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Fact of the Week Archive

Week of June 29, 2009
(The last one of the 2008-2009 school year! See you in the fall!)
The Coca-Cola Company purchases more sugar than any other company in the world. Besides being a liquid refreshment, Coca-Cola is commonly used to clean toilets, remove rust, baste ham and dissolve driveway grease.

Week of June 22, 2009
Feel wet? We have already gotten 8.35 inches of rain in New York City this June and it has rained 17 of the last 21 days. Last Thursday's record-breaking rainfall for a single June day (2.3 inches) puts NYC within striking distance of breaking 2003's record June rainfall of 10.23 inches -- and we've got more than a week to go.

Week of June 15, 2009
Sunlight can penetrate clean ocean water to a depth of 240 feet. That means you still need sunscreen if you are swimming!

Week of June 8, 2009
Chimpanzees lie a lot. How do scientists know?
They taught them sign language.

Week of June 1, 2009
The muzzle of a lion is like a fingerprint -- no two lions have the same pattern of whiskers.

Week of May 25, 2009
New York only recycles #1 and #2 plastics. However, we can now recycle all of the #5 plastics we use, such as yogurt cups, hummus tubs, cottage cheese containers, etc. through
Preserve Gimme 5. Preserve, a maker of household goods that utilize 100% recycled plastics and post-consumer paper, has partnered with Organic Valley and Stoneyfield Farms to help capture #5 plastics before they end up in landfills. Drop your #5 plastic containers off at designated Whole Foods locations (we have 4 in New York!) or mail them directly to Preserve, where they will be remade into items such as razors, toothbrushes, cutlery and mixing bowls -- all of which are fully recyclable.

Week of May 18, 2009
Gore-Tex, the breathable composite polymer used to waterproof and windproof outdoor gear, is simply stretched Teflon, the substance used to coat nonstick pans.

Week of May 11, 2009
Manhattan's record high temperature is 106 F (July 9, 1936);
the record low temperature is -15 F (February 9, 1934).
On a side note, the temperature has never reached 100 F in either Alaska or Hawaii.

Week of May 4, 2009
An earthworm can have up to five hearts and it doesn't breathe through a mouth or nose like you; it breathes through its skin.

Week of April 27, 2009
Ninety percent of the world's ice is in Antarctica, even though the precipitation there averages only 2 inches per year. Antarctica also has the largest desert on Earth. It covers an area of more than 5.4 million square miles, over one and one-half times larger than the Sahara Desert.

Week of April 20, 2009
Check your pennies! The first of four new designs launched February 12 -- in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny -- but the 634.8 million coins produced by the U.S. Mint have only just started to make it into circulation. The heads side remains the same, but the first has a log cabin on the back, representing Lincoln's Hodgenville, KY birthplace. The next designs, set to release in three-month intervals, will depict his early years in southern Indiana, his career in Illinois and his presidential term in Washington, D.C. 2009 pennies have fetched more than $1 each and rolls of them have sold for more than $50 at online auction websites.

Week of April 13, 2009
A "gut feeling" is also referred to as splanchnic, related to the splanchnic nerves of the intestinal area.

Week of April 6, 2009
Where are the oldest trees in Manhattan? There are two, both English Elms. One is at the northwest corner of Washington Square Park and the other is on the west side of Stuyvesant Square Park -- both are more than 300 years old.

Week of March 30, 2009
According to USA Today, U.S. organizations squander $2.8 billion a year to power unused computers, emitting about 20 million tons of carbon dioxide, which is roughly the equivalent of 4 million cars. If all of the world's 1 billion PCs were powered down for just one night, it would save enough energy to light the Empire State Building -- inside and out -- for over 30 years.

Week of March 23, 2009
It cost $3 million to build the Titanic, which at the time, was the largest passenger steamship in the world. The movie, Titanic, cost $100 million to make.

Week of March 16, 2009
To update the Fact of the Week from 11-17-2008, the world's most valuable comic book (Action Comics #1 (1938), which introduced Superman) was just sold in an internet auction for $317,200.00 on March 14. The rare edition, which features Superman lifting a car on its cover, was bought by John Dolmayan, the drummer for the band System of a Down. The previous owner got it for just 35 cents (the original cover price was 10 cents).

Week of March 9, 2009
Styrofoam is everywhere: it holds your food, secures items in packages, provides insulation in homes and it's even in your bike helmet. Also known as expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, it's a version of plastic #6 (polystyrene), which you've seen used in plastic cups and CD and DVD cases. Because it is so lightweight, it only takes up 0.01% of the total municipal solid waste stream by weight, but as you may have guessed, its volume is the big problem. It takes up space in landfills and does not biodegrade. Even if your community does not recycle #6 plastic (New York City does not), you still can. You can reuse it when you need to ship something, donate it to a local shipping store or even check (here) for EPS recycling drop-off locations.

Week of March 2, 2009
It is extremely rare for New York City schools to alter school hours or to close schools due to inclement weather. Today, March 2, 2009, is the first time a snow day was called since
January 27, 2004. Get outside and enjoy the day off!

Week of February 23, 2009
The apparatus for measuring your feet at a shoe store is called a Brannock device.

Week of February 16, 2009
Genetically speaking, zebras are black with white stripes, not white with black stripes; they have black skin, even under the white hair.

Week of February 9, 2009
The name for the search engine Google is derived from the word googol, which refers to the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

Week of February 2, 2009
The Pittsburgh Steelers set an NFL record by winning its 6th Super Bowl Championship on Sunday. Santonio Holmes (from Ohio State!) became the third Steelers' wide receiver to be voted the Super Bowl MVP (Lynn Swann, SB X, and Hines Ward, SB XL, were the other two). Only three other WRs have won the award in the other 40 Super Bowls (Oakland's Fred Bilentnikoff, SB XI, San Francisco's Jerry Rice, SB XXIII, and New England's Deion Branch, SB XXXIX).

Week of January 26, 2009
Did you know that Central Park's Woodlands are all man made and that the Central Park Conservancy takes care of all 130 acres of them? The Conservancy plants native trees and shrubs, most of which is geared towards wildlife habitat.

Week of January 19, 2009
According to Walt Disney, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are married and Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy.

Week of January 12, 2009
Fewer than 5% of all inkjet and laser cartridges are recycled and nearly one million inkjet cartridges are thrown away every day. It can take 1,000 years for inkjet and laser cartridges to break down in our overflowing landfills.
Recycling your cartridges can make a big difference!

Week of January 5, 2009
Bears live in dens, badgers live in setts and squirrels live in dreys.
The gorilla's scientific name is "Gorilla, gorilla, gorilla."

Week of December 15, 2008
Reindeer milk has 5 times as much fat as cow milk.

See you in 2009 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Week of December 8, 2008
Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are botanically unrelated.

Week of December 1, 2008
There are more insects in 10 square feet of a rain forest than there are people in Manhattan.

Week of November 24, 2008
The OHIO STATE BUCKEYES defeated the michigan wolverines on Saturday, November 24, 42-7, for the 5th-straight time -- the BUCKEYES' longest streak in the 105-year history of this rivalry. This season, the wolverines (3-9, 2-6) lost the most games in school history, missed a bowl trip for the first time in 34 years and had their first losing season in 41 years. This also marked the largest victory margin between these hated rivals since Woody Hayes was prowling and growling on the sidelines in a 50-14 rout of michigan in 1968. In this game, Hayes went for a 2-point conversion late in the game, despite the score. When asked why he went for 2 instead of kicking the extra point, he famously said, "because I couldn't go for three!"

Week of November 17, 2008
What is the world's most valuable comic book? Action Comics #1 (1938), introducing Superman. The cover price? 10 cents. The approximate value today, for a copy in mint condition? $600,000.

Week of November 10, 2008
Why do cats always seem so cool?
Cats don't sweat (They can't - they don't have sweat glands).

Week of November 3, 2008
The first New York City Marathon was held in Central Park in 1970. 127 runners paid the $1 entry fee to the New York Road Runners to participate in a 26.2-mile race that looped several times within the Park. Just fifty-five runners crossed the finish line. The race has grown into the world's largest marathon with nearly 38,000 runners crossing the finish line this year. Participants now run through all five of the city's boroughs, but the iconic finish line remains in the Park.

Week of October 27, 2008
According to the United States Weather Service, 1-day forecasts are right 75% of the time. So check the weather on Explorer mornings and prepare accordingly!

Week of October 20, 2008
Ryan Bonfiglio, 30, broke a Guinness World Record by doing 1,000 push-ups (in sets of 25) in 20 minutes and 50 seconds. The old record was held by Jack LaLanne, set in 1956. Bonfiglio, an All-Ivy League wrestler for Princeton in 1998, also set another record in 2004, executing 507 pull-ups in one hour.

Week of October 13, 2008
According to the Container Recycling Institute, an estimated 2,937,000,000 (yes, that's almost 3 billion!) bottles of non-sparkling water were sold in New York City last year, nearly all of them plastic. That's nearly 200 bottles per year for every man, woman and child. Stacked end-to-end, the bottles New Yorkers throw away each year would reach the moon.

Week of October 6, 2008
The Emmy Award, given out to reward excellence in the television industry, was originally called the "Immy." It is named after TV camera "imaging" tubes.

Week of September 29, 2008
Americans generate an extra 5 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

Week of September 22, 2008
According to the prize in my Cracker Jack box from the last game at Yankee Stadium, a typical pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long! Incidentally, Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923, was the 3rd oldest ballpark. Boston's Fenway Park opened in 1912 and Chicago's Wrigley Field opened in 1914.

Week of September 15, 2008
New York City was briefly the capital of the United States from 1789 to 1790.

Week of September 8, 2008
(Welcome back! We hope you had a great summer and are ready to hit the park!!!)
The average person swallows 295 times while eating a single meal.
(Bonus fact!): Americans consume 100 pounds of chocolate every second.

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