Wednesday, August 16, 2006

FACTS tested and edited. .. (from an earlier post)

A fetching young lass decided to take up the challenge of finding facts fom the list I put on here a while back. Here is the post from her blog:

Well, I answered each and every one of the facts, with true or false and had backup for any false answers. I'm sharing it here, just in case you all get this. Get a snack, something to drink, as there were 34 "facts" on the list and I copied and pasted lots to her from websites.


1. Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of cotton.

The paper that the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) uses to produce our currency is "distinctive." A paper manufacturer produces it according to BEP specifications. It is composed of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen. The paper also contains red and blue fibers of various lengths that are evenly distributed throughout the paper.

2. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence, announced and released by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, was written on paper made from hemp. This document was later copied onto vellum parchment (animal skin) and signed by the delegates on August 2, 1776.

3. The dot over the letter i is called a "tittle".

True. And the ~ over an N in Spanish is a tilde.

4. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.

Dunno. The ONLY place I can find that fact are in copies of this list in various places all over the Internet. I say we get a bottle of champagne, a box of raisins and check it out.

5. Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller.

FALSE! They've been trying to put this rumor to rest for at least 20 years. But it refuses to die.

6. 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.

Urban Myth.

7. 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.

False. This joke has been around since before 1996. Not to mention, there is no dictionary just called Webster's. Note: I linked to Amazon in the return email, which I can't do here. There are a number of dictionaries with Webster's in the title. But there is no such thing as the plain old Webster's Dictionary.

8. The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor, who had red eyes. He was albino.

7Up was invented by Charles Leiper Grigg. From Snopes:

Charles Leiper Grigg wasn't an albino. In photographs (albeit black and white ones), he appears normally pigmented, and we've yet to encounter a biography of him that makes any mention of his displaying traits of albinism. (By the way, though it is possible for an albino to have reddish or violet eyes, most people with that condition have blue eyes, and some have hazel or brown eyes.)

9. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.

False. But it is the stuff of sitcoms.

10. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.


11. Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system; a few ounces will kill a small-sized dog.

Chocolate will kill a dog. I don't know if it effects the heart and the nervous system, but it does poison dogs. And a few ounces landed a 45 pound standard poodle who stole MY chocolate Easter bunny 12 years ago in the hospital for three days. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. The more sensitive a dog, the more apt it is to get sick,
or die. Size has nothing to do with it.

12. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.

LMAO! Yeah, and boxers explode in the ring from being punched in the gut! False, false, false! Note: Here I included a link to a site that includes the story of the first documented Orca attack on a shark, back in 1997. Here's part of it:

Authorities last week identified the killer whales seen attacking a great white shark off the Farallon Islands as members of the "LA Pod," a gang of orcas that usually frequent waters off Los Angeles.

Witnesses to the Oct. 4 attack saw two orcas swimming when the larger one sped off, returning to the surface with a 10-foot shark in her jaws.

The 20-foot orca was caught on videotape thrashing the shark to death. Based on the footage, biologists have identified the attacker as "CA2," a fullgrown female at least 25 years old. She was last seen off Santa Barbara in 1995 and is the only known killer whale to prey on sharks.

CA2 was first photographed off Los Angeles in 1982 and has been caught on film 18 times since then, said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a marine biologist who tracks the LA Pod for the American Cetacean Society. It was Schulman-Janiger who recognized CA2 from the footage.

13. Most lipstick contains fish scales (eeww).

Some, not most. Definitely not all. It's called pearl essence and it comes from herring scales. Not all that gross, especially in
comparison to skin creams that contain cerebrosides. The raw material for cerebrosides in cosmetics comes from cattle, oxen, or swine brain cells or other nervous-system tissues. That last sentence is straight from the FDA.

14. Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.

False! Note: Link to story at Snopes deleted, they have the truth there.

15. Ketchup was sold in the 1830's as medicine.

False. The version we know was invented by Heinz in 1872. While various things were called ketchup for many years before a standard recipe was mass marketed, the ketchup we all use was never a medicine. Mind you, that doesn't mean some snake oil called ketchup wasn't marketed as medicine. Note: Link to the history of ketchup deleted. But it's interesting, how it started out as a relish for fish in China and it wasn't until the settlement of this country that anyone started to add tomatoes. The early stuff sounds more than vile. But in no ketchup link did I find anything about medicine.

16. Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters.

One of the few true ones on this list.

17. Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time; hence, multi-tasking was invented.

He painted and wrote with his left hand. From the Da Vinci Society website:

It was presumably before joining Verrocchio’s workshop that Leonardo learned to write. In any case, his handwriting has the constancy of style that one associates with someone who makes a habit of writing. However, we know that Leonardo used his left hand for drawing and, like many other left-handers, he apparently found it natural to write from right to left, in what we would call ‘mirror writing.’ He writes this way when he is writing for himself. If he is writing for others, say in the caption to a drawing for presentation, he writes in the manner normal for right-handed people. Thus, in today’s terms, Leonardo was ‘literate’; when he calls himself ‘a man without letters’ (uomo sanza lettere) this means simply that he did not read and write Latin, that he was not a scholar but a craftsman. This kind of statement is a fairly standard one, used to deflect criticism from experts. There are, nonetheless, extensive indications that Leonardo was in touch with, for instance, the medical and optical learning associated with the Latin scholarship of universities - most probably because there were people willing to help him to read the relevant texts or to explain to him what they contained. In any case, he was sufficiently confident in his own literacy that, among his many ongoing projects, he planned to write treatises on anatomy, painting, water, flight, geometry, machines and other subjects. The earliest evidence of the project for the series of treatises dates from 1489 and Leonardo continued to be concerned with them until his death in 1519. The project apparently originated with Leonardo himself rather than being suggested by a patron.

18. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.

FALSE! They were plaster of Paris and they were traded in after the war for the real thing.

19. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.

From the Court TV website:

MYTH: To keep gamblers oblivious to the time of day, there are no windows or clocks in Las Vegas casinos.
FACT: While they're not plentiful, there are a handful of windows and clocks in casinos. Otherwise, how would you know when the Celine Dion show was going to start?

20. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan; there was never a recorded "Wendy" before!

From The Straight Dope website (census links removed):

J. M. Barrie did not invent the name Wendy for his 1904 play Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (the book form of the story, Peter and Wendy, was published in 1911). He did popularize it, though. Barrie apparently was inspired to use the name by a young friend named Margaret Henley, the daughter of writer William Henley. Margaret, who died around 1895 at age 6, called Barrie her "friendy." Since she couldn't pronounce her Rs at the time, the word came out "fwendy," or "fwendy-wendy," in some versions of the story.

But we have absolute proof that there were earlier Wendys, thanks to the just-released 1880 U.S. Census and the 1881 British Census. These documents show that the name Wendy, while not common, was indeed used in both the U.S. and Great Britain throughout the 1800s. I had no trouble finding twenty females with the first name Wendy in the United States, the earliest being Wendy Gram of Ohio (born in 182. If you include such spelling variations as Windy, Wendi, Wenda, and Wandy the number triples.

As to the origins of said name, websites make the claim that Wendy is a derivative of the name Gwendolen or maybe Gwendolyn. Looking further, I chanced upon World Wide Wendy, a site dedicated to, well, all things Wendy. On this site, Doctor of Folklore Leslie Ellen Jones discusses the possible Welsh origins of the name Gwendolyn and its derivative Wendy. In both the English and U.S. Census, however, the name Wendy is also used as a male first name, so I suspect further research may be required.

21. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, and silver!


22. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa's lips.

Scissors were invented thousands of years ago (roughly 1500 B.C.) in ancient Egypt. Early scissors have been found in ancient Egyptian ruins. These early scissors were made from one piece of metal (unlike modern scissors, which are made from two cross-blades which pivot around a fulcrum). Modern cross-bladed scissors were invented in ancient Rome (roughly A.D. 100). Early scissors were used by clothes makers and barbers. Scissors were not in common use until much later, in the 1500's (in Europe).

The Mona Lisa was painted over the course of three years. It is a self portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci.

23. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death.

Pure bullshit. I wonder if we can find the person who first put this list together in 1997 (earliest forum posting of this I've found) and put a bit of liquor on his or her arm and then a scorpion and see what happens. Heh heh heh...

24. The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" was a Captain Kirk's mask painted white.

Well, it was the mask William Shatner wore in "The Devil's Rain" painted white and recycled to save Money. So no, it wasn't a Captain Kirk mask.

25. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of Money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know).

Um, ok. That is a total of 11 coins. If you have 9 dimes and 9 pennies, you have 18 coins and 99 cents. If you have 1 quarter, five nickels and ten pennies, you have 16 coins and all of 60 cents. If you have 99 pennies... Or am I missing the point here? (Note: I did miss the point here, as I was starting to suffer burn-out at that point and I didn't read it properly.)

26. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand (and you thought this list was completely useless).

Try raising your legs out of the quicksand to float. (Note: Web MD link removed. They do tell you to flop on your back, to evenly distribute your weight. But they also point out at the very end of the article: "The downside: You're going to have to be pretty strong to get out of quicksand. The required force to pull a foot out is "about that needed to lift a medium-sized car," write the researchers." So there's no way you're going to be able to get your legs out without help.)

27. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law, which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

WRONG! Rule of thumb meant what it did now when it made its way into the OED in 1692. The myth about the etymology came about in the 1800s, when American judges started ruling that if a man beat his wife with a switch no wider than his thumb, it was legal.

28. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.

WRONG! From the Motorola website:

Motorola’s role as pioneer, innovator and visionary in mobile communications is well-known. Originally founded as the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in 1928, Motorola has come a long way since introducing its first product, the battery eliminator.


Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduces one of the first commercially successful car radios. The original Motorola model 5T71 radio sells for between $110 and $130, and can be installed in most popular automobiles.

Galvin Manufacturing Corporation founder Paul V. Galvin creates the brand name "Motorola" for the company's new car radio, linking "motor" (motorcar, motion) with the suffix "ola" (sound).

29. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples!

From Snopes:

Celery has about 6 calories per 8-inch stalk, making it a dieter's staple. Although it's loaded with latent energy, the amount we are capable of extracting from it is negligible thanks to the plant's cellulose composition. Its ingestion can result in negative calories, but it is a fallacy to believe that effect has to do with energy expended in chewing. Though chewing might feel like a somewhat strenuous activity, it burns about the same amount of energy as watching paint dry. It is the bodily energy devoted to the digestion of the green stalks that exhausts calories. A cold low-calorie drink would enhance the effect, because the liquid needs to be warmed to body temperature, an act that requires further expenditure of energy.

There have been those who have taken this tiny sliver of truth and used it to form the basis of what they tout as "negative calorie diets," proving once again that anything can form the core of a diet plan someone wants to sell to others, provided it contains a notion that so much as vaguely sounds like it might work and weds it to the promise of easy, quick, effortless, and pain-free weight loss.

30. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!


31. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

True. So is the paper.

32. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.

So the people at the Guinness Book of World Records claimed in 1978.

33. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages it.

coughbullshitcough Among the space food on flights are freeze dried green beans. They also grow and eat soy beans in space.

34. George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart. "Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she's behind bars. O. J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the ONE woman in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard, and they haul her fanny off to jail."

I can't find any definite proof he said this. George Carlin himself has said, "Here's a rule of thumb, folks: Nothing you see on the Internet is mine unless it came from one of my albums, books, HBO shows, or appeared on my website. If you see something with my name on it, and you really need to find out if it's mine, post a question on my bulletin board . But only if it's really important to you; don't f**k around with me for a lark."

It's not on his website. Nor is there a reference to it on the bulletin board. So, unless someone can come up with the book, or a tape or DVD of an HBO special, or an album, it's fake.

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