Friday, September 16, 2011

The Essential Book Of Useless Information, by Don Voorhees

My mother-in-law gave me this book for Christmas last year, and I just recently finished it. The subtitle is: The Most Unimportant Things You'll Never Need To Know. And if you know me, you this book has my name written all over it. Great gift Momma T, this blog is for you.

The EBUI is one in a series of books all out to do the same thing: provide useless information. As far as I can tell, there are at least five other books just like this one such as The Ultimate Book of Useless Information, The Best Book of Useless Information Ever, The Amazing Book of Useless Information, etc. You get the point.

Personally, I wouldn't mind having more of these in my library.

There's not much to tell about the book. Each page contains random facts (and yes, the author had fact checkers), surrounding a number of different topics which provided the chapter headings.

I've been reading The EBUI ever since I got it last Christmas, but you can't read too much at one time. It's much like reading the Proverbs in the Bible, just read a few each day. Read too many at once and it's like drinking from a fire hose.

As I read, I made little marks next to notable pieces of useless information. Here, I will share some with you. Enjoy.

Florida gets one hundred times more UV light than Maine

Cape Hatteras, NC is the "city" most likely to be hit by a tropical storm or hurricane.

Las Vegas is the least humid city in the US. Forks, WA, is the most humid. (For the Twilight fans out there.)

Common-law marriage can be contracted in eleven states. There is no such thing as common-law divorce.

One Giovanni Vigliotto married 104 women between 1941 and 1981. He was sentenced to 28 years in jail for bigamy in 1983.

Brigham Young had 55 wives.

The Catholic Church did not require a priest to be at weddings until 1563.

Ship's captains have no special rights to marry people.

In studies, men find a woman much more sexually attractive when she is dressed in red, and will spend more money on a date with her. Red does not, however, affect a man's perceptions about her likeability, intelligence, or kindness.

During the 1200s, European noblemen openly displayed their genitals through a hole in the crotch of their tights. (*What?!*)

Prostitution is currently legal in Rhode Island, as long as it takes place in a private residence.

Cupid was a symbol of pedophile love in ancient Greece.

Helium makes your voice high-pitched because it is less dense than air. making the sounds waves travel faster. When these fast-moving waves hit the air outside your mouth, they slow down and get closer together, raising the high frequency (pitch). If you and the listener were both in a room filled with helium, your voice would sound normal, as there would be no change in frequency.

Only about 15 percent of the species in the world are believed to have been discovered so far.

Of the world's known species, 99% are smaller than a bumblebee.

The cholesterol pill Lipitor is far and away the best-selling drug in the world, followed by the blood thinner Plavix and heartburn drug Nexium.

Astronauts drink recycled urine, sweat, exhaled water vapor, and bathing water.

The tallest wave ever recorded was one of 1,740 feet in Lituya Bay, Alaska. A landslide launched into the baya by an earthquake in 1958 caused it.

Every so often large chunks of ice fall from the clear blue sky, some weighing as much as 200 lbs. No one is sure why.

Cairo has more particulate pollution than any other city.

The "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is a huge expanse of refuse, primarily plastics, two times the size of Texas, which is floating around in the Northern Pacific. (What in the world?!)

Jet fuel is not made up of any fancy chemicals, just kerosene.

Scientists can come within a fraction of a degree of absolute zero (-458.9 degrees F), the coldest possible temperature in the universe, in the lab, but quantum fluctuations in molecular motion make it impossible to reach that minimum.

The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor in Princeton, New Jersey, once produced the highest man-made temperature, of 510 million degrees C.

The first working fax machine preceded the telephone in 1861.

The typical male fart contains around half a cup of gas, a female fart a third of a cup. (And they say this information is useless!)

The record distance for projectile vomiting is 27 feet.

A humpback whale calf will drink up to 130 gallons of milk a day. While nursing her young, a humpback whale mother can go for eight months without eating. Humpback whales sing songs that last a half hour. Blue whales vocalizations can be detected more than 1,000 miles away underwater. Sperm whales will emit a sonar blast that can immobilize a squid. Bowhead whales can live to be 200 years old.

Below 37 miles per hour, most bugs tend to bounce off car windshields; above this speed they start to splatter.

Mosquitoes are more attracted to blondes than brunettes, and children more than to adults.

It has been calculated that if you were bitten by 1,120,000 mosquitoes simultaneously, you would be totally drained of your blood.

The African red-billed queleas are the most numerous birds in the world. A flock may take up to five hours to pass overhead.

"Mike the Wonder Chicken" was a bird who had his head chopped off (but not his brain stem), and still lived for almost two more years. He toured America and was fed with an eyedropper directly into his gullet.  (Yaars, you should remember that one!)

Elephants are excellent swimmers.

Porcupine quills are naturally antiseptic.

The male porcupine urinates on the female to get her attention.

*There's so many great facts in this book, I don't know where to stop. So, here's a handful to serve as the grand fact finale!

Black-eyed peas, okra, peanuts, and watermelon all came to the New World with African slaves.

During a lifetime, a person will inadvertently eat several pounds of dirt.

Eighty-four people are in cryopreservation (frozen) at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In human history, probably about 100 billion people have died.

...and the last fact in the book will be the last on this blog...

In 2004, a woman in Georgia was arrested for trying to pay for a purchase at Wal-Mart with a million-dollar bill.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... by far the most frightening was the one about the 1,120,000 mosquitoes. I wonder it they mean NC mosquitoes or Alaska's?? I bet it wouldn't take as many in Alaska! Smiling ... Love ya, Momma T

Erin Miller said...

Very interesting. So glad you condensed them for us!

Audrey said...

My reactions:
wow, ship captains can't marry people? That one is a common one - they even had Jim and Pam from the Office married on a boat by a ship's captain. I suppose if you captain a ship near Niagara Falls, you probably get your license, though.

GROSS!! - astronauts drinking recycled urine

Ice falling from the sky - maybe it slips out of God's ice-maker. I know i'm always dropping ice cubes on the floor accidentally.

Great pacific garbage patch - WHOA that is terrible! Twice the size of Texas!!!

I have actually wondered at the bug-splatter speed before. Now i know.

LOLOL at the million dollar bill. How deranged can you be (or how deranged do you think OTHERS can be).

Sounds like a great, fun book!