Did you know that the Vatican City is the smallest country in the world with just over 800 residents (2014), a lot of whom live abroad. This overseas group consist largely of 300+ members of the clergy who hold various diplomatic positions around the world. In fact, visiting tourists outnumber local residents by 6000 to 1 (the highest in the world).
Unlike other countries in the world, citizenship is not granted on traditional factors and its new citizenship law only came into effect in 2011.
The city’s most famous resident is the Pope, who only started living at the Vatican after the 14th century. This was almost 1000 years after the original basilica was built by Emperor Constantine.
Here are some comical giraffe facts. A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue. Giraffes have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as humans, although each one is much loner. Their lips and tongues are prehensile, meaning that they are adapt at grasping things just like fingers.
Interestingly, despite its gregarious nature, the giraffe is only able to produce low moans and in fact, cannot cough. This is due to a combination of its long neck, long laryngeal nerve and the fact that its lungs are too low down to generate enough air pressure to be effective.
Fortune cookies are considered Chinese, but are really as American as you can get. They were invented in Los Angeles in 1918 and were either made by David Jung, a Los Angeles noodle-maker or Seiichi Koto, a Los Angeles restaurant owner. Even now, the largest manufacturer of fortune cookies is not in China, but headquartered in Brooklyn, New York (Wonton Food Inc.).
Donald Lau, the vice predisent of Wonton Food was responsible for writing the cookie’s fortunes that you read. Now, there is a database of about 15,000 fortunes. 4.5 million fortunes are delivered to diners worldwide every single day, most of which are consumed here in the United States, not China.
The first H1N1 ‘swine flu’ virus was isolated in a pig in 1930. Before 2009, there was approximately one human Swine Flu infection every 1-2 years in the USA. In 2009, it became a global pandemic. On October 25, 2009 U.S. President officially declared H1N1 a national emergency.
Flies are vectors of disease that are able to transport germs as far as 15 miles away from the original source of contamination. Combine this with the fact that they reproduce at an alarming rate, things start to look scary. Assuming that all the offspring survived, 190,000,000,000,000,000,000 flies could be produced in four months by the offspring of a single pair of flies.
The female flea can consume 15 times her own body weight in blood every single day, but when food is scarce, a flea can live for more than 100 days without feeding. Coupled with the fact that a female flea can lay 2,000 eggs in her lifetime, these insects can be very hard to exterminate.
A flea can jump 350 times is own body length. That’s equivalent to you jumping the length of a football field. This makes them hard to catch.
Although considered a nuisance, fleas are essential to the health of some animals like armadillos and hedgehogs; they provide necessary stimulation of the skin. Deloused armadillos and hedgehogs can die.
During breeding season, several thousand flamingos can get involved simultaneously with ritualized postures and movements to synchronize breeding. Their offspring are all grey at birth but later turn pink because of the pink pigment in the shrimp and crustaceans that they eat.
Through slow-motion photography, researchers discovered that these birds pump water through their bills 20 times a second to filter their food which consist of algae, crustaceans and small fish.
Now, pink plastic flamingos are one of the most famous lawn ornaments in the USA. It’s inventor Don Featherstone has even won an Ig Nobel Prize for it in 1996. It is said that there are now more plastic flamingos than there are real ones.
Here are some firefly facts. A firefly is not actually a fly, but rather a type of beetle. Most of their bio-luminescent colleagues live in the ocean, and we know of the chemical luciferin because of fireflies. Luciferin is used for some forensics testing. Fireflies are amazingly energy efficient. 90% of the firefly’s energy is converted to light, whereas only 10% of a light bulb’s energy in converted to light.
Some species of fireflies in Malaysia and in the Great Smoky Mountains of the U.S.A can synchronize their flashes in large groups.
The church tried many times to ban chess for various reasons. First in 1061, Cardinal Petrus Damiani considered it a game of chance like dice. Later in 1093, the Eastern Orthodox church condemned chess as a reclic of heathenism. John Zonaras, a Byzantine monk excommunicated chess players in 1110 as a kind of debauchery, stating it as a rule of Apostolic Canon. Later in 1125, Bishop Guy of Paris also excommunicated priests who were caught playing chess.
Because of this, a chess enthusiastic priest later devised a secretive folding chess board that looked like a book. This in fact was the origin of the portable chess board.
The Emu is the second largest bird in the world. Amazingly they’re the only bird species that have calf muscles and cannot walk backwards. Emus are also known for their fast sprinting and long distance running, running at speeds of 31 mph (50 km/h). Using their wings as steers, they can turn 180 degrees while running at full speed. Predators like cats will have a hard time catching these birds.
It is a fact that the male incubates the eggs, during which he does not eat, drink, or defecate, and stands only to rotate the eggs.