The Step Pyramid is the first known monumental structure made of stone anywhere in the world. The Step Pyramid Complex of Djoser - also spelled Zozer - was built during the Third Dynasty (2800 B.C.) in Saqqara, Egypt. Considered by many to be the first tomb in Egypt to be built entirely of stone, Djoser's Step Pyramid is a series of six levels ...Read more
The Penny is the only coin currently minted in the United States with a profile that faces to the right. All other coins – the silver dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime, and nickel – all feature profiles that face to the left.
Nicknamed the "Soft Coral Capital of the World" by underwater explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau, the Fiji islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the world. It offers a comprehensive range of dive locations. Spectacular hard and soft corals, caves, and grottoes, are home to amazingly diverse aquatic life that includes species such as sharks, ...Read more
The shamrock, at one time called the "seamroy," symbolizes the cross and blessed trinity. Before the Christian era, it was a sacred plant of the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad. The well known legend of the shamrock connects it to St. Patrick and his teachings. While preaching outdoors, he is said to have illustrated the ...Read more
Venezuela's Angel Falls are a mile high. They were originally discovered from an airplane.
There are more people in New York City (7,895,563) than there are in the states of Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii, Delaware, and New Mexico combined.
Centipedes, or members of the class Chilopoda, always have an uneven number of pairs of walking legs, varying from 15 to more than 171 pairs. Common house centipedes (Scutigera coleoptrato) have 15 pairs of legs.
Some foods "explode" in the microwave due to trapped steam. Eggs, butter, and margarine have internal water that, when microwaved, turns to steam and splatters the food all over the inside of the oven. It is imperative to cover these foods well when microwaving.
Dungeons & Dragons has been the subject of unsubstantiated rumors regarding players having difficulty separating fantasy and reality, even leading to psychotic episodes. The most notable of these was the saga of James Dallas Egbert III who was incorrectly alleged to have disappeared into the Michigan State University steam tunnels for reasons ...Read more
It is estimated that 60 percent of home smoke detectors in use do not work because they don't have a battery in them or the battery in the detector no longer has any potency.
Medical treatment, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was aimed at ridding the sick of "vile humours" by vomiting, purging, and bleeding. The treatment was often the immediate cause of death. Some prescriptions called for "letting" more blood than is now known to exist in the whole body.
Lobsters, like grasshoppers — feel no pain. They have a decentralized nervous system with no cerebral cortex, which in humans is where a reaction to painful stimuli proceeds.
During the snowy summer of 1816, the "Year Without A Summer," the world was locked in a long cold volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Tambora in 1815. The then Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, age 19, and her husband-to-be Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The weather was consistently ...Read more
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History houses the world's largest shell collection, some 15 million specimens. A smaller museum in Sanibel, Florida owns a mere 2 million shells and claims to be the world's only museum devoted solely to mollusks.
In ancient China, the crimes for abduction, armed robbery, treason, and adultery were punished by castration.
Inspirations for Batman's personality, character history, visual design and equipment include movies such as Douglas Fairbanks' The Mark of Zorro, The Bat, and Dracula; characters such as The Shadow, The Phantom, Sherlock Holmes, Dick Tracy, Jimmie Dale, The Green Hornet, Spring Heeled Jack, and even Leonardo Da Vinci. Early Batman stories ...Read more
A kelpie (or kelpy) was a water spirit of Scottish folklore reputed to cause drownings.
Because of fears that the Japanese, who had attacked Pearl Harbor less than a month earlier, might attack California, the Rose Bowl game of 1942 between Oregon State and Duke University was moved east to Duke's hometown in Durham, North Carolina. It didn't, however, help the home team. Oregon won, 20-16.
One Norwegian Christmas custom begins in late autumn at harvest time. The finest wheat is gathered and saved until Christmas. This wheat is then attached to poles made from tree branches, making perches for the birds. A large circle of snow is cleared away beneath each perch. According to the Norwegians, this provides a place for the birds to ...Read more
Television's "I Love Lucy" began as a radio show - My Favorite Husband, in which Lucy played the scheming, middle-class wife of a bank vice president. CBS wanted to move the show to television - but almost scrapped the idea because of Lucy's insistence that Desi Arnaz play her husband. Lucy got her way, and the rest is television history.