Stuff You Should Know – Facts


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Short Facts

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. (Hardly seems worth it.)If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb. (Now that’s more like it!)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet. (O.M.G..!)

A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes. (In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.)
(I’m still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour. (Don’t try this at home; maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off. (Honey, I’m home. What the…?)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field. (30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds. (What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day. (I still want to be a pig in my next life…quality over quantity.)

Butterflies taste with their feet. (Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue. (Hmmmmmm……..)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people. (If you’re ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump. (Okay, so that would be a good thing.)

A cat’s urine glows under a black light. (I wonder how much the government paid to figure that out.)

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains. (I know some people like that, too.)

Polar bears are left-handed. (If they switch, they’ll live a lot longer.)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure. (What about that pig? Do the dolphins know about the pig?)
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Renaissance Woman
Hedy Lamarr Biography: Hedy’s Folly by Richard Rhodes (Review)
How the world’s most beautiful woman helped invent GPS, Wi-Fi, and a homing torpedo.
Hedy Lamarr_PicHedy Lamarr., MGM-CorbisActresses often long to turn director, but how many of them yearn to turn inventor? Given the success that the screen siren Hedy Lamarr achieved in that realm—revealed in Richard Rhodes’s fascinating biography, Hedy’s Folly—it’s a pity more of them don’t consider it.In 1940, while acting alongside Jimmy Stewart and Judy Garland in the MGM musical Ziegfeld Girl, the 26-year-old Lamarr spent her free time devising a radio-controlled submarine missile-guidance system to help the U.S. Navy in World War II. What moved her to do this? “She didn’t drink and she didn’t like to party, so she took up inventing,” Rhodes explains. Of course, there was more to it than that. The torpedo was not the starlet’s only invention: she also came up with an antiaircraft shell with a proximity fuse, and a fizzing cube that could turn a plain glass of water into soda.How did a woman who couldn’t spell (by some accounts) make such signif-icant contributions to science? Born Hedwig Kiesler into a refined Viennese Jewish family in 1914, she dropped out of high school to act on stage and screen. In 1931, when she was 16, the director Max Reinhardt cast her in the play The Weaker Sex and called her “the most beautiful woman in the world”—an epithet that stuck. Two years later, she attained notoriety for her memorable (if fleeting) nude scenes in a Czech art film called Ecstasy. The film horrified her parents but thrilled munitions mogul Fritz Mandl.Marrying Lamarr in short order, Mandl threw glittering dinner parties where his colleagues in arms—generals and scientists—entertained the child bride by bragging about their advances in missile technology. In 1937, bucking her marriage, Lamarr fled Europe for America on the Normandie liner, where she befriended the MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer. Before the ship came to port, she’d landed a seven-year contract. In Hollywood three years later, as German torpedoes downed boats in the North Atlantic during the Blitz, Lamarr remembered every ballistic boast she’d absorbed around her husband’s table and put her memories to work.

Hedy's Folly Book Pic

Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes. Doubleday. 272 pages

Rhodes’s book is really a dual history, exploring Lamarr’s close collaboration with another German-speaking polymath in Hollywood, the composer George Antheil (famous for the cacophonous Ballet Mécanique, for which he synchronized 16 player pianos, drums, cymbals, and an airplane propeller). Though Lamarr and Antheil’s Secret Communication System received a patent in 1942, the U.S. Navy chose not to use it. Decades after war’s end, American scientists repurposed the “frequency-hopping” innovation Lamarr had envisioned—renamed “spread spectrum” technology—and used it to create cell-phones, GPS, and Wi-Fi. You could almost say that, without Lamarr, there would be no Siri … and no iPhone 4.

Rhodes’s beguiling book shows Hedy Lamarr to have been a secret weapon in more ways than one. “Any girl can be glamorous,” she was famous for saying. “All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” But it’s not every girl who can be glamorous, stand still, and take the future in a new direction.

Beauty and Brains: Hedy Lamarr

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