Saturday, September 08, 2012

37 fun factoids, and their witty ripostes

This list was circulated by a friend in my office in 2003, with my comments in italics. It must have been a slow day!

1. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.”

I thought it was “sthwootsched.”

2. "Dreamt" is the only English word that ends in the letters "mt"

Wrong again: also “verklemmt” and “bemt” (as in “Get bemt”).

4. The symbol on the “pound” key (#) is called an octothorpe.

“Enter your six-number password, followed by the octothorpe key.”

5. The dot over the letter ‘I’ is called a tittle.

Alternatively, when you tell on somebody, but it’s only a small offense, that's “tittling.”

6. Ingrown toenails are hereditary.

Not surprising, since heredity by definition is ingrown.

8. “Underground” is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters “und.”

The collector of factoids didn't do his/her homework: also “underhandund,” “undergarmund,” “undefendund.”

12. The longest place-name still in use is “Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapi-kimaungahoronukupokaiwe-nuakitnatahu,” a New Zealand hill.

More sloppy research: it’s a town in eastern Germany called “Friedrichswusterhavellandischersaechsischererzgebirgischer-oberniederfreiburghaven-unter-den-eichen-an-der-Oder.” (The town used to be called “Glopp,” but changed the name to discourage out-of-towners from asking directions.)

13. Los Angeles’s full name is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reinade los Angeles de Porciuncula” and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size, “L.A.”

That’s really interesting. It’s also a little known fact that Cleveland’s full name is “The Depopulated New American City Surveyed by Moses Cleveland on America’s North Coast of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Corporate Flight.”

14. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

I’d hate to be a vet doing a frontal-lobotomy on an ostrich. By the way, did you know cats have the largest eyes in proportion to their face of any mammal?

15. Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

Yikes! How many scientists died trying to shave tigers to find this out?

18. Donald Duck’s middle name is Fauntleroy.

(I’m editing out my original response. You’ll have to fill it in.)

19. The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint: no two lions have the same pattern of whiskers.

As in fact octothorpe 15, the loss of life during the research into this must have been horrendous.

21. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

See below.

26. A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

Is that why the twits get pregnant so often?

27. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

But it is possible to cry with your nose open.

31. ‘Stewardesses’ is the longest English word that is typed with only the left hand.

Conversely, “lopuyihinolomuup” is the longest English word that can be typed with only the right hand.

36. Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian seal for that reason.

You mean, they can’t step backwards to get off the seal when he flops into the ocean? A lot of them must drown that way.

37. Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

And their vocalization is superior in quality as well as quantity.

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