The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge across the Seine.
Pont neuf means “new bridge.”
The towns of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Oregon, became sister cities in 2012.
“One of the things our communities share is the weather,” Boring journalist Jim Hart told the BBC. “We get a lot of rain and snow every year.”
- Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
- GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
- New York City has no Wal-Marts.
- (5/8)2 + 3/8 = (3/8)2 + 5/8
- “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides
For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cd – ab is the hypotenuse.
One hot summer day in 1904, Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois visited the House dining room and asked for a bowl of bean soup. He was told that, in view of the sultry weather, it had been omitted from the menu.
“Thunderation!” Cannon roared. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”
And so it has been, ever since. The recipe was published on the menu in 1955:
2 lb. No. 1 white Michigan beans.
Cover with water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon ladle, enough to cloud. (Serves about six persons)
A piano keyboard can be used as a calendar mnemonic: If the notes in the chromatic scale from F to E are assigned to the calendar months from January to December, then the white keys correspond to months with 31 days, the black keys to those with 30 days or fewer.
- The first child to be vaccinated in Russia was named Vaccinov.
- Every treasurer of the United States since 1949 has been a woman.
- 15642 = 1 + 56 + 42
- up inverted is dn.
- “Life well spent is long.” — Leonardo
- AWE and WONDER are synonyms, but AWFUL and WONDERFUL are antonyms.
- The Czech word for guest is host.
- Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
- Ravel described Boléro as “a piece for orchestra without music.”
- “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” — Coleridge
William Bliss’ 1949 book The Real Shakespeare concludes with a “Shakespeare examination paper for reasonably advanced students.” It includes this question:
5. What character (and in what play) has the shortest part; appears only once (and that in a stage direction); and says nothing — and yet is essential to the plot?
I thought this might make a good puzzle — but I don’t know the answer! Bliss withholds his, and despite a lot of fumbling research I can’t find a significant player in Shakespeare who says nothing at all. Maybe the bear in The Winter’s Tale? I’ll leave it here as an open-ended riddle.
(UPDATE: In the messages I’ve received, the most popular candidate is Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth. Banquo appears alive and speaks early in the play, but Macbeth has him murdered in Act III and his ghost haunts Macbeth silently thereafter, plaguing his conscience. In the stage directions, the ghost is called “Ghost of Banquo,” so arguably this is a distinct character.)
The modern pentathlon comprises five events: show jumping, fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, pistol shooting, and a 3-kilometer cross-country run.
Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, conceived the sport to reflect the skills needed by a Napoleonic cavalry officer: He must ride across unfamiliar terrain; engage an opponent at swordpoint; swim a river that his steed cannot cross; exchange fire with his enemies; and run across country.
Coubertin believed that this event, more than any other, “tested an athlete’s moral qualities as much as their physical resources and skills, producing thereby the ideal, complete athlete.”
In 1940 Ronald Reagan was voted a “Twentieth Century Adonis” by the University of Southern California’s Division of Fine Arts for having the “most nearly perfect male figure.”
He posed for student sculptors there.
- Colombia is the only South American country that borders both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
- GRAVITATIONAL LENS = STELLAR NAVIGATION
- 28671 = (2 / 8)-6 × 7 – 1
- Can a man released from prison be called a freeee?
- “Nature uses as little as possible of anything.” — Johannes Kepler
Sergei Prokofiev died on the same day that Joseph Stalin’s death was announced. Moscow was so thronged with mourners that three days passed before the composer’s body could be removed for a funeral service.
- Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, until 2013.
- To protect its ecosystem, the location of Hyperion, the world’s tallest living tree, is kept secret.
- 34425 = 34 × 425
- CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE = ACTUAL CRIME ISN’T EVINCED
- “Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?” — James Thurber
The insignia of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the kiwi, a flightless bird.
Australia’s tallest mountain and most populous city were named for people who never visited the country. Mount Kosciuszko was named after Polish military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko, because of its resemblance to a prehistoric mound in Kraków, and Sydney was named for British politician Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney.
- A pound of dimes has the same value as a pound of quarters.
- The French word hétérogénéité has five accents.
- 32768 = (3 – 2 + 7)6 / 8
- Can you deceive yourself deliberately?
- “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” — Thomas Paine
In 2000, Guatemalan police asked Christmas revelers not to fire pistols into the air. “Lots of people die when bullets fall on their heads,” National Civilian Police spokesman Faustino Sanchez told Reuters. He said that five to ten Guatemalans are killed or injured each Christmas by falling bullets.
- Will Rogers died at the northernmost point in the United States.
- 94122 + 23532 = 94122353
- TO BE OR NOT TO BE contains two Bs.
- If you stop me being mute, what sound do I make?
- “Better to ask twice than to lose your way once.” — Danish proverb
George the Third said with a smile,
“Seventeen sixty yards to a mile.”
This gives two unrelated pieces of information: the date of George’s accession and the number of yards in a mile.
There are exactly 10! seconds in six weeks.
January 10, 2011, is a palindrome in four different notations: 1/10/2011, 1/10/11, I/X/MMXI, and I/X/XI.
The world’s smallest country is smaller than the world’s largest buildings.
Vatican City occupies 44 hectares, or about 4,736,120 square feet.
The Pentagon, by comparison, has a total floor area of 6,636,360 square feet.
- Holmes and Watson never address one another by their first names.
- Until 1990, the banknote factory at Debden, England, was heated by burning old banknotes.
- The vowels AEIOUY can be arranged to spell the synonyms AYE and OUI.
- 741602 + 437762 = 7416043776
- “In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.” — Mark Twain
Two trick questions:
Who played the title role in Bride of Frankenstein? Valerie Hobson — not Elsa Lanchester.
Did Adlai Stevenson ever win national office? Yes — Adlai Stevenson I served as vice president under Grover Cleveland in 1893.
A deck contains 52 cards, 12 court cards, 4 suits, and 13 ranks.
A year contains 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of 13 weeks.
If A=1, J=11, Q=12, and K=13, then the values in a deck of cards total 364.
The given name of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is Edward Anthony Richard Louis.
Thus his initials are E.A.R.L.
- It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
- More than half of Uganda’s population is under 15.
- 176502 + 381252 = 1765038125
- Uzbekistan is surrounded by “stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.
- Great Britain never puts its name on postage stamps.
In June 2011, 49-year-old Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov of Russia woke up in a coffin surrounded by weeping relatives. Realizing she was at her own funeral, she began screaming and was rushed back to the hospital, which declared her dead of a heart attack. “I am very angry and want answers,” her husband, Fagili, told the Sun. “She wasn’t dead when they said she was, and they could have saved her.” (Thanks, Mark.)