Rafed English

Did You Know? - General Info - Part 1

  • Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33.
  • The dollar symbol ($) is a U combined with an S (U.S.)
  • Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
  • The Statue of Liberty's tablet is two feet thick.
  • There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
  • The slogan on New Hampshire license plates is 'Live Free or Die'. These license plates are manufactured by prisoners in the state prison in Concord.
  • The straw was probably invented by Egyptian brewers to taste in-process beer without removing the fermenting ingredients which floated on the top of the container.
  • David Prowse, was the guy in the Darth Vader suit in Star Wars. He spoke all of Vader's lines, and didn't know that he was going to be dubbed over by James Earl Jones until he saw the screening of the movie.
  • The United States government keeps its supply of silver at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY
  • There are only thirteen blimps in the world.
  • Nine of the thirteen blimps are in the United States.
  • The existing biggest blimp is the Fuji Film blimp.
  • Naugahyde, plastic "leather" was created in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
  • The Swiss flag is square.
  • The word 'pound' is abbreviated 'lb.' after the constellation 'libra' because it means 'pound' in Latin, and also 'scales'. The abbreviation for the British Pound Sterling comes from the same source: it is an 'L' for Libra/Lb. with a stroke through it to indicate abbreviation.
  • Sames goes for the Italian lira which uses the same abbreviation ('lira' coming from 'libra'). So British currency (before it went metric) was always quoted as "pounds/shillings/pence", abbreviated "L/s/d" (libra/solidus/denarius).
  • The three largest land-owners in England are the Queen, the Church of England and Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • The monastic hours are matins, lauds, prime, tierce, sext, nones, vespers and compline.
  • If you come from Manchester, you are a Mancunian.
  • No animal, once frozen solid (i.e., water solidifies and turns to ice) survives when thawed, because the ice crystals formed inside cells would break open the cell membranes. However there are certain frogs that can survive the experience of being frozen. These frogs make special proteins which prevent the formation of ice (or at least keep the crystals from becoming very large), so that they actually never freeze even though their body temperature is below zero Celsius. The water in them remains liquid: a phenomenon known as 'supercooling.' If you disturb one of these frogs (just touching them even), the water in them quickly freezes solid and they die.
  • The white part of your fingernail is called the lunula.
  • Madrid is the only European capital city not situated on a river.
  • The name for fungal remains found in coal is sclerotinite.
  • The Boston University Bridge (on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts) is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.
  • Emus cannot walk backwards.
  • It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear.
  • The shopping mall in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada has the largest water clock in North America.
  • Both writer Edgar Allen Poe and LSD advocate Timothy Leary were kicked out of West Point.
  • The word posh, which denotes luxurious rooms or accomodations, originated when ticket agents in England marked the tickets of travelers going by ship to the Orient. Since there was no air conditioning in those days, it was always better to have a cabin on the shady side of the ship as it passed through the Mediterranean and Suez area. Since the sun is in the south, those with money paid extra to get cabin's on the left, or port, traveling to the Asia, and on the right, or starboard, when returning to Europe. Hence their tickets were marked with the initials for Port Outbound Starboard Homebound, or POSH.
  • The top layer of a wedding cake, known as the groom's cake, traditionally is a fruit cake. That way it will save until the first anniversery.
  • The German Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered arm and often hid the fact by posing with his hand resting on a sword, or by holding gloves.
  • The forward pass was created by the football team at Saint Louis University.
  • In every show that Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks) wrote, there is at least one song about rain.
  • A kind of tortoise in the Galapagos Islands has an upturned shell at its neck so it can reach its head up to eat cactus branches.
  • The only city whose name can be spelled completely with vowels is Aiea, Hawaii, located approximately twelve miles west of Honolulu.
  • Parthenogenesis is the term used to describe the process by which certain animals are able to reproduce themselves in successive female generations without intervention of a male of the species. At least one species of lizard is known to do so.
  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
  • The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat", which means "the king is dead".
  • The ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2, should always be written as QE2. QEII is the actual queen.
  • "Quisling" is the only word in the English language to start with "quis."
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