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A Penny For Your Thoughts

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Caution: Don't read all this in one sitting!

In the Durango desert, in Mexico, there's a creepy spot called the "Zone of Silence." You can't pick up clear TV or radio signals. And locals say fireballs sometimes appear in the sky.

Ethernet is a registered trademark of Xerox, Unix is a registered trademark of AT&T.

Bill Gates' first business was Traff-O-Data, a company that created machines which recorded the number of cars passing a given point on a road.

Uranus' orbital axis is tilted at 90 degrees.

The final resting-place for Dr. Eugene Shoemaker - the Moon. The famed U.S. Geological Survey astronomer, trained the Apollo astronauts about craters, but never made it into space. Mr. Shoemaker had wanted to be an astronaut but was rejected because of a medical problem. His ashes were placed on board the Lunar Prospector spacecraft before it was launched on January 6, 1998. NASA crashed the probe into a crater on the moon in an attempt to learn if there is water on the moon.

Outside the USA, Ireland is the largest software producing country in the world.

The first fossilized specimen of Australopithecus afarenisis was named Lucy after the paleontologists' favorite song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," by the Beatles.

Figlet, an ASCII font converter program, stands for Frank, Ian and Glenn's LETters.

Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.

Every year about 98% of atoms in your body are replaced.

Hot water is heavier than cold.

Plutonium - first weighed on August 20th, 1942, by University of Chicago scientists Glenn Seaborg and his colleagues - was the first man-made element.

If you went out into space, you would explode before you suffocated because there's no air pressure.

The radioactive substance, Americanium - 241 is used in many smoke detectors.

The original IBM-PCs, that had hard drives, referred to the hard drives as Winchester drives. This is due to the fact that the original Winchester drive had a model number of 3030. This is, of course, a Winchester firearm.

Sound travels 15 times faster through steel than through the air.

On average, half of all false teeth have some form of radioactivity.

Only one satellite has been ever been destroyed by a meteor: the European Space Agency's Olympus in 1993.

Starch is used as a binder in the production of paper. It is the use of a starch coating that controls ink penetration when printing. Cheaper papers do not use as much starch, and this is why your elbows get black when you are leaning over your morning paper.

Sterling silver is not pure silver. Because pure silver is too soft to be used in most tableware it is mixed with copper in the proportion of 92.5 percent silver to 7.5 percent copper.

A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber. A ball of solid steel will bounce higher than one made entirely of glass.

A chip of silicon a quarter-inch square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a city block.

An ordinary TNT bomb involves atomic reaction, and could be called an atomic bomb. What we call an A-bomb involves nuclear reactions and should be called a nuclear bomb.

At a glance, the Celsius scale makes more sense than the Fahrenheit scale for temperature measuring. But its creator, Anders Celsius, was an oddball scientist. When he first developed his scale, he made freezing 100 degrees and boiling 0 degrees, or upside down. No one dared point this out to him, so fellow scientists waited until Celsius died to change the scale.

At a jet plane's speed of 1,000 km (620mi) per hour, the length of the plane becomes one atom shorter than its original length.

The first full moon to occur on the winter solstice, Dec. 22, commonly called the first day of winter, happened in 1999. Since a full moon on the winter solstice occurred in conjunction with a lunar perigee (point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth), the moon appeared about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in it's elliptical orbit that is farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the sun at that time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the moon was about 7% stronger making it brighter. Also, this was the closest perigee of the Moon of the year since the moon's orbit is constantly deforming. In places where the weather was clear and there was a snow cover, even car headlights were superfluous.

According to security equipment specialists, security systems that utilize motion detectors won't function properly if walls and floors are too hot. When an infrared beam is used in a motion detector, it will pick up a person's body temperature of 98.6 degrees compared to the cooler walls and floor. If the room is too hot, the motion detector won't register a change in the radiated heat of that person's body when it enters the room and breaks the infrared beam. Your home's safety might be compromised if you turn your air conditioning off or set the thermostat too high while on summer vacation.

Western Electric successfully brought sound to motion pictures and introduced systems of mobile communications which culminated in the cellular telephone.

On December 23, 1947, Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., held a secret demonstration of the transistor which marked the foundation of modern electronics.

The wick of a trick candle has small amounts of magnesium in them. When you light the candle, you are also lighting the magnesium. When someone tries to blow out the flame, the magnesium inside the wick continues to burn and, in just a split second (or two or three), relights the wick.

Time slows down near a black hole; inside it stops completely.

Tiny dust particles surround a comet. They are swept into a long tail by the solar wind, which consists of subatomic particles speeding from the sum at speed of hundred of miles per second.

To an observer standing on Pluto, the sun would appear no brighter than Venus appears in our evening sky.

Traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, light take 6 hours to travel from Pluto to the earth.

A brown dwarf is a very small, dark object, with a mass less than 1/10 that of the Sun. They are 'failed stars', globules of gas that have shrunk under gravity, but failed to ignite and shine as stars.

A bucket filled with earth would weigh about 5 time more than the same bucket filled with the substance of the sun. However, the force of gravity is so much greater on the sun that the man weighing 150 pounds on our planet would weigh 2 tons on the sun.

A car traveling at a constant speed of 60 miles per hour would take over 48 million years to reach the nearest star (other than our sun), Proxima Centauri. This is about 685,000 average human lifetimes.

A cosmic year is the amount of time it takes the sun to revolve around the center of the Milky Way, about 225 million years.

A day on the planet Mercury is twice as long as its year. Mercury rotates very slowly but revolves around the sun in slightly less than 88 days.

A dog was killed by a meteor at Nakhla, Egypt, in 1911. The unlucky canine is the only creature known to have been killed by a meteor.

You know the three physical dimensions, and the fourth dimension, time. For years, people have speculated about other dimensions. Experts in theoretical physics now say the major theories about the universe make sense together - and all the math seems to work - if there are 10 dimensions.

A scientist at Michigan State University has calculated that the production of a single hen egg requires about 120 gallons of water, a loaf of bread requires 300 gallons, and a pound of beef, 3,500.

Portland cement is used for underwater work. It hardens because of a chemical reaction it has with the water, not because the water mixed with it evaporates. The amount of water that reacts with the cement is crucial for this process, and the physical structure of this cement enables it to control exactly how much water gets into the reaction. So it doesn't matter at all how much water surrounds the cement as long as it has enough to set.

Dating back to the 1600's, thermometers were filled with Brandy instead of mercury.

The first "technology" corporation to move into California's Silicon Valley was Hewlett-Packard, in 1938. Stanford University engineers Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their company in a Palo Alto garage, with $1,538. Their first product was an audio oscillator bought by Walt Disney Studios for use in making Fantasia.

The first U.S. census to be tallied by computer was in 1950. UNIVAC did the tallying.

Rain contains vitamin B12.

ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. The original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, had 17,000 tubes. By comparison, a desktop computer today can store a million times more information than an ENIAC, and 50,000 times faster.

From bridges to rebar, rust is everywhere. According to a recent study, the annual cost of metallic corrosion in the U.S. is approximately $300 billion. The report, by Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, and the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, Washington, D.C., estimated that about one-third of that cost could be avoided through broader application of corrosion-resistant material and "best anti-corrosive practice" from design through maintenance.

From the smallest microprocessor to the biggest mainframe, the average American depends on over 264 computers per day.

The first man-made item to exceed the speed of sound is the bull whip our leather whip. When the whip is snapped, the knotted end makes a "crack" or popping noise. It is actually causing a mini sonic boom as it exceeds the speed of sound.

The hardness of ice is similar to that of concrete.

A full moon always rises at sunset.

A bowl of lime Jell-O, when hooked up to an EEG machine, exhibited movement which is virtually identical to the brain waves of a healthy adult man or woman.

If the world were tilted one degree more either way, the planet would not be habitable because the area around the equator would be too hot and the poles would be too cold.

The opposite of a "vacuum" is a "plenum."

In 1980, Namco released PAC-MAN, the most popular video game (or arcade game) of all time. The original name was going to be PUCK MAN, but executives saw the potential for vandals to scratch out part of the P in the games marquee and labeling.

Clothes that are dried outside DO smell better because of a process called photolysis. What happens is this: sunlight breaks down compounds in the laundry that cause odor, such as perspiration and body oils.

Clouds fly higher during the day than the night.

Dirty snow melts faster than clean.

Back in the mid to late 80's, an IBM compatible computer wasn't considered a hundred percent compatible unless it could run Microsoft's Flight Simulator, probably because of the fact that it is one of the hardest programs to get running.

Some early TV screens did emit excessive X-rays, as did computer monitors, but that was fixed long ago. Doctors suggest that at worst, sitting too close might cause some temporary eye fatigue—the same for reading with insufficient light—but no permanent damage, no matter what your mother claimed.

A "fulgerite" is fossilized lightning. It forms when a powerful lightning bolt melts the soil into a glass-like state.

If you stand in the bottom of a well, you would be able to see the stars even in the daytime.

STASI, the East German secret police organization, devised a devilishly clever way to prevent someone from giving them the slip during the Cold War: they managed to synthesize the scent of a female dog in heat, which they applied to the shoes of the person under surveillance. Then they simply had a male dog follow the scent.

Experiments conducted in Germany and at the University of Southampton in England show that even mild and incidental noises cause the pupils of the eyes to dilate. It is believed that this is why surgeons, watchmakers, and others who perform delicate manual operations are so bothered by noise. The sounds cause their pupils to change focus and blur their vision.

A downburst is a downward blowing wind that sometimes comes blasting out of a thunderstorm. The damage looks like tornado damage, since the wind can be as strong as an F2 tornado, but debris is blown straight away from a point on the ground. It's not lofted into the air and transported downwind.

On December 2, 1942, a nuclear chain reaction was achieved for the first time under the stands of the University of Chicago’s football stadium. The first reactor measured 30 feet wide, 32 feet long, and 21.5 feet high. It weighed 1,400 tons and contained 52 tons of uranium in the form of uranium metal and uranium oxide. Although the same process led to the massive energy release of the atomic bomb, the first artificially sustained nuclear reaction produced just enough energy to light a small flashlight.

A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continually from the bottom of the glass to the top. This is because the carbonation in the drink gets pockets of air stuck in the wrinkles of the raisin, which is light enough to be raised by this air. When it reaches the surface of the champagne, the bubbles pop, and the raisin sinks back to the bottom, starting the cycle over.

Bacteria, the tiniest free-living cells, are so small that a single drop of liquid contains as many as 50 million of them.

The proper name of earth's satellite is Luna. The grammar books say that "moon" (and likewise "earth" and "sun") should be lower case, with the exception of when "earth" is in a list with other planets. The earth is Terra; the sun is Sol. This is where we get the words "extraTERREstrial" and "SOLar".

At any given time, there are 1,800 thunderstorms in progress over the earth's atmosphere.

Compact discs read from the inside to the outside edge, the reverse of how a record works.

Because of the rotation of the earth, an object can be thrown farther if it is thrown west.

The fastest moon in our solar system circles Jupiter once every seven hours - traveling at 70,400 miles per hour.

George Ellery Hale was the 20th century's most important builder of telescopes. In 1897, Hale built a 40 inch wide telescope, the largest ever built at that time. His second telescope, with a sixty inch lens, was set up in 1917 and took 14 years to build. During the 14 years Hale became convinced that he suffered from "Americanitis" a disorder in which the ambitions of Americans drive them insane. During the building of his 100 inch lens Hale spent time in a sanatorium and would only discuss his plans for the telescope with a "sympathetic green elf".

Hale's 100 inch lens built in the early 1900s was the largest solid piece of glass made until then. The lens was made by a French specialist who poured the equivalent of ten thousand melted champagne bottles into a mold packed with heat maintaining manure so that the glass would cool slowly and not crack.

The shockwave from a nitroglycerine explosion travels at 17,000 miles per hour.

The planet Saturn has a density lower than water. If there was a bathtub large enough to hold it, Saturn would float.

Earth's atmosphere is, proportionally, thinner than the skin of an apple.

The first portable calculator placed on sale by Texas Instruments weighed only 2-1/2 pounds and cost a mere $150. (1971)

Carolyn Shoemaker has discovered 32 comets and approximately 800 asteroids.

Because of the salt content of the Dead Sea, it is difficult to dive below its surface.

The planet Venus has the longest day.

The first atomic bomb exploded at Trinity Site, New Mexico.

All organic compounds contain carbon.

Three astronauts manned each Apollo flight.

Out of all the senses, smell is most closely linked to memory.

There are 7 stars in the Big Dipper.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system.

The speed of sound must be exceeded to produce a sonic boom.

The nearest galaxy to our own is Andromeda.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is predicted to topple over between 2010 and 2020.

Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.

Blood is 6 times thicker than water.

Dissolved salt makes up 3.5 percent of the oceans.

Three stars make up Orion's belt.

Glaciers store about 75% of the world's freshwater. In Washington State alone, glaciers provide 470 billion gallons of water each summer.

To an observer standing on Pluto, the sun would appear no brighter than Venus appears in our evening sky.

Traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, light take 6 hours to travel from Pluto to the earth.

A car traveling at a constant speed of 60 miles per hour would take over 48 million years to reach the nearest star (other than our sun), Proxima Centauri. This is about 685,000 average human lifetimes.

Scientists recently announced the discovery of a new planet orbiting a star that's practically next door - relatively speaking. There's also the possibility that the system might contain a second planet. The star, Epsilon Eridani, is only 10.5 light years away — which is just down the block in astronomical terms — making it the nearest star known to have such a planet. The new planet appears similar to Jupiter, but half again as big. The discovery was made by a team of researchers led by scientists at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin.

A cosmic year is the length of time it takes the sun to complete one revolution around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. That's approximately 225 million earth years.

The sun is estimated to be between 20 and 21 cosmic years old.

It takes a plastic container 50000 years to start decomposing.

Lab tests can detect traces of alcohol in urine six to 12 hours after a person has stopped drinking.

Sound at the right vibration can bore holes through a solid object.

The color black is produced by the complete absorption of light rays.

There are 3 golf balls sitting on the moon.

The Sun has a diameter of 864,000 miles.

Air is denser in cold weather. A wind of the same speed can exert 25 percent more force during the winter as compared to the summer.

An iceberg contains more heat than a match.

Every cubic mile of seawater holds over 150 million tons of minerals.

A temperature of 70 million degrees Celsius was generated at Princeton University in 1978. This was during a fusionism experiment and is the highest man-made temperature ever.

Bacteria can reproduce sexually.

The pressure at the center of the Earth is 27,000 tons per square inch.

There are five tillion trillion atoms in one pound of iron.

German chemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus while he was examining urine.

The densest substance on Earth is the metal "osmium."

The clock at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., will gain or lose only one second in 300 years because it uses cesium atoms.

Vineger was the strongest acid known in the ancient times.

A shrimp has more than a hundred pair of chromosomes in each cell nucleus.

About 500 meteorites hit the Earth each year. The largest known meteorite was found at Grootfontein in Namibia, southwest Africa, in 1920. It is 9 feet (2.75m) long and 8 feet (2.43m) wide.

According to experts, large caves tend to "breathe"; they inhale and exhale great quantities of air when the barometric pressure on the surface changes, and air rushes in or out seeking equilibrium.

Because of a large orbital eccentricity, Pluto was closer to the sun than Neptune between January 1979 and March 1999.

The whirling cloud, a flat cloud hovering over the peak of an extinct volcano, Mount Jirinaj in Indonesia, affected by hot air rising from the crater, spins swiftly around and around.

The Earth gets heavier each day by tons, as meteoric dust settles on it.

The earth rotates on its axis more slowly in March than in September.

The first man-made insecticide was DDT.

We are in the middle of an ice age. Ice ages include both cold and warm periods; at the moment we are experiencing a relatively warm span of time known as an "interglacial period." Geologists believe that the warmest part of this period occurred from 1890 through 1945 and that since 1945 things have slowly begun freezing up again.

In Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift described the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, giving their exact size and speeds of rotation. He did this more than 100 years before either moon was discovered.

Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Crazy but True