In the 19th century, American men were the tallest in the world, averaging 1,71m (5’6″). Today, the average height for American men is 1,75m (5’7″), compared to 1,77m (5’8″) for Swedes, and 1,78m (5’8.5″) for the Dutch.
A person remains conscious for eight seconds after being decapitated.
We have four basic tastes. The salt and sweet taste buds are at the tip of the tongue, bitter at the base, and sour along the sides.
In 1900, a person could expect to live to be 47. Today, the average life expectancy for men and women in developed countries is longer than 70 years.
The bones in your body are not white – they range in color from beige to light brown. The bones you see in museums are white because they have been boiled and cleaned.
James Buchanan was the only president to not have been married. His niece, named Harriet Lane, took over as First Lady.
The candy, Baby Ruth, was named after the birth of Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth.
Abraham Lincoln, who invented a hydraulic device for lifting ships over shoals, was the only president ever granted a patent.
Harry Truman was the first U.S. president to travel underwater in a modern submarine.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s great-great-great-uncle was President Franklin Pierce, 14th U.S. president.
Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.
In 1900, the price of gold was less than $40 per ounce. It reached $600 in 1930, now struggling to reach $400 per ounce.
In 1955 the richest woman in the world was Mrs Hetty Green Wilks, who left an estate of $95 million in a will that was found in a tin box with four pieces of soap.
Money notes are not made from paper, it is made mostly from a special blend of cotton and linen.
A million dollars’ worth of $100 bills weighs only 10 kg (22 lb).
The term “smart money” refers to gamblers who have inside information or have arranged a fix, the gambling term for insuring the outcome of an event by illegal methods.
In 1889, Kansas undertaker Almon B. Strowger wanted to prevent telephone operators from advising his rivals of the death of local citizens. So he invented the automatic exchange.
Joseph Niepce developed the world’s first photographic image in 1827.
The first vending machine was invented by Hero of Alexandria around 215 BC. When a coin was dropped into a slot, its weight would pull a cork out of a spigot and the machine would dispense a trickle of water.
Optical fiber was invented in 1966 by two British scientists called Charles Kao and George Hockham working for the British company Standard Telecommunication.
The very first projection of an image on a screen was made by a German priest. In 1646, Athanasius Kircher used a candle or oil lamp to project hand-painted images onto a white screen.
On average, people can hold their breath for about one minute. The world record is 15 minutes 2 seconds, by Tom Sietas..
After a certain period of growth, hair becomes dormant. That means that it is attached to the hair follicle until replaced by new hair.
The liver is the largest of the body’s internal organs. The skin is the body’s largest organ.
Our eyes are always the same size from birth.
Approximately two-thirds of a person’s body weight is water. Blood is 92% water. The brain is 75% water and muscles are 75% water.
Hair on the head grows for between two and six years before being replaced. In the case of baldness, the dormant hair was not replaced with new hair.
John Quincy Adams married for money.
James Abram Garfield was the last president to be born in a log cabin.
Eleven years after Abraham Lincoln’s burial, grave robbers broke into his tomb and dragged the casket partially out before they were caught. The men were convicted merely of breaking and entering and served a year in prison as there was no law in America then against body snatching.
John F. Kennedy was the first U.S. president who had formally been a Boy Scout.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first President to make a hole-in-one in golf.
Queen Elizabeth II is one of the 10th wealthiest women in the world.
In gambling language, for a gambling house a “sure-thing” is a wager that a player has little chance of winning; “easy money” is their profit from an inexperienced bettor, an unlucky player is called a “stiff.”
In 1965, CEOs earned on average 44 times more than factory workers. In 1998, CEOs earned on average 326 times more than factory workers and in 1999, they earned 419 times more than factory workers.
Tourism is the world’s biggest industry, affecting 240 million jobs.
The term “Blue Chip” comes from the color of the poker chip with the highest value, blue.
Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.
It was at a concert in Minneapolis in 1954 that Al Dvorin first closed Elvis’s concerts with: “Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.”
The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.
In 1972 Leslie Harvey of Stone the Crows died after being electrocuted onstage in England. In 1976 Keith Relf, who used to play for The Yardbirds, was electrocuted by his guitar while playing in his basement. During a mid-performance in 1994 Ramon Barrero, a Mexican musician famous for playing the world’s smallest harmonica, inhaled the harmonica and choked to death.
Bob Dylan’s first professional performance was as opening act for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in New York, 1961.
When William McKinley’s wife Ida McKinley became first lady of the White House, she hated the color yellow so much that she made it a White House yellow-free zone. She even ordered the gardeners to yank every yellow flower out of the garden grounds.
Rutherford Birchard Hayes won lots of spelling contests when he was in elementary school.
Theodore Roosevelt found his favorite dog, Skip, wandering around the Grand Canyon. While Roosevelt had many dogs, Skip was the only one permitted to sleep in the presidential bed.
Millard Fillmore’s wife, Abigail Powers, was his former teacher and was the first First Lady to have a job after marriage.
President Grover Cleveland used his veto powers 584 times during his two terms in office. This is the highest record for any resident that served for two terms. For all the presidents, this is the second highest. First highest came from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who died on his fourth term.
Milk chocolate was invented by Daniel Peter, who sold the concept to his neighbour Henri Nestlé.
Botanically speaking, the banana is a herb and the tomato is a fruit.
In 1994, Chicago artist Dwight Kalb sent David Letterman a statue of Madonna, made of 180lb of ham.
Americans eat twice as much meat as Europeans, gobbling up some 50kg (110 lb) per capita.
Plastic bottles were first used for soft drinks in 1970.