October

1st October

 

In October 2001, Katherine Knight became the first woman in Australia’s history to be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

 

Inside the fearsome ‘Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre’ in Western Sydney, Knight is known as “The Nana” who sorts out disputes amongst other prisoners. During 8 am to 1 pm, her prison job is to make headphones; in her spare time, she knits and paints. Her paintings are actually sold to help raise money for the prison. However, she has four guards continually watching her every move, she is not allowed near knives, and is not permitted to have a cellmate for everyone else’s own protection.

 

Before her prison sentence, the mother of three worked at an abattoir. She had numerous relationships, all of which had evidence of her being violent. She had tried to strangle her first husband on their wedding night as he only managed to consummate their marriage three times which had left her unsatisfied – he survived the attack, and the pair remained together for ten years until he escaped in the middle of the night. In her next relationship, she bullied her partner and sliced the throat of his two-month-old puppy to show him that she meant business. Despite that, they welcomed a daughter into the family a year later, but shortly afterwards Knight found herself single again she attempted to kill her partner by stabbing him with a pair of scissors. Her next relationship lasted for three years and seemed, for the most part, to be stable, but on reflection, it may have been because Knight was having an affair with a man named John Price.

 

Eventually, Knight suggested to Price that they should get married, but for some reason, he declined! A restraining order was issued after she attempted to stab him; Price was living in so much fear that he told his co-workers that should he ever go missing it would be because Knight had killed him. On the same day that a restraining order was issued, Knight seduced Price to satisfy her needs before stabbing him thirty-seven times. She then dragged his body downstairs, skinned it, decapitated it, and hung it on a meat hook in the living room before cutting it into pieces. She prepared herself a meal which included human meat, potatoes, pumpkin, beets, zucchini, cabbage, squash, and gravy. Feeling full, she lay down next to the headless, mutilated corpse, took a large number of pills, and passed out.

 

When Price didn’t appear at work the following morning, his colleagues immediately called the police who found Knight still passed out. In the kitchen, they found Price’s head boiling in a pot of vegetables on the stove. On the table, they found place settings each labelled with a name. They realised that Knight had been planning on serving Price’s body parts to his children.

 

Knight will remain in prison and will always be classified as high-risk.

 

Source: Smarter Every Day – facts, trivia, & general knowledge

 

 

2nd October

 

Located in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York, ‘Times Square’, which some refer to as ‘The Crossroads of the World’, was formerly known as ‘Longacre Square’. The name-change occurred in 1904 after the ‘New York Times’ newspaper moved its headquarters to the newly erected ‘Times Building’.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

3rd October

 

Coccinellidae, commonly known as Ladybugs (or Ladybirds depending on where you live) are technically beetles as not only do they have chewing mouth-parts, but their wings are harder than insects’ wings.

 

The lady part of their name can be misleading as the title refers to both males and females. The reason they are called ladybirds hasn’t been confirmed but one theory, regarded as the most likely, is that the bright red shell is similar to the cloak the Virgin Mary is depicted wearing in religious paintings.

 

A famous European legend is that in response to the request for help, the Virgin Mary sent a swarm of beetles bearing her trademark coat to attack pests that were devouring farmers’ crops.

 

When they feel threatened, ladybugs bleed a liquid from their knees which produces a foul smell which may deter potential predators.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

4th October

 

Not only do certain honey bees transport pollen between plants but they also take it back to their hive for food by carrying it in saddles attached to their hind legs! These hairy saddles are part of the tibia on the hind legs.

 

Bees usually fill the saddles, known as corbicula (but commonly referred to as pollen baskets), with either pollen or nectar. When the baskets are full, they can account for 30% of a bee’s weight.

 

Some other bee species have a similar apparatus which is called a scopa.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

5th October

 

The average person’s resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats per minute; in comparison, a highly trained athlete may have a resting heart rate of 40 bpm.

 

Usain Bolt (b 1986), the world record-breaking Olympic Sprinter who is known as the fastest human in the world, had his resting heartbeat measured at 33 beats per minute. However, Miguel Indurain (b 1964), the retired Spanish road-racing cyclist who won five Tours de France, had his resting heartbeat recorded at just 28 bpm which was one of the lowest ever recorded in a healthy human.

 

Highly trained athletics can experience athletic heart syndrome, i.e. their heart becomes enlarged as it adapts to rigorous workouts which help to prevent an abnormally rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) during training.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

6th October

 

The largest animal species on the planet is the blue whale. It also has the largest heart which can weigh more than 1,000 lbs (circa 453 kg) and pump 60 gallons of blood with each beat.

 

The blue whales’ resting heart rate is usually 16 beats per minute. When diving for food, the heart rate can reduce to just two beats per minute.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

7th October

 

In October 2010, the media reported on the discovery of a human head buried in the garden at the home of the English broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David Attenborough.

 

Dubbed as the ‘Barnes Mystery’, the victim, Mrs. Julia Martha Thomas, had been pushed down the stairs by her housekeeper, Kate Webster, who then proceeded to strangle her in a bid to stop her screaming.

 

Webster decapitated the victim before cutting the body up with a meat saw and a carving knife. After boiling the body parts, Webster gave the dripping to the local kids to eat as a treat.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

8th October

 

When water is frozen it expands by 9%.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

9th October

 

The American jazz drummer, Bernard ‘Buddy’ Rich (1917-1987), was considered as one of the most influential drummers of all time due to his technique, speed, and power. He spoke his last words while being prepared for surgery when a nurse asked him if there was anything he couldn’t take. He quick-wittedly answered ‘country music’!

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

10th October

 

The photo and video-sharing social networking service, Instagram, was founded on the 6th of October 2010  by American computer programmer Kevin Systrom (b 1983) and Brazillian-American entrepreneur and software engineer, Michael Krieger (b 1986).

 

The first photograph to be uploaded was that of a stray dog (taken by Systrom).

 

In 2012, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for approximately $1 billion in cash and stocks.

 

The most Instagrammed food is pizza.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

11th October

 

Over a two-week period in October 1930, the comic strip of Mickey Mouse explored a darker side of his life.

 

Mickey was heartbroken when Minnie left him for another mouse, called Mr Slicker (who eventually appeared as Mortimer Mouse), and as a result, he made several unsuccessful suicide attempts. When he tried to shoot himself, he was interrupted by a cuckoo clock which caused him to think that he would be cuckoo to kill himself!  Jumping off a bridge did not go to plan either as he landed in a boat. However, the captain was not too pleased and threatened to throw him overboard, but Mickey begged him not to incase he might drown. Mickey also tried to gas himself and would have been successful if it had not been for a woodland creature who stole the gas to blow up its balloon. However, the creature overfilled the balloon, and it burst with a loud bang which jolted Mickey back into consciousness and caused him to scream as he thought he had been shot.

 

The storylines were not considered inappropriate at that time as near-death humour was popular.  Many famous comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd, all found themselves in dangerous situations and had failed suicide attempts in a slapstick manner.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

12th October

 

The six American missions that travelled to the moon ween 1969 and 1972 returned with 842 lbs (382 kgs) of rocks, the majority of which are kept at the ‘Johnston Space Centre’ located in Houston, Texas. However, for security reasons, 15% of them are stored at a secret location.

 

The astronauts had a rigorous collection and transportation process to follow to ensure that the earth’s atmosphere did not alter the rocks’ chemical components. Since their safe arrival, they have remained in nitrogen-filled steel cabinets, and scientists must use items made of Teflon, aluminium, stainless steel, or dry nitrogen when handling them so that no changes occur to their chemical state.

 

In October 2000, Richard Keith Mountain, from Connecticut, appeared in court and received a twenty-one-month prison sentence along with three years probation, 300 hours of community service, and a financial penalty, for selling fake moon rocks.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

13th October

 

Cat scratch fever can occur when a person receives a bite, scratch, or lick from a cat infected with the bacteria ‘Bartonella henselae’; if infected, it lives in the cat’s saliva and passes to people through open skin.

 

It can take up to two weeks before the symptoms present themselves – they include abdominal pain, fever, headaches, joint pain, loss of appetite, a rash, small bumps/blisters (medically known as inoculation lesions), a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, or tiredness.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

14th October

 

The collective nouns for a group of kittens include a litter, intrigue, and entanglement. A less commonly used word is kindle which stems from a combination of the English word Kindelen (of animals: to give birth) and the German word kinder (meaning children).

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

15th October

 

The shape of Beluga whales’ foreheads makes them easily recognisable. Scientists discovered that the bump-like form holds the key to their ability to echolocate (i.e. to explore the murky depths of the ocean, to hunt, to locate breathing holes in ice sheets, and to detect predators, by emitting calls and listening to the echoes).

 

Their communication with each other through a series of chirps, clicks, grunts, and whistles, has earned them the title ‘the canaries of the sea’.

 

The Beluga can purposefully change the shape of the bump when they want to create different sounds.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

16th October

 

Generally, a shake of the head up and down means yes, while a side to side movement means no. However, in Albania and Bulgaria, the opposite is true as the natives shake their heads sideways to say yes, and nod up and down for no.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

17th October

 

The largest rodent is the capybara which is a semi-aquatic mammal found throughout much of northern and central South America.

 

They weigh between 77 lbs to 143 lbs (35 kg to 65 kg) and measure 4.6 ft long and up to 2 ft high; that’s about twice the size of a beaver.

 

Their scientific name, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, translates from Greek as ‘water hog’.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

18th October

 

James Watt (1736–1819) was a Scottish inventor who described horsepower as ‘a unit of power that was approximately how much work one horse could do’. The term was relevant at that time as horses were used to pull carts and ploughs.

 

Watt calculated that a horse could pull a load weighing 33,000 lb the distance of one foot per minute. Today, the metric measurement of 746 watts is the electrical equivalent of one horsepower.

 

Car manufacturers market their cars detailing the amount of horsepower and brake horsepower (BHP). In this scenario, the more horsepower the vehicle has, the higher the maximum rate of acceleration, and the faster it can go.

 

Brake horsepower (BHP) is the measurement of an engine’s horsepower before reduced by the power needed for the gearbox, the alternator, the water pump, the muffled exhaust system, and other auxiliary components.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

19th October

Although ordained in 1703, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678–1741) withdrew from priestly duties to dedicate his life to music. At the age of 25, he was named as master of violin at ‘Ospedale della Pietà’ – an orphanage where he gained all responsibility for teaching music.  Today, he is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers of all time. One of his most famous pieces of work is a series of violin concertos known as ‘Four Seasons’ which was used in the 1990 American romantic-comedy ‘Pretty Woman’.

 

Vivaldi composed approximately eight hundred different works and at the height of his career received commissions from European royalty and aristocracy. However, around the time of his death, the popularity of his music had dwindled, and his manuscripts were either locked away, lost, or even attributed to other composers.

 

Both Vivaldi and Mozart were laid to rest in the same burial ground in Vienna. However, the exact location for the graves is unknown as Vienna’s Technical University now stands on the burial grounds.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

20th October

 

The area with the highest male-to-female ratio in the United States is Alaska, where there are 111 men for every 100 women.

 

In 2017, statisticians calculated that the sex ratio in America is about even, but this changes as the generation ages and births and deaths occur.

 

In 2019, the earth’s ‘natural’ sex ratio was around 105 boys per 100 girls, but this is influenced by countries that have clear evidence of gender selection through prenatal sex determination and selective abortion.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

21st October

 

The five countries most prone to experience earthquakes are China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, and Turkey.

 

Alaska and California are the two American states that have more earthquakes than any of the others.

 

Across the world, small earthquakes occur every day – in fact, the ‘National Earthquake Information Centre’, based in Colorado, locates between 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes each year although most go unnoticed.

 

Scientists acknowledge that snakes and other animals can sense earthquakes a few seconds before people do as they can feel the initial wave. Some have even argued that snakes can sense an earthquake up to five days before the event – a belief based on the story that in 373 B.C. snakes left the city of Helice in Greece five days before a major earthquake

decimated the area.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

22nd October

 

Known professionally as Eminem, Marshall Bruce Mathers III was sued by his mother, Deborah R. Nelson-Mathers, for around $10 million as he slandered her on his ‘Slim Shady’ LP. Deborah claimed that the lyrics had even affected her credit rating (which can only be affected by failure to pay bills!). Eventually, a settlement of $25,000 was agreed of which $23,000 went towards Deborah’s legal costs.

 

 

Although the pair have always had a strained relationship, which was openly discussed in interviews, the artist rapped an apology to her in his song ‘Headlights’, which he released in 2014.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

23rd October

 

Known for being the world’s scariest haunted house, ‘McKamey Manor’ was founded in San Diego by Russ McKamey. The tours, which focus on the individual’s worst fears, can last up to ten hours. However, before participating, all clients must sign a forty-page waiver and supply a medical report from their doctor stating that they do not have any physical or mental health issues.

 

Before embarking on the tour, participants receive a list of potential outcomes which include teeth extraction, fingernails pulled out, and being tattooed.

 

The comparable experience that best describes the activities is that of starring in a real-life horror movie that involves waterboarding, getting soaked in (fake) blood, and time spent locked inside a coffin.

 

There is a $20,000 reward for anyone who completes the ordeal, but to date, the prize remains unclaimed. Some who have taken part described it as a torture chamber under the guise of a haunted house; many have left the tour covered in bruises, suffering from

fractured bones, and had teeth missing – one person reportedly had a heart attack! Participants have experienced mental trauma, and many have admitted that they required professional psychiatric help afterward. Yet McKamey claims that there are more than 24,000 people on the waiting list!

 

Despite allegations that the brutal staff are registered sex offenders with a history of violence, so far McKamey has escaped prosecution due to loopholes in the legal system. McKamey denies that guests are injected with hallucinogens and claims that he only uses hypnosis and mind-control techniques to get visitors to believe anything that he tells them; he backs this claim up by stating that he has video footage of all the tours to prove that everything is legal.

 

Towards the end of 2019, a petition was started on change.org to have McKamey Manor shut down. Within a matter of days, over 100,000 signatures were added.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

24th October

 

A newborn infant’s first poop, known as meconium, appears as a greenish-black tar.

 

Unlike normal faeces, meconium is composed of materials ingested while in the womb which includes skin cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, water, and lanugo (which is a fine, downy hair that covers the baby’s body for a few months).

 

Up to 25% of newborns have their first bowel movement before birth. However, should there be a problem that makes it difficult for the baby to get enough oxygen causing it to gasp, there is a chance that it will inhale the meconium. This condition is known as meconium aspiration syndrome, and the baby may require suctioning and supplemental oxygen immediately after birth.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

25th October

 

Agreed by the ‘United Nations General Assembly’ in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve a better future for everyone by the year 2030.

 

Alliance 8.7 is an inclusive global partnership that is committed to achieving Target 8.7 of the sustainable development goals which call for effective measures to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking, and child labour. Through partnerships and non-profit organisations, the coalition reported in 2017 that there are an estimated 40 million people enslaved worldwide which includes forced labour imposed by state authorities, forced labour in the private sector, forced commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriages.

 

Alliance 8.7 has also estimated that 152 million children are involved in child labour. These findings suggest that there are more slaves today than in all of human history.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

26th October

 

Coffee enemas were allegedly created during the early 1900s by German physicians who were researching treatments for cancer.

 

The practice has been widely discussed and promoted by various celebrities who praise the procedure for benefits such as cleansing the body of toxins, boosting energy, reducing anxiety, strengthening the immune system, and helping with weight loss. Although also recommended for the treatment of chronic pain, constipation, depression, fatigue, parasites, and yeast infections, there have been very few scientific studies done to confirm whether they are beneficial or not. Several serious complications have been confirmed though which include colitis, dehydration, infections, salmonella, sepsis, and even rectal burns.

 

In 2013, the media broadcast a report about a married couple in Florida, Mike and Trina Elliott, who were addicted to coffee enemas - each month they both self-administered at least one hundred treatments. At one stage, Trina was doing the process ten times in a 24-hour-period. Within the first two years of taking up the new ‘hobby’, the couple estimated they had each had 6,000 treatments. Fortunately, they work from home and don’t have to leave the house for too long! However, the bottom line is that the Elliott’s are addicted to the sense of euphoria they get from the enemas and, like any addiction, the withdrawals make them feel worse when they try to quit.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

27th October

 

In 2011, the reality TV show ‘My Strange Addiction’ featured a widow named Casie who carried her late husband's ashes with her wherever she went. Trips included restaurants, shops, and even the cinema. One day when she was transferring the ashes from a temporary storage box into a memorial urn, some spilt onto her hand. Rather than dusting the ashes off, she licked her fingers which was the moment her addiction of dipping her finger into the ashes and licking

it afterward began.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

28th October

 

The Black Sapote, grown from an evergreen tree native to eastern Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia, is a species of persimmon (i.e. an edible fruit with a sweet flesh that resembles the shape of a large tomato). Once ripe, the green-skinned black sapote contains a black sticky pulp commonly referred to as natures chocolate pudding fruit. Although it has the peculiarity of having the taste and colour of chocolate, it has fewer calories and is rich in vitamins A and C.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

29th October

 

In Greece, Iran, Russia, and Sardinia, giving someone the thumbs-up sign is comparable to giving the middle finger.

 

Known in America as flipping the bird, the middle finger salute has been considered offensive since its recorded use as far back as the Ancient Greeks who not only used the obscene gesture as a general insult but as an insult with sexual connotations aimed at those from a lower social status.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

30th October

 

Denmark, Finland, and Japan are known for having the most challenging processes to obtain a driving license.

 

After completing thirty hours of driving lessons, learners in Japan undergo a practical test which may even include reversing around an S-curve. While being tested, the examiners expect the pupils to dramatise their actions even when merely glancing into the rear-view mirror. There are penalties to pay f they do not stay far enough over in their lane or if they do not bend low enough before getting into the car to check for children or small animals. Another part of the examination includes theory and aptitude tests which examine colour blindness, hearing, physical fitness, and vision. The pass rate in Japan falls below 35%.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

31st October

 

Ironically, although written by Bruce Johnston for the American singer and guitarist David Cassidy (1950-2017), the song ‘I write the songs’ was made famous by Barry Manilow (b 1943).

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts