Present Simple + Modal Verbs
1. 80% of human brains is water.
2. 99% of conversation in English uses only 2,000 words, and 25% uses only 10 words.
3. A caterpillar has more than 2,000 muscles, compared with a person's 700 or so.
4. A fly's eye has over 4,000 facets (= One of the numerous small eyes which make up the compound eyes of insects) that enable it to see in almost any direction without moving.
5. A glow-worm (жук-светляк) is a female beetle.
6. A kangaroo can only jump in the air if its tail is touching the ground.
7. A litre of vinegar (= a sour liquid used as a condiment) is heavier in winter than it is in summer.
8. A person can live for 2 weeks without food, but for only 2 days without water.
9. A proportion of the air you breathe and the water you drink has already been breathed and drunk by someone else - maybe several times over.
10. A queen bee can lay 3,000 eggs in one day.
11. A spider's web applied to a bleeding wound helps the blood to clot.
12. A swarm of locusts (= long-winged, migratory insects allied to the grasshoppers) crossing the Red Sea in 1889 covered an area of 5,200 square km.
13. A tiger may eat as much as one-fifth of its body-weight in one meal.
14. A worker bee, all of whom are female, has to travel more than 75,000km to make 500 grams of honey.
15. Almost 1 person in every 4 in the world is of Chinese origin.
16. An "anatomical juxtaposition of 2 orbicular is oris muscles on a state of contraction" means - "a kiss".
17. An albatross can stay in the air for several days, often without flapping its wings for long periods as it glides.
18. An elephant's trunk can hold 6.6 litres of water.
19. An oyster can change sex a number of times during its life.
20. Angel Falls in Venezuela are nearly 20 times higher than Niagara Falls.
21. Ants are capable of lifting stones 50 times their own weight, and of pulling load 300 times their own weight.
22. As it burns, magnesium gains weight, so its ashes are heavier than the original substance.
23. Astronauts can grow an inch or so during their time in space.
24. Astronauts shave by using razors like tiny vacuum cleaners that suck in their whiskers (the hair of the upper lip; a mustache) to prevent them flying round the cabin.
25. At any one moment there are 2,000 thunderstorms (= storm accompanied with lightning and thunder) taking place somewhere on earth.
26. At rest the average person breathes 7 liters of air a minute.
27. Australian earthworms can grow up to 3 meters.
28. Balsa wood is so light a person can lift a whole tree trunk on their own.
29. Bamboo can grow a meter (over a yard) in just over 24 hours.
30. Bears climb telegraph poles looking for honey, fooled by the humming of the wires, which they mistake for bees buzzing.
31. Blond people have more hair on their heads than dark-haired people.
32. Bubbles are round because the air enclosed inside them presses equally on all part of their surface.
33. Butterflies can fly at 32km an hour.
34. Camels' humps (= a fleshy protuberance on the back of an animal) contain fat, not water.
35. Cats cannot taste sweet foods.
36. Chewing a stick is a good way of cleaning your teeth.
37. Children grow faster in springtime than they do the rest of the year.
38. Cockroaches have remained unchanged on earth for about 250,000,000 years.
39. Crocodiles' stomachs contain stones, which help them digest their food.
40. Despite its length, the neck of a giraffe contains the same number of bones as that of a human being.
41. During a lifetime the average person eats about 35 tons of food.
42. Each day 7,500,000 tones of water evaporate from the Dead Sea.
43. Each day a common shrew eats 2/3 of its own body-weight.
44. From the southern hemisphere the man in the moon appears to be upside-down.
45. Gruesome studies have shown that a man weighing 68kg would provide enough meal to feed 75 people at one meal.
46. Horses can sleep standing up.
47. Horses don't have collar bones,
48. Human beings are the only animals to sleep on their backs.
49. If you fly to New York from London on Concord you arrive 2 hours before you leave.
50. If you squeeze an egg by the pointed end you will find it almost impossible to break.
51. If you stand with your elbows out at shoulder level and bring the tips of your forefingers together so that they are jus touching, the strongest person will not be able to pull them apart by tugging at your wrists.
52. In California people hold frog-jumping contests.
53. In France people eat approx. 500,000,000 snails a year.
54. In Sedlec, a town in Slovakia, there is a church with a chandelier made from human bones.
55. In the galaxy that contains the earth there are 5 billion stars larger than the sun.
56. In the Kalahari Desert in Botswana lives a race of Bushmen who are seldom more than 1.4 meters tall.
57. Inhaling the smoke form a cigarette produces more carbon monoxide(a deadly poison) in the lungs than breathing the air of a traffic-field street.
58. It is possible to see a rainbow as a complete circle from an airplane.
59. It takes 12 hours of steady walking to lose 500 grams of weight.
60. It takes 120 drops of water to fill a teaspoon.
61. Lake Superior, in North America, is almost twice the size of Switzerland.
62. Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
63. Los Angeles contains more cars than people.
64. Male monkeys sometimes go bald, just like men do.
65. Mayflies live only for a few hours after they hatch.
66. More Italians live in New York than in Rome.
67. Mosquitoes prefer biting fair-haired people.
68. Most people's sense of smell has diminished by 50% by the time they are 60.
69. One day on Jupiter lasts only 9 hours and 50 minutes.
70. One human hair can support a weight of up to 3 kilograms.
71. Only men can suffer from hemophilia, but only women can pass it on from one generation to the next.
72. Oranges do not ripen after being picked.
73. People are taller first thing in the morning than they are at night.
74. People speak at the rate of about 120 words per minute.
75. Polar bears can outrun reindeer.
76. Relative to its size, a sparrow has a larger brain than a man.
77. Scorpions can withstand 200 times more nuclear radiation than humans.
78. Snails can sleep for 3 years without waking up.
79. Sound travels so well in the Arctic that on a still day you can hear a conversation from a distance off 3 km.
80. Spitsbergen in Norway has 3 and half months of constant daylight in summer.
81. The 10 most common surnames in England and Wales are Smith, Jones, Williams, Brown, Taylor, Davies, Evans, Thomas, Roberts and Johnson.
82. The 2 largest cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, are both below sea level.
83. The average clean-shaven man spends 5 months of his life shaving, removing approximately 8.5 metres of bristles.
84. The average human body contains enough fat to make 7 bars of soap.
85. The average person can distinguish about 4,000 different smells.
86. The blue whale weighs as much as 1,800 people.
87. The book most often stolen from public libraries in Britain is the Guinness Book of Records.
88. The Canadian winter of 1925 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze.
89. The chameleon can not only change color to match its surroundings, but can also focus its eyes in different directions simultaneously.
90. The city of London has no roads called "roads".
91. The commonest letter in English is "e".
92. The Dead Sea is so salty it is impossible to sink in it.
93. The eye of a giant squid is bigger than a person's head.
94. The female black-widow spider eats the male after mating, hence its name. Some females have been known to eat 25 mates a day.
95. The founder of the McDonald's hamburger chain is a Bachelor of Hamburgerology.
96. The greatest number of sightings (= appearances) of UFOs occurs when Mars is at its nearest point to the earth.
97. The house-fly beats its wings nearly 200 times a second.
98. The human brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb.
99. The human heart beats 100,000 times a day.
100. The human neck contains muscles, which are now redundant, that in the early years of man's evolution were used to wiggle the ears.
101. The humming-bird is the only kind of bird that can fly backwards.
102. The kiwi bird of New Zealand has its nostrils at the end of its bill.
103. The left-hand side of the brain controls the right-hand side of the body, and vice versa.
104. The Library of Yale University in the USA possesses enough books to stretch from the North Pole to the Equator.
105. The liner Queen Elizabeth II has more bedrooms than Buckingham Palace has rooms.
106. The literal translation of the word kung fu is "leisure time".
107. The Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean is 10.91km deep. An object dropped in it would take over an hour to reach the sea-bed.
108. The middle finger-nail on each hand grows the fastest; the thumb-nail the slowest.
109. The most popular sport played in American nudist camps is volleyball.
110. The Netherlands grows and sells more than 2,700,000,000 flowers every year.
111. The Pacific Ocean is 25% larger than the total of the earth's lands surface.
112. The palms of your hands and the soles of your feet contain no pigment, so they don't tan in the sun.
113. The shark lays the largest eggs in the world.
114. The skeletons of most birds weigh less than their feathers.
115. The smallest country in the world is Vatican City, which measures 44 hectares, and has a population of 1,008 people.
116. The song most frequently sung in the world is "Happy Birthday to you".
117. The sun weighs 330,000 times as much as the earth.
118. The US Mint once stamped some gold coins with the legend "In Gold We Trust", instead of "In God We Trust".
119. The world's widest road, the Monumental Axis in Brazil, is wide enough for 160 cars to drive side by side.
120. There are 3.2km of corridors in the Houses of Parliament.
121. There are about 100, 000 bacteria in 1 litre of drinking water.
122. There are about 2 million sweat glands on the surface of the human body.
123. There are more miles of canals in Birmingham than in Venice.
124. There are more than 20 sheep for every person living in New Zealand.
125. There are more than 28,000,000 cats in the USA.
126. There are no snakes in Ireland. Legend has it that St Patrick banished them all.
127. There is a place in Norway called Hell.
128. There is a town in Sweden called A.
129. There is a village in France called Y.
130. Tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits, not vegetables.
131. Trinidad has a lake filled with asphalt, across which you can walk if you keep moving.
132. Venus rotates clockwise. All other planets rotate anti-clockwise.
133. Warm water freezes more quickly than cold water.
134. When a piece of glass cracks the cracks travel at over 4,800km per hour.
135. When flies take off they jump backwards.
136. When food supplies are short, the ribbon-worm worm can digest up to 95% of its body - and survive.
137. You only need about a third of the muscles to smile as you need to frown.
138. Dogs sweat through their paws.
139. Emus can run at 48km per hour. The male emu hatches the eggs.
140. Every continent in the world has a city named ROME.
141. Human beings use only about 4% of the plants growing on earth.
142. If you live to 70, your heart will have pumped 250 million liters of blood round your body.
Past Simple + Modal Verbs
1) A giant squid can grow up to 20 metres in length.
2) Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, set a world water speed record when he was 72.
3) All of Queen Ann's 17 children died before she did.
4) An ostrich can run faster than any other bird, though it cannot fly.
5) At Christmas 1969 black snow fell in Sweden.
6) Captain Webb, the1st man to swim the English Channel, was drowned trying to swim across the rapids above Niagara Falls.
7) In 1857 Queen Victoria's rat catcher received a higher salary than the Poet Laureate, Lord Tennyson.
8) In family groups of lions, it is the females that do the majority of the hunting.
9) In one hour an oak tree can lose 4,500 liters of water vapour through its leaves.
10) In the 14th century the Black Death killed approx. 40,000,000 people.
11) It takes 40 minutes to hard-boil an ostrich egg.
12) Lady Jane Grey was queen of England for only 14 days.
13) London was the first city in the world to have a population of over a million people.
14) Lord Tennyson wrote a 60,000-word poem when he was 10.
15) Nearly half the people on earth live in only one-thirtieth of the total land area.
16) Packs of playing cards contain 52 cards to symbolize the number of the weeks in the year.
17) Sailors traditionally wore gold earrings to pay for their burial.
18) Spaghetti originally came from China, not Italy.
19) The 150 islands that make up Bermuda have no surface streams or wells, no native mammals, reptiles, nor dangerous insects.
20) The 1st woman to take her seat in the House of Commons was an American.
21) The 20th president of the USA, James A. Garfield, could write in Latin with one hand and simultaneously write in Greek with the other.
22) The abbreviation Xmas came about because the 1st letter of the word "Christ" in Greek is X.
23) The American president John F. Kennedy could read 4 newspapers in 20 minutes.
24) The average person in ancient Rome lived for only 22 years.
25) The composer Beethoven believed that pouring cold water over his head while he was working stimulated his brain.
26) The dollar sign $ is a modification of the figure 8 that used to be stamped on the Spanish coins called pieces of eight.
27) The first gramophone record had the words "Mary had a little lamb..."
28) The first poet buried in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey was Geoffrey Chaucer.
29) The first set of the traffic-lights ever erected was outside the Houses of Parliament. They blew up on 2 January 1869, killing the policeman who operated them.
30) The longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary is "floccinaucinihilipilification", which means "the act of estimating as worthless".
31) The moon is 400 times smaller than the sun.
32) The Roman Emperor Nero used to eat leeks to try to improve his singing voice.
33) The spire of Salisbury Cathedral leans nearly 60cm away from the vertical.
34) The Swiss eat more cheese per head of population than any other nation.
35) The water drawn up from artesian wells in Australia fell as rain 6,000 years ago.
36) The wife of the Roman Emperor Nero kept 500 asses so that she always had a supply of their milk to bathe in.
37) There were over 50 musicians in the family of the composer J.S. Bach.
38) When he was young Albert Einstein failed the entrance exams for the Federal Polytechnic University of Zurich.
39) William Shakespeare spelt his name 11 different ways.
Passive Voice (Present)
1) 30 different diseases that humans can catch are transmitted by the common house-fly.
2) A thick glass is more likely to crack if hot water is poured into it than a thin one.
3) April 1st is called April Fool's Day in England, Fish Day in France, Doll Day in Japan and Boob Day in Spain.
4) If sugar is added to a glass of water you can float an egg in it.
5) In South-east Asia a delicious fruit called the durian is grown. It smells so disgusting that it is banned from most restaurants.
6) In Tibet it's considered good manners to stick out your tongue at your guests.
7) Over 18,000 of all the known species in the world are found in the Amazon Basin.
8) Peanuts are used in the manufacture of dynamite.
9) Soldier, which is made from lead and tin, melts at 179`C. But lead melts at 326`C, and tin melts at 230`C.
10) Spain is named after a Carthaginian word meaning "land of rabbits".
11) St John was the only one of Christ's Apostles to die a natural death.
12) The American nickel coin is made mostly from copper, not nickel.
13) The average person is covered with 18.5 square meters of skin.
14) The door of 10 Downing Street can only be opened from the inside.
15) The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones.
16) The most widely spoken language in the world is Guoyu (standardized North Chinese) which is spoken by 700,000,000 people.
17) The onion is named after a Latin word meaning a "large pearl".
18) The Queen is forbidden to enter the House of Commons.
19) The Sargasso Sea has no shore. It's surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.
20) The sun is hidden by clouds for one-third of all daylight hours in Britain.
21) Three-quarters of the energy contained in a gallon of petrol is wasted by a car's engine.
22) When a foal is born its legs are so long and its neck is so short that it has to bend its front legs for its nose to reach the ground.
Passive Voice (Past)
1) After his 1st concert appearance Elvis Presley was advised to consider becoming a lorry-driver.
2) Football was played in the 12th century.
3) For more than 2,000 years a cow's moo was used as a unit of distance in India.
4) Ice cream was invented in 1620.
5) Lake Titicaca in Bolivia is 3,800 above sea level. Boats used on it were made in Britain, sailed to the coast, then dismantled and carried up the mountains in sections before being reassembled.
6) One day in 1945 Big Ben was made 4 minutes slow when a flock of starlings perched on the clock's minute hand.
7) Sunglasses were originally worn by Hollywood film stars to protect their eyes from the glare of the studio lights.
8) The dish chop-suey (китайское рагу) doesn't come from China. It was created by Chinese immigrants in California.
9) The highest shade temperature in the world was recorded in Libya. It was 58`C.
10) The Italian flag was designed by Napoleon.
11) The potato was introduced into Spain from Chile in about 1530.
12) The State flag of Alaska was designed by a teenage boy.
13) The stones from the Great Pyramid at Cheops could be used to construct a wall 3 meters high all the way round France.
14) Women were first given the vote in New Zealand.
Complex Subject + Complex Object
1) Charles Dickens is said to have done all his writing when facing north.
2) Paganini, the famous 19-century virtuoso violinist, was said to have a hand span of 45cm.
3) Queen Elizabeth I was considered to be very fussy about personal cleanliness as she bathed once a month.
4) Shakespeare's vocabulary is estimated to have been around 24,000 words. The average person's is around 3,000 words.
5) The word "tragedy" is believed to be derived from 2 Greek words meaning "goat song".
1) For a man to be able to fly like a bird, he would need to have a breastbone 2 metres long to hold the strong muscles necessary to give him the power to take off from the ground.
2) If a man could jump the same height as a flea, relative to its size, he could jump over St Paul's Cathedral.
3) If all the stars in the Milky Way had names, and if someone were to say the names one after the other, at the rate of one per second without stopping, it would take him 4,000 years.
4) If the entire history of the earth could be represented as a single day, our ancestors the cavemen would not appear until one minute before midnight.
5) If you lived on Mercury your birthday would come round every 88 days.
SOME OTHER AMAZING FACTS
Most on a Motorbike
The most people ever to ride on a motorbike at the same time is 46. These were members of a motorcycle club in New South Wales, Australia. They managed to ride for 1.6km (1 mile) on their 1,000 motorbike.
The board game Monopoly was invented in the 1930s by an unemployed heating engineer, Charles Darrow, from the USA. He had no idea how successful his idea would be. Monopoly is now the biggest-selling board game ever. By 1983, over 80 million sets had been sold. In 1975, twice as much Monopoly money was printed in the USA as real money.
In 1900, Johann Hurlinger of Austria walked the 1,400km from Vienna to Paris... on his hands. The journey took 55 days, with Hurlinger walking for 10 hours each day. He travelled at an average speed of 2.5km per hour, half normal walking speed.
A woman living in Fiji took the longest time ever to solve the crossword puzzle in the British newspaper, The Times. In May 1966, she finished a crossword published 34 years earlier, in March 1932. In contrast, the fastest solver took just 3 minutes and 45 seconds.
In 1908, Harry Bensley set out to walk around the world, as a bet. He had to wear an iron mask, push a pram and make his living by selling postcards. No one was to see his face. By 1914, he had reached Italy and had just 6 countries to go. Sadly for him, World War I broke out and the bet was called off.
One of the worst horse racing bets was made by Horatio Bottomley in about 1913. To be sure of winning, he bought the six horses entered in a race. He told the jockeys which order to finish in and placed a bet on each horse to finish in a set place. Unfortunately, half way through the race, a thick mist came down and the horses finished in a terrible muddle. Mr.Bottomley lost a fortune.
In the 1930s, dance marathons were very popular forms of entertainment. There were also big prizes for the brave contestants. Two American dancers hold the record for the longest dance. They danced from 29 August 1930 to 1 April 1931, a total of 5,148 hours, 28.5 minutes. Their rest periods were gradually cut from 20 minutes to no minutes every hour.
Against the odds
In September 1985, a huge earthquake hit Mexico City, killing over 2,000 people. Among many other buildings, the city's maternity hospital was flattened by the earthquake. Deep under the rubble, however, rescue workers found over 50 new-born babies. They were covered with dirt and grime, but were still alive.
In May 1986, as group of 12 schoolchildren in China were sucked up by a tornado. The tornado carried them 20km and dropped them among some sand dunes. All the children escaped completely unharmed.
In a Hole
The Scottish climber, David Hamilton, survived for three days at the bottom of a deep hole in the snow near the summit of Mont Blanc in France. Rescuers could not reach him any sooner because of a terrible storm raging on the mountain. He put his survival down to his sense of humor.
In a bombing raid over Germany in March 1944, Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade's plane was hit by a shell and caught fire. Alkemade jumped from the plane 5,485m above the ground, without using a parachute. He landed unhurt and still conscious, despite having travelled through the air as fast as express train. His fall was broken by springy tree branches and drifts of deep snow.
In May 1902, Mont Pelèe, on the Caribbean island of Martinique, erupted with mighty bang. The nearby city of St Pierre was almost completely destroyed. Only three members of its population of 28,000 survived. One was a prisoner, called August Cyparis. He had been serving his sentence in the stone jail - the only building in the whole city to survive the eruption.
The first people to cross Australia from south to north had never been exploring before. Robert Burke and William Wills made the 2,400km journey in 1861. They survived by eating their camels when they ran out of food. Sadly, both men died on the return journey.
The first people to stand on the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, were Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953. Ten previous expeditions had failed to reach the top. Over 130 climbers have now reached Everest's summit. Many more have died on the way.
The fastest descent of Everest was made by Loretan and Jean Troillet in 1986. They slid down 2,438m on their bottoms, with just ice axes ass brakes. The slide took 3.5 hours.
Out of all the mountains in the world, only 14 are higher than 8,000m. From 1970 to 1986, the Italian climber, Reinhold Messner, climbed them all. He was the first person ever to achieve this feat.
Walking on Fire
Firewalking is part of religious ceremonies in many parts of the world. In Fiji, priests walk barefoot across a deep pit filled with red-hot stones. Amazingly, even the soles of their feet do not get burned. In some Aboriginal tribes in Australia, boys have to walk through fire to make them fearless.
Flying like a bird
For centuries, people have tried to fly like birds. In 1931, an American, Clem Sohn, jumped out of a plane 3,000m above the ground. He had cloth wings stretched between his arms, legs and body. He glided down to a height of about 300m before he plummeted to his death.
Armando Soccaras Ramirez made a terrifying 9,010km journey in 1969. He flew from Cuba to Spain in the wheel compartment underneath a plane. On the eight hour flight, he survived temperatures as low as -40°C and was taken up to 8,800m.
Did he see the Creator?
In 1835, an Indian fakir was locked into a chest and buried under the ground. The chest was dug up 40 days later and the fakir emerged alive and well. He seemed to survive by lowering his heartbeat and breathing rate to save energy. This is exactly what animals do when they hibernate in the winter.
In 1980, Jaromir Wagner of Czechoslovakia set off from Scotland to fly across the Atlantic ocean. However, he did not sit inside the aircraft. He travelled the whole way standing on top of its wings.
In 1974, Philippe Petit of France was arrested on an extraordinary trespassing charge. He had been walking along a tightrope stretched between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, USA. The rope was stretched 411m above the ground. Before his arrest he had already crossed it seven times.
Worst Great Escape
In 1975, 75 Mexican convicts began digging a tunnel to take them out of prison. Six months later their work was finished. Sadly, the tunnel came up right inside a courtroom. As each convict crawled out of the tunnel, the judge sent them straight back to prison.
In 1920, an American, George Polley, climbed halfway up the Woolworth building in New York, without using ropes. He had reached the 30th floor of the 241m tower when he was arrested for climbing without firs getting permission.
Over a Barrel
In 1901, a teacher, Anna Taylor, became the first person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was badly shaken after the 54m drop, but survived her ordeal intact.
Feats of the past
In 1429, a young peasant girl, Joan of Arc, led the French army to save the city of Orleans. It was being besieged by English troops during the Hundred Years' War. Joan said that God had spoken to her, telling her to go to battle. But Joan's enemies believed her to be a witch and she was burned at the stake in 1431. In 1920, however, she was made into a saint.
King Mithridates VI of Asia Minor was so afraid of being assassinated that he made himself immune to poison. He took a small dose every day to build up his resistance. In 63BC he tried to commit suicide to avoid being captured by the Romans. But hiss experiment had been so successful that he couldn't poison himself and had to ask a slave to kill him with a sword instead.
At a Gallop
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the USA was one of the worst ever engineering feats. In high winds, its deck swung up and down in giant waves. The bridge was intended to withstand winds of 190kph. Four months after it opened, though, it collapsed in winds of 67kph.
Up, up in the air
Many of the steel frames for skyscrapers in the USA are put up by Mohawk Indians from Montreal, Canada. They walk across beams just wider than your foot, over 244m above the ground.
The Great Wall of China is about 3,460km long, with another 2,860km of branches. In total, it is nearly ass long as the River Nile, the world's longest river. The wall was built in about 220BC. As many as a million workers died before the wall was finished.
Did you know?
In 1740, the Empress of Russia gave a special present to a prince she disliked. She built him a new palace...out of ice. The bed and covers were carved from ice. Ice trees and statues stood in the garden. The prince was relieved when his freezing home melted in the spring.
Space and beyond
The first living creature to go into space was a dog, called Laika. She was launched in the Soviet Sputnik 2 spacecraft in November 1957, to see how space would affect living things. Laika died in space when her oxygen supply ran out.
Seeing the dark side
As the Moon travels around the Earth, only one side of it is ever visible. In 1959, the Soviet Luna3 spacecraft flew behind the Moon and took photographs of the dark side. This was the first time it had ever been seen.
Did you know?
In 1971, Alan Shepherd, the commander of Apollo 14, played the first ever golf shot on the Moon. The Moon has much lower gravity than the Earth. The energy needed to hit a 274m shot on Earth, would send the ball 1.6km ( a mile) on the Moon.
The Hubble space telescope was launched from the American Space Shuttle in April 1990. It is now orbiting the earth, 480km above the ground. The telescope is able to see objects seven times further away or 50 times fainter than anything that is now visible.
Pioneer 10 was launched in 1972. By 1989 the probe passed Pluto and became the first man-made object to leave our solar system. It carries a metal plaque with messages for any aliens who might intercept it. The plaque shows human beings, and the Earth's position in space.
Pluto is the smallest planet in our Solar System, 5 times smaller than the Moon. It was discovered in 1930, by an American astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh. It was the first planet to be discovered since Neptune in the 1800s and Uranus in 1781. The other 6 planets were discovered at the time of the Ancient Greeks, about 2,000 years ago.
ON THE MOVE
In the 1950s, Christopher Cockerell had the idea of using a vacuum cleaner to make boats go faster. He attached the cleaner to a boat and put its motor in reverse, so that it blew air under the boat. The result of his tests was the ancestor of the modern hovercraft
Did you know?
When escalators were introduced in Britain in 1911, no one wanted to use them. A man known as Bumper Harris was employed to persuade them otherwise. It was his job to ride up and down on the escalator Earl's Court station, London, to show people how safe it was.
In May 1972, the American pilot, Charles Lindbergh, became the first to fly solo across the Atlantic. In his plane the Spirit of St Louis, he covered the 5,790km from London to New York in just over 33.5 hours. Today, Concorde can make this journey in less than 3 hours.
In 1977, Nicholas Scotti tried to fly from San Francisco to Italy to visit relations. On the way, the plain stopped in New York. Mr Scotti spent 2 happy days there, convinced that he was in Rome.
For its size, the tiny common flea can jump higher and longer than any other creature. It can do a long jump of about 33cm. This is just like a human jumping four soccer fields. A flea can also jump about 160 times its own height. This is equivalent to a human jumping to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
For its size, the rhinoceros beetle is one of the strongest animal in the world. In a test, a beetle was able to carry 850 times its own weight on its back. This is like a person carrying 10 African elephants on their back.
Did you know?
Termites are only about the size of grains of rice and totally blind. Australian termites build huge, towering nests out of mud and saliva. The nests can be 6m tall and 30m wide. If termites were the size of human beings, their nests would be four times higher than the Empire State Building and 4km across.
Some snakes can swallow animals as big as antelopes in jus one mouthful. They wrap their coils around their prey, squeeze it to death and swallow it hole. One meal, though, lasts a snake a long time. In an experiment, a pit viper went without food for just over three years. It lost 61 per cent of its weight, but strangely grew longer.
In 1964, a huge cheese was made for the World's Fair in New York. Nicknamed the "Golden Giant", it weighed 17.5 tonnes, as much as three African elephants. Some 183 tonnes of milk were used in the cheese, the amount produced in a day by 16,000 cows. The cheese was taken on tour in a refrigerated, glass "cheesemobile".
Bedouins make amazing dishes for feast days. They stuff fish with eggs, then stuff these into chickens. These are stuffed into a roast sheep and then into a whole cooked camel.
In 1989, a bottle of red wine was on display in New York before being sold. It dated from 1784 and was worth over ₤300,000. Unfortunately, a waiter dropped hiss tray on the bottle and smashed it.
Frank Buckland, a 19th century surgeon and naturalist, had very unusual eating habits. He would serve guests anything from crocodile to slug soup, mouse on toast, rhinoceros pie and whole roast ostrich. His worst recipes were for stewed mole and bluebottles. Even he could not eat them.
Eating the Bible
The Ethiopian ruler, Emperor Menelik II, always ate a few pages of the Bible if he was feeling ill. He claimed it made him feel better. To help him recover from a serious illness in 1913, he ate the whole Book of Kings, page by page. He died, however, a few days later.
A Frenchman, Michel Lotito, eats about 900g of metal a day. Since 1966, he has munched his way through several bicycles, supermarket trolleys and television sets, together with cutlery and razor blades. He has also eaten a whole light aircraft, which took him 2 years to finish. It takes him over 4 days to chew through a supermarket trolley.
Rule Of Thumb
Shridar Chillal of India has not cut his fingernails since 1952, despite the fact that his left thumb nail alone measures 101cm. This is nearly twice as long as an arm. The total length of the nails on his left hand is nearly 4.4m.
Grand old age
In 1936, a Chinese newspaper falsely claimed that the world's oldest man had just died, aged 256. In fact, the chance of someone living past the age of 115 is one in 2.1 billion. The oldest person so far known was Shigechiyo Izumi from Japan. He died in 1986, at the age of 120 years and 237 days.
A woman living in Russia in the 18th century had a grand total of 69 children. Most of the babies were born between 1725 and 1765. They included 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.
Artist? Con? Fake?
Ferdinand Demara spent his whole life pretending to be someone else. He posed as a monk, a prison officer and a teacher. In 1952, despite having no medical knowledge at all, he was taken on as a surgeon in the Canadian Army. His first operation was a complete success. Eventually, a newspaper report about his success led to his exposure as a total fraud.
In the 19th century, it was fashionable for women to have the tiniest waists possible. They achieved this by lacing themselves into very tight corsets. A French dancer, Polaire, had one of the smallest waists. It measured just 42.5cm.
Samuel Jessop, a wealthy farmer, took medicines for all sorts of illnesses, although he never suffered from any of them. He took an amazing 200 pills a week and drank 40,000 bottles of medicine in his lifetime. Despite(or because of) this, he lived for 65 years.
Did you know?
Roy C. Sullivan of the USA is the only person to have survived being struck by lightning seven times. He was struck for the first time in 1942, when he lost his big toenail. In other strikes he lost his eyebrows and had his hair set on fire.
Bed of Nails
Indian holy men, or fakirs, sometimes test the power of their minds over their bodies by lying on beds of nails. They do not seem to feel any pain, even though the nails can be 15cm long. One fakir claimed to have lain on his spiky bed for an incredible 111 days.
In the 1940s, a young girl in the USSR amazed scientists by turning lights on and off using her will power alone. In a test, an egg was broken into a tank of water. By concentrating hard, the girl separated the yolk from the white.
Telling the future
In 1555, Nostradamus published his famous predictions about the future. Many of these have proved accurate. Nostradamus predicted the Great Fire of London in 1666, the coming of Napoleon and Hitler. He made his predictions by looking into a bowl of water balanced on a brass tripod.
Some people can make extremely complicated calculations in their heads, without writing anything down. Thomas Fuller was a slave in Virginia, USA, in the 1700s. He couldn't read or write but it took him just 1½ minutes to work out how many seconds there were in 70 years and 17.5 days.
The world's fastest talker is probably an American, called John Moschitta. He can talk at speed of over 580 words a minute and still be clearly understood. An Indian, S.Jeyaraman, talked non-stop for 360 - a world record.
In the 1930s, a man called Kuda Bux became famous for seeing blindfold. He could even read books blindfold. In 1945, he rode his bicycle through heavy traffic in New York City without bumping into anything. No one knows how he managed to perform this feat.