World’s busiest airports:
- Los Angeles
Actually, it depends on how you measure busyness. Atlanta serves the most passengers each year, but Chicago has the most arrivals and departures. Frankfurt serves the most international destinations, but Heathrow handles the most international passengers. And Memphis, home of FedEx, handles the most cargo traffic.
They fight over this, but I don’t see why. Who would prefer a busy airport?
Occupations with highest median earnings:
- Physicians and surgeons
- Chief executives
- Engineering managers
- Petroleum engineers
- Natural sciences managers
Lowest median earnings:
- Counter attendants, food concession
- Child-care workers
- Maids and housekeeping cleaners
- Dining room, cafeteria attendants, bartender helpers
- Food preparation workers
- Teacher assistants
- Restaurant hosts, hostesses
- Food prep and serving workers
- Waiters and waitresses
- Pamela Anderson
- Christian Bale
- John Cleese
- Richard Gere
- Darryl Hannah
- Woody Harrelson
- Josh Hartnett
- Dustin Hoffman
- Samuel L. Jackson
- Tobey Maguire
- Ian McKellen
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Natalie Portman
- Hilary Swank
“I’m not a vegetarian because I love animals,” says A. Whitney Brown. “I’m a vegetarian because I hate plants.”
- Ingmar Bergman
- Ambrose Bierce
- George Carlin
- Denis Diderot
- Sigmund Freud
- David Hume
- John Stuart Mill
- Bertrand Russell
- Jean-Paul Sartre
- Percy Shelley
- B.F. Skinner
“One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed in it,” wrote Mark Twain. “They have also believed the world was flat.”
Actual questions asked in Microsoft job interviews:
- How are M&Ms made?
- Suppose you had eight billiard balls, and one of them was slightly heavier, but the only way to tell was by putting it on a scale against another. What’s the fewest number of times you’d have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?
- Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
- One train leaves Los Angeles at 15 mph heading for New York. Another train leaves from New York at 20 mph heading for Los Angeles on the same track. If a bird, flying at 25 mph, leaves from Los Angeles at the same time as the train and flies back and forth between the two trains until they collide, how far will the bird have traveled?
- How many gas stations are there in the USA?
- You’ve got someone working for you for seven days and a gold bar to pay them. The gold bar is segmented into seven connected pieces. You must give them a piece of gold at the end of every day. If you are only allowed to make two breaks in the gold bar, how do you pay your worker?
- The interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but “This pen is red.”
- Pairs of primes separated by a single number are called prime pairs. Examples are 17 and 19. Prove that the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6 (assuming both numbers in the pair are greater than 6). Now prove that there are no “prime triples.”
At the end they ask, “What was the hardest question asked of you today?” My answer: “Why do you want to work at Microsoft?”
Most popular U.S. pet names, according to the ASPCA:
Famous left-handed people:
- Alexander the Great
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Julius Caesar
- Benjamin Franklin
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Mark Twain
- Charlie Chaplin
- Cary Grant
- Henry Ford
- Helen Keller
- Albert Einstein
“Mantle can hit just as good right-handed as he can left-handed,” said Yogi Berra. “He’s just naturally amphibious.”
Asteroids named after fictional characters:
- 2309 Mr. Spock
- 5048 Moriarty
- 5049 Sherlock
- 5050 Doctorwatson
- 6042 Cheshirecat
- 6735 Madhatter
- 6736 Marchare
- 7470 Jabberwock
- 7980 Bandersnatch
- 9007 James Bond
- 18610 Arthurdent
Strangely, 2309 Mr. Spock caused an uproar when the asteroid’s discoverer, James Gibson, revealed that he’d actually named it after his cat (he called the cat Spock because it was “imperturbable, logical, intelligent, and had pointed ears”). The International Astronomical Union officially discouraged any more pet animal names, but people are still fine — asteroids have been named after Carlos Santana, Mister Rogers, all four Beatles and all six members of Monty Python.
The 10 oldest currently registered dot-com domains:
- symbolics.com (registered 3/15/85)
- bbn.com (4/24/85)
- think.com (5/24/85)
- mcc.com (7/11/85)
- dec.com (9/30/85 )
- northrop.com (11/7/85)
- xerox.com (1/9/86)
- sri.com (1/17/86)
- hp.com (3/3/86)
- bellcore.com (3/5/86)
- John Ashcroft
- Adolf Hitler
- Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
- Penn Jillette
- Franz Kafka
- Osama bin Laden
- David Letterman
- T.E. Lawrence
- Bill O’Reilly
- Vladimir Putin
- Fred Rogers
- George Bernard Shaw
- Henry Thoreau
- Donald Trump
Robert Benchley wrote, “Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony.”
Clowns avoid blue face paint — they consider it bad luck.
THE TWENTY MOST USEFUL KNOTS.
- Thumb or over-hand knot, tied at the end of a rope to prevent it from opening out, &c.
- Right or reef-knot, for securing all lashings where the ends of the rope meet together.
- Draw-knot, which offers great facility in undoing.
- Running-knot, used to bind or draw anything close.
- Sheepshank, serving to shorten a rope without cutting it or unfastening the ends.
- Clove-hitch, which binds with excessive force, and by which alone a weight can be hung to a smooth pole.
- Timber-hitch, very useful in hauling to move a weight.
- Single bowline-knot, difficult to undo, useful to throw over a post &c., to haul on, used for the draw-loop of a slip noose.
- Double bowline-knot, for slinging a cask.
- Running bowline-knot.
- Woolding or packing-stick hitch, used to tighten ropes.
- Men’s harness hitch, passing over the shoulder and under the opposite arm of men drawing a carriage, &c.
- Stopper hitch, for stoppering the fall of a tackle, &c.
- Inside clinch, for fastening a cable to the anchor ring, &c.
- Common or sheet bend, a very secure method of joining two ropes, or fastening a rope to a loop.
- Hawser bend, for joining two ropes, easily undone.
- Cat’s paw, the turn in the bight of a rope, for hooking a tackle to it.
- Dragrope or lever-hitch, used for fixing hand-spikes or capstanbars to the ropes attached to heavy carriages, &c., which have to be moved by men.
- Half-hitch, cast on the bight of a rope.
- Carrick bend. A wall-knot is a knot made at the end of a rope to prevent it from passing through a hole.
– The Household Cyclopedia of General Information, 1881
Average number of vacation days per year:
- Italy: 42
- France: 37
- Germany: 35
- Brazil: 34
- United Kingdom: 28
- Canada: 26
- Korea: 25
- Japan: 25
- United States: 13
- Hans Christian Andersen, author
- J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan
- Lewis Carroll, author and logician
- Emily Dickinson, poet
- Immanuel Kant
- Søren Kierkegaard
- Nikola Tesla, inventor
- Ed Gein, serial killer
Mark Twain kept his virginity until age 34; Goethe until 39. Voltaire wrote, “It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.”
The “Seven Summits” — the highest peak on each continent:
- Everest (Asia), 29,035 feet
- Aconcagua (South America), 22,834 feet
- McKinley (North America), 20,320 feet
- Kilimanjaro (Africa), 19,340 feet
- Elbrus (Europe), 18,510 feet
- Vinson Massif (Antarctica), 16,066 feet
- Kosciusko (Australia), 7,310 feet
About 80 mountaineers have climbed all seven.
- albuminurophobia: fear of kidney disease
- alliumphobia: fear of garlic
- allodoxaphobia: fear of opinions
- ancraophobia: fear of wind
- anuptaphobia: fear of staying single
- arachibutyrophobia: fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
- atomosophobia: fear of atomic explosions
- aulophobia: fear of flutes
- aurophobia: fear of gold
- barophobia: fear of gravity
- caligynephobia: fear of beautiful women
- cherophobia: fear of gaiety
- deipnophobia: fear of dining or dinner conversations
- euphobia: fear of hearing good news
- geniophobia: fear of chins
- genuphobia: fear of knees
- hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: fear of long words
- linonophobia: fear of string
- lutraphobia: fear of otters
- mottephobia: fear of moths
- porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple
- pteronophobia: fear of being tickled by feathers
- scriptophobia: fear of writing in public
- spheksophobia: fear of wasps
- zemmiphobia: fear of the great mole rat
Politicophobia is defined as “abnormal” dislike of politicians.
U.S. state dinosaurs:
- District of Columbia: Capitalsaurus
- Maryland: Astrodon johnstoni
- New Jersey: Hadrosaurus foulkii
- Texas: Pleurocoelus
- Wyoming: Triceratops
Highest-grossing films worldwide, to date:
- Titanic (1997)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- Shrek 2 (2004)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Finding Nemo (2003)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
At first that looks like a triumph of modern marketing — all of these films were made in the last 12 years. But here are the top ten when receipts are adjusted for inflation:
- Gone With the Wind (1939)
- Star Wars (1977)
- The Sound of Music (1965)
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
- The Ten Commandments (1956)
- Titanic (1997)
- Jaws (1975)
- Doctor Zhivago (1965)
- The Exorcist (1973)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Titanic has made $1.8 billion worldwide to date, and it’s only number 6 on the all-time list. Gone With the Wind has made $3.8 billion, more than twice as much.
Cities with dubious epithets:
- Eau Claire, Mich.: Cherry Pit Spitting Capital of the World
- Burlington, Iowa: Loader/Backhoe Capital of the World
- Sturgis, Mich.: Curtain Rod Capital of the World
- Beaver, Okla.: Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World
- La Crosse, Kan.: Barbed Wire Capital of the World
- Clearwater, Fla.: Lightning Capital of the World
- Gallup, N.M.: Drunk Driving Capital of the World
Wichita, Kan., calls itself the “Air Capital of the World.” Touché.
Only nine people have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award:
- Mel Brooks
- John Gielgud
- Marvin Hamlisch
- Helen Hayes
- Audrey Hepburn
- Rita Moreno
- Mike Nichols
- Jonathan Tunick
- Richard Rodgers
If you count honorary awards, then Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli also qualify. If you count “daytime Emmys,” then so does Whoopi Goldberg.
Famous members of Mensa:
- Isaac Asimov, writer
- Jean Auel, author
- Scott Adams, cartoonist (Dilbert)
- Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?
- Asia Carrera, adult film star
- Geena Davis, actress
- Jodie Foster, actress
- Mell Lazarus, cartoonist (Miss Peach, Momma)
An alternative society is open to the stupidest 2 percent of the population. It’s called Densa.
- Sylvester Stallone: 5’7″
- Tom Cruise: 5’7″
- Al Pacino: 5’7″
- Richard Dreyfus: 5’5″
- Dustin Hoffman: 5’5″
- Danny DeVito: 5’0″
- Linda Hunt: 4’9″
Stature doesn’t equal talent. Asked for advice on acting, John Wayne (6’4″) said, “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.”
Some of the busiest people in show business don’t exist:
- The name George Spelvin is traditionally used in American theater programs when an actor’s name would otherwise appear twice.
- In the London theater, Walter Plinge gets the credit when a part has not been cast.
- On BBC television dramas in the 1970s, David Agnew was credited when contractual reasons prevented a writer’s name from being used.
- When a Hollywood director no longer wants credit for a film, the name Alan Smithee is used.
That last one is such an open secret — “Smithee” even directed a Whitney Houston video — that the Directors Guild finally abandoned it in favor of random pseudonyms, starting with the 2000 James Spader bomb Supernova, directed by “Thomas Lee” (Walter Hill).