The term “Siamese twins” dates to 1811, when a pair of conjoined twins was born in Bangkok, the capital of Siam (now called Thailand). The twins Eng and Chang (which mean “left” and “right” in Siamese) were joined at the lower end of the sternum.
IQ, or the intelligence quotient, was originally computed as the ratio of a person’s mental age to his chronological age, multiplied by 100. Following this method, a child of 10 years old who performed on the test at the level of an average 12 year old (mental age of 12), was assigned an IQ of 12/10 x 100=120.
John Dillinger (1903–1934) used acid to burn his fingerprints in an attempt to permanently change them by removing the ridge patterns. He failed, and the fingerprints that reappeared were identical to the ones he had tried to change.
Even identical twins have differences in their fingerprints, which, though subtle, can be discerned by experts. Research indicates that fingerprints would not be the same even in the clone of an individual.
In 1946, the United States began to test atomic weapons on the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was also in the late 1940s when the two-piece bathing suit made its debut and took its name from the intensely publicized Bikini Atoll.
Swahili is a mixture of Arabic and African languages that gradually developed through trading between Africans and Arabs. Though there are over 1,000 different languages in Africa, Swahili is the second-most popular language (Arabic is the first).
The suffix “stan” means nation or land. Therefore, Afghanistan literally means “land of the Afghans.” Eight countries end in the suffix “stan”: Kazakhstan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
An economic tiger is a term applied to any rapidly developing Asian nation with the power and ability to become an influential, international economic powerhouse. South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore are considered to be the three economic tigers.
Before World War II, Japan owned this chain of four islands located between Russia and Japan. During the war, the then-Soviet Union took control of the islands and hasn’t given them back. Japan has been requesting their return, but to no avail. Because of the Kurile Island controversy, Japan has yet to sign a peace treaty with Russia declaring the end of World War II.
In Louisiana, the water level is so close to the surface of the ground that coffins, rather than being buried, are placed in tombs above ground to avoid the possibility of coffins floating out of place. A Louisiana cemetery looks like a miniature city, with tombs and alleyways.
Arkansas is the only state with a diamond mine. Located in southwestern Arkansas, the mine is no longer in commercial production but is now a park, Crater of Diamonds State Park, that allows visitors to take any diamonds they find.
The term “third world” was part of the classification of countries during the Cold War. This classification designated those countries aligned with the United States as “first world,” those countries aligned with the Soviet Union as “second world,” and those countries that were nonaligned as “third world.” With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the classification no longer exists.
At night, AM radio waves bounce off of a layer of the ionosphere, the “F” layer, and can travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from their source. During the day, the same reflection of radio waves cannot occur because the “D” layer of the ionosphere is present and it absorbs radio waves.
Two pieces of metal without any coating on them will form into one piece in the vacuum of space. This doesn’t happen Earth because the atmosphere puts a layer of oxidized material between the surfaces.
Idiot originally comes from the Greek word idiotes used to refer to a person who was a private individual, or more specifically, one who was so preoccupied with their own personal life that they would not take part in the democratic process.
While true distillation dates back to Babylon of the fourth millennium BC, it wasn’t until the time of the Muslim alchemists in the eight and ninth centuries that alcohol distillation became truly efficient and allowed for the innovation of liquor as we know it today.
7-Up, invented in 1920, contained lithium, the drug now commonly prescribed to sufferers of bipolar disorder. The name is most likely due to the original recipe containing seven ingredients (with the “up” portion relating to the lithium), or the fact that lithium has an atomic mass of seven.
Each year, the Malagasy people of Madagascar perform a funeral tradition called Famadihana. The ceremony involves digging up the bones of loved ones, dressing them in new clothing, and dancing with them around the tomb to live music.
The four letters constituting the Tetragrammaton are the Hebrew characters yodh, he, waw and he. As this divine name was regarded in later Judaism as too sacred to be pronounced, the word lord, adonai, was substituted for it in the reading of the Scriptures. For this reason, when the vowel signs were added to the text to indicate the traditional pronunciation, the consonants Yhwh were provided with the vowels of adonai and the name was therefore read Jehovah by Christian scholars.