Fact of the Week Archive
Week of July 4, 2016
Thanks to Explorer Anthony Z. for this one!
(The last one of the 2015-2016 school year! See you in the fall!)
On May 24, 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge opened to traffic and though we now know it as a beautiful landmark, New Yorkers of the time were a bit more wary. It was the only bridge spanning the East River, connecting the separate cities of Brooklyn and New York, and many doubted that a bridge that large could hold. Showman and circus founder P.T. Barnum marched his 21 elephants, led by his most famous one, Jumbo, across the bridge on May 17, 1884, along with 17 camels. The animals made it across just fine, proving that the bridge was steady and safe. At the time it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and it lives on today as one of New York's finest landmarks.
Week of June 27, 2016
Before the late 1960s, radio stations rarely played songs over four minutes long. It took a band as powerful as the Beatles to change that. In 1968, the group released "Hey Jude." The song was 7 minutes and 11 seconds long, went to #1, was the band's biggest hit and opened the doors for longer songs on the radio. About a decade later, Meat Loaf shattered the hit song length record with "Paradise By the Dashboard Light," which is 8:55. The record stood until 1991, with the release of "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses, which comes in at 8:57.
Week of June 20, 2016
If you ate in a different New York eatery every day for 12 years, you still wouldn't have visited all of the city's restaurants.
Week of June 13, 2016
The price the tooth fairy pays for a tooth went up by 42% between 2011 and 2013.
Week of June 6, 2016
Qatar is the only country that begins with a Q and Iraq is the only country that ends with one. Oddly, the letter Q was illegal in Turkey for 85 years.
Weeks of May 23 & 30, 2016
You think sneezes are powerful? A cough travels at 600 mph!
(Bonus fact!): The average bee can travel up to 11 mph -- about 4 times as fast as the average human being.
Week of May 16, 2016
We just had a Friday the 13th, but did you know that singer Taylor Swift says it is her lucky number? "I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first #1 song had a 13-second intro," Swift said. "Every time I've won an award I've been seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th section or row M, which is the 13th letter." Weird, huh?
Week of May 9, 2016
If you lick a wound, it will heal faster. Human saliva is antimicrobial and hastens wound closure.
Week of May 2, 2016
Contrary to legend, George Washington's false teeth were not wooden. Some were gold, ivory or lead and others were actually horse or donkey teeth!
Week of April 25, 2016
At 108 minutes, Zootopia is the second longest Disney animated film ever. Only Fantasia was longer, at 126 minutes. No doubt that the Sloths at the DMV can take credit for at least some of those extra minutes!
Week of April 18, 2016
The U.S. National Park Service has a gift for you: The agency is celebrating its 100th anniversary all year long and this week (started Saturday) is National Park Week. That means you can get into any National Park for free between April 16 and April 24. There are more than 400 of them throughout the country and 127 of those charge an admission fee. Find the park closest to you with this handy map.
Week of April 11, 2016
Red Bull energy drink is illegal in Norway, Denmark, Uruguay and France because it is too "unhealthy."
Week of April 4, 2016
If every American household recycled the Sunday newspaper, more than half a million trees would be saved -- every week!
Week of March 28, 2016
If Easter is not your favorite of holidays, you may have Leporiphobia, which is believed to mean a fear of rabbits.
Week of March 21, 2016
All of the squirrels in New York City are eastern grey squirrels. Even the darker grey, black or brown/rusty-colored squirrels are all eastern grey squirrels. A squirrel's nest, which is made of leaves, is called a "drey." Mother squirrels give birth about 1 or 2 times a year, in winter and early summer, and can have a litter of 1-5 babies. Like us, the babies rely on their mother's milk to grow. Baby squirrels do not leave the nest until after about 12 weeks, can grow to about 9-12 inches long, 20 ounces (less than two pounds) and live to about 3-5 years old in the city.
Week of March 14, 2016
Despite what you have heard, Seattle is NOT the rainiest city in the lower 48 states. In fact, at 37 inches of rain per year, Seattle ranks as just the 41st-rainiest city. The actual rainiest city is Mobile, Alabama. According to a 30-year study, Mobile averages a total of 67 inches of rainfall each year, which is more than 5 1/2 feet worth of rain!
Week of March 7, 2016
One of America's most recognizable candies, M&M's, turns 75 on Thursday. It all started in 1941 when the military requested that Mars North America, which owns the M&M's brand, make chocolate for the troops at the start of World War II. The candy's hard exterior meant the chocolate didn't melt and was ideally suited for overseas travel. When the war ended, soldiers were still clamoring for the tiny treats and Mars began selling them to regular customers in 1947.
Week of February 29, 2016
Leap Day, by the numbers: It takes Earth 365.242 days to orbit the sun. When a Leap Year is added every four years, the calendar is still off by a few minutes. To fix that, only centuries divisible by 400 are Leap Years, which means that 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not Leap Years.
Week of February 22, 2016
Disney princess facts: Anna (Frozen) is the first Disney princess to have a duet with a villain. Belle (Beauty and the Beast) is the only Disney princess with hazel eyes. Pocahontas is the only Disney princess with a tattoo. Tiana (The Princess and the Frog) is the only Disney princess with dimples. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) is the princess with the least amount of lines and screen time in a Disney film. Ariel (The Little Mermaid) is the only Disney princess to have a child. Her name is Melody. Elsa (Frozen) is the only official Disney princess that isn't a teenager. She's 21. Snow White is the youngest at only 14 years old. Got all of that?
Week of February 15, 2016
Volcanic eruptions can carry diamonds to the Earth's surface from over 60 miles underground.
Week of February 8, 2016
The average home collects 40 pounds of dust a year.
Week of February 1, 2016
There is enough wood pulp in one cord of wood to make a half ton of toilet paper. By the way, one cord of wood equals 128 cubic feet. Still doesn't help? OK, a cord of wood corresponds to a well-stacked woodpile, 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep. Need a picture? Click here
Week of January 25, 2016
Saturday's blizzard dropped 26.8 inches of snow in Central Park, the second-most recorded since 1869. The snowfall narrowly missed tying the previous record of 26.9 inches, set in February 2006. That storm happened on Saturday into Sunday and by the following Friday, after three days at 56 degrees or higher, there was barely any snow left for sledding!
Week of January 18, 2016
George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader's January 15 birthday.
Week of January 11, 2016
The current estimated jackpot for the upcoming Powerball drawing is $1.3 BILLION, which is the largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The odds of winning are one in 292.2 million. How crazy is that? The odds of becoming president of the United States are only 1 in 10 million. A person has even better odds of playing in the NBA, at 1 in 6.9 million, and to be a movie star, it is just 1 in 1.5 million.
Week of January 4, 2016
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out. Bees cannot fly when it rains. A shark cannot move if it is flipped upside down.
Week of December 14, 2015
Take it easy over winter break...about 86,000 Americans go to the emergency room every year after tripping over their pets!
See you in 2016 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!
Week of December 7, 2015
Ever wondered what it would cost, to actually buy someone everything from "The 12 Days of Christmas" song? The combined cost for the dozen gifts featured in the final verse of the famed Christmas carol totals $34,130.99, up just $198 from last year's price tag. The most expensive item would be 7 Swans-a-swimming, which would run you $13,125.00. The cheapest? 8 Maids-a-milking, which would only be $58, according to the 32nd annual PNC Christmas Price Index.
Week of November 30, 2015
The OHIO STATE BUCKEYES defeated the michigan wolverines 42-13 on Saturday, winning for the 13th time in the last 15 years of the storied rivalry. The Buckeyes have put up exactly 42 points in this game three straight years and the 29-point differential was the largest margin of victory for Ohio State in Ann Arbor since a 50-20 win in 1961.
Week of November 23, 2015
We all know that a turkey is a bird related to the chicken that is a staple of Thanksgiving. Most probably know that Turkey is also a country in western Asia and southeastern Europe between the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Here are three other definitions of turkey that you may not have known:
1. a theatrical production that has failed
2. a foolish or inept person
3. three strikes in a row in bowling
Week of November 16, 2015
Komodo dragons need to eat only 12 meals per year to survive.
Week of November 9, 2015
We have 26 bones in each foot, meaning that the 52 bones in our feet account for approximately 25% of our body's 206 bones.
Week of November 2, 2015
Technically, only female falcons are called falcons; males are called tiercels.
Week of October 26, 2015
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in part because he was afraid of the dark.
Week of October 19, 2015
Fewer than 1% of all Google searches use the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.
Week of October 12, 2015
George Washington has two books from the New York Society Library still checked out in his name. Loaned in 1789, the books are more than 225 years overdue and have accumulated a fine of more than $300,000 in today's dollars.
Week of October 5, 2015
One large oak tree can drink as much as three bathtubs worth of water every day.
Week of September 28, 2015
The average American drives an average of 11,000 miles a year and 627,000 miles during a lifetime. This is equivalent to traveling around the world 25 times and requires 31,350 gallons of gasoline.
Week of September 21, 2015
The brain of a Great White Shark weighs 34 grams, which is about as much as two DVDs.
Week of September 14, 2015
Weddings are only permitted one day of the year at the Empire State Building: Valentine's Day.
Week of September 7, 2015
(Welcome back! We hope your summer was awesome and you are ready to get back into the park!!!)
BACK-TO-SCHOOL special: The average family spends an average of nearly $700 on back to school items every year...In 1995, approximately 50% of American schools had Internet access. Today, it's 100%...Before erasers were invented, a common way to erase pencil markings was with a rolled up piece of white bread...The average classroom pencil can write about 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long. Pencils can be used in zero gravity, upside down and even under water!