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Did You know Facts Page #8

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  1. On the Baja coast, osprey couples return to the same nests year after year. These birds rebuild their old nest, carefully repairing any damage caused by winds, rain, and age. After years of rebuilding, some osprey nests can reach heights of 4 feet.
  2. In New York City, Consolidated Edison has more than 80,500 miles (129,524 kilometers) of underground electrical cable in the city. Some of the power is purchased from Hydro-Quebec, a sprawling series of hydroelectric dams that harness the power of the La Grande River in northern Quebec and Ontario.
  3. New Zealand has an estimated population of 3,500,000, which is nearly a million less than the much smaller U.S. state of Arizona, with a 1997 estimated population of 4,595,000.
  4. In 1859, a shower of fish fell from the sky in Glamorgan, Wales. The fish covered an area the size of three tennis courts.
  5. The world's largest yo-yo resides in the National YoYo Museum in Chico, California. Named "Big Yo," the 256-pound yoyo is an exact scale replica of a Tom Kuhn "No Jive 3 in 1 YoYo." Fifty inches tall and 31.5 inches wide, the yo-yo is made of California sugar pine, baltic birch from the former USSR, and hardrock maple. It was first launched in San Francisco on October 13, 1979.
  6. Polaris, in the tail of the Little Bear constellation, is the closest visible star to true north and thus is referred to as the North Star. By about 2100 A.D., the wobble of Earth's axis will slowly begin pointing the North Pole away from Polaris.
  7. Scallops are considered the safest shellfish to eat raw. Most of the danger in eating raw shellfish stems from the fact that shellfish filter large amounts of sea water to obtain nutrients. Toxins, bacteria, and viruses tend to accumulate in this filtration apparatus. The filtration apparatus in scallops is, however, discarded; only the scallop's abductor muscle, where few toxins accumulate, is eaten.
  8. Beef seems so American, but it was actually an import. Spaniards brought the first cattle to the United States in the sixteenth century. Originally, the settlers regarded them as beasts of burden, but the Indians found them delicious. The Indians, in fact, were the first cattle herders, and they were the ones who moved the cattle across the Mississippi River to the grasslands of the plains.
  9. Portmanteau words are descriptive word combinations, such as brunch (from breakfast and lunch), motel (from motor and hotel), and smog (from smoke and fog).
  10. The House of Windsor rules England. The Netherlands is ruled by the House of Orange.
  11. In hospital slang, a GOMER is a patient seeking emergency treatment for a minor complaint. The term is an acronym for "Get Out of My Emergency Room."
  12. Roy Rogers' favorite of the 100 movies he made was My Pal Trigger.
  13. It took three years of constant printing to complete Johann Gutenberg's famous Bible, which appeared in 1455 in two volumes, and had 1,284 pages. He reportedly printed 200 Bibles, of which 47 still exist.
  14. In Turkey, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, anyone caught drinking coffee was put to death.
  15. The penguin is the only bird that can swim, but not fly. It is also the only bird that walks upright.
  16. The pupil of an octopus's eye is rectangular.
  17. Washington, D.C. is the birthplace of many celebrities, including David Birney, Blair Brown, Connie Chung, Matt Frewer, Goldie Hawn, Al Gore, John Heard, Edward Hermann, William Hurt, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Michael Learned, Roger Mudd, Maury Povich, Chita Rivera, Pete Sampras, and Peter Tork.
  18. In March 2000 during the pre-ceremony Academy Award interviews, Tom Cruise confessed that he had never watched an Oscar telecast until long after he was an adult and was pursuing an acting career.
  19. The average medium size piano has about 230 strings, each string having about 165 pounds of tension, with the combined pull of all strings equaling approximately 18 tons.
  20. It takes a lobster approximately seven years to grow to be one pound.


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