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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back, May 18, 2014

HISTORY: This week’s column is a look at random facts; some useful, others not so much.

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

There is no shortage of fun details about just about any topic. Here is a look at a multitude of random facts, some useful, others not so much.

— ‘Soldier’s disease’ is a term used to describe morphine addiction. The Civil War alone produced over 400,000 morphine addicts.

— The amethyst, February’s birthstone, is the symbol of sincerity. It has been said that this gem was a favorite of both Cleopatra and St. Valentine.

— A lion was the symbol for Dr. Pepper’s earliest ad campaign. It was used with the slogan “King of Beverages.”

— The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

William Shakespeare introduced the words “assassination” and “bump.”

— U.S. Patent #D219,584 was issued to actor Steve McQueen in 1970 for his invention of the bucket seat.

— When commercial telephone service was introduced between New York City and London in 1927, the first three minutes of a call cost $75.

— Dr. Seuss coined the word nerd in his 1950 book “If I Ran The Zoo.”

— The penny is the only U.S. coin with a profile facing right. All others face left.

— Roughly 35 percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

— Very few people can lick their own elbow. About 75 percent of the people that just read that sentence will give it a try.

—The first Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages were three inches wide and 18 inches long. The consumer simply cut off the amount needed to cover a wound.

— Traff-O-Data, a company that created machines which recorded the number of cars passing a given point on a road, was a creation of Bill Gates.

— Sterling silver is not pure silver. Because pure silver is too soft to be used in most tableware, it is mixed with copper in the proportion of 92.5 percent silver to 7.5 percent copper.

— The wick of a trick candle has small amounts of magnesium in them. When you light the candle, you are also lighting the magnesium. When someone tries to blow out the flame, the magnesium inside the wick continues to burn and, in just a split second (or two or three), re-lights the wick.

— Ed Cox of San Francisco developed a pre-soaped pad with which to clean pots. As the story goes, his wife gave the product the name S.O.S. for ‘save our saucepans.’ The year was 1917.

— Someone paid $14,000 for the bra worn by Marilyn Monroe in the film “Some Like It Hot”.

— No matter where you stand in Michigan, you are never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake.

— “The Guinness Book of Records” holds the record for being the book most often stolen from libraries.

— Americans, on the average, eat 18 acres of pizza every day.

— The largest taxi fleet in the world is found in Mexico City. The city boasts a fleet of over 60,000 taxis.

— Maine is the only state that has borders with only one other state. Its neighbor is New Hampshire.

— The seats at Fenway Park in Boston are made of oak.

— On land, a mile is 5,280 feet. On water, a (nautical) mile is 6,080 feet.

—Common cobra venom is 40 times more toxic than cyanide.

— Heart attacks are three times more likely to strike in the morning than in the evening. Blood pressure is highest in the morning because it rises quickly to get you ready for the day. In fact, the heart needs 50% more blood to go from being asleep to being awake. As that blood pulses through the blood vessels, the increased pressure can tear the vessel lining.

— Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer are the only angels named in the Bible.

— Elephants only sleep for about two hours each day.

— The first female guest host of “Saturday Night Live” was Candace Bergen.

— A group of kangaroos is called a mob.

— $283,200 is the absolute highest amount of money you can win on Jeopardy (in one game).

— In the United States, more Frisbee discs are sold each year than baseballs, basketballs, and footballs combined.

— Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

— Everyday, more money is printed for Monopoly sets than for the U.S. Treasury.

— Tina Turner’s real name is Annie Mae Bullock.

Hard hats for construction workers were first invented and used in the building of the Hoover Dam in 1933.

— Assuming those polled were honest, 40% of all people who come to a party in your home snoop in your medicine cabinet.

— There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange, purple, silver and month.

— Columbia University is the second largest landowner in New York City, after the Catholic Church.

— One-quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet.

— In English, four is the only digit that has the same number of letters as its value.

— The average American child recognizes over 200 company logos by the time he enters first grade.

— The ZIP in “ZIP code” means Zoning Improvement Plan.

— In Paris, the McDonald’s big ‘M’ is the only one in the world that is white, rather than yellow. Locals thought that yellow was too tacky.

— Women manage the money and pay the bills in about 75% of all Americans households.

— Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

— A “jiffy” is the scientific name for 1/100th of a second.

— Lee Harvey Oswald’s cadaver tag sold at an auction for $6,600 in 1992.

— The first toilet ever seen on television was on “Leave It to Beaver.”

— It is said that the three most recognized Western names in China are Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.

— Did you know that 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321?

— The phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law, which stated that a husband couldn’t beat his wife with anything wider than his thumb.

— Isaac Asimov is the only known author to have a book in every Dewey-decimal category.

A flea can jump 350 times its body length. That’s like a human jumping the length of a football field.

— Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a “Friday the 13th.”