on New Yorker George Jargensen, who became Christine Jargensen.

The muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body. It allows you to blink 5 times a second. On average, you blink 15 000 times a day. Women blink twice as much as men.

A typical athlete's heart churns out 25 to 30 litres (up to 8 gallons) of blood per minute.

We have four basic tastes. The salt and sweet taste buds are at the tip of the tongue, bitter at the base, and sour along the sides.

Unless food is mixed with saliva you cannot taste it.

The liver is the largest of the body's internal organs. The skin is the body's largest organ.

Not all our taste buds are on our tongue; about 10% are on the palette and the cheeks.

On average a hiccup lasts 5 minutes.

Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.

Your middle fingernail grows the fastest.

It takes about 3 months for the transplanted hair to start growing again.

About 13% of people are left-handed. Up from 11% in the past.

In 1900, a person could expect to live to be 47. Today, the average life expectancy for men and women in developed countries is longer than 70 years.

A newborn baby's head accounts for one-quarter of its weight.

King Henry I, who ruled in the England in the 12th century, standardised the yard as the distance from the thumb of his outstretched arm to his nose.

The bones in your body are not white - they range in colour from beige to light brown. The bones you see in museums are white because they have been boiled and cleaned.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth.

Every person has a unique tongue print.

If all your DNA is stretched out, it would reach to the moon 6,000 times.

Approximately two-thirds of a person's body weight is water. Blood is 92% water. The brain is 75% water and muscles are 75% water.

The coloured part of the eye is called the iris. Behind the iris is the soft, rubbery lens which focuses the light on to a layer, called the retina, in the back of the eye. The retina contains about 125 million rods and 7 million cones. The rods pick up shades of grey and help us see in dim light. The cones work best in bright light to pick up colours.

We actually do not see with our eyes - we see with our brains. The eyes basically are the cameras of the brain. One-quarter of the brain is used to control the eyes.

History fast facts

The 16th century Escorial palace of King Phillip II of Spain had 1,200 doors.

The world's first travel agencies were Cox & Kings, founded in 1758, and Thomas Cook, founded in 1850.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Beer was the first trademarked product - British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.

Playing-cards were known in Persia and India as far back as the 12th century. A pack then consisted of 48 instead of 52 cards.

Excavations from Egyptian tombs dating to 5,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptian kids played with toy hedgehogs.

Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.

Julius Caesar was the first to encode communications, using what has become known as the Caesar Cipher.

The first mention of soap was on Sumerian clay tablets dating about 2,500 BC. The soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.

The first animal in space was the female Samoyed husky named Laika, launched by the Soviets in 1957.

In 1958 the US sent two mice called Laska and Benjy into space.

In 1961 the US launched a male chimpanzee called Ham into space.

In 1963 the French launched a cat called Feliette into space.

Great Britain was the first county to issue postage stamps, on 1 May 1840. Hence, UK stamps are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin.

Napoleon's christening name was Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte. He was born on the island of Corsica one year after it became French property. As a boy, Napoleon hated the French.

John Rolfe married Pocahontas the Red Indian Princess in 1613.

Only one of the Seven Wonders of the World still survives: the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The first parachute jump from an airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912.

On 21 June 1913, over Los Angeles, Georgia Broadwick became the first women to parachute from an airplane.

The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, was made in 565AD.

The world's first skyscraper was the 10-storey Home Insurance office, built in Chicago in 1885. (During Roman times buildings were up to 8 storeys high.)

In ancient times, it was believed that certain colours could combat the evil spirits that lingered over nurseries. Because blue was associated with the heavenly spirits, boys were clothed in that colour, boys then being considered the most valuable resource to parents. Although baby girls did not have a colour associated with them, they were mostly clothed in black. It was only in the Middle Ages when pink became associated with baby girls.

Food fast facts

Milk chocolate was invented by Daniel Peter, who sold the concept to his neighbour Henri Nestlé.

An ounce of chocolate contains about 20 mg of caffeine.

Forks, mostly being two-tined, used to known as "split spoons."

TIP is the acronym for "To Insure Promptness."

The world's oldest existing eateries are the Stiftskeller St. Peter in Salzburg, Austria - which was started as a monestary and had a tavern for travellers by 803 AD - and an eatery which opened in Kai-Feng, China in 1153.

Coffee is the seed of a cherry from the tree genus Coffea

Melba toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).

Three quarters of fish caught are eaten - the rest is used to make things such as glue, soap, margarine and fertilizer.

The world's most expensive jam (jelly) is Confiture de groselles. It is a redcurrant jam (jelly) from a 14th century recipe made in the tiny French town of Bar-Le-Duc.

In September 1999 Dustin Philips of the US set a Guinness World Record by drinking a 400 ml (14-oz) bottle of tomato sauce through a straw in 33 seconds.

To make one kilo of honey bees have to visit 4 million flowers, traveling a distance equal to 4 times around the earth.

Botanically speaking, the banana is a herb and the tomato is a fruit.

Bananas are the world's most popular fruit after tomatoes. In western countries, they could account for 3% of a grocer's total sales.

Bananas consistently are the number one compliant of grocery shoppers. Most people complain when bananas are overripe or even freckled. The fact is that spotted bananas are sweeter, with a sugar content of more than 20%, compared with 3% in a green banana.

Approximately 44 million tons of bananas are produced annually, compared to more than 60 million tomatoes. Apples are the third most popular (36 million tons), then oranges (34 million tons) and watermelons (22 million tons).

The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means "wolf peach."

There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes.

The can opener was invented 48 years after cans were introduced.

Over the last 40 years food production actually increased faster than population.

The number of people who starved to death in the last 25 years of the 20th century is less than the number who starved to death in the last 25 years of the 19th century.

In the Middle Ages, sugar was a treasured luxury costing 9 times as much as milk.

Of the more than $50 billion worth of diet products sold every year, almost $20 billion are spent on imitation fats and sugar substitutes.

Over 90% of all fish caught are caught in the northern hemisphere.

In 1994, Chicago artist Dwight Kalb sent David Letterman a statue of Madonna, made of 180lb of ham.

Wine is sold in tinted bottles because wine spoils when exposed to light.

Approximately one billion snails are served in restaurants annually.

Vitamin A is known to prevent "night blindness," and carrots are loaded with Vitamin A. One carrot provides more than 200% of recommended daily intake of Vitamin A.

Carrots have zero fat content.

Maria Ann Smith introduced the Granny Smith apple in 1838.

Tea is said to have been discovered in 2737 BC by a Chinese emperor when some tea leaves accidentally blew into a pot of boiling water.

The first European to encounter tea was the Portuguese Jesuit Jasper de Cruz in 1560.

Ice tea was introduced in 1904 at the World's Fair in St. Louis.

The tea bag was introduced in 1908 by Thomas Sullivan of New York.

In the 1950's some 80% of chickens in Europe and the US were free-ranging. By 1980, it was only 1%. Today, about 13% of chickens in the West are free-ranging.

An onion, apple and potato all have the same taste. The differences in flavour are caused by their smell.

Americans eat twice as much meat as Europeans, gobbling up some 50kg (110 lb) per capita.

Meat production causes 1/5 of global greenhouse gasses.

The tall chef's hat is called a toque.

The term "soda water" was coined in 1798.

The soda fountain was patented by Samuel Fahnestock in 1819, with the first bottled soda water available in 1835.

The first ice-cream soda was sold in 1874 in the US.

The first cola-flavoured beverage was introduced in 1881.

Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886.

Pepsi-Cola was invented by Caleb Bradham in 1890 as "Brad's Drink" as a digestive aid and energy booster. In was renamed as Pepsi-Cola in 1898.

In 1929, the Howdy Company introduced its "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Sodas," which became 7 Up. 7 Up was invented by Charles Leiper Grigg.

The first diet soft drink, called the "No-Cal Beverage" was launched in 1952.

Aluminum cans were introduced in 1957 and two years later the first diet cola was sold.

The pull-ring tab was invented in 1962 and the re-sealable top in 1965.

Annually, France exports some 140 million bottles of champagne but keep 180 million bottles for local consumption.

Plastic bottles were first used for soft drinks in 1970.

The Polyethylene Terephthalate bottle was introduced in 1973.

The stay-on tab was invented in 1974.

China uses 45 billion chopsticks per year. 25 million trees are chopped down to make 'em sticks.

Chocolate is the number one foodstuff flavour in the world, beating vanilla and banana by 3-to-1.

Watermelons are 97% water, lettuce 97%, tomatoes 95%, carrots 90%, and bread 30%.

Movie and TV fast facts

Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television in 1926 in Soho, London. Ten years later there were only 100 TV sets in the world.

Today there are more than 1,5 billion TV sets in use.

China has the most TV sets (300 million).

US citizens watch the most TV. By age 65, an American would have watched the equivalent of 9 years uninterrupted screening, viewing more than 20,000 TV commercials per year.

In the US there are more TV sets than telephones.

The first TV interview was made with Irish actress Peggy O'Neil in April 1930.

The first daily broadcast was started by the BBC in November 1936.

The first TV commercial was a 20-second ad for a Bulova clock, broadcasted by WNBT, New York during a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies in July 1941. Bulova paid $9 for that first TV spot. Bulova also was the first watch in space.

>> Find out more interesting facts about San Diego movie production studio and the twist and turns of making movies!

About 200,000 videos are uploaded to YouTube every day.

It will take a person more than 400 years to watch all the videos on YouTube.

The first regular TV soap was DuMont TV's A Woman to Remember, which began its run in February 1947.

The first televised sporting event was a Japanese elementary school baseball game, broadcast in September 1931.

The world's first TV news helicopter was introduced by KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles on 4 July 1958.

In "Father of the Bride", Annie and Bryan marry on January 6. But in the opening montage of "Father of the Bride 2" there is a framed invitation of their wedding which states that they were married on October 9.

Towards the end of the Forrest Gump, Forrest narrates that his wife died on a Saturday. When he is at her grave in the next scene, the tomb stone shows her passing on March 22, 1982, which is a Monday. Also see On which day of the week were you born?

STAR TREK's Captain James T. Kirk's middle name is Tiberius.

In Terminator 2 - Judgement Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger received a salary of $15 million; the 700 words he spoke translates to $21,429 per word. "Hasta la vista, baby" thus cost $85,716.

The largest movie theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall in New York, opened in 1932 - it seats almost 6,000 people.

The longest movie in the world according to Guiness World Records is The Cure for Insomnia, directed by John Henry Timmis IV. Released in 1987, the running time is 5220 minutes (87 hours).

The first film animation was "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces" made in 1906 by American J. Stuart Blacton.

In 1919, 18-year-old Walt Disney teamed up with Ub Iwerks, to produce a series of cartoons entitled "Alice in Cartoonland."

The Walt Disney company was founded in 1923, and in 1927 Walt came up with the idea for an animated mouse called Mortimer Mouse. His wife Lillian convinced him to change it to Mickey Mouse.

In 1937 Disney won a special Oscar for the first full-length animation: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, created Tom and Jerry in 1939.

The first Best Picture Oscar for an animation was awarded in 1991 for Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Mel Blanc, who played the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots.

Jack Mercer was the voice of Popeye the Sailor for 45 years.

The video recording machine was invented by the Ampex corporation of California in 1956. The first video recorder, the Ampex VR1000, stood 1,1 m (3 ft 3 in) high and weighed as much as a small car: 665 kg (1,466 lb).

The home video recorder was introduced in 1972 by Philips of the Netherlands.

Japanese company JVC introduced the VHS system in 1976.

About 80% of VCRs are made by Japanese companies.

The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.

On average, a movie makes about 5 times more from its DVD sales than ticket takings.

About one quarter of movie videos sold are animations.

In the 1926 film version of Don Juan actor Lionel Barrymore set the record for the most kisses ever in a single film. Barrymore embraced Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor 127 times.

The longest kiss in a movie is in Andy Warhol's Kiss. Rufus Collins and Naomi Levine kissed for the entire 50 minutes of the movie.

The first porn movie was the 1908 Fench film al'Ecu d'or oula bonne auberge.

The first movie to use sound was "The Jazz Singer," released in 1927: the first words, spoken by Al Jolson, were: "Wait a minute, you ain't heard nothing yet."

The 1967 Russian movie War and Peace had 120,000 extras. The South Korean movie Monster Wang-magwi from the same year featured 157,000 extras. The 1945 German movie Kolberg had 187,000 and the movie with the most extras, the 1982 British movie Gandhi, featured 300,000 extras.

Trivia factoids

Do you know the names of the three wise monkeys? They are: Mizaru (See no evil), Mikazaru (Kikazaru - Hear no evil), and Mazaru (Iwazaru - Speak no evil).

The fourth wise monkey is called Shizaru (Do no evil).

An atomic clock is accurate to within 1 second in 1,7 million years.

Barbie was introduced at the New York Toy Fair on 9 March 1959; her real name is Barbie Millicent Roberts and her parents are Ruth and Elliot Handler. Barbie has four sisters: Skipper (1964), Stacie (1992), Kelly (1995) and Krissy (1995).

Ken, Barbie's boyfriend, debuted in 1961. Unfortunately, they split up on Valentine's Day 2004.

Thomas Cook, the world's first travel agency in the world, was founded in 1850.

A fathom is 1,8 metres (6 feet).

There are more TV sets in the US than there are people in the UK.

Before the year 1000, the word "she" did not exist in the English language. The singular female reference was the word "heo", which also was the plural of all genders. The word "she" appeared only in the 12th century, about 400 years after English began to take form. "She" probably derived from the Old English feminine "seo", the Viking word for feminine reference.

There are no letters assigned to the numbers 1 and 0 on a phone keypad. These numbers remain unassigned because they are so-called "flag" numbers, kept for special purposes such as emergency or operator services.

After the French Revolution of 1789 selling sour wine was considered against national interest and the merchant was promptly executed.

For 3000 years, until 1883, hemp was the world's largest agricultural crop, from which the majority of fabric, soap, paper, medicines, and oils were produced.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. The US Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

The word malaria comes from the words mal and aria, which means bad air. This derives from the old days when it was thought that all diseases are caused by bad, or dirty air.

The names of all the continents end with the letter they start with.

On every continent there is a city called Rome.

The oldest inhabited city is Damascus, Syria.

The first city in the world to have a population of more than one million was Rome: see History 303

The most populated city in the world - when major urban areas are included - is Tokyo, with 30 million residents.

Tokyo was once known as Edo.

The pin that holds a hinge together is called a pintle.

The Vatican is the world's smallest country, at 0,44 square km (0,16 square miles).

The US flag displays 13 stripes - for the original 13 states.

To most Americans, the orient is China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam; to Europeans it is the area of India and Pakistan.

Some 190 billion emails are sent daily - more than 2 million per second - by 1,2 billion email senders. About 70% (133 billion emails) are spam and viruses. There are about 1,4 billion registered email addresses.

Eskimos use refrigerators to keep food from freezing.

MasterCard was originally called MasterCharge. More at creditcards

Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon with his left foot first.

The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet.

Lightning strikes men about seven times more often than it does women.

Women make up 49% of the world population.

About 50% of Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. This is called propinquity.

The pleasant feeling of eating chocolate is caused by a chemical called anadamide, a neurotransmitter which also is produced naturally in the brain.

From the Middle Ages until the 18th century the local barber's duties included dentistry, blood letting, minor operations and bone-setting. The barber's striped red pole originates from when patients would grip the pole during an operation.

The US nickname Uncle Sam was derived from Uncle Sam Wilson, a meat inspector in Troy, New York.

The living does not outnumber the dead: since the creation about 60 billion people have died.

The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

The European Union has banned more than 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics. The United States has banned just 10.

Midday refers to the moment the sun crosses the local meridian.

Due to earth's gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 metres.

It is not true that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be viewed from space - many man-made objects, including the Dutch polders, can be viewed from space.

Music fast facts

To win a gold disc, an album needs to sell 100,000 copies in Britain, and 500,000 in the United States.

Melba toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

The CD was developed by Philips and Sony in 1980.

40 billion songs are downloaded illegally every year, that's some 90% of all music downloads.

The music industry generates about $4 billion in online music but loose about $40 billion to illegal downloads.

Top-selling albums used to reach sales of 20 million copies before the advent of online piracy - by 2009 it had dropped to about 5 million.

The number of recorded CDs and blank CDs sold has been about equal.

About one-third of recorded CDs ever sold were pirated.

The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee," which had the same melody as Britian's national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull's melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.

The British anthem was performed the most times in a single performance. In 1909, while waiting for King Edward VII who was getting dressed a German band played the anthem 17 times.

Tap dancing originates from Irish clog dancing and what is called the Irish reel and jig.

It was at a concert in Minneapolis in 1954 that Al Dvorin first closed Elvis's concerts with: "Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night."

Elvis favourite collectibles were official badges. He collected police badges in almost every city he performed in.

Elvis was an avid gun collector. His collection of 40 weapons included M-16s and a Thompson submachine gun.

Duran Duran took their name from a mad scientists in the movie Barbarella.

Bob Dylan's first professional performance was as opening act for John Lee Hooker at Gerde's Folk City in New York, 1961.

Before they were known as Journey, Steve Perry called his band Golden Gate Rhythm Section.

Kenneth Edmonds was nicknamed Babyface by funk guitarist Bootsy Collins.

The world's largest disco was held at the Buffalo Convention Centre, New York, 1979. 13,000 danced a place into the Guinness Book of World Records.

In August 1983, Peter Stewart of Birmingham, UK set a world record by disco dancing for 408 hours.

Lebanon is the top movie-going country - 35,3 movies per person p.a. China is second with 12,3, followed by Georgia (5,6), India (5), Iceland (4,5), Australia is 6th at 3,9 then New Zealand and the US at just under 3,9.

The US has the most cinemas (23,662) while India [the country that produces the most movies - about 800 a year, twice as many as Hollywood] has about 9,000 cinemas and China has approximately 5,000 cinemas. - 300,000 people per cinema.

Indian comic actress Manorama has played the most leading roles of any performer in movie history. She began her career in 1958 and in 1985 had appeared in her 1,000th movie.

Ireland has won the most Eurovision song contests (7 times).

Annie Lennox holds the record for the most Brit awards (8).

The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.

Klezmer music is derived from two Hebrew words, clay and zimmer, meaning "vessel of music."

The Ocarina, a musical wind instrument, is also known as the Sweet Potato.

The LP (long-playing) record was invented by Paul Goldmark in 1948. The LP is not dead yet: more than 10 million LPs are sold every year.

The longest song to reach number one on the Billboard charts on LP was "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meatloaf, the shortest: "Stay" by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs.

At the first Grammy Awards, held on 4 May 1959, Domenico Modugno beat out Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee for the Record of the Year, with "Volare."

The British, the highest per capita spenders on music, buy 7,2% of the world music market.

The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.

The Beatles song "Martha My Dear" was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha.

Jeanne Louise Calment's CD was released on her 121st birthday in 1996. Titled "Time's Mistress" it features Ms Calment reminiscing to a score of rap music and other tunes.

A grand piano can be played faster than an upright (spinet) piano.

A piano covers the full spectrum of all orchestra instruments, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.

The harmonica is the world's best-selling music instrument.

The term "disc jockey" was first used in 1937.

The last note of a keyboard is C.

Themes from movies Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, and Absolute Power were all written by Clint Eastwood.

The US share of the world music market is 31.3%.

The only guy without a beard in ZZTOP surname (last name) is Beard.

Since its launch in 1981 the song Memory of the musical Cats has been played on radio more than a million times.

Paul McCartney was the last bachelor Beatle when he married Linda Eastman in a civil ceremony in London, 1969. Paul's brother Mike was his best man. No other Beatle attended the wedding.

There are 6 versions of Franz Schubert's "Die Forelle" ("The Trout"), simply because when friends asked him for copies of the song, he wrote out new copies to the best he could remember at the time.

In 1952, John Cage composed and presented ' 4'33" ', a composition consisting of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.

The Carpenters signature song, We've Only Just Begun, was originally part of a television commercial for a California bank.

In 1972 Leslie Harvey of Stone the Crows died after being electrocuted onstage in England. In 1976 Keith Relf, who used to play for The Yardbirds, was electrocuted by his guitar while playing in his basement. During a mid-performance in 1994 Ramon Barrero, a Mexican musician famous for playing the world's smallest harmonica, inhaled the harmonica and choked to death.

U2 was originally known as Feedback. To date, U2 have sold more than 70 million records, grossing $1,5 billion.

In May 1997, Paul McCartney broke his own world record by obtaining his 81st gold disc.

Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.

The top selling singles of all time are Elton John's "Candle in the Wind ‘97", at 33 million, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", 30 million, and Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", 25 million.

DVD discs are the same diameter (120mm) and thickness (1.2mm) as a Compact Disc (CD) but a DVD can store 13 times or more data.

Beethoven was the first composer who never had an official court position, thus the first known freelance musician. Born in 1770, he grew up poor, but published his first work at age 12. By age 20 he was famous. He often sold the same score to six or seven different publishers simultaneously, and demanded unreasonably large fees for the simplest work. He was short, stocky, dressed badly, didn't like to bath, lived in squalor, used crude language, openly conducted affairs with married women, and had syphilis. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony.

Politics fast facts

Bolivia holds the highest turnover of governments. Since their independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has had almost 200 governments. Since 1945, Italy saw more than 50 governments and more than 20 Prime Ministers.

Half the world's population earns about 5% of the world's wealth.

India is the world's largest democracy with more than 600 million voters.

The system of democracy was introduced 2 500 years ago in Athens, Greece.

The youngest active system of governance is communism, which was introduced in 1848 by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.

The oldest existing governing body operates in Althing in Iceland. It was established in 930 AD.

David "Screaming Lord Sutch", as leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, was Britain's longest serving party leader until he hung himself in June 1999.

Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) was the first woman to run for office of US President. She and her sister were the first women to run a Wall Street brokerage (1870).

The United Nations organisation (UN) was founded in 1945.

The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948 to promote peace, security and the economical development of the western hemisphere.

The European Union was founded in 1957 as the European Economic Community. It then became the EC (European Community) and in 1993 the EU (European Union).

In 1975, Emil Matalik put himself forward as US Presidential candidate. He advocated a maximum of one animal and one tree per family because he believed that there were too many animals and plant life on earth. Louis Abalofia also put himself forward: his campaign poster featured a photo of him in the nude, with the slogan "I have nothing to hide." In the 1860s, financier George Francis Train ran for office with one item: the introduction of a new calender based on his birth date.

About US Presidents and Vice Presidents -
George Washington was inaugurated for his first term, on 30 April 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City. His second inauguration took place in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington DC. Jefferson also was the only one to walk to and from his inauguration.
William Henry Harrison had the shortest term of office as president. He served from for 32 days, from 4 March to 4 April 1841.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had the longest term of office: 12 years. Roosevelt had three vice presidents serve during his four terms: John Nance Garner (1933-1941), Henry Wallace (1941-1945), Harry Truman (1945).
14 of the 45 vice presidents have become president:
5 vice presidents have been elected to the presidency: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon, and George Bush.
4 vice presidents assumed the presidency after the president was assassinated: Andrew Johnson, Chester Authur, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.
4 vice presidents assumed the presidency after the president died of natural causes: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman.
Gerald Ford assumed the presidency following the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Only Richard Nixon served two terms as Vice President and also was elected to two terms as President.
The US Presidential candidate with the highest popular vote ever was Ronald Reagan. In 1984 he secured 54,455,075 votes. Reagan was also the candidate with the highest electoral vote: 525, in 1984. In that year he equalled the 49 states that Nixon carried in 1972.
The candidate who ran the most times was Norman Thomas. He ran six times from 1928 and didn't win any. Thomas ran for presidency in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944 and 1948.
Funds raised by the US Presidential candidates 2000:
Ralph Nader - $5,989,559
Al Gore - $133,113,452
George W. Bush - $187,202,363

George Washington was the first president under the US constitution of 1789. However, the US was an independent nation for 13 years before the Constitution was signed. For one year during this time John Hanson served as "President of the US in Congress assembled." Technically, John Hanson was the first president of the United States.

Also see Real names of famous politicians

Oscars fast facts

The shortest Oscar ceremony ever was the first, held in 1929; it lasted only about 15 minutes as all the winners had been announced three months earlier.

The longest Oscar awards ceremony was in 2000, running for 4 hours and 16 minutes - beating a previous record by 16 minutes.

Bob Hope has hosted the Oscars 18 times; Billy Crystal is in second place with 8 times.

Tom Hanks is the youngest recipient of the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received in 2002 at age 45.

Kate Winslet is the only actress to receive four Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 30.

Gone with the Wind, at 3 hours and 56 minutes, was the longest film to have won a Best Picture Oscar; it was also the first film in color to win Best Picture.

Henry Fonda was first nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1941 for his role in The Grapes of Wrath but had to wait 41 years before he finally achieved a win in 1982 for his role in On Golden Pond. At 76, he is the oldest actor yet to have received the Best Actor award.

The oldest actress to win an Oscar is Jessica Tandy - at 81 she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1990 for her performance in Driving Miss Daisy.

Anthony Quinn's performance as painter Paul Gaugin in Lust for Life (1956) is the shortest ever to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, his second Oscar. He was on screen for only 8 minutes. (He won a similar award in 1952 playing opposite Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's Viva Zapata!)

The shortest-ever winning performance for Best Supporting Actress belongs to Dame Judi Dench, who won an Oscar in 1998 for less than 8 minutes of screen time playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.

The shortest-ever Best Actor Oscar-winning performance was awarded to Anthony Hopkins in 1992, having appeared for less than 16 minutes of screen time as Dr Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

The fewest lines spoken by an Oscar-winning actress won Patty Duke a Best Actress in a Supporting Role portraying the deaf and blind Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. In the role she speaks only one word in the last scene: “Wah-wah" (for "water").

The films with the most Oscar wins are Ben-Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, each winning 11 Oscars from 12, 14 and 11 nominations respectively. See more in the lists of Oscar winners.

William Wyler has directed more actors to Academy Award success than any other, with 34 nominations and 14 wins.

Jack Nicholson leads the Best Actor Academy Award category with wins from 11 nominations, followed by Laurence Olivier, nominated 10 times and receiving one Best Actor award, and then Spencer Tracy with nine nominations resulting in two awards.

Meryl Streep had more Best Actress nominations than any other actress; 13 in total, leading to 2 awards. Katharine Hepburn received 12 nominations and won 4 Academy Awards.

Shirley Temple is the youngest performer to receive an Academy Award; in 1934 she received a Special Award when she was only five years old.

Groucho Marx was the oldest Academy Award winner - in 1973 he received a Honorary Award at the age of 83.

The first posthumous Oscar winner was Sidney Howard, for the screenplay of Gone with the Wind.

Mutiny on The Bounty (1935) was the only film to have had three nominees for Best Actor Oscars (Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone) but won only the Best Picture award.

The only tie for Best Actor was between Wallace Beery for The Champ and Fredric March for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in 1932.

The only films to win Best Picture and Best Song are Gigi, Going My Way and Titanic.

The The only animated film to have won a Best Picture Oscar was Disney's Beauty and the Beast, in 1991.

In 1937 Disney won a special Oscar for the first full-length animation: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Oscar families:
Two families have three generations of Oscar winners in their ranks, but
The Huston family:
Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre); John Huston won Best Director, The Treasure of Sierra Madre in 1948, and Anjlica Huston won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Prizzi’sHonorin 1985. The Hustons remain the only grandfather, father and daughter to have won Oscars.
The Coppola family:
Carmine Coppola won Best Original Dramatic Score, The Godfather in 1974; Francis Ford Coppola won Best Original Screenplay for Patron (1970), Best Adapted Screenplay, The Godfather (1970), Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, The Godfather: Part II (1974), and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation won for Best Original Screenplay in 2004; Nicholas Cage, Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, won Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas, in 1995.
The Minnelli family:
Liza Minnelli is the only Oscar winner with two Oscar winning parents: her mother Judy Garland, received a honorary Oscar as Outstanding Juvenile Performer for The Wizard of Oz and her father, Vincente Minnelli, won Best Director for Best Picture, Gigi (1958).
The Epstein family:
The only twins to win Oscars are Julius J Epstein and Philip G Epstein, who shared the Best Screenplay award s with Howard Koch for Casablanca (1942).

Eleven actors to win an Oscar for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Awards ceremony:
Patty Duke playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962)
Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938)
Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941)
Jason Robards for playing Benjamin Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976)
Robert De Niro for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980)
Sissy Spacek for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995)
Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996)
Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000)
Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001)
Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006)

Sports fast facts

Fishing is the biggest participant sports in the world.

Football (soccer) is the most attended or watched sport in the world.

Boxing became a legal sport in 1901.

More than 100 million people hold hunting licences.

Jean Genevieve Garnerin was the first female parachutists, jumping from a hot air balloon in 1799.

In 1975 Junko Tabei from Japan became the first woman to reach the top of Everest.

The record for the most Olympic medals ever won is held by Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina. Competing in three Olympics, between 1956 and 1964, she won 18 medals.

The record for the most major league baseball career innings is held by Cy Young, with 7,356 innings.

-> Improve your skills at playing baseball with catcher’s gear and equipment from top brands like Easton, Mizuno, and more.

The first instance of global electronic communications took place in 1871 when news of the Derby winner was telegraphed from London to Calcutta in under 5 minutes.

In 1898, one of the first programmes to be broadcasted on radio was a yacht race that took place in British waters.

Sports command the biggest television audiences, led by the summer Olympics, World Cup Football andFormula One racing.

Gymnasiums were introduced in 900BC and Greek athletes practised in the nude to the accompaniment of music. They also performed naked at the Olympic Games.

The very first Olympic race, held in 776 BC, was won by Corubus, a chef.

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896. There were 311 male but no female competitors.

In his time, Michael Schumacher was the highest paid sportsman, ahead of Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. (Not including sponsorship endorsements.)

The high jump method of jumping head first and landing on the back is called the Fosbury Flop.

Korfball is the only sport played with mixed teams, consisting of 4 men and 4 women.

The Major League Baseball teams use about 850,000 balls per season.

About 42,000 tennis balls are used in the plus-minus 650 matches in the Wimbledon Championship.

A baseball ball has exactly 108 stitches, a cricket ball has between 65 and 70 stiches.

A soccer ball is made up of 32 leather panels, held together by 642 stitches.

Basketball and rugby balls are made from synthetic material. Earlier, pigs' bladders were used as rugby balls.

The baseball home plate is 17 inches wide.

Golf the only sport played on the moon - on 6 February 1971 Alan Shepard hit a golf ball.

Bill Klem served the most seasons as major league umpire - 37 years, starting in 1905. He also officated 18 World Series.

The oldest continuous trophy in sports is the America's Cup. It started in 1851, with Americans winning for a straight 132 years until Australia took the Cup in 1983.

Volleyball was invented by William George Morgan of Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895.

A badminton shuttle easily travels 180 km/h (112 mph).

Ferenc Szisz from Romania, driving a Renault, won the first Formula One Grand Prix held at Le Mans, France in 1906.

Vehicles and travel fast facts

The amount of time that people spend on travel has been consistent at 1,1 hours per person per day in all societies.

Traffic jams of New York, San Francisco and Paris are well known - beaten only by those in Seattle where a driver annually spends 59 hours stuck in traffic.

Traffic jams are nothing new. In 45 BC, Rome banned all vehicles from within the city - and in other cities vehicles, including horses, were allowed only at night... because of traffic jams.

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

The Wright Brother tested the first aeroplane in a wind tunnel before flying it.

Air-filled tyres were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon. A dog was the first to parachute.

In ancient China, the nose of a criminal who attacked travelers was cut off.

Electric cars were introduced in 1896 and by the end of the century almost 50% of motorcars worldwide were electric.

Yet, by 1905 80% of cars were petrol driven and by 1920 the electric car was, well, almost history.

The shortest scheduled airline flight is made between the island of Westray to Papa Westray off Scotland. The flight lasts 2 minutes.

In 1913, the Russian Airline became the first to introduce a toilet on board.

In 1620, Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebbel launched the world's first submarine in the Thames.

More than 60 million people annually visit France, a country of 60 million people.

The first motorcycle speedway race was held in Maitland, Australia, in 1925.

Mercedes Benz cars are named after Mercedes Jellinek.

It is said that, in 1941 the Ford motor company produced an experimental automobile with a plastic body composed of 70% cellulose fibres from hemp. The car body could absorb blows 10 times as great as steel without denting. The car was designed to run on hemp fuel. Because of the ban on both hemp and alcohol, the car was never mass produced.

There are more than 16,400 parking metres in Manhatten, New York.

New York cabs get about 2000 tickets per month, handed out by about 2000 traffic attendants.

Manhattan traffic crawls at an average of 6.2 miles an hour on midtown city streets.

A gallon of gasoline produces 8.8 kg of CO2.

The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.

About a quarter of the world still drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.

The Ilyushin-76TD is the world's largest waterbomber.

The pilot with the most flying hours is American John Edward Long. From May 1933 to April 1977 he flew 62 654 hours, achieving a total of more than 7 years airborne.

There are about a billion bicycles in the world, twice as many as motorcars.

In 1955, the Ford Thunderbird outsold the Chev Corvette 24 to one.

The fewest aeroplane passengers killed in one year was 1 in 1993 and the most was 583 in 1977 when two Boeing 747s collided on the runway at Los Rodeos airport, Tenerife, the Canary Islands.

The first auto race in the United States, in Chicago in 1895, was won by J. Frank Duryea at an average speed of 7.5mph (12 kp/h).

Henry Ford started operations of his first successful car in Detroit in 1896.

The usual thermal efficiency of reciprocal steam engine is 15%. That of steam turbine is over 40%.

Nuclear ships are basically steamships and driven by steam turbines. The reactor just develops heat to boil the water.

The world's oldest surviving boat is a simple 3 metre (10 feet) long dugout dated to 7400 BC. It was discovered in Pesse Holland in the Netherlands.

Four out of five boat sinkings occur at their mooring.

Rock drawings from the Red Sea site of Wadi Hammamat, dated to around 4000 BC show that Egyptian boats were made from papyrus and reeds.

The world's earliest known plank-built ship, made from cedar and sycamore wood and dated to 2600 BC, was discovered next to the Great Pyramid in 1952.

The Egyptians created the first organized navy in 2300 BC.

Oar-powered ships were developed by the Sumerians in 3500 BC.

Sails were first used by the Phoenicians around 2000 BC.

The first train reached a top speed of only 8 km/h (5 mph).

Money fast facts

The word millionaire was first used by Benjamin Disraeli in his 1826 novel Vivian Grey.

If you stack one million US$1 bills, it would be 110m (361 ft) high and weight exactly 1 ton.

A million dollars' worth of $100 bills weighs only 10 kg (22 lb).

One million dollars' worth of one-cent coins (100 million coins) weigh 246 tons.

TIP is the acronym for "To Insure Promptness."

In gambling language, for a gambling house a "sure-thing" is a wager that a player has little chance of winning; "easy money" is their profit from an inexperienced bettor, an unlucky player is called a "stiff."

The term "smart money" refers to gamblers who have inside information or have arranged a fix, the gambling term for insuring the outcome of an event by illegal methods.

Small-time gamblers who place small bet in order to prolong the excitement of a game are called "dead fish" by game operators because the longer the playing time, the greater the chances of losing.

The term "Blue Chip" comes from the colour of the poker chip with the highest value, blue.

Nessie, the Loch Ness monster is protected by the 1912 Protection of Animals Acts of Scotland. With good reason - Nessie is worth $40 million annually to Scottish tourism.

Of the more than $50 billion worth of diet products sold every year, almost $20 billion are spent on imitation fats and sugar substitutes.

Annual global spending on education is $1.1 trillion. Annual global spending on military is $1.3 trillion (45% by USA).

US and European expenditure on pet food is $17 billion per year.

The global expenditure on healthcare and nutrition is $2.1 trillion.

In 1998, US states spent $30 billion in funds on correctional services and $24 billion on social welfare.

Money notes are not made from paper, it is made mostly from a special blend of cotton and linen.

In 1932, when a shortage of cash occurred in Tenino, Washington, USA, notes were made out of wood for a brief period. The wood notes came in $1, $5 and $10 values.

The world's largest coins, in size and standard value, were copper plates used in Alaska around 1850. They were about a metre (3 ft) long, half-a-metre (about 2 ft) wide, weighed 40 kg (90 lb), and were worth $2,500.

The first credit card was issued by American Express in 1951.

About 30% of consumers use their credit card as their main means of buying Christmas goodies, 70% do not save to buy Christmas gifts and 86% of consumers do their Christmas shopping during December.

Excessive use of credit is cited as a major cause of non-business bankruptcy, second only to unemployment.

Statistics show that people with high, medium and low income groups spend about the same amount onChristmas gifts.

In the 1400s, global income rose only 0,1% per year; today it often tops 5%.

The average age of Forbes's 400 wealthiest individuals is over 60.

In 1955 the richest woman in the world was Mrs Hetty Green Wilks, who left an estate of $95 million in a will that was found in a tin box with four pieces of soap.

In 2001 the richest woman was Liliane Bettencourt, the daughter of L'Oreal's founder. She has a net worth of $14 billion (depending on how the stock market did today).

Queen Elizabeth II is one of the 10th wealthiest women in the world.

The $ sign was designed in 1788 by Oliver Pollock.

Australians are the heaviest gamblers in the world; an estimated 82% of Australians bet. That is twice as much per capita as Europeans or Americans. Yet, Australia, with less than 1% of the world population, has 20% of the world's poker machines.

There are more than 9 million millionaires and about 800 billionaires in the world - depending on how the stock market did today. See Forbes Billionaire List

80% of millionaires drive second-hand cars.

In 1900, the price of gold was less than $40 per ounce. It reached $600 in 1930, now struggling to reach $400 per ounce.

If Los Angeles County was a country, it would be the 19th largest economy in the world.

If California was a country, it would be the 5th largest economy in the world.

Tobacco is a $200 billion industry, producing six trillion cigarettes a year - about 1,000 cigarettes for each person on earth.

In 1965, CEOs earned on average 44 times more than factory workers. In 1998, CEOs earned on average 326 times more than factory workers and in 1999, they earned 419 times more than factory workers. The gap has remained more-or-less at 400 times.

The income gap between the richest fifth of the world's people and the poorest measured by average national income per head increased from 30 to one in 1960, to 74 to one in 1998.

A third of the world's people live on less than $2 a day, with 1,2 billion people living on less than $1 a day.

In the 17th century, wool fabrics accounted for about two-thirds of England's foreign trade. Today, the leading wool producers are Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and China.

The NASDAQ stock exchange was totally disabled in on day in December 1987 when a squirrel burrowed through a telephone line.

In 1990, the word "recession" appeared in 1,583 articles in The Wall Street Journal.

Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.

Tourism is the world's biggest industry, affecting 240 million jobs.

In 1865, Frederik Idestam founded a wood-pulp mill in southern Finland, naming it Nokia. It rapidly gained worldwide recognition, attracting a large number of workforce and the town Nokia was born. In 1898, the Finnish Rubber Works company opened in Nokia, taking on the town name in the 1920s. After WWII, the rubber company took a majority shareholding in the Finnish Cable Work. In 1967, the companies consolidated to become the Nokia Group. The recession of the 1990s led the group to focus on the mobile phone market.


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