Magic Mushroom

There is a giant mushroom in Oregon that is over 2,400 years old, covers 3.4 square miles of land, and is still growing.

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Linen toilet paper?

In 1857, Joseph Gayetty (not “Gayette” or “Cayetty,” as his name is often misspelled) produced the first commercially available toilet paper in the U.S. The tissue was moistened with aloe and sold in packages of 500 individual sheets—each one with a watermark bearing Gayetty’s name. It was sold as a medical product, and was not terribly successful.

Before toilet paper was invented, French royalty wiped their bottoms with fine linen.

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Rat-hair Chocolate

A 100g milk chocolate bar has 24 mg of caffeine and could legally contain 3 rat hairs!

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Factman

New facts coming in the next few days – some fact some fiction.

We’ve been busy gathering more facts for the fact or fiction section – we’ll put up new ones soon!

O’Dea Air Force Base

In August, 2007, Aer Lingus chief executive Dermot Mannion announced that it is to cease direct flights between Shannon Airport and Heathrow Airport.

The announcement comes amid growing numbers of U.S. Military Flights through Shannon Regional Airport.

Willie O’Dea (TD) was appointed Minister for Defence in September 2004. He is the local representative for Limerick and although O’Dea has publicly complained at the Aer Lingus decision, it has come to light that he had prior knowledge of the plan to end the Shannon – Heathrow route.

It has emerged through the leak of a highly sensitive Department of Defence document this week that the ceasing of flights by Aer Lingus is the first of many to come. The leaked memo details a program of cessation of civilian flights from the Shannon air hub. This reduction in civilian flights is to coincide with an increase in military flight activity culminating in the closing of Shannon airport to all civilian flights in May, 2009. In June 2009 O’Dea A.F.B. will be opened at the location of Shannon Airport once the necessary security measures have been put in place.

Pictured below is Wille O’Dea (TD) Minister for Defence, at a Press Conference to announce the renaming of Shannon Airport to O’Dea A.F.B. in his honour.

O’Dea

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Vaseline, the Miracle Product

Robert Chesebrough (1837-1933), a British-born chemist who invented petroleum jelly, which he named Vaseline.

When he first invented the product he found it very difficult to convince stores and chemist shops to stock it. It was only his own determination and belief in the product that brought him success. Chesebrough travelled around New York State demonstrating his product. In front of large audiences he would burn his skin with acid or an open flame and then spread the clear jelly on his injuries. He displayed his past injuries which he claimed were healed by his “miracle” product.

He was so convinced of the curative powers of his petroleum jelly product he ate a spoonful of it nearly every day.

Vaseline

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Hurricane Names

For hundreds of years, hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the particular Saint’s day on which the hurricane occurred.

An Australian meteorologist began giving women’s names to tropical storms before the end of the 19th century. Cooper Riggs devoted his life to studying tropical storms. He had a long running obsession with hurricanes. In his journal he marvelled at the power and ferociousnesses of hurricanes. Riggs never married, but he joked with friends that each storm was like a wife to him. This is why he began naming the storms after women.

Hurricane

In 1953, the U.S. National Weather Service, which is the federal agency that tracks hurricanes and issues warnings and watches, adopted the Cooper Method for naming storms.

It was not until 1979 that both women and men’s names were used. The decision to use men’s names was based on two factors. First, meteorologists felt that more names were required each year. Second, feminists had started to complain that it was prejudiced to link women’s names with destructive storms. The use of male names is called the Giles Method, named after Patricia Jessie Giles.

The combination of female and male names is called the Cooper Giles Method for Hurricane Identification.

The World Meteorological Organization uses six lists in rotation. The same lists are reused every six years. The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is very deadly or costly. Then the name is retired and a new name is chosen.

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