They Died Laughing

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LaughingAside from dying in your sleep, dying of laughter might seem like the perfect way to go. And although it sounds like the stuff of fiction, on rare occasions it has been known to happen in real life.

The Greek soothsayer, Calchas, was said to have died of laughter during the Trojan wars. When planting grapevines he was supposedly told by another soothsayer that he would never get to drink the wine he produced from his grapes. Once the wine was eventually made and ready to drink, Calchas invited the soothsayer along. After the soothsayer repeated his prophecy Calchas began a fit of laughter that resulted in him choking to death!
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Fascinating Facts about Chinese Foot Binding

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foot bindingGolden lilies, idyllic bound feet of women and girls, were the erotic hallmarks of feminine China for one thousand years.  Yet, to practice the custom meant enduring the excruciating pain of mutilation and even the threat of death should the binding be improperly applied.  The following offerings relate facts and trivia about the fascinating and controversial ancient custom of foot binding.

Foot binding has been dated to the middle of the tenth century when it was confined to the royal and upper most classes.  By the seventeenth century the practice spread to millions of Chinese women from many social and economic classes.
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Curse of the Hope Diamond

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Hope DiamondI have to admit that even looking at photos of the diamond kind of gave me the creeps, but at least I know never to touch it. Luckily I was never big on jewelry, but then I have to wonder what drew me to research this article in the first place??

* I went back as far as I could and all I could come up was that there was this enormous blue diamond that decorated an idol in India. And then someone decided to steal it.  That started the curse. The story goes like this. If you came into contact with it in any way, you were doomed to bad luck as the best case scenario, and death as the worst.

* It seems that twenty-three people have indeed come into contact with the diamond over the centuries. Two names that jumped out at me were King Louis XV1 and Marie Antoinette. I have to say that having their heads chopped off seems in keeping with the curse.
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The I Ching – A History

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I ChingThe I Ching, also called the Book of Changes, originated during an important time in Chinese history – the overthrow of the Shang dynasty by the Chou dynasty, which also collapsed. It was a time of much social unrest and confusion. The wise men and women of the time made up stories that they fashioned into an oracle to help the people deal with all the changes.

The original stories were not all written down; many were oral. But as the chaos settled down the stories were collected and organized into a book, called at first the I Chou and later the I Ching. This book has been used continuously in China since that time.

The I Ching made its way to the West in the early part of the 20th century through the efforts of a Protestant missionary named Richard Wilhelm. Wilhelm, who had spent many years in China, had seen other translations of the book. However, they didn’t seem to reflect the way the Chinese were using the original version, so he decided to do his own translation.
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Interesting World Population Facts

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PopulationThe world population is said to be over 6.5 billion.  But where do all those billions of people live?  Here are some interesting facts about where we dwell on this big globe of ours.

With a population of 1.3 billion, China tops this list of the world’s most populous countries.  In fact, 1 out of every 5 people in the world live in the People’s Republic of China.  The nation continues to face serious overpopulation issues despite boasting the forth-largest land area of any country.

India is the second most populated place on earth.  With 1.1 billion residents packed into an area one-third the size of the United States, it is easy to see why India is considered one of the world’s most crowded places as well.  India is an advancing industrialized nation with a large English-speaking population.  Like China, however, over-population is a major problem in India, exasperating a seemingly perpetual poverty over much of the country.
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Matryoshka – Interesting Facts about Russian Nesting Dolls

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matryoshkaRussian nesting dolls, more accurately termed matryoshka, are not the old Russian relics we think they are despite being one of the most recognizable features of Russian folk art.  Roughly a century old, the art of the matryoshka has become a universal symbol of Russia and these beautifully created nesting dolls are beloved by collectors and toy enthusiasts around the world.  The following article provides facts and trivia about Russian matryoshka.

Matryoshka nesting dolls> are a series of hand painted wooden dolls.  The largest contains the next in size which in turns opens to reveal the next and so forth.  The more dolls and the smaller they are worked into containers the greater the skill.  A set usually contains at least six dolls. An exceptional set of dolls might even contain thirty.

The art of matryoshka is practiced in several centers including Sergiev (near Moscow), Semyonov, Vyatka and Tver along with many smaller villages.  It is believed that the dolls drew inspiration from Japanese nesting dolls.  The Japanese, however, trace the craft to a Russian monk living in Japan.
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Significance of Color Green

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GreenGreen is one of the most abundant colors in nature — with almost all the vegetation on this earth being green.

Scientists say that each color has its own vibration frequency. The color green has a wavelength of 500 to 565 nanometers in the visible spectrum. It comes in several shades. An interesting fact is that the human eye is able to easily discern the green color from long distances. This fact is widely used in several applications.

By virtue of prolonged worldwide usage, the color green (as opposed to the red color) has come to be universally accepted as a sign of ‘safety’. Almost across the world, the green color signals safe, free passage (GO!) in road, rail, and air traffic. A green flag often signals the start or resumption of a race or an event. Similarly, night vision devices usually use green color to display the enhanced images for clarity. The green color is also commonly used to indicate the safety of drugs and medical products in advertisements. It is also used to promote ‘green’ products.
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12 Garnet Gem Facts

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Garneto The name garnet is derived from the Latin word granatus, meaning grain. It has been speculated that this is due to small alluvial crystals being found wich closely resembled pomegranate seeds or grain.

o Garnet is actually a group of minerals. It consists of eight main varieties:
o Almandine or Almandite Garnet
o Andradite
o Grossularite
o Hydrogrossular Garnet
o Malaia and Color Change
o Pyrope
o Rhodolite
o Spessartite
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Strange Facts from the Guinness Book of World Records

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Sometimes the truth really is harder to believe than the crazy stories you read on the Internet. But even though you’re reading this on the Web, you can believe every one of these tales: they all come straight from the Guinness Book of World Records.

-Be thankful that you don’t pay income taxes in Denmark. They range from 42-68 percent! The citizens benefit from the high taxes, though: they all receive free higher education and health care, among other things.

-On the other hand, you could live in a country that doesn’t charge income taxes at all. Ever. No matter how much residents of Bahrain or Qatar earn, their governments don’t take income taxes. Instead, much of the support comes from the oil industries.
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Fascinating Facts about Music through Time

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MusicFrom classical to Blues, high Baroque to modern Rock and Roll, the following collection of music trivia and facts is a delight for any music-lover.

Aristotle famously laid his foundations for music theory in approximately 340 B.C.

Harps and flutes are among the first musical instruments.  These have been traced to Egypt dating to roughly 4000 B.C.
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Fascinating Facts about the Japanese Geisha

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GeishaThe world of the Japanese Geisha is mysterious as it is glamorous.  Recent books like Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha are returning this pleasure girl to a popularity she has not enjoyed since World War II.  The following article chronicles the history of this illustrious group of women.

Some have likened them to European courtesans, but the Japanese Geisha was something quite unique unto herself despite some of the obvious similarities.  To call them prostitutes would be insulting-to the Japanese, they were artists skilled at conversation, singing, dancing, music, and, of course, love-making.  Secrecy surrounded the Geisha’s talents.  Many might have supposed that her sexual skills made her so needed by her clientele, but it is now thought that her ability to converse and sooth the ego of her lover was what set her apart from other women.

The arts practiced by the Geisha were expensive and only the upper class Japanese man could afford her.  Geisha girls went through years of training and endured daily elaborate preparations to become the playthings of the wealthy.  But thousands of years before the Geisha entertained men from their pleasure quarters, Kyoto was the center of a culture that equated love with art and beauty. 
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The Fine Art of Kabuki Theatre

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KabukiKabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theatre, most commonly known for the stylization of its drama, and for the complex makeup that is worn by its actors.  A derivative of the verb ˜kabuku,’ which can be translated as meaning either œto learn or œto be out of the ordinary, kabuki can be loosely translated to mean either œavant-garde or œbizarre theatre.  Regardless of how out of the ordinary kabuki may be, people still flock to watch the shows, year after year.

The history of the fascinating art form began as far back as 1603 A.D., when female actors took to the stage and played both the male and female roles, in plays that portrayed ordinary Japanese characters, living their every-day lives.  In 1629, however, this would all change when women were suddenly banned from the stage, in a movement that was designed to protect public morals. 

Rather than lose this traditional form of theater, though, young male actors took to the stage instead.  Playing both the roles of male and female characters alike, this would be allowed until the year of 1652.  This time, the young male actors would be banned by the shogunate, and only mature men would be allowed to perform on the kabuki stages.
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Your Essential A – Z Guide to the Swinging Sixties 60s

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1960s 60sApollo 11:  The USA set out to put men on the moon during the decade of the 60s – the goal was just reached in time, with the first manned lunar landing on July 20 1969. The astronauts who first walked on the moon were Neil Armstrong (the `first foot’) and Buzz Aldrin. Third man Michael Collins remained in command of the lunar module.

Beatles: The four moptops from Liverpool were undoubtedly the biggest musical names of the 60s – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr released their first record Love Me Do in 1962. From simple pop ballads they quickly progressed to complex harmonies and out of the ordinary themes in their songwriting. The Beatles spearheaded the popular trends of the 60s, including the use of the sitar in pop music and meditation.

Carnaby St: A street in the London district of Soho, which became the center of fashion in the 60s. Carnaby St shops played host to designers like Mary Quant and Biba, who opened boutiques there, as well as record shops.
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All About Coughing

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CoughingI thought that I knew everything there was to know about coughs. But after a little research, it seems that I had a lot to learn and some of what I found is just plain bizarre!

We are so accustomed to running to the drugstore for a bottle of cough syrup, but what about when there wasn’t a drugstore handy, or perhaps it was just too far away? What did people do then? Yes, they made their own. And believe it or not, I even dug up some coughing superstitions.

* I had heard of the highly addictive drug … laudanum being used for sleeping purposes in romance novels set in the 19th century, but apparently it was also used to stop coughing. On the other hand, it was used for just about any ailment imaginable, sometimes with horrific results.
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10 Things I Didn’t Know About Jukeboxes

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JukeboxI had lunch a few weeks ago in a 50s’ style diner and on the table was a miniature jukebox. My son and I started chatting about what he referred to as the “old days” and asked me what I remembered about jukeboxes. Well, seeing that they were around a long time before I came along¦ that wasn’t very much. But it did make me curious.

1. Just in case you ever wondered, the term “juke” is a southern term for dancing. Makes sense when you think about it. The dances might have been a little different back in those days, but the kids still loved it.

2. The manufacturers of the Jukeboxes never referred to them as “jukeboxes” they referred to them as Automatic Coin-Operated Phonographs. You know where their minds were at the time.
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Weird Jobs

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Weird JobsHate your job? Thinking now is the time for a new career? Or maybe you’re actively seeking employment. The search for a job that will pay the bills can be frustrating- but imagine having one of these job titles!

Chicken sexer: How would you like to be the one who sorts through baby chicks to determine whether they’re male or female?

Laughter therapist: Not just for comedians anymore! A laughter therapist actually teaches people to laugh-at themselves and the world- in order to better their mental health and spiritual well-being!

Hair boiler: Imagine coming home after a hard days’ work, smelling like your job as someone who boils animal hair for a living!
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Fantastic Facts about Inventions throughout History

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InventionsFrom the wheel to the rocket and all the remarkable inventions in between, the following text lists some highlights from the world of inventions.  Although not discussed chronologically, these facts are loosely organized by type.

Cuneiform is the earliest form of writing.  It was invented by the Sumerians between 4000 and 3000 B.C.

The chariot, or horse-drawn cart, was invented in Mesopotamia c.2000 B.C.  They used spoked wheels instead of the older planked ones making for a faster trip.
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Useless Facts About Shaving

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ShavingIf you’ve always wanted to know how many hairs are removed from a man’s face by shaving, you’re in luck! Can you believe the prehistoric man shaved too? This article is filled of shaving facts, that may be useless but at least you’ll know.

1. The average shave will trim away somewhere between 20,000-25,000 hairs from a man’s face.

2. Shaving cream was only made for men until the industry specifically targeted women in 1986 by manufacturing the whipped magic specifically for women!

3. Shaving cream didn’t always come in aerosol cans; the method wasn’t even introduced until 1950.
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Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

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WillsKing: Alfred the Great ( 849-901) – “I desire to leave to the men that come after me a remembrance of me in good works.”

Most of us shuffle off this mortal coil, having carefully set down what we leave where, and to whom. Some depart with nary a word put to paper, leaving them intestate, and their relatives in-a-snit. Wills serve a useful purpose in making sure that what we couldn’t take with us, goes to who we want it to.  Some of course, have more to leave than others.

Benjamin Franklin distributed a considerable amount of the most common items: property and cash, much of which went to charitable causes. Along with the bonds of several people, his beloved books and telescope, he left some more interesting bequests. To his son in law, the watch chain of the 13 States. To his daughter, “The king of France’s picture, set with four hundred and eight diamonds, I give to my daughter, Sarah Bache, requesting, however, that she would not form any of those diamonds into ornaments either for herself or daughters, and thereby introduce or countenance the expensive, vain, and useless fashion of wearing jewels in this country; and those immediately connected with the picture may be preserved with the same.” And most movingly, this gift to George Washington: ” My fine crab-tree walking stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of the cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a Sceptre, he has merited it”
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Burial Customs and Curiosities

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Burial“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. If the coyotes don’t get you, the worms must.” -Anonymous

From the moment we’re born, we begin the journey towards death. Hopefully, the period in between is long and prosperous. But down through the years, some cultures developed downright odd ways to dispose of the deceased.


Burial, along with entombment, was and still is, the most common of practices. Although it costs a bit more today, than when Neanderthals painted their dead with red ochre, stuck ’em in the ground, and tossed some flowers and animal bits like antlers, on top. It was pretty pricey for the Egyptians too, if you look at the size of those pyramids. Of course, the catacombs under Rome were gratis, and all you had to do was weep, gnash your teeth and leave the dead in some hole in the wall.
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Surprising Facts About Ten U.S. Dollars

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10 DollarsAmerica, meet your currency! There’s more to what’s in your wallet than meets the eye. Here for your amazement (or amusement!) are ten surprising facts about the Ten Dollar Bill.

1. You probably already know one slang term for this bill: “sawbuck.” But why sawbuck? Well, a sawbuck, or sawhorse, is an easily transportable frame you saw wood on. If you look at a picture of one, you might see that the crossed legs of that frame resemble a letter “X”. And a ten dollar bills was at one time called an “X”, after the Roman numeral for ten. Ten… X… Sawbuck!

2. How long does one of these things last? According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, about eighteen months. That’s all! After that, the worn-out ten-spot gets retired and replaced.
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Flag Etiquette

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FlagEvery American should know basic flag etiquette: the rules for displaying and honoring our nation’s most visible symbol. Even if you don’t serve in the military or have a flag pole outside your house, you should know these guidelines.

On the flag pole:

-If you do not take your flag down after sunset, your flag pole should be equipped with lights that illuminate the flag. If bad weather is coming, whether it’s day or night, the flag should be taken down.
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More Fabulous Facts

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Facts1. The Bay of Biscay is bordered by France and Spain.

2. There are 42 U.S. gallons in a barrel of oil.

3. Titusville Pennsylvania is home to the first oil well in the world.

4. Smokey Bear (known by most as Smokey the Bear) made his debut in 1944.
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10 Interesting Facts about Everything

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* Your back is always to the sun when you see a rainbow.

* If you look closely at the back of a ten dollar bill, you will see a car; it is a 1925 Hupmobile.

* Ferrets were domesticated over 500 years before cats.

* Bing Crosby’s White Christmas was the signal for the Americans to evacuate when Saigon fell.
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Facts about Gold

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GoldGold may have been the first metal to be used by humans, probably in ceremony and for decoration.

The Latin word for gold, aurum means “shining dawn.”

An Egyptian king from 2600 bce described gold as “common as dust.”

Some historians believe that the exploration of the Americas was in part to confirm reports that native peoples had large amounts of gold.
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Facts About Diamonds: A Girl’s Best Friend

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DiamondWomen have loved diamonds for centuries, diamonds have been dubbed a girl’s best friend and for good reason. Here are some facts about diamonds that will likely make a diamond more appealing to you for any occasion!

1. Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth.

2. Diamonds are carbon.

3. Only 20% of the world’s diamonds are suitable for use in jewelry.
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What Are The Odds?

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OddsIt’s an uncertain world. No one knows from this day to the next what will happen or what to expect. Life itself is a gamble, and we play the odds everyday, irregardless of who those odds favor. However, we still want to know if the odds are in favor or against a certain event, such as winning the lottery. In fact, it’s about three times more likely for you to be killed while driving to the store to buy the lotto ticket than it is to win the actual jackpot. You also have a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning than you do of becoming multi-millionaire.

With yet another Final Destination movie out, the idea of death and how we may die is ingeniously implanted within our minds. We are left to ponder and question the odds of our very existence. We all know one thing for sure; the odds of dying are 100 percent; there is no way to cheat death, as the movie might lead one to believe. But what are the odds that death will occur at any given time? There are no absolute odds; the odds of dying from various causes are unique to each individual. We can easily determine the approximate chances based on the actual deaths occurring each year divided by the total population; however, these odds are greatly affected by the activities with which people take part in, the areas with which they live and drive, the type of work they do, and many other factors. The odds of being in the wrong place at the wrong time are about a million to one.
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Interesting Facts about Marriage Customs from Around the World

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WeddingsCultures from around the world and throughout time have their own marriage customs and traditions that often govern ceremonies and celebrations.  The following text offers a variety of facts and trivia about marriage rituals from different parts of the world.

In Jewish wedding ceremonies, the groom stamps on the “chupah” breaking the glass to denote the fragility of love and its need to be taken care of.

Hindu, Muslim and Sikh brides often wear red garments embroidered with gold thread for the wedding ceremony.  Red is meant to signify joy.
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10 Totally Useless Facts

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Useless FactsNeil Armstong’s first step on the moon was with his left foot.

Tonsurphobia is a fear of haircuts.

Most toilets flush in E flat

Coconuts kill more people each year than sharks.
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Four-foot Hairdo

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WigFashion in eighteenth century England demanded that a wig augment a woman’s natural hair. A wig could be three to four feet tall, and a single wig was sometimes worn continuously on outdoor occasions for months at a time. Weather conditions made it necessary to wear large flexible bonnets made of pleated taffeta as a protective covering on the wig. Being decorated with everything from fabric, feathers, flowers and pearls to animals and plants and even naval ships and boosted by hair pads, this coiffure was often kept together with pomade made of apples, floral oils, and lard. This made them an attraction for pests, especially mice. The wigs were fitted with caps of gilt wire to keep off mice and powdered regularly to prevent other infestation. These wigs went out of fashion when taxes on hair powder became too high to be sustained.

The Birth of Tupperware

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TupperwareEarl Silas Tupper was born on a farm in Berlin, New Hampshire in 1907. From youth, Tupper was an entrepreneur. He started a landscaping business after school that did very well until the Great Depression forced him into bankruptcy. At that time, he went to work for the Dupont Chemical Company.

While working for Dupont, Tupper was given polyethylene slag, which he purified and turned into plastic containers that were lightweight and unbreakable. Tupper felt that his product was the material of the future. In 1938, he left Dupont and formed his own company which he called Tupper Plastics.

Tupper experimented with the plastics and in 1945 created a cup he named Poly-T. He continued working with his creation and created bowls and other objects that he felt would be useful to woman in the kitchen. Then, Tupper made lids for the objects by molding lids that were similar to an upside down paint can lid. He called them seals. They were airtight and spill proof.
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Interesting Facts about Victorian Jewelry

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JewelryThe period between 1837 and 1901 is notable as one of the most progressive eras in history.  Queen Victoria’s reign was so influential that her name is stamped across the era to denote everything from fashion to furniture.  The following offerings relate specifically to the jewelry of the Victorian era providing interesting facts and trivia about Victorian jewels.

Early Victorian jewelers fancied gems like topaz, amethyst, citrines and garnets.  Diamonds were considered to be matronly while young women often preferred turquoise which was popular throughout the era.

These materials were also typical of Victorian jewelry: amber, coral, glass, onyx, agate, sapphire, peridot, carnelian, ruby, freshwater pearl, ivory and tortoiseshell.
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Health Facts: Pandemics

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PandemicRecently the word pandemic has been in the news. What is a pandemic? How many have there been in the world’s history? Let’s learn some hard facts about pandemics.

* A pandemic is a global outbreak of an infectious disease. It can affect animals, birds and people.

* Pandemics have been around since 430 B.C. The first known pandemic struck during the Peloponnian War.
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Cupolas: Beautiful and Useful Throughout History

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CupolaCupolas are decorative spherical roofs that look like upside down cups, usually topping circular, square, or multi-angular buildings. In some cases, cupolas form the entire roof of a tower or spire, but they usually function as ornamental additions. They are popular nowadays in Greek revival architecture in certain parts of states like Virgina, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania. Here they function almost like little attic rooms, in circular, rectangular, square, or octagonal shapes.

Cupolas are generally used for one or more of three purposes: admitting light, providing ventilation, and offering a lookout. Since the construction of the first barn, cupolas have served a highly important purpose. Many barns contain hay stacked in high towers in order to accommodate greater amounts in less space. Cupolas on top of barns contain holes that constantly draw in circulating air, which dries the hay stored nearest to the top of these stacks. Northern farmers of old used to fondly call the cupola “a roof over a hole in the roof.”
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Fascinating Facts: Women in Skating

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Skating* Women have been showing their athletic ability on ice for over 4000 years.

* Saint Ludwina is the patron saint of ice skaters. In 1396, she fell and broke her ribs when she was knocked down by her companion.

* In the book Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, the heroine’s name was Kaitlin.

* In the US during the 1860’s, a pair of ice skates could be purchased for $1.00 and women were encouraged to skate with men.
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Facts That May Amaze!

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AmazeThe world is full of odd facts that most of us just crave to know, if knowledge is power then be careful because your brain just might overload on some of these!

1. The ‘#’ key often called the pound key is actually called an octotroph.

2. “I am”. That’s the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
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Fascinating Facts about the Japanese Language

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JapaneseThe Japanese writing system is very complex.  In a most basic manner, it can be broken down into three separate facets: Hiragana, Kanji, and Katakana.  Before the fourth century, the Japanese language did not exist.  Then, the Japanese began to incorporate bits of the Chinese script and developed a hybrid.

Kanji are the characters of Chinese origin.  They are most likely the most complicated and difficult of the Japanese script.  The Chinese ideograms used by Kanji are used to represent an entire concept or idea rather than a single sound.  Kanji is often used to express the names of people, the names of places, and many nouns.
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