- The clock face on the Marienkirche in Bergen auf Rügen, Germany, has 61 minutes. Does this mean time moves more slowly there — or more quickly?
- To ensure quiet, poet Amy Lowell hired five rooms at every hotel — her own and those on either side, above, and below.
- A perplexing sentence from a letter by Dorothy Osborne, describing shepherdesses in Bedfordshire, May 1653: “They want nothing to make them the happiest people in the world but the knowledge that they are so.”
- OVEREFFUSIVE is a palindrome in Scrabble — its letter values are 141114411141. (Discovered by Susan Thorpe.)
- The sum of the digits of every multiple of 2739726 up to the 72nd is 36. (E.M. Langley, Mathematical Gazette, 1896)
- I’ll bet I have more money in my pocket than you do. (Of course I do — you have no money in my pocket!)
- In 1996 a model airplane enthusiast was operating a remote-controlled plane in Phoenix Park in Dublin when the receiver died and the plane flew off on its own. It flew five miles to the northeast, ran out of fuel, and glided to a landing … on the taxi-way to Runway 28 at Dublin Airport.
(Thanks, Brian and Breffni.)
It’s possible to sail in a straight line from Pakistan to Siberia — a carefully plotted great-circle route will thread a line between Madascar and the African mainland, between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica, and through the Aleutian Islands to arrive at the Kamchatka Peninsula, a total distance of nearly 20,000 miles, about 80 percent of the Earth’s circumference. You can reverse course to get back to Karachi.
- Juneau, Alaska, is larger than Rhode Island.
- After reading Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, Byron said, “I wish he would explain his explanation.”
- If A + B + C = 180°, then tan A + tan B + tan C = (tan A)(tan B)(tan C).
- Five counties meet in the middle of Lake Okeechobee.
- “Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.” — George Sand
No one knows whether Andrew Jackson was born in North Carolina or South Carolina. The border hadn’t been surveyed well at the time.
The given name of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is Edward Anthony Richard Louis.
Thus his initials are E.A.R.L.
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Herbert Charles Brown studied compounds of boron and hydrogen in organic chemistry. He joked that his initials reflected his field of study.
- Seattle is closer to Finland than to England.
- Is a candle flame alive?
- ABANDON is an anagram of A AND NO B.
- tan-1(1) + tan-1(2) + tan-1(3) = π
- “A thing is a hole in a thing it is not.” — Carl Andre
Detractors of Massachusetts governor Endicott Peabody said that three of the state’s towns had been named for him: Peabody, Marblehead, and Athol.
- Denver International Airport is larger than Manhattan.
- C.S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and John F. Kennedy died on the same day.
- Shakespeare mentions America only once, in Act 3, Scene 2 of The Comedy of Errors.
- π4 + π5 ≈ e6
- “All styles are good except the boring kind.” — Voltaire
In Wyoming’s Teton Wilderness, North Two Ocean Creek splits into two smaller creeks: Pacific Creek flows westward to the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Creek eastward to the Atlantic.
In principle this makes it possible for a fish to swim upstream from the Pacific, cross the Great Divide, and pass down into the Atlantic. This may be how the Yellowstone cutthroat trout came to be found in both the Snake and Yellowstone rivers.
Rome is north of Chicago.
Venice is north of Minneapolis.
London is north of Calgary.
Paris is nine miles south of the U.S.-Canada border.
China and Afghanistan share a border. The Wakhan Corridor, a slender panhandle only 40 miles wide, reaches between Tajikistan and Pakistan to touch Afghanistan’s eastern border.
Because China does not use conventional time zones, that border requires the greatest time change of any international frontier — travelers must reset their watches by 3.5 hours.
Located in Texas’ northwest corner, the town of Dalhart is closer to six other state capitals than to Texas’ own capital, Austin.
As the crow flies, Dalhart is 201 miles from Santa Fe, 281 miles from Oklahoma City, 289 miles from Denver, 375 miles from Cheyenne, 434 miles from Topeka, and 458 miles from Lincoln, but 491 miles from Austin.
In driving distance, it’s 263 miles from Santa Fe, 343 miles from Oklahoma City, 348 miles from Denver, 448 miles from Cheyenne, 461 miles from Topeka, and 540 miles from Lincoln, but 579 miles from Austin.
The names of two U.S. state capitals end with the same eight letters. What are they?
Triple Divide Peak, in Montana’s Glacier National Park, sits at the meeting of two continental divides (red and green on the map above). A drop of rain that lands on the mountain might arrive at any of three oceans — the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Arctic.
The first person to die in the construction of the Hoover Dam was J.G. Tierney, a surveyor who drowned in the Colorado River on Dec. 20, 1922. Thirteen years later, to the day, his son Patrick became the last man to die when he fell from one of the intake towers.
The first conscript in World War II was the son of the first conscript in World War I. Alden C. Flagg Jr., of Boston, held the first number drawn in the U.S. peacetime draft lottery of 1940. His father, Alden C. Flagg, had drawn the first number in the draft of 1917.
Travel due north, south, east, or west from Stamford, Conn., and you’ll find yourself in New York state.
- Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.
- EMBARGO spelled backward is O GRAB ME.
- The numbers on a roulette wheel add to 666.
- The fourth root of 2143/22 is nearly pi (3.14159265258).
- “A prosperous fool is a grievous burden.” — Aeschylus
Six countries have names that begin with the letter K, and each has a different vowel as the second letter: Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan.
Earth is the only planet not named after a god.
There were 214 Tuesdays between Jan. 1, 1700, and Jan. 1, 2014.
- Fathers can mother, but mothers can’t father.
- The Mall of America is owned by Canadians.
- Neil Armstrong was 17 when Orville Wright died.
- LONELY TYLENOL is a palindrome.
- 258402 + 437762 = 2584043776
- “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch
Edward Gorey’s pen names included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Regera Dowdy, D. Awdrey-Gore, E.G. Deadworry, Waredo Dyrge, Deary Rewdgo, Dewda Yorger, and Dogear Wryde. Writer Wim Tigges responded, “God reward ye!”
The names of the 48 contiguous United States fall neatly into the two halves of the alphabet:
16 start with A-L, 16 with M-N, and 16 with O-Z.
- WEALTH is an anagram of THE LAW.
- U.S. Navy submarines observe an 18-hour day.
- Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his compositions in Braille.
- 45632 = –45 + 63×2
- “Thy modesty’s a candle to thy merit.” — Henry Fielding
Paul McCartney never learned to read music. “I don’t have any desire to learn,” he said. “I feel it’s like a voodoo, that it would spoil things if I actually learnt how things are done.”
- Alexander Pope was 4 foot 6.
- SOCIAL INEPTITUDE is an anagram of POTENTIAL SUICIDE.
- 6! × 7! = 10!
- Is the correct answer to this question no?
- “Do something well, and that is quickly enough.” — Baltasar Gracián
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.”
UPDATE! Now the Australian town of Bland has joined them, creating a “trinity of tedium.”