March

1st March

 

During the early 1900s, the French government made it a legal requirement that all children should attend school. In an attempt to identify the children that would need specialised assistance, psychologists, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, were asked to develop a series of questions that focused on measuring areas such as attention, memory, and problem-solving.

 

The first intelligence quotient became known as the “Binet-Simon Scale”. It remains the foundation for modern-day intelligence tests even though Binet was adamant that intelligence is too broad a concept to quantify with a single number.

 

One of the criticisms of IQ testing is the prejudice shown to those from diverse cultures as it fails to take into consideration different religions and personal beliefs, cultures, lifestyles, and values. Other factors that can affect a person’s IQ are environmental issues such as socioeconomic status, nutrition, stress, mood, and personal attitude to life.

 

Swedish researchers connected the facts that those with lower intelligence levels are inclined to have a higher probability of suicidal feelings due to a reduced ability for problem-solving.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

2nd March

 

When President George Bush visited Iraq in 2008 a pair of shoes were thrown at him during a press conference. The culprit, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, committed the offensive act (throwing a shoe is the most insulting act in the Arab world) to demonstrate sympathy for those that became widows and orphans following the American invasion.

 

Although al-Zaidi was immediately escorted out of the press conference, many now regard him as a hero. An 11.5 feet tall monumental shoe was erected in the grounds of an orphanage in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit and was considered a gift to the next generation to help them to remember the journalist’s brave action. It was reportedly taken down the following day as authorities were not in favour of the grounds of an orphanage being used for a political motive.

 

Many requests were received to have the infamous shoes exhibited in an Iraqi museum, but they were apparently destroyed by the U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces.

 

The event inspired an online game called “Sock and Awe” in which the player can throw shoes at President Bush when his head appears from behind a conference podium!

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

3rd March

 

Dr Gareth Webb, a Canadian optometrist, claims to have invented a vision enhancement (which is currently under clinical trials) that would give vision three times better than 20/20. The procedure takes eight minutes and involves replacing the eye’s original lens with a bionic lens. It is anticipated that not only will this new lens prevent people from developing cataracts, but it would also make the need to wear glasses and contact lenses a thing of the past. 

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

4th March

 

One of the largest ethnic groups in the Republic of Sudan is the Dinka People who account for approximately 18% of the entire country’s population.

 

A young man’s passage into adulthood is celebrated at an initiation ceremony during which time tribal marks are scarified onto his forehead. These scars identify him as a guardian of the camp against attacks from enemies and natural predators such as lions and hyenas.

 

Both males and females alter their appearance through various methods. Traditions include cutting decorative designs into their skin, rubbing their bodies with oil made from boiling butter, and the removal of teeth to appear more attractive. They dye their hair orange by placing their head under a cow when it is urinating.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

5th March

 

Prostitution was legal in ancient Greek times and had a social hierarchy. The highest-ranking prostitutes were known as the hetaerae who were often artistic and well-educated. The lowest ranks were known as pornai (from which the English word pornography is derived).

 

In a bid to advertise their trade, pornai often wore sandals which imprinted the message “follow me” into soft ground.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

6th March

 

The world record for the longest and most accurate shot in archery is currently 230 yards.

 

The American athlete, Matt Stutzman, holds the record.

Born without arms, Stutzman learned at a young age to use his feet to accomplish everyday tasks.

 

In 2012, he won a silver medal at the Paralympics.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

7th March

 

The tail of a horse has many functions, for instance, it regulates temperature, safeguards reproductive organs, and helps the horse to communicate its physical and emotional state to both other horses and its rider.

 

The tail also indicates the horse’s state of health. In many breeds, the position of a tail when being carried gauges the degree of bone structure correctness, musculature, and body proportions in relation to each other. How a tail is held will also be a sign as to whether its ability to perform specific tasks is limited.

 

The practice of rubbing something irritating onto the vagina of a mare or the anus of a male is called gingering and will result with the tail being lifted. Although it is considered as an act of cruelty, it may be done at the time of sale to encourage the horse to appear healthier, livelier, or younger than it is.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

8th March

 

The guidelines of what makes a novel become a classic have long been debated, but to date, a definite and distinct criterion has not been implemented.

 

Nevertheless, a few fundamental principles have been suggested to take into consideration: -   

 

  • has the book had a far-reaching impact on public consciousness?

 

  • Is it old enough to have stood the test of time; will it still be relevant with new generations of readers?

 

  • does it capture the atmosphere of the time when it was written?

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

9th March

 

Australia supplies about 50% of the world’s legally-grown

Opium for the pharmaceutical markets. Five hundred farmers grow the crop on a total of approximately 49,000 acres.

 

Wallabies have developed a taste for opium and have been spotted in poppy fields feeding on the plants, getting high, and hopping around in circles. However, the recreational activities of the tripping wallabies are having an impact on local businesses due to the destruction of crops.

 

Wallabies originated in Australia and Tasmania but are also found in New Zealand after being exported during the 1870s.

 

They also reside some 10,000 miles away on the Isle of Man! The reason for this is that a pair escaped from a wildlife park during a storm, and without any natural predators, they were able to successfully establish themselves on the island. It is estimated the population has increased to 120.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

10th March

 

Most pufferfish contain an extremely potent poison called tetrodotoxin which causes paralysis as a result of interfering with the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles.

 

Tetrodotoxin is considered to be 120,000 times deadlier than cocaine; it is said that a single pufferfish carries enough of the neurotoxin to kill thirty humans.

 

While researching dolphins, a zoologist observed the calves in the pod gently chewing on a pufferfish and passing it around. Once the dolphins were high, they became fascinated with their reflection on the water’s surface.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

11th March

 

Nepeta Cataria, the plant commonly known as catnip, has had various uses over the centuries.

 

Besides being used in herbal teas it has been used for medicinal purposes, e.g. to treat cramps, diarrhoea, and colic, to ease indigestion, and to cure symptoms of the common cold. During the 1960’s it was used recreationally for its euphoric effects.

 

Catnip works as a psychoactive drug for all cats (which include domestic pets, cougars, leopards, and servals). They experience a sense of euphoria followed by calmness; some observers think that during the trip they chase imaginary mice.

 

Source: Smarter Than Yesterday – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

12th March

 

John Edwards is a former drug addict and alcoholic who has been sober for more than two decades. He described the turning point in his life as an incredible encounter with God after which he set up a Christian rehabilitation centre and homeless shelter.

 

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Edwards continually seeks to find new and innovative ways to reach out to people. His most recent public event took place in the graveyard of Willowfield Church in Belfast where he was buried alive (in a coffin measuring 8 feet long by 3.5 feet high, and 4 feet wide) in a bid to extend the message of hope from beyond the grave.

 

The coffin was specially adapted and equipped with a portable toilet, ventilation, and had access to food and water supplies. The three-day event was broadcast live on social media, and he received calls, texts, and emails from members of the public offering him support and encouragement.

 

Word spread as far as China where it was even broadcast on the news.

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

13th March

 

Gloria Ramirez (1963 to 1994) was a California woman who was dubbed as The Toxic Lady due to events leading up to her death.

 

Ramirez, who had been diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer sometime earlier, was rushed to hospital in respiratory and cardiac distress. Approximately fifteen minutes after her arrival, she went into full cardiac arrest. Following standard “code blue” procedures, a nurse took a blood sample but in doing so noticed a foul odour and passed out. Immediately afterwards, all staff within close proximity collapsed.

 

The emergency department was sealed, patients were evacuated, and the decontamination unit was brought in.

 

Attempts to resuscitate Ramirez failed, and she was pronounced dead about forty-five minutes later.

 

Investigations into the event took nine months to complete at which time it was concluded that the cause of death was that the chemical warfare agent, Dimethyl Sulfate, had been created by an unusual confluence of chemical reactions. One theory is that when the paramedics administered oxygen, it mixed with dimethyl sulfoxide (which the patient had been prescribed to help relieve various arthritic pains) to become dimethyl sulfone. Then, when the nurse drew a sample of blood, the dimethyl sulfone experienced a quick change in atmosphere as it passed from body temperature to the cool air in the hospital, thus creating dimethyl sulfate.

 

There are other theories, one of which is that aliens had abducted Ramirez and chemical reactions were as a result of extra-terrestrial experiments.

 

Some of the staff who had been affected spent several weeks in hospital as they developed shortness of breath, involuntary muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness.

 

Sadly, Ramirez is remembered as the Toxic Lady and not the 31-year-old woman who lost the battle with cancer and is buried in an unmarked grave.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

14th March

 

Mauro Prosperi (b. 1955) was 39 years old when he took part in the 1994 “Marathon des Sables” – a six-day 155-mile race through the Sahara.

 

On the fourth day, the Italian runner found himself battling a storm and eventually found a sheltered spot to wait for the storm to pass. Eight hours later, he surfaced to see a transformed landscape. He immediately realised that he had no idea where exactly he was or what direction to head, so he began to take survival precautions which started with urinating in his spare water bottle to help with dehydration.

 

After a few days of wandering, he came across a marabout (a Muslim shrine) where he was able to take shelter. Inside he was accompanied by a holy man in a coffin and some bats hanging in the tower. Capturing twenty of the bats, he cut their heads off, mushed up their insides with a knife, and sucked them out.

 

Frustrated that a helicopter and aeroplane did not spot him, he decided that suicide was his only option, but when he cut his wrists, the blood would not drain as it had thickened. With that plan crossed off the list, he woke up the next morning and headed towards the clouds on the horizon (advice given to him before the race). On the eighth day after getting lost, he found an oasis where he was able to get a fresh supply of water. The following day he was found by a young shepherd girl and eventually rescued. He was 181 miles off course, suffered liver damage, and it took almost two years for him to recover fully.

 

Four years later he was back at the Marathon des Sables and has completed it eight times since.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

15th March

 

According to records of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, there were twenty survivors pulled alive from the rubble. The last person to be pulled out alive was Genelle Guzman-McMillan who had waited for twenty-seven hours before being found.

 

Sixty-one foreign countries were affected; Britain had the second-biggest loss of life, accounting for 67 people from a total of 372 foreign nationals.

Most of the 185,101 tons of metal left at Ground Zero was recycled with the majority of it shipped to China and India. The rest was used as material to create memorials across all fifty states.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

16th March

 

Nagoro, which is also known as Nagoro Scarecrow Village, lies on the island of Shikoku in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. In August 2016, the remote mountainous area had a population of just thirty people. 

 

Japanese artist, Tsukimi Ayano, moved back to the village to care for her elderly father. After he passed away, Ayano made a scarecrow for the garden, which was meant to resemble her father doing something that he enjoyed - this gave her the idea that she could repopulate the village with dolls/scarecrows that looked like former residents.

 

Ten years later the village is now populated with 350 dolls and scarecrows with each one strategically placed where Ayano recalled seeing the actual living person. The village has become a tourist attraction where visitors can see the creations either working in the fields, sitting at the river fishing, positioned at the roadside carrying out essential maintenance, learning at school, or simply relaxing on their front porch.

 

Check it out on Google Earth!

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

17th March

 

Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist, published his first version of the periodic table in 1869. Although various scientists had attempted to place the elements in order beforehand (Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743 to 1794), a French nobleman and a chemist wrote the first extensive list of elements and published a paper which set forward the theory of elements) it was Mendeleev’s version that stuck as he used a method of predicting the existence of substances which, at that time, were still not discovered.

 

Legend has it that Mendeleev was utterly exhausted by the conundrum of trying to sort the elements into order. Upon falling asleep, he had a dream in which he saw in front of him a table where all the elements fell into place as required. When he woke up, he wrote down the design which revealed the hidden periodic patterns in the elements.

 

The way to establish if something is an element or not is to conduct experiments on it such as heating the object to see what wavelengths of light came out or to put different voltages of electricity through it to observe how the current changes.

 

Ytterby is a village on the small island of Resarö in the Stockholm archipelago, which has benefitted economically from a mine which contained feldspar – a product used to make Chinese porcelain. Anything else that the miners found was dumped into a refuse heap, but soon geologists and chemists heard stories about the rare minerals turning up in Ytterby and began experimenting with them. Seven new elements were eventually discovered; four of them were given names after the village where they were found – ytterbium, yttrium, terbium, and erbium. Two were named after Stockholm, i.e. holmium, and thulium, while the last was named gadolinium after the Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin.

 

Ytterby is the only place in the world where four new elements were found and the only place that has elements named after it. It is also the only place in the world with streets named after elements which makes knowledge of the periodic table useful for getting around town.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

18th March

 

Infrasound is any soundwave under 20 hertz that can make the listener feel various emotions - it is like a deep bassline in music which can physically affect a person by making them have goosebumps or think that they feel the presence of someone standing beside them.

 

The use of infrasound has become more frequent amongst film producers in a bid to manipulate the viewer into experiencing the movies’ events to the full - this is especially evident in horror movies which historically had relied on orchestral scores to fill in the silence and create an atmosphere, but now with infrasound, the horror movie underscore can cause a more direct sense of danger making the audience become a passive participant. Infrasound induces anxiety, extreme sorrow, heart palpitations, and shivering.

 

The 2002 French movie “Irréversible” was a psychological horror film that followed two men through the streets of Paris as they sought to avenge a brutally raped girlfriend. An American film critic warned that the movie was so violent and cruel that most people would probably find it unwatchable. His prediction was right as a lot of viewers headed for the cinema exit within a short time of the movie beginning. However, this wasn’t necessarily because of what was seen on screen but because, as explained by the director Gaspar Noé, a 27-Hz frequency of bass had been used to induce panic and anxiety.

 

The 2007 horror movie “Paranormal Activity” used a similar technique which also led to viewers rushing out of the movie theatre because they were so frightened.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

19th March

 

The American actor, James Dean, was the first actor to receive a posthumous “Academy Award” nomination for best actor.

To date, he is the only actor to have had two posthumous nominations.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

20th March

 

Voodoo originated in Africa and is described as a blend of magical and religious practices that takes on different characteristics depending on the location it is being practised.

 

There are three variations and each draw on the culture around it: -

 

  • West African voodoo is still practised by an estimated 30 million people and is the version that remains mostly untouched by outside influences.

 

  • Louisiana Voodoo has been heavily influenced by the practices of the Creole population as well as by French and Spanish Settlers.

 

  • Haitian Voodoo (also known as Vodou) has been shaped by French influence, but it has also taken on some practices from Christianity. An alliance was formed with the Catholic Church when Pope John Paul II attended a Voodoo ceremony in 1993.

 

Rada Voodoo is viewed as a peaceful practice, while Petro is considered as a more dangerous version. Although those that practice Voodoo do not consider it as either black or white magic they do refer to the dark element as red magic because when a practitioner allows an evil spirit to take possession their eyes turn red.

 

A former chemistry student in New York, Max Beauvoir (1936 to 2015), had a promising career planned out as a biochemist when his grandfather passed away. On his death bed, the grandfather unexpectedly anointed Beauvoir as his successor as a houngan – a voodoo priest. As a result, Beauvoir left his career behind and dedicated his life to the religion. He was elected by Haiti’s houngans as the Supreme Chief for the newly formed National Confederation of Haitian Vodou.

During his lifetime, he lobbied for official recognition for the houngans as healers. He also sought to transform Hollywood’s image from that of “shaman with suspicious practices” to that of priests who bond body and soul and welcome the idea of reincarnation.

 

Beauvoir founded the “Peristyle of Marian”, a voodoo temple which doubled as a medical clinic and research centre.

 

Since the religious syncretism between the Catholic Church and Vodou, it is challenging to estimate the number of Vodouists in Haiti.

 

A female priest is known as a mambo.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

21st March

 

Carol Ann Doda (1937 to 2015) was the first dancer to appear topless in public in San Francisco’s Condo Club. In September 1969 Doda began dancing in the nude until a rule was passed in 1972 prohibiting naked dancing in places that served alcohol.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

22nd March

 

Aeroplane manufacturers design and build planes that have general row positioning aligning each row of seats with a window. However, to make the seating arrangements as flexible as possible for the airlines, there are multiple tracks on the floors, and ultimately, it is the decision of the airline where the seats will be positioned.

 

Airlines make their profit by filling as many seats as possible. To maximise ticket sales, the seating is adjusted to fit as many as possible on the plane – this explains why many rows of seats do not align with the windows.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

23rd March

 

Baobabs are found in Madagascar, Africa, and Australia and are easily recognised by their thick trunks and swollen stems. Their trunks can reach between 23 to 36 feet in diameter and 16 to 98 feet in height. One tree that collapsed in Namibia during 2015 was thought to be around 1,275 years old although carbon dating indicates that they may live up to 3,000 years.

 

Nicknamed as the upside-down-tree due to the root-like appearance of their tangled branches, baobabs are also known as the tree of life due to the fact they create an ecosystem which supports the life of large mammals and thousands of small creatures that live in its crevices.

 

Bushmen believe that the trees don’t grow, but instead, they crash to earth in a fully-formed state.  Another belief about the tree is that it will help a young boy grow to be tall and strong if he is washed in water that has been soaked in the tree’s bark.

 

The western world has recently viewed the fruit of the baobab as the ultimate super-fruit due to its high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. It is being recommended for skin elasticity, weight loss, and improved cardiovascular health.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

24th March

 

The sclerocarya birrea, which is a tree commonly known as the marula, is found in Africa and Madagascar. The trees have a specific gender, which led to the belief that bark infusions could be used to determine the gender of an unborn child.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

 

25th March

 

Île de Ré is an island off the west coast of France which is home to the Poitou Donkey - a breed easily recognisable by its large size, shaggy coat, and the fact that every morning it is custom for the locals to dress the donkeys in pyjamas. There is a good reason for this practice though as the pyjamas help keep mosquitoes and other insects from biting their legs.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

26th March

 

Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Little Mermaid” told of a crueller deal that was made between the mermaid, Ariel, and the Sea Witch, which is very different from the arrangement portrayed in the Disney film. Originally Ariel agreed that the witch could take her tongue in exchange for legs even though every single step she took would feel like walking on sharp shards of glass.

At first, it seemed like the plan was working as she found the prince she had saved from drowning. However, he had plans to marry another whom he thought was the person who had saved him. To makes matters worse, the mermaid had no tongue, so she was not able to tell the prince who she really was. At this point, the only way Ariel could return to her previous life was by killing the prince, but as she was still in love with him, she decided instead to throw herself into the sea where she turned into sea foam.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

27th March

 

An ostrich’s eye is approximately the size of a snooker ball. It measures about two inches in diameter and is larger than the size of its brain. It is the largest eye of any land mammal.

 

Ostriches can grow as tall as nine feet making them the biggest bird in the world.

Their lifespan can range between 50 to 75 years.

They lay the largest eggs – it takes two hours to boil one (a long wait for breakfast!). The eggshell is so strong that it can hold the weight of a full-grown man.

Each foot has only two toes. Their feet have a strong enough impact to kill a lion or a cheetah with one kick.

 

In the 1800s, people used ostrich feathers for making clothes. They were hunted so much for this reason that they almost became extinct.

Their feathers are unlike the feathers of other birds as they do not produce oils. They are designed for the extreme living conditions they are exposed to - as the temperature rises during the day the air circulates through the feathers whereas during the cold nights the feathers are retracted closer to the body and act as an insulator.

 

The ostrich has the most powerful immune system of any animal.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

28th March

 

Celebrating a child’s tooth falling out has been a long-standing universal tradition. As far back as the 13th century, a Middle Eastern custom was to throw baby-teeth into the air while praying for a better tooth to replace it.

 

To encourage a new tooth to grow, children in Greece, India, and Korea, would traditionally have thrown teeth from the upper jaw onto the ground, while teeth from the lower jaw were throw up into the air as it was believed this action would make new teeth grow strong. Other traditions ranged from hiding a tooth in a mouse hole, placing it in a tree, or for the child or its mother to swallow the tooth.

Not all traditions were as much fun. Finnish and Norwegian children were warned about the tooth troll who would come to take them away if they did not brush their teeth.

 

One tale that has remained predominant around the world is that of the mouse who comes to collect any teeth that have fallen out – if the child has also left out some cheese the mouse may exchange the tooth for a present or some money.

The earliest reference to the tooth fairy appeared in the “Chicago Tribune” in 1908. It is thought that it was a cross-pollination of two fictional figures – the mouse, and the good fairy. The story was further popularised by a children’s story entitled “The Tooth Fairy” which was written by Esther Watkins Arnold in 1927.

It has been argued that the tooth fairy serves as a much-needed source of comfort as losing a tooth can be a daunting experience for a young child; it is deemed as the first rite of passage. A monetary reward helps children transition into the world of adulthood where cash is perceived as a symbol of responsibility.

 

“National Tooth Fairy Day” is held on the 28th February and on the 22nd August, each year.

 

Human adults have thirty-two teeth in total – eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and twelve molars (which include four wisdom teeth).

The most valuable tooth once belonged to Sir Isaac Newtown. In 1816, it was sold in London for £730 (which was the equivalent of approximately £50k today) to an aristocrat who had it set in a ring.

 

In November 2011, John Lennon’s tooth was sold at auction for a final hammer price of £19,500 (plus £3,510 auction house commission); it is officially titled as the most expensive tooth sold at auction.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

29th March

 

The centrepiece of any presidential motorcade is the president’s limousine. The vehicle that was used for the inauguration of President Trump was in development for many years and had an estimated (but unconfirmed) $15 million spent on research and development alone.  During the development stage, the car was covered in camouflage paint to disguise its new features.

 

The limousine is officially known as the presidential state car, but more often than not, it is referred to as the beast. The vehicle comes equipped with eight-inch-thick armoured doors (that weight the same as the door of a Boeing 747), and bulletproof glass that can stop a .44 magnum bullet. The body of the vehicle is made up of five inches of military-grade armour, and the floor has armoured plates that will withstand grenades and bombs thrown underneath it. If the fuel tank is punctured, there is a special foam that will seal it to deter any explosion.  The tyres are reinforced with Kevlar (a high-strength synthetic fibre) and are shred and puncture-resistant; they also have steel rims enabling the car to make a get-away even if the tyres are blasted away.

 

Some extras that the beast can boast about are its night vision cameras, tear gas cannons, pump-action shotguns, and fire-fighting equipment. The car also comes furnished with a supply of oxygen to enable the President to survive a chemical attack, as well as two pints of blood matching the President’s blood type.

The maximum speed the beast can travel at is 60 mph, but the chauffeur is a specially trained Secret Service agent who can handle the car through nearly any situation if the need arises.

 

It is believed that there are around twelve presidential limousines at any given time - one reason for having so many is that there are usually two or three used at any presidential motorcade. Although the other beasts may be used to transport VIP’s they are more often than not used as decoys. Before the President makes an official trip, one of his limousines is sent ahead, which is another reason why more than one vehicle is required.

 

The question has been asked why President J.F. Kennedy was travelling in an open-top presidential state car on the day he was shot. Several theories have arisen with one being that a presidential vehicle would have been impersonal as the aim of his visit to Dallas was to win over a city that had lingering hostility towards him. Another theory is that while it was recognised that the people of Dallas had not been won over by the president, they did have a love for his wife, so perhaps he had wanted to show her off.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

30th March

 

Some people view world records as an achievement while others see them as a target to exceed (even if they set it!).

 

In 2007, an Indian thrill-seeker, Sailendra Nath Roy, zip-lined from one building to another using his ponytail. A year later he managed to pull the famous Darjeeling Toy Train (which weighs more than forty tonnes) for 8.2 feet by his ponytail. Although he set the Guinness Book of World Records for travelling the furthest distance on a zip wire by using his ponytail in 2011, he decided to try to beat it two years later by crossing a six-hundred-foot-long zip-wire at the height of seventy feet above the Teesta River in West Bengal. Halfway through the stunt he came to a halt and for half an hour desperately tried to get his ponytail untangled. Suddenly his arms fell to his sides, and he became limp. After hanging for a total of forty-five minutes, he was brought down and rushed to the hospital; he was pronounced dead on arrival, having suffered a massive heart attack.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

31st March

 

On 2nd December 1959, following five days of strong winds and heavy rain on the French Riviera, the Malpasset Dam in Conn, France, burst without warning. Tonnes of water cascaded down on the town of Fréjus ripping homes from their foundations and burying people in the mud – others were swept out to sea. The death toll came to about five-hundred people.

 

President Charles de Gaulle visited the area following the aftermath and was approached by a young, grieving woman who asked if she could posthumously marry her fiancé who was among those who had perished. Subsequently, a new law was passed, which granted her her heart’s desire.

 

The law of posthumous marriages still exists providing permission is granted by the president and that the deceased’s family give their approval. It is a symbolic marriage, and there is no financial reward other than that already bequeathed.

 

Source: The Enemy of Ignorance – facts, trivia, & general knowledge