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April 23, 2015

Every second about 100 lightning bolts hit the ground somewhere on Earth. Right now, there are about 1,800 thunderstorms in progress.

According to Tim O'Neill on, for almost all of the Middle Ages – c. 500 to 1500 AD – the official Church position on so-called witches was that they didn't exist.

Neurologists believe that Hitler and Mao Zedong had Parkinson's.

Picasso once observed that one could cover anything with fur, and soon afterward, Swiss surrealist artist Méret Oppenheim produced a teacup, saucer, and spoon covered with the creamy tan fur of a Chinese gazelle.

The moon is moving an inch and a half away from Earth each year.

April 16, 2015

According to writer Ben Blatt at, the hardest shot in bowling is not the 7-10 split, but the 4-6-7-9-10 split, known in Professional Bowlers Association bowling lingo as the "Greek Church" because its pattern is supposedly reminiscent of "an old cathedral-type church with spires."

Pitcher Duster Mails (1894-1974) would give an autographed photo to any woman who would bake him a chocolate cake.

The copper sheeting on the Statue of Liberty is 3/32-inch thick.

Horses can sleep standing up, and their unique system of ­interlocking leg ligaments and bones ensures they don't have to exert any energy doing so.

Dresses have "memory" and never lose the imprint of the body that once wore them. Chemical reactions between the materials and the wearer's body are ongoing – perspiration may continue to oxidize metallic thread, even 100 years later.

April 9, 2015

Bert Hinkler was the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic. But he was the first to fly solo across the southern Atlantic.

Raëlism, also known as Raëlianism or the Raëlian movement, is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon, now known as Raël. Followers frequently use a swastika as a symbol of peace, although they also use a combination swastika/Star of David.

In the theory of stagecraft, a rightward placement telegraphs royalty. And that's why late-night talk show hosts put their desks on the right.

There is a myth I must clear up: Thomas Edison was not one of the first bathing-beauty competition judges. Despite rumors, there is no proof of a beauty pageant he allegedly attended in Rehoboth Beach, Del., in 1880. So there.

Megan Fox has a phobia about dry paper.

April 2, 2015

First Lady Dolley Madison's favorite flavor of ice cream was oyster (she was wife of James Madison, U.S. president from 1809 to 1817).

The most efficient food you can carry, in terms of calories per pound, is butter, which is why Arctic explorers carry so much of it.

Scientists at the University of Geneva recently discovered how chameleons change color. Transparent nano-objects called photonic crystals, found in a layer of cells in their skin dubbed iridophores, are tuned to change the way light is reflected.

The duck vocals for "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees were done by Ken Pruitt. He moved away before the song became popular, and Michael Chesney did the duck vocals for the concert tour.

The average-sized adult carries about five pounds of dead skin.

March 26, 2015

Ötzi the Iceman, who died 5,300 years ago and whose body was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, was predisposed to heart disease and is the first documented case of infection by a Lyme disease bacterium.

In 1928, William Frawley (Fred Mertz in I Love Lucy) was fired from the Broadway show That's My Baby for punching actor Clifton Webb in the nose.

According to a 2011 study by the American Bar Association, over the past 25 years, law school tuition has risen twice as fast as inflation.

So strong was Union sentiment in North Alabama and East Tennessee that it was proposed that North Alabama join with Unionist East Tennessee to form the loyal state of Nickajack.

On an up escalator, each additional passenger makes the motor work a little harder to pull the steps up. But on a down escalator, each additional passenger helps the motor, thanks to the action of gravity. So riding the up escalator costs a little energy, while riding the down escalator saves a little.

March 18, 2015

On March 12, 1951, two completely different comic strips premiered in the U.S. and England with the same name: Dennis the Menace.

Lyndon B. Johnson used to fix cars.

Water absorbs microwaves better than ice. That's because in ice, the water molecules are locked together in a crystal structure by hydrogen bonds. Therefore, it is easier to boil water with a microwave oven than it is to melt ice. This is why you shouldn't defrost a chicken on full power.

The 1968 Otto Preminger film Skidoo advocated the use of LSD. To research his role in the film, Groucho Marx tried some LSD with friend Paul Krassner.

According to Phil Plait at, Springfield in The Simpsons can't be located in the United States or even in the Northern Hemisphere. He bases his theory on the fact that in a scene in a recent episode with guest star Elon Musk, the tips of a waxing crescent moon point to the right, which is only possible in the Southern Hemisphere.

March 12, 2015

According to Randall Munroe of What If?, most 6-, 8-, or even 12-pound bowling balls will float in seawater.

The last letter added to the alphabet was J. It wasn't added until the 19th century. Before that, everyone thought of I and J as the same letter. That's why Washington, D.C., has no J Street.

According to Rebecca M. Herzi, author of Plucked: A History of Hair Removal, American women who shave spend more than $10,000 and nearly two entire months of their lives managing unwanted hair. The woman who waxes once or twice a month will spend more than $23,000 over the course of her lifetime.

Julie Nimoy Schwartz and her dad, the late Leonard Nimoy, appeared together in a 1991 TV ­commercial for Oldsmobile.

America's prison population seems to be declining, according to the N.Y. Times, from an all-time high of 1.62 million in 2009 to about 1.57 million in 2012. But even if the downward trend continues, it could take almost 90 years for the prison population to get down to where it was in 1980.

March 5, 2015

The brontosaurus never existed. Everything labeled as brontosaurus should be apatosaurus (which ironically means "deceptive reptile").

One of the changes that happened in the evolution from Latin to the Romance languages was the shift from the Classical Latin W to V. In Classical Latin, the /w/ sound was represented by the letter V which was named the letter U.

Raquel Welch was a weather forecaster at KFMB in San Diego.

By the time of the American Revolution, a sizable Moroccan Muslim community had developed at Charleston, S.C. Worried about being confused for slaves and therefore being denied rights, they petitioned the courts to be recognized as white. A tribunal of judges agreed, and the state legislature passed the Moors Sundry Act in 1790.

The Beatles liked to play Monopoly and poker.

February 26, 2015

David Bowie's first TV appearance, as a 17-year-old in 1964, was as spokesman for "The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men."

On the Fifty Shades of Grey movie poster with the man holding his necktie about waist level, if you look in the middle of his lower lip, you should see the white letters "S E X" in a small, sans serif font.

Slinging dead rats is a custom at the annual San Pedro Nolasco fiesta in El Puig, Spain.

By conservative estimates, there were more than 400 shooting deaths at U.S. law enforcement hands in 2012. In the UK, that number was zero. Americans are 100 times more likely to be shot by police than are British citizens.

Harry Houdini was the first person to fly an airplane in Australia.

February 19, 2015

At one point, Henry Ford had 500 birdhouses.

According to the Associated Press, the world burns enough oil-derived fuel each hour to empty 240 Olympic-sized swimming pools (2.7 million gallons/minute).

Of the 10 most valuable watches ever auctioned, nine are Patek Philippe. Eric Clapton's Patek Philippe 2499 sold for $3.65 million in 2012.

The human heart, full of blood, weighs three-fourths of a pound.

Lubbock optometrist J. Davis Armistead suggested the trademark Faiosa eyeglass frames Buddy Holly was associated with. Armistead convinced Holly they would help him define his character after watching how Phil Silvers used his glasses to help define his Sergeant Bilko character on TV.

The above is information that Mr. Smarty Pants read in a book, magazine, or newspaper; heard on the radio; saw on television; or overheard at a party. Got facts? Write to Mr. Smarty Pants. Why not visit
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