The Big Book of Facts
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302 pages

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Strange science facts! Hilarious history facts! Informative and Fun! A treat of science and history stories and trivia that will inform and entertain anyone curious about the world!

From astonishing, amazing and surprising science and history facts to the little-known stories hidden inside bigger events, The Big Book of Facts is a fascinating tour through our weird and interesting world. You’ll learn about the earth and its history through absorbing stories and interesting tidbits. Did you know …

  • Babies start laughing at just a few weeks old; there are ten discernible types of laughter; and laughter spurs our appetite for food?
  • Like fingerprints, every tongue on Earth has a unique print?
  • The history of the U.S. Postal Service, including the Pony Express, … and the short-lived (but legal) practice of mailing children?
  • Hand washing was not always common through history; toilet paper was invented in the 1400s, and Sir John Harington invented the flushable toilet for Queen Elizabeth I?
  • Though they are all differently shaped by virtue of being an assembly of water droplets, there are ten basic kinds of clouds?
  • A basic and quick history of cash in America, including Alexander Hamilton and the Bank of the United States, Benjamin Franklin’s efforts to thwart counterfeiting, $100,000 bills, and the fact that more than 85% of the world’s money is digital only?
  • Though Shakespeare mentioned Valentine’s Day in “Hamlet,” sending paper cards to a beloved wasn’t a fad until the eighteenth century, and by the 1840s, insulting Valentine cards also became common?
  • Government agencies in the U.S. and France both agree that the measure of a second is determined by how long it takes a cesium atom to vibrate just over nine billion times?
  • The history of children’s games such as hide-and-seek, blindman's bluff, and jacks that date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans?
  • And much, much more.

    Engrossing, engaging, and enlightening, The Big Book of Facts lets you discover the fun oddities that make up our world. Wide-ranging and fact-filled with nearly 160 illustrations, this information-rich tome also includes a helpful bibliography and an extensive index for those scrambling for more information.
    Anybody Got the Time?

    You know what they say about time: it flies when you’re having fun. When you’re not, or when something’s as boring as watching paint dry, then time seems to stand still. Why is that?

    To understand, you have to wrap your brain around something that can’t be seen, bought, retrieved, or kept. Time, says the dictionary, is a duration of occurrence or a definitive instant when something happens; asking what time it is, and, therefore, needing to know your place in the continuum, is a little of both.

    Albert Einstein, in his Theory of Relativity, understood that the speed of light is absolute, can never be varied and is one of the most irreversible things in the universe. This means that time is a part of the universe, but to accommodate the precision of the speed of light, space and time must be flexible. It was Einstein’s teacher, Hermann Minkowski (1864–1909), who said that proper time was the distance between two events as measured by a clock that passes through both events, depending not only on the motion of the events but also on the motion of the clock itself. Coordinate time is the distance between the two events as measured by an observer. To make it super simple, let’s say that the former is the amount of time it takes for a running back to make a touchdown; the latter is how much time you think it took.

    Though it’s a considerable subject to study, time, according to today’s physicists, doesn’t flow or move forward, backward, or, really, anywhere. Time just is, existing in a four-dimensional spacetime continuum that we just need to trust is there, and (to blow your mind a little) the past, present, and future all exist at once within the continuum with no defined direction of travel. As if that isn't enough to absorb, there's this: time can dilate, depending on the movement of the observers of any particular event. If there are two sport fans watching that running back and one of them is behind a camera onfield, his personal perception of time will be different from that of the couch potato.

    For everyday purposes, let’s assume that you want to know the time so you can set your DVR to record the game. There are websites you can find that will tell you exactly what time it is, but how do they know?

    To fully understand, it’s important to remember that, while humans had sundials and were aware of the sun rising and setting and had established the calendar year based on the sun, it was the Babylonians who divided the day into hours, minutes, and seconds based on a system they borrowed from the Sumerians. The Greeks and Chinese also devised systems of time, but since time was perceived by an individual’s observation, it differed (even if just a little bit) from person to person.

    The truth is, in the beginning, having an exact time really didn’t matter much. Everyday folks and those who worked the land got up, worked until lunch (if there was one), and then went back to work until someone fixed the evening meal and, shortly thereafter, went to bed. Time was important but knowing the time was no big deal.

    You can’t exactly call them precise, but in the 15th century, clocks with springs began appearing in Europe, which proved better than relying on the skies for the time. More than two hundred years later, British carpenter and clockmaker John Harrison (1693–1776) invented the chronometer, which led to increased safety on the seas by allowing more accuracy when calculating longitude, which gave mariners a set place to calculate their positions when at sea. Not long after Harrison invented his instrument (and, by the way, collected a pile of prize money from the Board of Longitude), British clockmaker Thomas Mudge (1715–1794) invented the lever escapement, a piece of the clock’s guts that keeps internal parts moving. As the early 19th century rolled in, Eli Terry (1772–1852) had figured out how to mass-produce timepieces, making them more affordable for nearly anyone. By the turn of the 20th century, women were wearing watches on their wrists, but men used pocket watches almost exclusively until World War I, when soldiers found wristwatches to be much handier in battle.

    Generally speaking, to determine the exact time, the world has agreed on the authority of two different timepieces created since the middle part of the last century: the atomic clock, which uses cesium-133 atoms and which has a ratio error of 1 second lost every 1.4 million years; and the cesium fountain atomic clock, which has a ratio error of 1 second lost every 20 million years (finessed later to an accuracy of 1 second lost every 100 million years). You can find the 100%-correct, inarguable, don’t-cross-me, win-a-bet, exact time, as per an atomic clock, online at

    Fun Fact: Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778), who was responsible for the binomial nomenclature classification system of living organisms, invented a floral clock to tell the time of day. He had observed over a number of years that certain plants consistently opened and closed their flowers at particular times of the day; these times varied from species to species. One could deduce the approximate time of day according to which species had opened or closed its flowers. Linnaeus planted a garden displaying local flowers, arranging in sequence of flowering throughout the day. The clock would flower even on cloudy or cold days. He called it a “horologium florae” or “flower clock.”
    About the Author




    Section One: History

    1. The Basics: What You’ll Learn, What You’ll Love, Things to Know

    2. British

    3. American

    4. Animals

    5. Canadian

    6. Culture

    7. General

    8. History Makers

    9. World

    Section Two: Science

    10. The Basics; or, How We’ll Break This Stuff Down

    11. Animals

    12. Biology

    13. Botany

    14. Chemistry

    15. The Environment

    16. General

    17. Math

    18. Physics

    19. Space

    20. Technology

    Further Reading


  • Sujets


    Publié par
    Date de parution 01 août 2021
    Nombre de lectures 0
    EAN13 9781578597567
    Langue English
    Poids de l'ouvrage 24 Mo

    Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0950€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


    To Mark Moen. Every girl needs her own Great American Redheaded Goofball. I m lucky I got mine, and now your name is in this book, too.
    To Carol Munk, ever my Fearless Leader. And to Marty. Thanks for the ideas. Ha!
    Photo Sources
    Hey, Can I Borrow a Stamp?
    Did You Know?
    A Penny Saved, Part I
    You ve Got My Vote!
    Flippin Burgers
    Can You Hear Me OKay?
    A Penny Saved, Part II
    Read All About It!
    Jigsaw Houses
    Born Here
    Sit. Down. Stay in the Oval Office
    My Dinner with Fido
    One Potato, Two Potatoooooo
    The Bear Facts about Fire
    My Dinner with Fido, Redux
    British History
    The Royal Family, Part I
    Stick a Fork in It
    The Royal Family, Part II
    Go Directly to Jail
    I Love You, I Hate You
    The Write Stuff
    A Moving Event
    Don t Smile, Don t Say Cheese
    Go Wash Your Hands
    It s No Barrel of Laughs
    Brush Up on This Hobby
    Such a Card!
    Tomato, Tomahto
    Cooking with Color
    This Part s Got Legs
    And the Kangaroos Win It!
    Get a Room!
    Games People Play
    Turn Your Radio On
    Seven Places You Can t (or Shouldn t) Go
    I ll Drink to That!
    Who Wears Short Shorts?
    I Hereby Resolve To
    Suck It Up, Buttercup
    Wherefore Art Thou, Oscar?
    The Club You Can t Belong To
    Match Those Numbers
    Pretty for the Potty
    I Love the Knight Life
    This and That and Random Facts
    The Beothuk
    The Story of Charley Parkhurst
    What s Going on Out There?
    Funeral for a Leader
    Stagecoach Mary
    One Lump or Two?
    Going to the Chapel
    He s My Brother
    Step Right Up!
    A Black Man in the White House
    An Athlete and a Hero
    Annnnnd, They re Off!
    Crunch, Crunch, Crunch
    The Legend of Watkuweis
    Working for Peanuts
    Pickles and Christmas Things, Part I
    Pickles and Christmas Things, Part II
    Facts about Food
    The Last Thing
    This Is a Job for Supercritter!
    Animals You Don t Want to Pet
    Did You Know? (Part I)
    Aww, Rats!
    Did You Know? (Part II)
    The Once-a-Year Swarm
    That Darn Watchamacallit
    Toot, Toot, Tootsies, Hello!
    It s What s Inside That Counts
    Stick Out Your Tongue and Say Ahhhh
    Did You Know ?
    Yo Mama!
    Hurts So Good?
    What Makes You Tick?
    The Monster Within
    I m So Blue
    Humans Are So Weird!
    Ha Ha Ha Ha! *Snort*
    The Final Frontier
    Sure, What Could It Hurt?
    What a Fun Guy!
    Eat Your Veggies and Fruit
    Mow, Mow, Mow Your Lawn
    The Ivy in the Living Room and Other Plants
    How Does Your Garden Grow?
    Weird Medical Cures from Times Gone By
    Gimme a Little Shake
    I Can Make It Myself!
    Go BOOM!
    This Means War!
    Choose Yer Poison
    Of Monsters and Men
    The Summer That Never Happened
    Abraham Lincoln, Environmentalist
    How s the Weather Down Under?
    Fall and Other Seasonal Things
    Did You Know?
    It Looks Like an Elephant
    The Firsts
    This and That and Random Facts
    Did You Know...?
    Is It Real?
    How Long Has This Been Going On?
    Did You Know...?
    Ice, Ice, Baby
    Anybody Got the Time?
    The Color Black
    Turn Up the Heat
    The Science of Making a Snowman
    How to Survive an Atomic Bomb Blast
    Rube Goldberg
    Color My World
    Just a Sec
    The Best Dressed Man (on the Moon)
    Garbage in the Galaxy
    Falling Forever
    It s No Flash in the Pan!
    An Orchestra of One
    Did You Know...?
    Don t Put That in Your Mouth!
    First Computers and Other Tech Forgettables
    Put a Little Song in Your Hand
    It s a Date!
    TV or Not TV?
    Further Reading
    Aarkwilde (Wikicommons): p. 152.
    Akinom (Wikicommons): p. 227.
    Alarnsen (Wikicommons): p. 25 (top).
    Avispa Marina: p. 222.
    Bain News Service: p. 99.
    Boltor (Wikicommons): p. 89.
    Boyd s Cove Beothuk Interpretation Centre: p. 5.
    George Chernilevsky: p. 192.
    Collier s : p. 338.
    Crocker Art Museum: p. 208.
    Dominiklenne (Wikicommons): p. 195.
    El Comandante (Wikicommons): p. 304.
    Mikhail Evstafiev: p. 18.
    Francis J. Petrie Photograph Collection: p. 41.
    Frederick Brothers Agency: p. 175.
    Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library: p. 148.
    Bobak Ha Eri: pp. 32, 133.
    The Hawaiian Gazette : p. 115.
    Hectonicus (Wikicommons): p. 252.
    Henrietta Benedictis Health Sciences
    Library, Massachusetts College of
    Pharmacy and Health Sciences: p. 262.
    D. Herdemerten: p. 162.
    Michael Holley: p. 258.
    Irv Nahan Philadelphia Management: p. 77.
    David Jackson: p. 71.
    Kanal Lyudi (Channel People): p. 146.
    Kennedy Library, The White House: p. 58.
    Kunsthistorisches Museum: p. 122.
    Library and Archives Canada: p. 308.
    Library of Congress: pp. 40, 53, 83,
    Joe Mabel: p. 268.
    Miksu (Wikicommons): p. 316.
    Moorland-Spingarn Research Center: p. 9.
    Museo Nacional del Prado: p. 48.
    NASA: pp. 183, 210, 230.
    National Archives at College Park: p. 112.
    National Portrait Gallery, London: pp. 36, 69.
    New York Public Library: p. 91.
    Nobel Foundation: pp. 178, 200, 327.
    Orange County (California) Archives: p. 173.
    Christoph P per: p. 255.
    Pesotsky (Wikicommons): p. 108.
    Patryk Reba: p. 326.
    Royal Collection Trust: p. 29.
    Sears Modern Homes: p. 117.
    Shutterstock: pp. 2, 12, 21, 23, 25 (bottom), 31, 43, 45, 47, 50, 55, 59, 62, 64, 66, 74, 79, 92, 94, 96, 101, 128, 141, 158, 163, 166, 168, 170, 181, 185, 187, 198, 203, 207, 212, 217, 219, 221, 225, 234, 237, 240, 243, 245, 248, 264, 265, 271, 274, 276, 278, 284, 286, 287, 297, 302, 303, 311, 331, 333, 336, 340, 343.
    SRI International: p. 259.
    Harald S pfle: p. 313.
    Tretyakov Gallery: p. 20.
    U.K. Parliament: p. 120.
    University of California at Berkeley: p. 160.
    University of North Florida: p. 130.
    U.S. Camel Corps: p. 80.
    U.S. Department of Energy: p. 293.
    U.S. Government: p. 85.
    U.S. Mint, National Numismatic Collection: p. 16.
    U.S. Naval Historical Center: p. 111.
    U.S. Navy: pp. 39, 347.
    U.S. Senate: p. 145.
    Tim Vickers: p. 319.
    Ed Welter: p. 68.
    White House Photographic Collection: p. 8.
    Wikicommons: p. 34.
    Wikicuda (Wikicommons): p. 13.
    Public domain: pp. 3, 11, 24, 27, 46, 51, 73, 75, 81, 87, 104, 109, 116, 126, 135, 138, 142, 144, 155, 171, 189, 191, 194, 197, 214, 290, 307, 322, 324.
    Contrary to what people say, the internet is not a rabbit hole.
    When people call the web a rabbit hole, they re referring to Alice s little journey down into a maze of amazement in Alice s Adventures in Wonderland. She falls into the hole, which leads to things that become more and more bizarre and perplexing. But remember: a rabbit hole-even a real one-has a bottom and an end.
    Nope, the internet is no rabbit hole. It s really a black hole from which there is no escape (and I don t know about you, but that can be more fun than you can imagine sometimes). So, how about we use that for something constructive? Also contrary to what people say, DO try this at home: go to your favorite search engine and type in two words that interest you.
    Let s try deadly snakes because, well, you might want to be aware of some facts, right?
    At the time of this writing, those two words bring up nearly 13 million possible places to explore the subject of deadly snakes. And you know what ll happen: you ll be on one website and that ll lead you to another and another and-oh, my-look at the clock! Four hours will have passed, bedtime is long gone, and you ve discovered ten more things to search for tomorrow.
    Yep, the internet is like that. Books are like that, too.
    Take, for instance, the one you have in your hand.
    The Big Book of Facts isn t exactly a black hole of information, but it might lead you down a long and pleasant path, and it might make you lose track of time. Here, you ll read about how a breed of dog was created and disappeared because of technology. You ll learn about the weird things you do without even knowing you re doing them. You ll find out about the colors you love and the ones you just can t seem to see. You ll be taken down Memory Lane a little bit in both history and science. Your eyes will be opened to possibilities that could be or that probably won t. You ll read about fierce women who changed their own little cubbyholes of history and brave men who solved some of the worlds mysteries. And, of course, it could be the other way around.
    You ll find things that will surprise you, make you laugh, make you wonder, make you gasp, and things that may make you think. You might find some mistakes (oops, okay, consider yourself superior, then) and a few argument-starters, as well as some things that will send you to your own computer or library to find out more. And while you re learning about those things that might spur you to go deeper, you ll also get some relevant, hard information courtesy of a number of The Handy Answer Books from Visible Ink Press.
    Oh, and one more thing: don t be surprised if you find science-y things in the history section and historical facts in the science part because you know the world doesn t put a fence around such things. That s the best part of the kind of journey you re about to take in The Big Book of Facts.
    This book is divided into two sections: History and Science. Here are some tips on how to approach the content in this book.
    So, here s the very first thing you need to know about history: you re making it right now. It might not be the most exciting thing, and it might be of little importance at this moment, but you re making it. You started making history the minute you were born, in fact, and if you leave behind children, important work, or some sort of legacy, you ll make it long after you re gone.
    So, think about that-and then imagine this: there are more than seven billion people in the world right now, and each of them has a story to tell . Granted, you ll only ever

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