Absolutely Useless Trivia!
And when I say "useless," I mean useless! You are almost guaranteed to not use this
in your life, whatsoever. Note: Most of these items have not been verified. If you know of one of them being erroneous, please correct me using the feedback link at the bottom.
First off, a link to another good site. http://www.ravensclaw.com/~pmaster
Second off, an apology for the stupid pop-up ad on this page. I've tried to get rid of it, but it messes up the rest of my site, so it just doesn't work. However, you might want to try a different web browser, such as Opera, Mozilla or (my browser) Firebird, all of which can block pop-up ads. Righto.
- A rat can last longer without water than a camel.
- Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks, otherwise it
will digest itself.
- The Declaration of Independence (the very official copy in the Rotunda of the National Archives) is written on parchment, not paper.
- The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.
- A raisin dropped in a fresh glass of soda will bounce up and down continually
from the bottom of
the glass to the top.
- A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate.
- A 2x4 is actually 1-1/2" x 3-1/2" .
- 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.
- Every person has a unique tongue print. (Say "aaah")
- The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor who had red eyes. He was an albino.
- 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.
- During the chariot scene in 'Ben Hur' a small red car can be seen in the distance.
- On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.
- John Wilkes Booth's brother once saved the life of Abraham Lincoln's son. Irony.
- Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.
- Chocolate kills dogs! Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system. A
few ounces is enough to kill a small sized dog. (Debated)
- Daniel Boone detested coonskin caps.
- Playing cards were issued to British pilots in WWII. If they were captured, the cards could be soaked in water and unfolded to reveal a map for escape.
- Most lipstick contains fish scales. Yum.
- Dr. Seuss actually pronounced Seuss such that it sounded like Sue-ice.
- Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine.
- Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same
- During the California Gold Rush of 1849 miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for
washing and pressing. Due to the high costs in California during these years it was deemed more feasible to send the shirts to Hawaii for servicing.
- American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad
served in first class.
- The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of
chess is 318,979,564,000.
- Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower', because in the time
when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters. The proper term for upper case letters is "majuscule" and for lower case it's "minuscule".
- The printing industry gives us other popular phrases, such as "mind your 'p's
and 'q's." The moveable block type had the letters in reverse so they would read
correctly when imprinted on paper. Apprentices had to remove the type from the
pages and return the blocks to their upper and lower cases. Each drawer in the
case held a different size of letters, and each drawer was divided into
compartments (called sorts) for each letter. The letters 'p' and 'q' could
easily be mistaken, so the master printer would advise their apprentices to mind
their 'p's and 'q's. (This is debated. Link.)
- When the master printer was building a page and discovered that a particular
sort was empty, he would get angry. Thus the term "out of sorts".
- The question mark came from a monk habit of writing the Latin word for
question, quo, at the end of sentences. Over time, the letters were written
vertically to save space and morphed into the ? we write today. Similarly, the
exclamation point came from the Latin word "Lo", meaning something important
that should be heeded. (Lo and behold...)
- Wellfleet, Massachusetts has the only town clock in the world that strikes
ship's time. (Rings every half hour, to a maximum of 8 rings at the end of each
four hour period.)
- There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with the words orange, purple, or
silver, or month. (Debated, as I don't think that sliver is a rhyme for silver, or pimple a good rhyme with purple, etc.)
- The numbers '172' can be found on the back of the U.S. $5 dollar bill in the bushes
at the base of the
Lincoln Memorial. (New or old? Not sure. Probably the old one.)
- The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the
only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.
- There are four cars and eleven lightposts on the back of a $10 dollar bill.
- Scissors as we know them today (well, pretty much) were invented in Rome in about 100 AD (or CE, if you want to be politically correct).
- If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and
look like it is stinging itself to death. It spasms a lot. :)
- Most scorpions will glow under black (ultraviolet) light. (?!)
- Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to SLOW a film down so you could see
his moves. That's the opposite of the norm.
- If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also
have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
- The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springstein's 'Born in the USA.'
- The mask used by Michael Myers in the original Halloween was actually a Captain
Kirk mask painted white.
- The first product Motorola developed was a record player for automobiles. At that
time the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.
- Roses MAY be red, but violets ARE, indeed, violet.
- By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand. One should carry a stout pole while travelling in quicksand country...when placed under one's back, it helps one to float out of the quicksand.
- Casey Kasem is the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo.
- Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to digest a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. (Mmm, diet food.)
- Charlie Chaplin once won third prize in a Charlie Chaplin look alike contest.
- In Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars, Phobos and
Deimos, giving their exact size and speeds of rotation. He did this more than one hundred years before either moon was discovered.
- Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!
- Sherlock Holmes NEVER said, "Elementary, my dear Watson." For that matter,
Sherlock Holmes never existed in the first place. But the address where he supposedly lived, 221B Baker Street, still gets a lot of fan mail. I am told that there is a desk there that has the sign "Secretary to Mr. Holmes".
- An old law in Bellingham, Wash., made it illegal for a woman to take more than 3
steps backwards while dancing. (?!)
- Birds have the right of way on all Utah highways.
- Sharon Stone was the first Star Search spokesmodel.
- The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
- The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen
from public libraries.
- Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing
wind in a spacesuit will damage it.
- The number one selling CD in history is the third Beatles anthology. It recently beat out the Eagles' "Their Greatest Hits."
- Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
- If you drop a penny off of the Empire State Building, it will be going 106 miles per hour (terminal velocity) when it reaches the ground. Something moving this fast may actually cause head injuries if it lands on you. (OUCH)
- The original Winnie the Pooh was a real live bear found outside of Winnipeg, Canada, hence the name Winnie.
- Francis Bacon died in his attempt to find a better way to serve food. He caught
a case of pneumonia while attempting to stuff a chicken with snow. Ironically, the chicken survived the ordeal.
- Dachshunds were originally bred in 1600 to hunt dachs, which is German
for badgers. (Historically speaking, 1600 was a slow year.)
- Houdini's real name was Ehrich Weiss.
- The first zoo in America was in Philadelphia.
- Laser is actually an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation."
- The world's first passenger train made its debut in England in 1825.
- If you hate our "QWERTY" keyboard layout, blame Christopher Sholes.
He changed it from the original in 1873 to lessen the chances of the keys jamming.
- Napoleon III suffered from ailurophobia, which is a fear of cats.
- Escalator is one of many words that were originally trademarks but have become ordinary words found in dictionaries. Some other words which were originally trademarks and have now passed into common use are aspirin, autoharp, band-aids, breathalyzer, cellophane, Coke (in some areas, at least), corn flakes, cube steak, ditto, dry ice, dumpster, formica, Frisbee, granola, gunk, jeep, kerosene, Kleenex, mace, nylon, ping-pong (also an onomatopoeia), popsicle, Q-tip, rollerblade, rolodex,
Scotch tape, sheetrock, spandex, styrofoam, tabloid, thermos, trampoline, yo-yo, xerox, and zipper.
- The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929; "7" was selected because the original containers were 7 ounces. "UP" indicated the direction of the bubbles.
- Mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito's sensors so they don't know you're there. Also, the powder on the bark of a quaking aspen tree works as a mosquito repellent.
- Wild plants that are edible: (this is about the only non-useless info on here...)
- Burdock (very bitter)
- Dogwood berries, but not the plant (the berries taste like burdock)
- The inside bark of a cottonwood tree
- The white inside part of a cattail (tastes good! Sort of like a really mild cucumber.)
- Watercress (sold as a delicacy in restaurants, but I don't like it much, it tastes like a really spicy radish)
- Poplar bark
- Anise (Very good, if you like black licorice!)
- Dandelions. The leaves make a great salad, and the roots can be roasted and ground into something kind of like coffee.
- Any kind of mint, which is recognizable from the smell
- Wild rose hips, but not the plant (the hips are high in Vitamin C and are an ingredient in many teas.)
- Thistle (Scrape the thorns off, duh! Eat the leaf or the inside of the blossom.)
- Quaking aspen leaves, but they aren't exactly for eating. Make a tea of them to kill minor headaches because they contain salicylic (sic?) acid, the active ingredient of aspirin.
- Some berries, including strawberries, raspberries, chokecherries (too much pit to be worth it), currants (TART!), serviceberries, gooseberries (green and stripy and TART!), purple elderberries (red ones are poisonous), etc. Don't eat sumac berries, they are poisonous!
- Prickly pear. If you scrape off the skin and boil the inside, it tastes good!
- Clover. Not sure how that tastes.
- Wild plants that are poisonous! (some more non-useless, a disgrace to the site)
- Nightshade, recognizable by its purple and yellow flower
- The wild rose plant, not the hips
- Most mushrooms. Don't eat any unless you know what you are doing.
- RED elderberries. Purple ones are okay.
- A whole lot of other things. If you don't know what it is, don't eat it.
- Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
- The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.
- No piece of paper can be folded in half consecutively more than 7 times (doubling factor... you end up folding 27 == 128 sheets of paper).
- 1 in every 4 Americans has appeared on television. (I have!)
- You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
- Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.
- The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
- The king of hearts on playing cards is the only king without a moustache.
- A Boeing 747's wingspan is longer than the Wright brother's first flight.
- Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
- Apples are more efficient than caffeine in waking you up in the morning. (Go figure.)
- The little plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets. (Why do you name them?)
- Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
- The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. (Hmm, wonder why.)
- Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
- Betsy Ross, Jackie Onassis, JFK, and Daniel Boone have all appeared on Pez dispensers.
- Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than all of the Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.
- Adolf Hitler's mother seriously considered having an abortion but was talked out of it by her doctor.
- Walt Disney was afraid of mice.
- The sound of E.T. walking was made by someone squishing their hands in jelly.
- Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
- There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar. (I'm not sure if that counts 50 cent pieces or not.)
- The average person's left hand does 56% of the typing.
- There are more chickens than people in the world.
- Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
- The longest one-syllable word in the English language is "screeched."
- All of the clocks in the movie "Pulp Fiction" are stuck on 4:20.
- "Dreamt" and "undreamt" are the only English words that end in the letters "mt."
- 47.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
- 26 (easily visible, there may be more) states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of the old US $5 bill.
- The almond is a member of the peach family.
- Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
- Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
- Los Angeles' full name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula."
- A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.
- An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
- Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
- In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch is 10:10.
- Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.
- The characters Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street were named after Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."
- A mayfly has a life span of 24 hours.
- A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds. (As noted by a reader: "The reason a goldfish swims back and
forth and back and forth across the fish bowl all day long everyday is because
by the time it gets to one side of the bowl it forgets what's on the other
side of the bowl. Every trip is a new adventure! (Hey, I wonder what's over
there!.... Hey! I wonder what's over THERE!)" :))
- A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
- It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. (Updated: I've had one person say they can do it. But still.)
- The giant squid has the largest eyes in the world.
- The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. (Wonder what it did to his liver?) That researcher also invented microwave popcorn.
- Mr. Rogers is an ordained minister.
- The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.
- There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.
- "Stewardesses" is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.
- The data track on a CD is a very long spiral. If it were unwound and laid out in a straight line, it would be over 3.5 miles long.
- It is impossible to lick your elbow or stick your elbow in your ear. (Updated: I've recieved many e-mails from people who actually can lick their elbow. Most people can't do it, and I have yet to get an elbow-ear report.)
- A crocodile can't stick its tongue out.
- A shrimp's heart is in its head.
- In a study of 200,000 ostriches over a period of 80 years, no one reported a
single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand (or attempted to do
- It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
- A pregnant goldfish is called a twerp.
- More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone
- Rats and horses can't vomit.
- "The sixth sick sheikh's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue
twister in the English language.
- Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million
- A lot of photocopier faults world-wide are caused by people sitting on them
and photocopying their buttocks.
- Cat's urine glows under a black light.
- The oldest standing building in Australia is Captain James Cook's house, brought over from England brick by brick. Why? :)
- Paul McCartney's real first name is James - Paul is his middle name. Thus, all
the Beatles (including Ringo, whose first name is Richard) were named after kings.
- The hole inside a CD is exactly the same size as an old Dutch 10 cent coin, called the "dubbeltje". (?!) Of course, all the European countries (save a few) have gone Euro now.
- Killer whales are not, technically, whales. They are orcas, a relative of the porpoise and the dolphin.
- If you stroke a shark from nose to tail, it is smooth. If you stroke it the other way, it is rough, and on some species, can even give you hand lacerations.
- Elephants are the only land mammals that can't jump.
- More about elephants: If you add up the circumference of two feet, you get exactly the elephant's height. (?!)
- Your foot is nearly the same length as your forearm as measured from the inside of the elbow to the wrist. (On me, it's nearly exact. :) )
- In 10 minutes, a hurricane expends more energy than all of the nuclear weapons in the world combined.
- On average, 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
- 90% of all New York cabbies are recently arrived immigrants. (This reminds me of a Douglas Adams quote. If you can tell me which book, I'll give you... umm... nothing. Oh, wait *rummages* I have some undying respect I can throw in.)
- Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
- A snail can sleep for three months.
- The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
- All polar bears, despite being near the North Pole, are southpaws. (ooh, bad pun)
- "Go" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
- Americans eat on average 18 acres worth of pizza every day.
- Almost everyone who reads this site will end up trying to lick their elbow. :)
Well, there you have it. This is all of the useless information I have in hand right now. Please be informed, however, that this list of useless information is being continually updated. As soon as I find something worthy of inclusion, I'll update the site.
© "Hopalong Joe". All rights reserved.
Last revised June 30, 2003