Friday, 19 July 2002

July 19, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   Since it has been too hot of late for me to be profound or witty, or even mundane for that matter, I will share with you some pieces of trivia.  Did you know…
  • Anthropologists believe that people have been making and wearing shoes for more than 10,000 years. The Egyptians wore sandals woven from papyrus leaves.
  • Horned lizards eat ants. They wait in areas where ants are working and when one passes by, they flick out their tongue, catch their prey, and swallow without chewing. Apparently their digestive tract is immune to bites and stings.
  • Scientists believe that hydrogen comprises approximately 90 to 99 percent of all matter in the universe.
  • The brilliant colors in a hummingbird's feather are created by tiny platelets that resemble a pancake filled with air bubbles. They are called "interference colors," and are much like the shimmering colors seen in a soap bubble or in a drop of oil.
  • The adjective "sesquipedalian" defines itself: it is used to describe the use of very long, or multi-syllabic, words.
  • The most famous natural landmark in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway. Comprised of approximately 37,000 dark basalt columns packed together, they were formed when a volcanic eruption spewed molten basalt out 55 million years ago. As the basalt cooled, these unique polygonal structures were formed. Most of the columns of the Giant's Causeway form a six-sided honeycomb pattern. Some have as many as ten sides and measure about 12 inches across and up to forty feet in length.
  • The Eiffel Tower is painted approximately once every 7 years and requires nearly 50 tons of paint each time. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, visited by more than six million people per year.
  • The standard single oar used by gondoliers in Venice is 14 feet long.
  • In England a quarter penny was originally known as a fourthing - when coins were cut into pieces to make change - farthing is a corruption of fourthing.
  • "Mageiricophobia" is the intense fear of having to cook.
  • When a school of baby catfish are threatened, their father opens his huge mouth and the youngsters swim inside to hide. When danger has passed, he reopens his mouth and lets the fry out.
  • Of the twenty-five highest mountains on Earth, nineteen are in the Himalayas.
  • The star known as LP 327-186, a so-called white dwarf, is smaller than the state of Texas, yet so dense, that if a cubic inch of it were brought to Earth, it would weigh more than 1.5 million tons.
   These trivial facts, and more, can be found at  www.uselessknowledge.com. 

Beth

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Friday, 5 July 2002

July 5, 2002 Chautauqua



From the Editor's Computer

   “Oh, Canada.  My home and native land…”  In recognition of Canada Day, I would like to share with you some little known tidbits about this great country that we are so very blessed to live in and call our home.
  • Canada is the only geographical area with rivers running east (from the Rockies towards Hudson Bay) and west (from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean).  All other countries in the world have north/south orientated rivers.  This is one reason why the fur trade flourished in Canada as fur traders were able to penetrate deep into our western regions years before the Americans even crossed the Mississippi.
  • The longest named place in Canada is Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake in northern Manitoba.
  • Manitoulin Island (in Lake Huron) made the 1983 Guinness Book of Records due to  the lake in the island, Manitou Lake, the world’s largest lake within a lake.
  • Flin Flon was named after the nickname of a dime novel hero - Professor Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin (aka Flin Flon) from the novel The Sunless City written in 1905 by J.E. Preston-Muddock.
  • Sir Charles Tupper was the shortest-serving Prime Minister of Canada - his term in office lasted for 69 days in 1896.
  • Francis Jeffery Dickens (1844-1886), son of novelist Charles Dickens, was an inspector with the North West Mounted Police, leading a defence against Big Bear at Fort Pitt in April, 1885.
  • One of the greatest sea mysteries in the world is the inexplicable abandonment of the ship the Mary Celeste in December of 1872.  On Spencer’s Island, NS, there is a cairn commemorating the ship as it was built and launched from there in 1861.  It was originally christened the Amazon.
  • TĂȘte du Pont Barracks, Kingston, ON was the site of the first hockey game in Canada on December 25, 1855.  Members of the Royal Canadian Rifles regiment cleared snow from the harbour, laced blades to their boots and played field hockey on ice with borrowed field hockey sticks and a lacrosse ball.
  • In 1860 one of the names proposed for the new dominion was Tuponia (The United Provinces of North America).  It, along with other suggestions, was rejected in favour of Canada.
  • It is possible to see two quarrelling men in the Canadian Flag.  The images are in the white panel at the top of the maple leaf (silhouettes butting heads).  The two men were called Jack and Jacques, or Lester B. Pearson (in favour of the flag) and John D. Diefenbaker (its opponent).
  • The national toast for Canada is “Chimo!” (chee-mo)  It is a native term meaning “cheers.”

(most of these tidbits are from the book 1001 questions about Canada by John Robert Colombo)

Beth

Click here to read the complete issue of The Chautauqua.

To contact The Chautauqua, email: thechautauqua@gmail.com.