A hot place and steep mountains

Published 10:03 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2015

By Frank Roberts

In this column, a little bit of everything. Ready to increase your knowledge and astound friends and family? Here goes.

  • Matter at the core of the sun is so hot that a pinhead of it would give off enough heat to kill a man 100 million miles away.
  • The most distant body that can be seen with the naked eye from earth is the Great Spiral Galaxy in the star cluster, Andromeda, more than two million light years away. It appears only as a faint patch of light in the sky.
  • A five-pound rock brought back by the Apollo 12 mission to the moon is 3 billion years old.
  • What’s unique about the Congressional Medal of Honor? Having “Congress” and “honor” in the same sentence.
  • Dueling is legal in Paraguay, as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
  • In 1963, pitcher Gaylord Perry said, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.” In July of that year, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry hit his first and only home run.
  • A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and can’t find a mate.
  • In the Caribbean there are oysters that can climb trees.
  • After studying 300,000 flies, researchers Dr. Yao and Dr. Yuan of China concluded that your average housefly carries 2 million bacteria on its body.
  • In Japan they have square watermelons. They stack better.
  • Thomas Edison was afraid of the dark, so it’s good that he invented the light bulb.
  • The world’s oldest piece of chewing gum is 9,000 years old.
  • John Quincy Adams and Herbert Hoover had pet alligators. Calvin Coolidge had two lions, a wallaby and a pygmy hippo.
  • The inventor of the Slinky, Richard T. James, suffered a breakdown, moved to Bolivia, and joined a religious cult.
  • Fewer and fewer people are getting married these days. In fact, single households now outnumber the married in the United States.
  • This is scary: A paper titled, “The Lure Of Ambiguity,” written by Harvard, MIT and Boston University scholars, makes it clear that in repeated studies, the more people knew about each other, the less they liked each other.
  • And H.L. Mencken said, “love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.”
  • In other relationship news, 70 percent of disagreements that arise in a marriage are never resolved, according to “How To Survive Your Marriage.”
  • The Fairweather Range in Alaska rises higher and faster than do mountains on any other shoreline on the face of the earth. With no warning at all, the land goes from sea level to the crest of the St. Elias, with pinnacle peaks standing more than three miles high.
  • I’m not a “gunsel,” but, referring to the landmark decision of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services, attorney Richard W. Stevens writes that “the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the Constitution does not impose a duty on the state and local governments to protect the citizens from criminal harm.” He suggests that you’d be better off owning a gun and learning how to use it.
  • To wind this up on a light note — there was the patient who said to his psychiatrist, “I’m so unhappy; nobody takes me seriously.” The psychiatrist said, “No kidding?”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.

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