The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 2, 2013

There's always more simmering in cauldron of knowledge

Point Blank column

By John Blankenship

— Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you learn there’s more simmering in the cauldron of knowledge.

For instance, did you know that a dime has 118 ridges around the edge?

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.

A goldfish has a memory span of 3 seconds.

A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a $5.


Did you know that almonds are a member of the peach family?

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Babies are born without kneecaps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

Butterflies taste with their feet.

Cats have more than 100 vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt.”

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.

If you are an average American, in your entire life, you will spend an average of 6 months waiting at red lights.

It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Leonard Da Vinci invented scissors.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.


Did you know that our eyes are always the same size from birth?

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

The cruise liner QE2 moves only 6 inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

The sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet.

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

There are more chickens than people in the world.

There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”

Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.


Did you know that Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance?

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning “Big Village.”

Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world located on two continents.

Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population of any city in the world.

Damascus was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

More than half the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.

The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen supply.

And this is most amazing of all: The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than 100 miles at sea from the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean.

In fact, the volume of water in the Amazon River is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.


Top o’ the morning!

— Blankenship is a reporter for The Register-Herald. E-mail: