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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"Interesting facts"

Have you ever received this email? It's called "Did you know!" or "Intersting facts" a lot of the time. There are very few facts in this email, nay, most of it is pure bullshit. Well anyway here it is:

In the 1400's a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb."

There exists exactly zero evidence to support the theory that “The rule of thumb” came about as a guide on how to beat your wife. This has been propagated throughout the late 20th and early 21st century by radical feminists. The first written reference to the “wife beating” theory can be found in an article by Del Martian (a radical feminist and gay rights activist) in 1976.

The term "rule of thumb" or similar exists in many languages and cultures. Its likely origin is that the thumb is often used for rough measurement by carpenters, seamstresses, artists and many others.

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

WRONG… oh so wrong. There is evidence that the sport may have originated in China back about the time they gave Europeans gunpowder (and the Bubonic Plague), but this “fact” deals with the etymology of the term for the sport “golf.” So, check this out:

Games similar to golf have been around since Roman times, but golf as we now know it dates approximately to 1552, when the famed St. Andrews course was constructed. Earlier Scottish versions were also referred to as "golf" even though the game so designated was very much different than its later St. Andrews version. In those older Scottish writings, golf is variously spelled gouff, goiff, goffe, goff, gowff, or golph, a verb meaning "to strike or cuff and/or club or mace." Also remember that the Scottish were once conquered by the Vikings.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

No. On Tuesday, 18 November 1947, a 15-minute program entitled Mary Kay and Johnny made its debut on the Dumont network. Like the more famous I Love Lucy series that followed it, Mary Kay and Johnny starred a real-life couple, actors Johnny and Mary Kay Stearns. Another foreshadowing of the later I Love Lucy series occurred in December 1948 when the birth of the Stearns' first child was worked into an episode on the same day that Mary Kay herself gave birth, and the infant character was later added to the cast. Because of the inherent limitations of live television, most of the episodes of Mary Kay and Johnny were set in the couple's apartment. Mary Kay and Johnny's apartment included a bedroom (but not a bathroom), and their bedroom had but a single bed, which they shared.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.

There is no clear consensus on this one, but it is likely true.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

There is no viable basis for this “fact”, as audio sensitivity and visual acuity are just as dependant on heredity as environment.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

No. Though this tidbit of knowledge has been widely distributed as part of an Internet "Did You Know?" list, at no time in Coca-Cola's history has that beverage been green. The original formula called for caramel to give Coca-Cola its rich brown color, and although the recipe has undergone some changes through the years, none of them affected the ultimate color of the product. Coke has at times been bottled in green glass a bottle, which perhaps explains the popularity of this particular rumor.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

Unknown, but with 6.5 BILLION people in the world… who knows? I’m guessing at least one can.

The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska.

Unknown.. this one I have know idea on.

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

Unknown; what does the author consider “wilderness”?

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400

This seems reasonable

The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour: 61,000

This is a very inexact figure, calculated by what the BTS reports as the yearly number of air passengers, divided by 365, divided again by 24. More accurately this “fact” is stated: “At any one time, there is between 45,000 and 120,000 people in the air over the United States.”

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

This “fact” is somewhat based on a study that found that people with red hair (hair that has a high concentration of copper and zinc) scored higher on I.Q. tests then people with hair of other color. This test was conducted in Ireland, Scotland and Whales.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

This seems to be true.

San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

True as well.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar

No. Way too long to go into here, but this link is a good write up.

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

Yes.

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Just in a quick search of “Google images,” I found a statue of Robert E. Lee on a horse with a front leg in the air, and one of George A. Custer with all four legs on the ground. This one is BS too.

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th: John Hancock & Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

True. Thomas McKean added his signature in August, 1781.

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles their birthplace

Absolutely, but the figure is closer to 65%

Most boat owners name their boats. The most popular boat name requested is "Obsession"

Yes, in 1997. By 2002, “Obsession” isn’t even in the top 10.

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand

Yes.

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.

No to fire escapes and the laser printer. The fire escape is credited to Joseph Winters, and the laser printer to Gary Starkweather, neither of whom were trans-sexual.

Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey

True.

Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day

Yup.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened,
Making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "good night, sleep tight."

Yes. Wow the author is on a roll.

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

Nada. This term did not appear until the 16th century. "Honey" is a reference to the sweetness of a new marriage, and "moon" to the waxing and waning of a couples feelings towards each other.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down." Thus the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"

Unlikely, however the most convincing explanation of this idiom I've heard is that it comes from the early days of printing, when movable type was positioned for printing. This process was done upside-down - a technique not impossible to get used to after some time. However, the lowercase letters p and q were hard to distinguish, since in most designs they were mirror images of each other. Hence "mind your P's and Q's!” a phrase I was told was shouted at
young children working in these print shops.

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice.

This one is just plain silly. “Whistle” refers to your lips, and “wet” refers to the drink.

I hope this shed some light on a few things, if not, well you’re an idiot.

-Tommy Masterson

2 Comments:

Blogger Dark Eyed Junko said...

Thanks for the info, but it would be nice if you cited more references. Otherwise, why should I believe your version of the facts over the one you're debunking?

2/02/2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger Venjanz said...

Good point. I got many facts from www.snopes.com, for others I had to do much research… took me hours. I do not cite sources on this post because it is not a Wikipedia article.

2/02/2006 10:53 PM  

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