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There is only one word in the English language that changes it's pronunciation when it's capitalised - eg, you can polish the furniture, given to you by your Polish relatives. ;)

There is an African word, "janee", which means both 'yes', and 'no'.

Rice is grown in watered paddy fields so as to stop weeds from growing amongst the rice plants.

In 1988, handguns killed -
7 people in Great Britain
8 people in Canada
13 people in Australia
19 people in Sweden
25 people in Israel
8,915 in the USA

Landmines kill or injure three people per hour, on average, around the world.

Manhole covers are round so that no matter which way they are placed, they cannot fall into their hole.

Speaking of manhole covers, one of them has a rather special place in history - Back in the 60's (I think) when the USA was testing thermo-nuclear weapons underground, they dug a hole and placed an H-bomb at the bottom of the hole. They then placed a manhole cover over the hole at the top. When the bomb was set off, high-speed cameras recorded the whole thing, but much to their surprise, when the scientists examined the film closely they saw that the manhole cover was blown off the top of the shaft at around 66 km/second, thus making it the very first man-made object to reach and/or exceed the escape velocity of this solar system!

The Sun consumes 4,000,000 tonnes of hydrogen per second. At that rate, even though it's been burning for around 5 billion years, it'll still continue for another 4 billion or so.

Englishman, Robert Watson-Watt, invented RADAR in 1935. (RAdio and Direction Ranging) The actual conception of radar was, however, originally by Nicola Tesla.

Ian Fleming, who is famous for creating James Bond, also wrote 'Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang', the surreal story of a flying, floating, odd-shaped car.

Everyone I know has more than the average number of arms and legs.

When you have a video player in 'pause' the head still spins on the tape, causing wear. In fact, for every minute you have the tape paused it's about the same as playing it 1,000 times.

If there was such as thing as the 'Invisible Man', he would be blind - His retina would not pick up any light.

When driving around Australia, make sure that you circum-navigate the continent anti-clockwise, as it's about 900 metres shorter going this way than clockwise.

The first person to actually sustain controlled, powered flight was not one of the Wright brothers; It was Richard Pearse of New Zealand a few months before in a more advanced flying machine of his own design & construction. On 31-3-1902 he flew about 350 yards, and on 11-5-1903 flew over 1,000 yards, out of ground effect & including several turns.

Nikola Tesla, of Romania, invented radio, not Marconi. (Marconi made his discovery independently, a few years later) Tesla also invented alternating current (AC) power that we all use today. He also invented the AC electric motors to run from AC power. Also to his credit are -
- Radar
- Neon lighting
- Fluorescent lighting
- The electrical 'tube'
He also holds the record for the longest man-made lightening bolts, at 130' in length.

Bungy jumping was invented by AJ Hackett, of New Zealand in the mid 80's.  Hackett, and a friend, thought it up based on some tribal practices of a south Pacific island tribe, who jump from a tall. rickety wooden tower and rely on vines tied around one leg to stop their fall, but to pull off the stunt 'properly', the jumper must just hit the ground!

The new millennium actually starts in the year 2001, not 2000. This is because we started counting from the year one, not the year zero - So most people are going to incorrectly celebrate the arrival of the new millennium a year early.

Gisborne, in New Zealand, is going to be the first town in the world to see the rays of the sun in the new millennium in 2001. Even though there are towns further east, and in fact slightly over the 180° East line, Gisborne is actually the closest to the date line, and hence will be the first.

There are about 5,500 languages in the world, for a population of ~5,700,000,000. Papua New Guinea, with a population of ~3,000,000, has about 700 languages. This is because of the difficulties of the tribes travelling over the incredibly rough terrain, so many have developed their languages unique to that particular tribe.

The main language of Papua New Guinea, "Pidgin English," is not very good when it comes to numbers. They have the words, "wanpella, tupella, and tripella," which translates to "one, two, many."

The people of Papua New Guinea, due to the large areas of impassable terrain, are the world's most experienced air travellers.

A square piece of paper, of any thickness, cannot be folded in half then turned 90°, then folded again, etc, more than six times.

In a mature human brain, there are about 200,000,000,000 neurones, each of which are connected to about 10,000 others. (of that same 200 billion)  This makes the human brain the most complex known object in the universe.

Through many, many millions of years of evolution from a common ancestor, all of the living things on Earth have gradually diversified. However, the amount of common DNA material, or 'genetic overlap' can still be surprisingly high -
Organism  % genetic overlap with a Human.
E. coli bacteria  15
Yeast  30
Worm  40
Mouse  75
Cow  90
Chimpanzee 98.5
Another Human 99.9
Sibling  99.95
Perhaps equally surprising is the discovery that 95% to 98% of the information in Human DNA is apparently nonsense, for which there is no apparent use. The remaining 2% - 5%, however, is rather important, as it involves code for the vital protein molecules, which in turn are involved in making enzymes, tissues, and cell components, etc.

In 1966, the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) began a very successful program to eradicate the smallpox virus. It was so successful, that by 8-5-1980, they declared that smallpox was eradicated. However, two small vials of smallpox remain - One in room 318B in the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA, and the other in the Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk, Russia. In June 1999, they will be simultaneously heated to 121°C to eradicate smallpox from the face of the Earth.
* As I type this amendment, it is late August 1999, thus in theory the smallpox virus has been eradicated from the earth. I have read from several different sources that the Russians have secretly created a stockpile of 20 tonnes of the smallpox virus! It is believed to be intended for use in warfare.

In 1918 there was a world-wide epidemic of the influenza virus, which killed over 20,000,000 people. Far more than the total killed in World War One. It infected fully half of the world's population.

Malaria infects between 300,000,000 and 500,000,000 people on the planet, or roughly 10% of all people. If global warming brings the temperature up by  3° - 5°C, then it is possible that malaria could spread to roughly 60% of the world's population.

There is a disease called "Lesch-Nyhan syndrome", in which the afflictee's literally chew off their own fingers in uncontrollable fits of self mutilation.

By 1930, 24 states of the USA had passed laws allowing for the sterilisation of a wide variety of 'undesirables,' which included criminals, epileptics, the insane, and the retarded. By 1941, 36,000 people had been sterilised. The Nazi's in Germany, at the time, were reported as "having openly expressed a deep gratitude."

Recently declassified documents reveal that in 1951 the US Navy conducted experiments with "San Joacuin Valley fever", which is roughly 10 times as likely to kill a Negro than a Caucasian. They experimented on defence base workers (mostly Negros) to see how it would affect their vulnerability to enemy attack. This particular disease was specially developed by the US military in the 1940's as a potential biological weapon in the 1940's.

The Ultrasound procedure, as used by doctors to determine the sex of an un-born child, has had some rather negative effects in some countries. Especially in China and India, where male offspring are more highly regarded than females. From 1981 to 1991, one million baby girls were lost to selective abortions after Ultrasounds. Four million girls also simply 'disappeared' during their first 4 - 6 years of life.
In China, where they have a strict 'one child per family' policy, informal estimates of the young female population in rural area have shown that up to 10,000,000 female children are 'missing.'

Ultrasound was invented in Australia in 1961 by the scientists at the Commonwealth Health Department.

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