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Fact File

In the Fact File section we bring you a new collection of quick facts and trivia each week. (Click on the links below for more facts)


1961/ 'Dord' is a non-existent word that was entered into the second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary by mistake.

1962/ In the book, Secrets of the Soil, Dr. Joseph Weissman , UCLA College of Medicine, says human breast milk could not be sold in stores due to the fact that 99% of mothers' milk contains dangerous levels of DDT.

1963/ A nova is a sudden increase in luminosity of a star, usually in the magnitide of thousands of times its original brightness. Stars that nova usually return to their original luminosity

1964/ President Woodrow Wilson used the spelling OKEH rather than OK. He preferred this spelling, believing (incorrectly) that the origin of the word is a Choctaw word meaning "it is so."

1965/ One Thousand contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A. According to Pascal Kaeser, in these languages you can count until one million (and more), without using the vowel e: Aymara, Chichewa, Haoussa, Ouigour. These languages are officially written with the Latin alphabet.

1966/ Amount of money spent by Americans on lawn care aid annually: $6 billion.

1967/ The United States Department of Agriculture reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms.

1968/ Stars twinkle because the light we see coming from the stars travels through the atmosphere around the earth and there is turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.

1969/ OUGH can be pronounced 9 different ways in the following sentence. "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed, houghed, and hiccoughed."

1970/ Coffee is the second largest traded commodity after oil.

1971/ PARADIGM was the word most frequently looked up in 1998 in the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary.

1972/ Q is the only letter that does not occur in the names of the states of the U.S.

1973/ TAXI is spelled the same way in thirteen languages, English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian and Portuguese.

1974/ In all of Shakespeare's plays and poetry, excluding Roman numerals, only one word begins with X. The word is XANTHIPPE (the wife of Socrates). It is found in The Taming of the Shrew.

1975/ The words most likely to be misspelled (ratio of incorrect to correct spellings) according to a study of Usenet traffic several years ago were DUMBBELL, OCCURRENCE, MEMENTO, FRUSTUM, COLLECTIBLE, AMATEUR, DAIQUIRI, PASTIME, ACCIDENTALLY, PLAYWRIGHT, EMBARRASS, ACQUIT, HARASS, and PRONUNCIATION.

1976/ It is suspected that 80 percent of Mercury's core is iron-nickel, as compared with Earth's 32 percent.

1977/ Pangrams are sentences containing all the letters of the alphabet.

1978/ The highest-scoring opening plays in scrabble are MUZJIKS (128), QUARTZY (126) or SQUEEZY (126).

1979/ The two longest words in the Bible have 18 letters each. MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ (Isaiah 8:1) is the name given to Isaiah's son, meaning "swift is booty, speedy is prey." JONATH-ELEM-RECHO-KIM, which is found in the title of Psalm 56, is the name of a song and means "the silent dove of far-off places"

1980/ Uranus is unique among the planets in that its equitorial plane is almost perpendicular to the orbital plane.

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