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Random and Useless Thoughts

01dragonslayer

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There is a town in Nebraska with a population of one.​

According to a recent census, Monowi is the only place in the USA with just one resident. She is her own clerk, mayor, librarian, treasurer, librarian and bartender and the only person left in the USA's tiniest town.

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‘Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia' is a fear of long words.​

Well, that's easy for you to say.

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The 1st King of England made a law that everyone had to be in bed by 8 pm.​

Alfred The Great even introduced a curfew bell rung at 8 o'clock to tell people to go to bed. They had to get their lights out and settle down and stop acting up, it's bedtime. You could be punished if you didn’t go to beddies!

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Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.​

A tiger's skin still displays its stripes if you shave away the fur. Leopards are the same way with their spots. So if you shaved a tiger, it would still be a) stripey and b) miffed.

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A group of jellyfish is called a smack.​

Of course it is. There are loads of other excellent collective nouns for groups of animals, for example - a cauldron of bats, a coalition of cheetahs, and a rhumba of rattlesnakes. If you're surrounded by a rattlesnake rhumba you might say your rhumba's up. (Although you'd probably forego wordplay and just scream your head off.)

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Beaver bum gunk is sometimes used as a vanilla flavouring.​

A chemical compound used in vanilla flavouring and scents comes from the anal glands of beavers. So the vanilla scent could be due to the animal's diet of bark and leaves. Whatever the reason, chances are you've encountered said bottom debris. Enjoy.

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You can sneeze faster than a cheetah can run.​

We sneeze at around 100 miles per hour, faster than cheetahs run and four-and-a-half times faster than Usain Bolt's world record. You might think that's impressive, but it's SNOT.

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The little plastic tube at the end of a shoelace is called an aglet.​

Aglets are usually plastic or metal and they are designed to stop your shoelaces from fraying. That's all there is to tell you about that. We told you the facts were mostly pointless, don't blame us.

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The wood frog can hold its pee for up to eight months.​

They tend to do this in winter – because it’s too cold to pee? No, because they recycle the nitrogen in their own wee to keep themselves warm from the inside out!

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Due to a genetic defect, cats can’t taste sweet things.​

This is because they are missing a taste receptor gene that allows their brains to recognise sweet tastes. No wonder they're often grumpy!

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There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.​

Those words include; tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous. There's also the specialist zoological term apodous, which means 'without feet'.

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ou can't lick your own elbow.​

Okay, so there are a few people who MIGHT be able to lick their own elbows, but it's very rare, and you'd need to have short arms. So why not give it a go and see if you can do it?

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A giraffe can go longer without water than a camel can.​

Giraffes can go up to 3 weeks without a drink. When they do drink, they've been known to down 12 gallons in one sitting to keep themselves going. In comparison, a camel can go about 2 weeks.

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Rhubarb can spring up so fast that you can actually hear it grow.​

The buds of the plant cracking open make the sound, which is a sort of creaking and groaning. During the growing season, some people say it sounds a bit like the rhubarb is singing! We don't know what song the rhubarb is singing but our guess is 'Let's Get Ready to Crumble'.

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A group of hippos is called a bloat.​

The word 'hippopotamus means 'river horse' and is often shortened to 'hippo'. Even though hippos have numerous collective nouns, 'bloat' is the most common. They are also sometimes a crash, herd, pod or dale.

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Tornadoes can make it ‘rain’ fish.​

This phenomenon usually happens when swirling whirlwinds over shallow water develop into waterspouts that suck up water and the things living in it, like frogs, eels and fish. The creatures are carried long distances by clouds, and then drop to the ground like a mic.

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The King of Hearts is the only king in a deck of cards without a moustache.​

This difference wasn't a stylistic decision - he originally had one, but it got lost because of a printing error from the original design. Now it's just a thing. Check it out! The King of Hearts' top lip is always as smooth as a baby's bottom. The state of his bottom however, we can only speculate.

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Alektorophobia is a fear of chickens.​

The term comes from the Greek words ‘alektor’, which means rooster, and ‘phobos’, which means fear. It's a particular phobia and can be pretty extreme! And no wonder - we certainly won't be watching Jurassic Park in the same way again (see fact #3).

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No word in the English language rhymes with 'month'.​

Other words with no rhyme include purple, silver, pint, ninth, wolf, opus, dangerous and marathon.

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The longest place name? A hill in New Zealand: Taumatawhakatangihangaoauauotameteaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

It translates into English as; 'the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'land eater’, played his flute to his loved one.’

Without doubt our favourite hill that's named after a man with large knees.

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There are footprints on the moon​

There is no wind on the moon - that means that every time an astronaut has stepped on the moon, their footprint stays there forever!

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A word that is the same backwards and forwards is called a 'palindrome'​

Some examples of palindromes include Anna, radar, level and racecar! Can you think of any more?

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No one knows what Stonehenge is for​

Stonehenge is one of the most fascinating and beautiful places in Britain-but no one's quite sure why it was built. Theories include a burial site, a site of worship and a sort of giant clock! Weirder theories include that Stonehenge was built by aliens or even giants! What's your theory?

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Turtles can breathe through their bums​

Yup, you read that right! When turtles hibernate, they do something called cloacal respiration. This means that oxygen and carbon dioxide is diffused in and out through their butts. It's the only way they can get oxygen when they're hibernating, so they probably don't complain about the smell!

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Leonardo Da Vinci could write and draw with both hands​

Leonardo Da Vinci was both left and right-handed; a condition know as ambidextrous. He would write and draw with both hands equally well, and could even write backwards! What couldn't he do?!

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The first woman in space was called Valentina Tereshkova​

She went into space for the first time in 1963 and spent over 70 hours orbiting the Earth. Since then, lots of women have been to space, including Sally Ride and Mae C. Jemison, who became the first black woman to travel into space in 1992.

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There are tiny parasites that live in your eyelashes​

Sorry to break it to you, but it's true. Thousands of tiny microscopic parasites live in your eyelashes and eyebrows, and there's nothing you can do about it. Don't worry - you can't feel or see them and they don't do any harm. These eyelash mites are called Demodex mites, and they eat your dead skin! Yuck! Everyone has a small amount naturally, so don't bother them and they probably won't bother you!

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A baby beaver is called a kitten​

Aw! Lots of baby animals have funny names. Seal babies are pups (like puppies!), a baby whale is called a calf (like cows!) and a baby echidna is called a puggle! Apart from being very cute, beavers have very strong teeth with iron in them! That's why they can gnaw through whole trees!

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The tallest ever recorded woman was 7ft 7inches tall​

Sandra Elaine Allen, who was born in 1978 and died in 2008 was reportedly the tallest ever woman, coming in at an incredible 7ft 7 tall! Sandra was from Chicago in the USA, and although her height made her famous, it also caused her lots of health problems and sadly died aged only 53.

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There are at least 40 disused or abandoned Underground stations in London​

When the London underground was first built in the 19th century, there were a lot more stations in the middle of London than there are today. Where did those stations go? Well, no where! They're still there, underground and abandoned, waiting to be reopened. Abandoned stations include King William Street, British Museum and Lords. Next time you're on the Tube, have a look out of the window and see if you pass any of them!

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