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Thread: Strange Facts!

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    Colored diamonds are caused by impurities such as nitrogen (yellow), boron (blue). With red diamonds being due to deformities in the structure of the stone, and green ones being the result of irradiation.

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    Absinthe is another name for the herb wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and the name of a licorice-anise flavored green liqueur that was created at the end of the 18th century, and manufactured by Henry-Louis Pernod. Called the 'green Muse' it became very popular in the 19th century, but was eventually banned in most countries beginning in 1908. The reason is the presence of the toxic oil 'thujone' in wormwood, which was one of the main ingredients of Absinthe. Absinthe seemed to cause brain lesions, convulsions, hallucinations and severe mental problems. Thujone was the culprit, along with the fact that Absinthe was manufactured with an alcohol content of 68% or 132 proof.

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    In 1957, the Shipping port Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went on line. (It was taken out of service in 1982.)

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    Absynthe is being re-born. Now available for sale in Germany and some other European countries. See Discovery Science Channel, History of drink episode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chip anderson View Post
    Absynthe is being re-born. Now available for sale in Germany and some other European countries. See Discovery Science Channel, History of drink episode.

    Have you ever tried? I read a good article/review of these drinks in Maxim magazine 2(?) years ago. Very interesting libation! I have not tried, but am always up for a challenge.

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    In 1968, "Apollo Seven," the first manned Apollo mission, was launched with astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Fulton Eisele and R. Walter Cunningham aboard.

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    According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the single-seeded fruit of the giant fan palm, or Lodoicea maldivica, can weigh 44 lbs. Commonly known as the double coconut or coco de mer, it is found wild only in the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

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    Bad address email on file OptiBoard Gold Supporter Sean's Avatar
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    BVD stands for the organizers of the company: Bradley, Voorhies, and Day.

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    Bad address email on file OptiBoard Gold Supporter Sean's Avatar
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    Mt. Everest grows about 4 millimeters a year: the two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalyan peaks to grow slightly each year.

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    In 4000 BC Egypt, men and women wore glitter eye shadow made from the crushed shells of beetles.

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    Hostess Twinkies were invented in 1931 by James Dewar, manager of Continental Bakeries' Chicago factory. He envisioned the product as a way of using the company's thousands of shortcake pans which were otherwise employed only during the strawberry season. Originally called Little Shortcake Fingers, they were renamed Twinkie Fingers, and finally "Twinkies."

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    Master OptiBoarder rinselberg's Avatar
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    U-864

    "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
    -- Shakespeare; Julius Caesar.


    Case in point: In 2003, Norway's Royal Navy located the undersea wreckage of German U-boat 864. One of the last U-boats to go down in World War Two, U-864 was sunk by the British submarine HMS Venturer on February 9, 1945. It's the only case in history when a submarine, running submerged, used torpedos to sink another submarine that was running submerged.

    But Norwegians are not merely contemplating one more grim undersea wreck from the second world war. Fishing in nearby waters has been prohibited. And the Norwegian government is considering a plan to enshroud the wreckage in a protective seal of gravel, cement and sand.



    "You've got to put Mercury on your list."


    The reason? Mercury. U-864 was laden with over 60 tons of mercury stored in an array of steel flasks, which are now corroding. Chemical tests have revealed an alarming concentration of deadly mercury in the immediate vicinity of the wreck.

    Operation Caesar was a last-ditch effort by the Germans to transfer war technology to their Japanese cohorts, in the lunatic hope of reviving the flagging Japanese war efforts in the Pacific and thereby diverting some of the Allied war energies and resources from the impending invasion of Germany.


    The masssive IX D2 class German submarines were just short of 300 feet long.

    In December 1944, U-864 departed the German port of Kiel, planning to navigate through the North Sea west into the Atlantic and then south, around the Cape of Good Hope, into the Indian Ocean, before reaching its intended destination of Japan. U-864 was a "Monsoon" or IX D2 class German submarine, designed for long-range operations as distant from Germany as the Indian Ocean - and armed with a large battery of torpedos and over-sized deck guns. The mercury, used in munitions manufacture, was intended to help the Japanese produce more bombs, torpedos and artillery shells. U-864 was also carrying parts and plans for the construction of dangerously advanced "Swallow" jet engines and other war rockets and missiles. In addition to the German navy crew, there were a number of Japanese and German war scientists and technicians onboard.



    Avoid ingesting elemental mercury and its organic compounds. You won't like the results.


    Sources:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6193979.stm
    http://www.cdnn.info/news/eco/e061220.html
    http://www.archaeology.org/0401/news.../venturer.html
    http://www.collectinghistory.net/U-182/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unterseeboot_864


    When is a forum post more than just a forum post? See OptiBoard's Word of the Day!
    Last edited by rinselberg; 01-24-2007 at 08:17 PM.

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    Damn glad we sunk it and it didn't reach it's destination.

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    Master OptiBoarder rinselberg's Avatar
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    Stone Age math

    One of the oldest known mathematical artifacts [of prehistory] is a fragment from the fibula of a baboon, found near Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains, between South Africa and Swaziland. Discovered in the 1970s during excavations of Border Cave and dated to about 35,000 BC, the Lebombo Bone is marked with 29 clearly defined notches. It appears to have been used as a lunar calendar and it resembles calendar sticks that are in use even today by the Bushmen of Namibia.

    In 1962, Jean de Heinzelin discovered a bone near the shore of Lake Edward, on the border between [the present day] Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). This bone, known as the Ishango Bone, was originally thought to be between 6000 and 9000 years old. However, more recent [dating] efforts have [moved it back to about 18,000 BC] - during the Upper Paleolithic period.

    The Ishango Bone is remarkable in having a number of notches carved in three rows: Markings that appear to be very deliberate. They are arranged in 16 groups, each group having a different number of notches, from 3 to 19. Because of the complexity of the groupings it is generally agreed that the markings are not random. But what then was their purpose?


    The Ishango Bone. Courtesy of the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels, Belgium.

    Various details have led some researches to suggest that the Ishango Bone is [essentially a prehistoric calculator] ... for example, along one edge the number of notches in each group is a prime number. (Prime numbers are divisible only by themselves and one; e.g., 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 19, etc.)

    Coincidence? Perhaps. But ... there are three separate rows of notches, and the total number of notches in each row is a multiple of twelve. Another coincidence? Maybe. [And] along one row, the notches in adjacent groups appear to be related by a factor of two: 3 notches in one group and 6 in the next, then 4 followed by 8, then 10 and 5. A crude multiplication table? Or just another coincidence?

    [Does the Ishango Bone have some astronomical significance?]

    If these arrangements are not coincidences and the mathematical interpretations [are] correct, then the Ishango Bone clearly has little to do with astronomy. However, an alternative explanation was put forward by Alexander Marshack in 1965. Noticing certain patterns among the notches, Marshack claimed that the markings are (again) a lunar calendar - a record of the changing phases of the moon. Marshack’s idea has yet to be proved or disproved.

    The Lebombo and Ishango bones are not the only Stone Age artifacts believed to have had astronomical significance. A number of similar bones have been found, the oldest of which date back 30,000 years, to the last major Ice Age. One of the oldest is the Blanchard Bone, a carved segment of reindeer bone that was found in the Blanchard rock shelter in modern day France.

    The complexity of the markings is arresting. Whereas the notches in the Ishango Bone are simple tick marks of varying lengths all in neat rows, the 69 notches that decorate the Blanchard Bone include more than 24 distinctly different shapes that make a winding, snakelike design. It seems beyond all doubt that these marks were deliberate and again, some researchers believe that the marks were used as a detailed record of the lunar cycle.

    Sources:
    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclo...ombo_bone.html
    http://www.planetquest.org/learn/ishango.html


    OptiBoard member rinselberg updates the veridical paradox known as the "Monty Hall problem" under the post title Three Card Rinsel.
    Last edited by rinselberg; 01-29-2007 at 09:29 PM.

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    Super Bowl XLI coin toss - how odd!

    The NFC representative Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl XLI coin toss - the tenth consecutive Super Bowl game that started with the NFC team winning the coin toss. The streak began when the NFC Green Bay Packers won the coin toss before Super Bowl XXXII in 1998.

    If you reduce the complete Super Bowl coin toss history to the most basic statistic, of how many times the NFC team won the toss, vs. the AFC team, it's probably not all that remarkable.

    But let's say, just prior to the coin toss in 1998, you had asked one of the players - or a descendant of Thomas Bayes - about the probability that the NFC team would win that coin toss and then the coin toss for the next nine Super Bowl games, going all the way to 2007. Pretty slim odds?

    How about a probability of 2E-10 ... or the inverse of 1024 ... or less than one chance in a thousand?

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_B...n_toss_results


    OptiBoard member rinselberg updates the veridical paradox known as the "Monty Hall problem" under the post title Three Card Rinsel.
    Last edited by rinselberg; 02-05-2007 at 05:22 AM.

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    Master OptiBoarder rinselberg's Avatar
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    The longest animal

    What's the longest animal that you've ever (or more likely, never ...) seen? Aside from the prehistoric ones ...

    A blue whale? That's what I would have said - yesterday. A giant squid? Not even close.

    According to one website, it is (or was ..?) Lineus Longissimus - a ribbon worm that lives in the sea. They say a 180-foot long specimen washed ashore in Scotland towards the end of the 1800s.

    But I think I will go with a siphonophore - a kind of deep sea jellyfish. This one was photographed deep in California's Monterey Bay. According to my source, it can grow as long as 50 meters - which is just a fraction over 164 feet. That makes it a good candidate for the longest animal ever - even longer, perhaps, than any prehistoric one - on land or in the sea.



    Photo: Brian Hackett; 2006. Science: "Expedition to the Abyss"; The Discovery Channel. Image editing: myImager. Image hosting: ImageShack. Metric conversions: Online Conversion.


    OptiBoard member rinselberg is a volunteer staffer for DoD - "Defenders of Darwin".
    Last edited by rinselberg; 02-06-2007 at 01:30 PM.

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    Master OptiBoarder rinselberg's Avatar
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    How would you like to refract THESE eyes?



    The United Kingdom's fabled MI5 Security Service has a website. But I am not at liberty to disclose how I came into possession of this Top Secret MI5 dossier.


    Who's got the largest eyes on the planet - and how big are they?




    No one is safe! The United Kingdom has faced down terror from the sea before - including Nazi battleships and U-boats. Can our friends across the pond stand up to the cephalopod menace? And if not - will America be next?


    Think squid: As in giant squid - or its even more fearsome cousin, the colossal squid, which inhabits the frigid depths of the Antarctic Ocean.


    "You're gonna need a bigger retinascope!" The eyes of a colossal squid.

    Although many sources reference the colossal squid as having the largest eyes of any living species, it would be safer to credit the giant squid. Fully grown, the circular eyes of a giant squid can exceed one foot in diameter - about the same size as dinner plates or frisbees.



    This diver, working undercover for the United Kingdom's MoD, is part of an urgent effort to formulate a national defense strategy to cope with the growing cephalopod threat.

    Sources:
    Holy Squid! Photos Offer First Glimpse of Live Deep-Sea Giant
    Cephalopod News Special Report: Colossal Squid Caught!
    Yahoo: Is there any scientific proof of giant squids?
    BBC News: New giant squid predator found
    Giant Squid and Colossal Squid Fact Sheet
    Colossal Squid a Formidable Customer
    Deep Sea Photography
    GameGossip Forums: The Greatest Photos Megathread


    OptiBoard member rinselberg is a volunteer staffer for DoD - "Defenders of Darwin".
    Last edited by rinselberg; 02-08-2007 at 06:40 AM.

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    War cat

    Cats have nine lives. Black cats are bad luck. Mere superstitions, of course.

    Of course.

    Meet the (late) Oscar - the black cat on the left of this rather surreal looking image:



    The caption under the image reads "Pastel portrait by Mrs. Georgina Shaw Baker", although to my eyes, the cat looks distinctly photographic. Perhaps it's really a collage - or just a very good painting of Oscar. On the right, a British serviceman or officer from days gone by - perhaps a member of the Royal Navy. And in the background, the suggestion of a ship - or a buoy? Maybe it's a nocturnal scene. Or maybe this is just an amateurish and poorly lit photograph of the specimen as it hangs on a museum wall.

    Oscar first became known to the world as the pet or mascot of the World War Two battleship DKM Bismark. That would be a German warship. Or a Nazi warship, to be downright precise ... On the whole, Oscar didn't bring the Bismark any unadulterated good luck. On its first war mission and only a few days at sea, the Bismark was rendered inoperable by shelling from the British navy. In the end, Bismark's technicians actually sank their own ship by scuttling it with explosive charges. By that time it was, in reality, no longer a battleship. In the space of one hour and fifty-three minutes, it had been converted into just a badly worn out gunnery target by the British navy. Few of the Bismark's crew survived the day of May 27, 1941.

    But Oscar did.

    HMS Cossack (a British destroyer) retrieved Oscar, unharmed, where he was perched atop some of the Bismark's floating wreckage.

    The Cossack didn't fare much better by Oscar. It was torpedoed and sunk about five months later on October 24, 1941.

    Once again, Oscar survived. His third ship became the aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

    But only for about three weeks.

    On November 14 of 1941, HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed and sunk near Gibraltar.

    Needless to say, Oscar survived.

    British sailors rescued him from a floating plank.

    Considering his record, they decided he belonged on land - where things don't often sink. So they put him up at "The Home for Sailors" in Belfast. His life (or lives ...) finally ran out in 1955.



    A drawing of Oscar. Maybe this was him, perched atop that floating plank from the wreck of Ark Royal. The caption says "thanks to J. von Spee". A British man (or woman?) with a German name? I don't know. With that one, I "Googled myself out". No more hits.

    THE END.


    Sources:
    http://www.battleshipbismarck.info/cat_oscar.htm
    http://www.iwm.org.uk/upload/package...WarObjects.pdf


    "You're gonna need a bigger retinascope!" Meet the world's biggest and baddest pair of eyeballs ...
    Last edited by rinselberg; 02-10-2007 at 09:46 PM.

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    Like calamari?

    Truly "colossal" Colossal Squid taken. Dead specimen could be biggest ever. If calamari rings were made ... they'd be the size of tractor tires! Some believe that the Colossal Squid has the largest eyes of any living species. Others cite its cousin, the Giant Squid.

    MSNBC report plus photos and video clip:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17275072/

    Video clip only:
    http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?...&f=00&fg=email

    This updates my other recent post ... How would you like to refract THESE eyes?





    CLICK for a brief AUDIO update on Darwin's theory of evolution!
    Last edited by rinselberg; 02-22-2007 at 08:57 PM.

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    Bad address email on file OptiBoard Gold Supporter Sean's Avatar
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    In the 16th century, British sailors were allowed ten pints of beer a day for rations. :cheers:

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    Sean:

    If you studied the conditions and hardships these sailors had to endure, they probably needed this and more. I think it was only last year that the Brit's discontinued the daily ration of rum on thier warships.

    Chip:cheers:

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    beyond that, there was very little safe water to drink when crossing an ocean. it was a way of keeping nourishment in their systems, believe it or not.
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    Bad address email on file k12311997's Avatar
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    now if I can get the dr. to replace the water cooler with a beer cooler.

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    Master OptiBoarder Grubendol's Avatar
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    the doctor? Doctor Who?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grubendol View Post
    the doctor? Doctor Who?

    I'm sure he'd just have a gadget to allow me to store a keg's worth of beer in a pocket flask.

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