Monday, September 17, 2007

Trivia

Here we go--some trivia for a Monday! All of these bits come from the mental_floss book Condensed Knowledge.

--Three Van Gogh paintings are in the top 10 as most expensive ever sold. A portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 mil, a self-portrait sold for $65 mil, and Irises sold for $49 mil.

--The Renoir painting Au Moulin de la Galette sold for $78 mil.

--5 diseases mosquitoes spread: malaria, dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever, West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, yellow fever.

--The largest mammal/animal known is the blue whale. It also is a vegetarian.

--The rhinoceros has skin that is 1-inch-thick.

--Foxglove is a poisonous plant that should probably NOT be a garden where children could get at it. However, the toxic glycoside that foxglove produces is--in low doses--the heart medication digitalis.

--Marie Curie was the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes.

--Lead pencils DO NOT contain lead. The so-called lead is actually a mixture of graphite and clay.

--Ambergris is the waxy liquid coating the stomachs of sperm whales. When fresh, ambergris is soft, black, and smells awful. When exposed to sun and water, it hardens, becomes lighter colored, and develops a pleasant smell. It is used in perfume as a fixative that keeps the scent from evaporating too quickly. (Synthetics have now taken the place of ambergris--thus eliminating the need to kill whales.)

--Despite what people think, Fort Knox does not have the most gold. The world's largest repository is at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in lower Manhattan. Fort Knox has the second largest amount AND the largest stash owned by the US government. Most of the gold in New York is on deposit from foreign central banks and other institutions.

--The strongest muscle in your body is the tongue.

--A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.

--A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

--Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.

--Benjamin Franklin liked to sit around naked, usually with the window open for the breeze. In a 1768 letter he described his 'air bath' ritual like this: "I rise early almost every morning, and sit in my chamber, without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing."

--Lenin's real name was Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov. Ho Chi Minh was originally named Nguyen Sinh Cung. And Gerald Ford was first christened Leslie King, Jr.

1 comment:

melevision said...

awesome! I just LOVE trivia.