Angie Dickinson planned to be a writer, inspired by her publisher father. While a student, she worked as a secretary at Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank (now Bob Hope Airport) and in a parts factory.
A timing error of half a millisecond in either direction is enough to cause a pitcher to miss the strike zone.
Researchers at the University of Lincoln are working with WESC, one of the UK's most respected schools for visually impaired children, to create and evaluate a new visual search rehabilitation game. They believe playing the game may lead to significant recovery of sight following damage to visual centers of the brain.
Some say peanuts could be used to make dynamite.
Size seems to predict lifespan, say Santa Fe Institute researchers. A cat, 100 times more massive than a mouse, lives 1001/4, or about three times, longer.
Recent research suggests that Ernest Hemingway never wrote the six-word story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." It's more likely this urban legend of an alleged story was based on a 1921 newspaper column by Roy K. Moulton, who printed a brief note he attributed to someone named Jerry: "Baby carriage for sale, never used."
Richard Nixon played piano.
In 1875, Louis Prang created the first line of Christmas cards in the United States. By 1881, he was printing five million cards a year.
According to one researcher, piggy banks didn't come into existence because there was a kind of clay in the Middle Ages called "pygg." Besides, says another researcher, in 1400, the word "pygg" would have sounded like "pug."
By his own admission, David Sedaris cleans up rubbish off the streets of Sussex with naughty boys.
Pigeon racing is the sport of releasing specially trained racing pigeons, which then return to their homes over a carefully measured distance. It was introduced into the United States about 1875, although regular racing did not begin until 1878.
Russia has called them the R-11, R-17, and R-300 Elbrus, but most others call them "scud" missiles, based on a code name by Western intelligence agencies.
Portugal's electricity network operator announced recently that renewable energy supplied 70% of their total consumption in the first quarter of this year. Hydroelectric power supplied 37% of total electricity, and wind energy produced 27%.
Ailurophobia is the persistent, irrational fear of cats.
In Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," the first eight bars of Eric Clapton's solo are a quote from the Irving Berlin song "Blue Moon."
The Mount Graham Red Squirrel, native to Arizona's Pinaleño Mountains, is America's rarest and most endangered squirrel. It hoards conifer cones and fungi in piles known as middens.
The first bank in Laredo, Texas, was founded by Patrick Milmo O'Dowd from Ireland. To fit in better with the locals, he changed his name to Patricio Milmo.
Uzbekistan and Liechtenstein are considered doubly landlocked countries – landlocked countries completely surrounded by other landlocked countries. At least 14 of the world's 44 landlocked countries maintain a navy.
The power output of the Saturn V rocket's first stage was 60 gigawatts – about the same as the United Kingdom's peak power demand.
Six sigma refers to any process that produces 3.4 defects per one million opportunities.
The Dubai police are getting a Lamborghini. The 217mph machine costs about $500,000.
On his 11th birthday, while his dad and stepmother were away on their honeymoon, actor Peter Fonda accidentally shot himself in the stomach with a .22-caliber pistol. Years later, tripping on acid at a party with the Beatles, he showed them his wound, saying "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon would incorporate the words into the song "She Said She Said" that appears on Revolver.
After it was first discovered, radium was hailed as a panacea for everything from blindness to hysteria. It was added as an ingredient in products such as lipstick and chocolate, and put into chicken feed with hopes the eggs would self-incubate, or at least self-cook.
Q-tips were invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang. He originally called them "Baby Gays."
Recent research by Dr. David G. Amen (of the Amen Clinics) says there are six types of ADD/ADHD, each requiring its own treatment protocol. And commonly prescribed medications like Adderal and Ritalin can aggravate symptoms in four of the six types, Amen says.
Besides being famous, what do John Rhys-Davies, Lindsay Lohan, and Dennis Rodman have in common? According to USA Today, they owed money to the IRS as of 2012.
In 1959, the American Embassy in Kathmandu issued "Regulations Governing Mountain Climbing Expeditions in Nepal – Relating to Yeti." It stipulated three rules: Yeti hunters must pay the Nepalese government for a permit; hunters can photograph, but not kill, any Yeti they see, and must turn any photos or captured Yeti over to Nepali officials; and new findings must go through Nepalese channels before going public.
Recently, Toyota held an online contest to determine the plural of Prius, and the winning entry was Prii.
Andris Leipa, former star of the Bolshoi Ballet known as the "Perestroika Kid," was the first Soviet performer granted an open-ended visa as a result of Gorbachev's reforms.
Since 2001, the base defense budget has grown from $287 billion to $530 billion (not counting the main costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars).
NASA used tortillas for astronaut sustenance as early as 1985, when Mexican scientist Rodolfo Neri Vela requested a pack as part of his food provisions, in order to make tacos in space.
Some prisons in Brazil use geese as alarm systems.
Magic Johnson likes the book Jack and the Beanstalk. Darryl Hannah likes Horton Hears a Who.
Stalactites hang (has the letter "c," so think from "ceiling"), stalagmites rise (has the letter "g," so think from "ground").
What we call a highway "loop" in the U.S. is a "ring road" in the UK, Europe, China, and most Commonwealth countries. We might say traffic is slow going northbound or southbound on Loop 410, but in the UK they'd say it's slow going clockwise or anti-clockwise.
According to the Census Bureau, 600,000 Americans have commutes to work that are longer than 90 minutes and 50 miles. Those workers are far more likely than other workers to either use public transit or carpool, but overall, nearly 4 in 5 workers who work outside of the home drive to work alone.
Jaguars are good swimmers.
On average, in America, it takes a person 25.4 minutes to get to work.
Howard William Cosell (1918-1995), born Howard William Cohen, was originally a lawyer. Some of his clients were athletes, including Willie Mays. He began his broadcasting career hosting a radio show with Little League players.
Duncan Hines was a traveling salesman.
The eight grades of USDA beef are, from best to worst: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. Marbling is abundant in Prime and practically devoid in Canner.
According to writer Austin Considine, 2% of women carry a specific genotype associated with a total lack of body odor.
They say male dogs make good psychologists for female cheetahs who are skittish and less likely to mate in captivity.
Wheeled garbage pails are called "wheelie bins" in England, Australia, and New Zealand.
In 1965, on his 20th birthday, The Who's Pete Townshend wrote "My Generation" while riding a train from London to Southampton. Of course, he had no idea the song would become an anthem for the youth culture – its most memorable line: "Hope I die 'fore I get old."
Brad Pitt used to move refrigerators.
During FY 2012, the federal government spent more on immigration enforcement — $18 billion — than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute. Adjusted for inflation, the U.S. now spends 15 times as much on immigration enforcement as it did in the Eighties.
At left is information that Mr. Smarty Pants read in a book, a magazine, or the newspaper; heard on the radio; saw on television; or overheard at a party. Got facts? Write to Mr. Smarty Pants at the Chronicle, or email email@example.com.