Fast Facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts Fast facts about people, places, inventions, movies, music, technology and war. Fri, 16 Oct 2015 15:31:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fast facts on politics http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/politics/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/politics/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:55:23 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=68 Bolivia holds the highest turnover of governments. Since their independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has had almost 200 governments. Since 1945, Italy saw more than 50 governments and more than 20 Prime Ministers.

India is the world’s largest democracy with more than 700 million registered voters.

The system of democracy was introduced 2 500 years ago in Athens, Greece.

The youngest active system of governance is communism, which was introduced in 1848 by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.

The oldest existing governing body operates in Althing in Iceland. It was established in 930 AD.

David “Screaming Lord Sutch”, as leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, was Britain’s longest serving party leader until he hung himself in June 1999.

Although the United States of America was established in 1776 the first American president ever to visited Europe while in office was Woodrow Wilson in 1918.

Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) was the first woman to run for office of US President. She and her sister were the first  women to run a Wall Street brokerage (1870).

The United Nations organization (UN) was founded in 1945.

The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948 to promote peace, security and the economical development of the western hemisphere.

The European Union was founded in 1957 as the European Economic Community. It then became the EC (European Community) and in 1993 the EU (European Union).

Fast facts on US Presidents and Vice Presidents

In 1975, Emil Matalik put himself forward as US Presidential candidate. He advocated a maximum of one animal and
one tree per family because he believed that there were too many animals and plant life on earth. Louis Abalofia also put himself forward: his campaign poster featured a photo of him in the nude, with the slogan “I have nothing to hide.” In the 1860s, financier George Francis Train ran for office with one item: the introduction of a new calender based
on his birth date.

George Washington was inaugurated for his first term, on 30 April 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City. His second inauguration took place in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson was the first to be inaugurated in Washington DC. Jefferson also was the only one to walk to and from his inauguration.

William Henry Harrison had the shortest term of office as president. He served from for 32 days, from 4 March to 4 April 1841.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had the longest term of office: 12 years. Roosevelt had three vice presidents serve during his four terms: John Nance Garner (1933-1941), Henry Wallace (1941-1945), Harry Truman (1945).

14 of the 45 vice presidents have become president:

5 vice presidents have been elected to the presidency: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon, and George Herbert Bush.

4 vice presidents assumed the presidency after the president was assassinated: Andrew Johnson, Chester Authur, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

4 vice presidents assumed the presidency after the president died of natural causes: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman.

Gerald Ford assumed the presidency following the resignation of Richard Nixon.

Only Richard Nixon served two terms as Vice President and also was elected to two terms as President.

The US presidential candidate with the highest popular vote ever was Ronald Reagan. In 1984 he secured 54,455,075 votes. Reagan was also the candidate with the highest electoral vote: 525, in 1984. In that year he equaled the 49 states that Nixon carried in 1972.

US Presidents are not elected by popular vote but by an electoral college representing the states. John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888) and George W. Bush (2000) lost the overall vote but won the presidency.

The candidate who ran the most times for office of the President of the United States was Norman Thomas. He ran six times from 1928 and didn’t win any. Thomas ran for presidency in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944 and 1948.

Barack Obama is the 43rd person to become United States President – he became the 44th President because the office was held twice by Grover Cleveland (terms 1885-1889 and 1893 – 1897), being the 22nd and 24th President.

George Washington was the first president under the US constitution of 1789. However, the US was an independent nation for 13 years before the Constitution was signed. For one year during this time John Hanson served as “President of the US in Congress assembled.” Technically, John Hanson was the first president of the United States.

Also see Hot presidential affairs

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Oscars fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/oscars/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/oscars/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:54:13 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=65 The shortest Oscar ceremony ever was the first, held in 1929; it lasted only about 15 minutes as all the winners had been announced three months earlier.

The longest Oscar awards ceremony was in 2000, running for 4 hours and 16 minutes – beating a previous record by 16 minutes.

Bob Hope has hosted the Oscars 18 times; Billy Crystal is in second place with 8 times.

Tom Hanks is the youngest recipient of the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received in 2002 at age 45.

Kate Winslet received four Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 30. Elizabeth Taylor received four Oscar nominations before reaching the age of 28.

Gone with the Wind, at 3 hours and 56 minutes, was the longest film to have won a Best Picture Oscar; it was also the first film in color to win Best Picture.

The 1968 movie, War and Peace, was the longest film (431 minutes) to an Academy Award – for best Foreign picture.

Julia Phillips was the first female producer to win Best Picture award, for The Sting (1973). The first female to win the Best Director award was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008).

Henry Fonda was first nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1941 for his role in The Grapes of Wrath but had to wait 41 years before he finally achieved a win in 1982 for his role in On Golden Pond. At 76, he is the oldest actor yet to have received the Best Actor award.

The oldest actress to win an Oscar is Jessica Tandy – at 81 she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1990 for her performance in Driving Miss Daisy.

Anthony Quinn’s performance as painter Paul Gaugin in Lust for Life (1956) is the shortest ever to win a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, his second Oscar. He was on screen for only 8 minutes. (He won a similar award in 1952 playing opposite Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s Viva Zapata!)

The shortest-ever winning performance for Best Supporting Actress belongs to Beatrice Straight, who won an Oscar in 1976 for her 5 minutes 40 seconds appearance as devastated wife Louise Schumacher in Network. Dame Judi Dench won an Oscar in 1998 for less than 8 minutes of screen time playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.

The shortest-ever Best Actor Oscar-winning performance was awarded to David Niven in 1958, having appeared for only 15 minutes and 38 seconds in Separate Tables. The second-shortest winning appearance was made by Anthony Hopkins in 1992, for less than 16 minutes of screen time as Dr Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

In 1948, Jane Wyman won Best Actress award without uttering a word; she played the role of a deaf -mute person in the movie Johnny Belinda. The fewest lines actually spoken by an Oscar-winning actress won Patty Duke a Best Actress in a Supporting Role portraying the deaf and blind Helen Keller in the 1962 film The Miracle Worker. In the role she speaks only one word in the last scene: “Wah-wah” (for “water”). In 1993, Holly Hunter won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as a deaf person in the movie The Piano but she narrated a few scenes and does speak (although her face is covered) in the last scene of the film.

The films with the most Oscar wins are Ben-Hur, Titanic and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, each winning 11 Oscars from 12, 14 and 11 nominations respectively. See more in the lists of Oscar winners.

In total, the Middle-earth series (The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) – and the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) won 17 Oscars out of 33 nominations.

William Wyler has directed more actors to Academy Award success than any other, with 34 nominations and 14 wins.

Jack Nicholson leads the Best Actor Academy Award category with wins from 11 nominations, followed by Laurence Olivier, nominated 10 times and receiving one Best Actor award, and then Spencer Tracy with nine nominations resulting in two awards.

Daniel Day-Lewis has won the most Best Actor awards, with 3 awards (1989, 2007, 2012).

Meryl Streep had more Best Actress nominations than any other actress; 14 in total, leading to 3 awards. Katharine Hepburn received 12 nominations for Best Actress and won 4 Academy Awards.

Shirley Temple is the youngest performer to receive an Academy Award; in 1934 she received a Special Award when she was only five years old.

Groucho Marx was the oldest Academy Award winner – in 1973 he received a Honorary Award at the age of 83.

The first posthumous Oscar winner was Sidney Howard, for the screenplay of Gone with the Wind.

Mutiny on The Bounty (1935) was the only film to have had three nominees for Best Actor Oscars (Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone) but won only the Best Picture award.

The only tie for Best Actor was between Wallace Beery for The Champ and Fredric March for Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in 1932.

The only films to win Best Picture and Best Song are Gigi, Going My Way and Titanic.

The first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, in 1991. The award went to Silence of the Lambs but Beauty and the Beast won 2 Oscars: Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

In 1937 Disney won a special Oscar for the first full-length animation: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Oscar families:

Two families have three generations of Oscar winners in their ranks:

The Huston family:

Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Treasure of Sierra Madre); John Huston won Best Director, The Treasure of Sierra Madre in 1948, and Anjlica Huston won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Prizzi’sHonorin 1985.

The Hustons and the Coppolas are two families where the grandfather, father and daughter won Oscars.

The Coppola family:

Carmine Coppola won Best Original Dramatic Score, The Godfather in 1974; Francis Ford Coppola won Best Original Screenplay for Patron (1970), Best Adapted Screenplay, The Godfather (1970), Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, The Godfather: Part II (1974), and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation won for Best Original Screenplay in 2004; Nicholas Cage, Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, won Best Actor for his role in Leaving Las Vegas, in 1995.

The Minnelli family:

Liza Minnelli is the only Oscar winner with two Oscar winning parents: her mother Judy Garland, received a honorary Oscar as Outstanding Juvenile Performer for The Wizard of Oz and her father, Vincente Minnelli, won Best Director for Best Picture, Gigi (1958).

The Epstein family:

The only twins to win Oscars are Julius J Epstein and Philip G Epstein, who shared the Best Screenplay award s with Howard Koch for Casablanca (1942).

12 actors to win an Oscar for playing a real person who was still alive at the evening of the Awards ceremony:

Patty Duke playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962)

Spencer Tracy for playing Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938)

Gary Cooper for playing Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941)

Jason Robards for playing Benjamin Bradlee in All the President’s Men (1976)

Robert De Niro for playing Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980)

Sissy Spacek for playing Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Susan Sarandon for playing Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995)

Geoffrey Rush for playing David Helfgott in Shine (1996)

Julia Roberts for playing Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000)

Jim Broadbent for playing John Bayley in Iris (2001)

Jennifer Connelly for playing Alicia Nash in Beautiful Mind (2001)

Helen Mirren for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006)

The Academy Awards and Oscars are trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Updated: March 2013

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History fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/history/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/history/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:52:16 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=62 The 16th century Escorial palace of King Phillip II of Spain had 1,200 doors.

The world’s first travel agencies were Cox & Kings, founded in 1758, and Thomas Cook, founded in 1850.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Beer was the first trademarked product – British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.

Playing-cards were known in Persia and India as far back as the 12th century. A pack then consisted of 48 instead of 52 cards.

Excavations from Egyptian tombs dating to 5,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptian kids played with toy hedgehogs.

Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.

Julius Caesar was the first to encode communications, using what has become known as the Caesar Cipher.

The first mention of soap was on Sumerian clay tablets dating about 2,500 BC. The soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.

The first animal in space was the female Samoyed husky named Laika, launched by the Soviets in 1957.

In 1958, the US sent two mice called Laska and Benjy into space.

In 1961. the US launched a male chimpanzee called Ham into space.

In 1963, the French launched a cat called Feliette into space.

Great Britain was the first county to issue postage stamps, on 1 May 1840. Hence, UK stamps are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin.

Napoleon‘s christening name was Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte. He was born on the island of Corsica one year after it became French property. As a boy, Napoleon hated the French.

John Rolfe married Pocahontas the Red Indian Princess in 1613.

Only one of the Seven Wonders of the World still survives: the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The first parachute jump from an airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912.

On 21 June 1913, over Los Angeles, Georgia Broadwick became the first women to parachute from an airplane.

The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, was made in 565AD.

The world’s first skyscraper was the 10-storey Home Insurance office, built in Chicago in 1885. (During Roman times buildings were up to 8 stories high.)

Many more history fast facts

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Movies and TV fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/movies/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/movies/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:50:28 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=59 Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television in 1926 in Soho, London. Ten years later there were only 100 TV sets in the world.

Today there are more than 1,5 billion TV sets in use.

China has the most TV sets (500 million).

US citizens watch the most TV. By age 65, an American would have watched the equivalent of 9 years uninterrupted screening, viewing more than 20,000 TV commercials per year.

In the US there are more TV sets than telephones.

The first TV interview was made with Irish actress Peggy O’Neil in April 1930.

The first daily broadcast was started by the BBC in November 1936.

The first TV commercial was a 20-second ad for a Bulova clock, broadcasted by WNBT, New York during a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies in July 1941. Bulova paid $9 for that first TV spot. Bulova also was the first watch in space.

2 billion videos are watched per day on YouTube.

Every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube, or about 200,000 videos per day.

It will take a person more than 400 years to watch all the videos on YouTube.

The first regular TV soap was DuMont TV’s A Woman to Remember, which began its run in February 1947.

The first televised sporting event was a Japanese elementary school baseball game, broadcast in September 1931.

The world’s first TV news helicopter was introduced by KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles on 4 July 1958.

In “Father of the Bride”, Annie and Bryan marry on January 6. But in the opening montage of “Father of the Bride 2” there is a framed invitation of their wedding which states that they were married on October 9.

Towards the end of the Forrest Gump, Forrest narrates that his wife died on a Saturday. When he is at her grave in the next scene, the tomb stone shows her passing on March 22, 1982, which is a Monday.

STAR TREK’s Captain James T. Kirk’s middle name is Tiberius.

In Terminator 2 – Judgement Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger received a salary of $15 million; the 700 words he spoke translates to $21,429 per word. “Hasta la vista, baby” thus cost $85,716.

The largest movie theater in the world, Radio City Music Hall in New York, opened in 1932 – it seats almost 6,000 people.

The longest movie in the world according to Guinness World Records is The Cure for Insomnia, directed by John Henry Timmis IV. Released in 1987, the running time is 5220 minutes (87 hours).

The first film animation was “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces” made in 1906 by American J. Stuart Blacton.

In 1919, 18-year-old Walt Disney teamed up with Ub Iwerks, to produce a series of cartoons entitled “Alice in Cartoonland.”

The Walt Disney company was founded in 1923, and in 1927 Walt came up with the idea for an animated mouse called Mortimer Mouse. His wife Lillian convinced him to change it to Mickey Mouse.

In 1937 Disney won a special Oscar for the first full-length animation: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, created Tom and Jerry in 1939.

The first animation picture to be nominated for Best Picture Oscar was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1991 – it did not win, however. See the list of Oscar winners for the 1990s.

Mel Blanc, who played the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots.

Jack Mercer was the voice of Popeye the Sailor for 45 years.

The video recording machine was invented by the Ampex corporation of California in 1956. The first video recorder, the Ampex VR1000, stood 1,1 m (3 ft 3 in) high and weighed as much as a small car: 665 kg (1,466 lb).

The home video recorder was introduced in 1972 by Philips of the Netherlands.

Japanese company JVC introduced the VHS system in 1976.

About 80% of VCRs are made by Japanese companies.

The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.

On average, a movie makes about 5 times more from its DVD sales than ticket takings.

About one quarter of movie videos sold are animations.

In the 1926 film version of Don Juan actor John Barrymore set the record for the most kisses ever in a single film. Barrymore embraced Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor 127 times.

The longest kiss in a movie is in Andy Warhol’s Kiss. Rufus Collins and Naomi Levine kissed for the entire 50 minutes
of the movie.

The first porn movie was the 1908 French film al’Ecu d’or oula bonne auberge.

The first movie to use sound was “The Jazz Singer,” released in 1927: the first words, spoken by Al Jolson, were: “Wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet.”

The most translated film of all time is the Jesus film, based on the Gospel of Luke. It has been dubbed in 1 112 languages and has been screened in all the countries in the world, albeit some in private viewings.

The 1967 Russian movie War and Peace had 120,000 extras. The South Korean movie Monster Wang-magwi from the same year featured 157,000 extras. The 1945 German movie Kolberg had 187,000 and the movie with the most extras, the 1982 British movie Gandhi, featured 300,000 extras.

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Music fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/music/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/music/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:47:25 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=54 To win a gold disc, an album needs to sell 100,000 copies in Britain, and 500,000 in the United States.

Melba toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

The CD was developed by Philips and Sony in 1980.

40 billion songs are downloaded illegally every year, that’s some 90% of all music downloads. 

The music industry generates about $4 billion in online music but loose about $40 billion to illegal downloads.

Top-selling albums used to reach sales of 20 million copies before the advent of online piracy – by 2009 it had dropped to about 5 million.

The number of recorded CDs and blank CDs sold were about equal.

About one-third of recorded CDs ever sold were pirated.

The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britian’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.

The British anthem was performed the most times in a single performance. In 1909, while waiting for King Edward VII who was getting dressed a German band played the anthem 17 times.

Tap dancing originates from Irish clog dancing and what is called the Irish reel and jig.

The harmonica is the world’s best-selling music instrument.

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.”

Elvis favorite collectibles were official badges. He collected police badges in almost every city he performed in.

Elvis was an avid gun collector. His collection of 40 weapons included M-16s and a Thompson submachine gun.

Duran Duran took their name from a mad scientists in the movie Barbarella.

Bob Dylan’s first professional performance was as opening act for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in New York, 1961.

Before they were known as Journey, Steve Perry called his band Golden Gate Rhythm Section.

Kenneth Edmonds was nicknamed Babyface by funk bassist and singer Bootsy Collins.

The world’s largest disco was held at the Buffalo Convention Centre, New York, 1979. 13,000 danced a place into the Guinness Book of World Records.

In August 1983, Peter Stewart of Birmingham, UK set a world record by disco dancing for 408 hours.

Ireland has won the most Eurovision song contests (7 times).

Annie Lennox holds the record for the most Brit awards (8).

The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.

Klezmer music is derived from two Hebrew words, clay and zimmer, meaning “vessel of music.”

The Ocarina, a musical wind instrument, is also known as the Sweet Potato.

The LP (long-playing) record was invented by Paul Goldmark in 1948. The LP is not dead yet: more than 10 million LPs are sold every year.

The longest song to reach number one on the Billboard charts on LP was “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meatloaf, the shortest: “Stay” by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs.

At the first Grammy Awards, held on 4 May 1959, Domenico Modugno beat out Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee for the Record of the Year, with “Volare.”

The British, the highest per capita spenders on music, buy 7,2% of the world music market.

The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.

The Beatles song “Martha My Dear” was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha.

Jeanne Louise Calment’s CD was released on her 121st birthday in 1996. Titled “Time’s Mistress” it features Ms Calment reminiscing to a score of rap music and other tunes.

A grand piano can be played faster than an upright (spinet) piano.

A piano covers the full spectrum of all orchestra instruments, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.

The term “disc jockey” was first used in 1937.

The last note of a keyboard is C.

Themes from movies Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, and Absolute Power were all written by Clint Eastwood.

The US share of the world music market is 31.3%.

The only guy without a beard in ZZTOP surname (last name) is Beard.

Since its launch in 1981 the song Memory of the musical Cats has been played on radio more than a million times.

Paul McCartney was the last bachelor Beatle when he married Linda Eastman in a civil ceremony in London, 1969. Paul’s brother Mike was his best man. No other Beatle attended the wedding.

There are 6 versions of Franz Schubert’s “Die Forelle” (“The Trout”), simply because when friends asked him for copies of the song, he wrote out new copies to the best he could remember at the time.

In 1952, John Cage composed and presented ‘ 4’33” ‘, a composition consisting of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.

The Carpenters signature song, We’ve Only Just Begun, was originally part of a television commercial for a California bank.

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.

U2 was originally known as Feedback. To date, U2 have sold more than 70 million records, grossing $1,5 billion.

In May 1997, Paul McCartney broke his own world record by obtaining his 81st gold disc.

Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.

The top selling singles of all time are Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind ‘97”, at 33 million, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, 30 million, and Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock”, 25 million.

“Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash was the 10-billionth track sold on iTunes, February 2010. It was bought by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia, who won a $10,000 (£6,500) iTunes gift card.

The real name of Lorde is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor. See more Real Names of Famous Musicians.

DVD discs are the same diameter (120mm) and thickness (1.2mm) as a Compact Disc (CD) but a DVD can store 13 times or more data.

Beethoven was the first composer who never had an official court position, thus the first known freelance musician. Born in 1770, he grew up poor, but published his first work at age 12. By age 20 he was famous. He often sold the same score to six or seven different publishers simultaneously, and demanded unreasonably large fees for the simplest work. He was short, stocky, dressed badly, didn’t like to bath, lived in squalor, used crude language, openly conducted affairs with married women, and had syphilis. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony.

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Animal fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/animals/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/animals/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:45:59 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=51 Mammals are the only animals with flaps around the ears.

African elephants only have four teeth to chew their food with.

There are about one billion cattle in the world of which 200 million are in India.

A house fly lives only 14 days.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

The Big Five is a group of animals of Africa: cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino.

The oldest breed of dog is the Saluki.

The bee hummingbird of Cuba is the smallest bird in the world.

An ostrich can run up to 43mph (70 km/h).

An annoyed camel will spit at a person.

The world’s smallest dog is the Chihuahua, which means “tiny dog in the sky.”

Pea crabs (the size of a pea) are the smallest crabs in the world.

75% of wild birds die before they are 6 months old.

The pig is rated the fourth most intelligent animal but are mentioned only twice in the Bible

Sheep are mentioned 45 times and goats 88 times in the Bible. Dogs are mentioned 14 times and lions 89 times, but
domestic cats are not mentioned.

Pork is the world’s most widely-eaten meat.

In Denmark there are twice as many pigs as people.

Dinosaurs did not eat grass: there weren’t any at that time.

The coyote is a member of the dog family and its scientific name, “canis latrans” means barking dog.

A giraffe can clean its ears with its 50cm (20 in) tongue.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle – a group of geese in the air is a skein. More animal collective nouns

The South American giant anteater eats more than 30,000 ants a day.

It is impossible to out-swim a shark – sharks reach speeds of 44 mph (70 km/h). Humans can run about 21 mph (35 km/h).

The sailfish is the fastest swimmer, reaching 68 mph (109 km/h), although a black marlin has been clocked at 80 mph (128 km/h).

The slowest fish is the Sea Horse, which moves along at about 0.01 mph (0.016 km/h).

Dolphins can reach 37 mph (60 km/h).

Of the 650 types of leeches, only the Hirudo medicinalis is used for medical treatments.

The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car.

The tongue of a blue whale is as long as an elephant.

A blue whale weighs as much as 40 rhinos.

The eel is the only fish in the world that spawns in the middle of an ocean but spends its adult lives in rivers.

The scales of a crocodile are made of ceratin, the same substance that hooves and fingernails are made of.

A crocodile’s tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth and cannot move it.

A snail has two pairs of tentacles on its head. One pair is longer than the other and houses the eyes. The shorter pair is used for smelling and feeling its way around. (Some snail species have only one pair of tentacles, thus they have just one eye.)

The heaviest crustacean ever found was a lobster weighing 42 lb (19 kg), caught in 1934.

The largest jellyfish ever caught measured 7’6″ (2,3 m) across the bell with a tentacle of 120 ft (36 m) long.

The largest giant squid ever recorded was captured in the North Atlantic in 1878. It weighed 4 tons. Its tentacles measured 10 m (35 ft) long.

The giant squid has the biggest eyes of any animal: its eyes measure 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter.

Domestic cats purr at about 26 cycles per second, the same frequency as an idling diesel engine.

Sharks are immune to almost all known diseases.

Sharks and rays also share the same kind of skin: instead of scales, they have small tooth-like spikes called denticles. The spikes are so sharp that shark skin has long been used as sandpaper.

Animals also are either right-handed or left-handed. Polar bears are left-handed – and so is Kermit the Frog.

There are 701 types of pure breed dogs. There are about 54 million dogs in the US, and Paris is said to have more dogs than people.

Some bird species, usually flightless birds, have only a lower eyelid, whereas pigeons use upper and lower lids to blink.

Fish and insects do not have eyelids – their eyes are protected by a hardened lens.

Flatfish (halibut, flounder, turbot, and sole) hatch like any other “normal” fish. As they grow, they turn sideways and one eye moves around so they have two eyes on the side that faces up.

Measured in straight flight, the spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird. It flies 106 mph (170 km/h). Second fastest is the Frigate, which reaches 94 mph (150 km/h).

Millions of trees are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts and then forget where they hid them.

There are more than 150 million sheep in Australia, a nation of 21 million people.

New Zealand is home to 4 million people and 70 million sheep.

Also see A-Z of animals

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Vehicle fast facts http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/vehicles/ http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/vehicles/#respond Sun, 07 Feb 2010 22:44:42 +0000 http://didyouknow.org/fastfacts/?p=48 The amount of time that people spend on travel has been consistent at 1,1 hours per person per day in all societies.

Traffic jams of New York, San Francisco and Paris are well known – beaten only by those in Seattle where a driver annually spends 59 hours stuck in traffic.

Traffic jams are nothing new. In 45 BC, Rome banned all vehicles from within the city – and in other cities vehicles, including horses, were allowed only at night… because of traffic jams.

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

The Wright Brothers tested the first airplane in a wind tunnel before flying it.

Air-filled tires were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon. A dog was the first to parachute.

In ancient China, the nose of a criminal who attacked travelers was cut off.

Electric cars were introduced in 1896 and by the end of the century almost 50% of motorcars worldwide were electric.

Yet, by 1905 80% of cars were petrol driven and by 1920 the electric car was, well, almost history.

The shortest scheduled airline flight is made between the island of Westray to Papa Westray off Scotland. The flight lasts 2 minutes.

In 1913, the Russian Airline became the first to introduce a toilet on board.

In 1620, Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebbel launched the world’s first submarine in the Thames.

More than 60 million people annually visit France, a country of 60 million people.

The first motorcycle speedway race was held in Maitland, Australia, in 1925.

Mercedes Benz cars are named after Mercedes Jellinek.

It is said that, in 1941 the Ford motor company produced an experimental automobile with a plastic body composed of 70% cellulose fibers from hemp. The car body could absorb blows 10 times as great as steel without denting. The car was designed to run on hemp fuel. Because of the ban on both hemp and alcohol, the car was never mass produced.

There are more than 16,400 parking meters in Manhattan, New York.

New York cabs get about 2000 tickets per month, handed out by about 2000 traffic attendants.

Manhattan traffic crawls at an average of 6.2 miles an hour on midtown city streets.

A gallon of gasoline produces 8.8 kg of CO2.

The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.

About a quarter of the world still drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.

The Boeing Evergreen 747 Supertanker is the world’s largest waterbomber.

The pilot with the most flying hours is American John Edward Long. From May 1933 to April 1977 he flew 62 654 hours, achieving a total of more than 7 years airborne.

There are about a billion bicycles in the world, twice as many as motorcars.

In 1955, the Ford Thunderbird outsold the Chev Corvette 24 to one.

The fewest airplane passengers killed in one year was 1 in 1993 and the most was 583 in 1977 when two Boeing 747s collided on the runway at Los Rodeos airport, Tenerife, the Canary Islands.

The first auto race in the United States, in Chicago in 1895, was won by J. Frank Duryea at an average speed of 7.5mph (12 km/h).

Henry Ford started operations of his first successful car in Detroit in 1896.

The usual thermal efficiency of reciprocal steam engine is 15%. That of steam turbine is over 40%.

Nuclear ships are basically steamships and driven by steam turbines. The reactor just develops heat to boil the water.

The world’s oldest surviving boat is a simple 10 feet( 3 metre) long dugout dated to 7400 BC. It was discovered in Pesse Holland in the Netherlands.

Four out of five boat sinkings occur at their mooring.

Rock drawings from the Red Sea site of Wadi Hammamat, dated to around 4000 BC show that Egyptian boats were made from papyrus and reeds.

The world’s earliest known plank-built ship, made from cedar and sycamore wood and dated to 2600 BC, was discovered next to the Great Pyramid in 1952.

The Egyptians created the first organized navy in 2300 BC.

Oar-powered ships were developed by the Sumerians in 3500 BC.

Sails were first used by the Phoenicians around 2000 BC.

The first train reached a top speed of only 8 km/h (5 mph).

When you transport something by car, it’s called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship it’s called cargo.

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