Did you Know?
There are 19 major earthquakes every year
An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. A fault is a fracture in the crust of the earth along which rocks on one side have moved relative to those on the other side. Stresses in the earth's outer layer push the sides of the fault together, pressure builds up and the rocks slip suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the rock to cause the shaking that we feel during an earthquake.
Earthquakes tend to be concentrated in narrow zones. There are 7 major crustal plates on earth, about 80 km (50 miles) thick, all in constant motion relative to one another. They move at between 10 and 130 mm (from less than one half to 5 inches) per year.
It is estimated that there are several million earthquakes in the world each year. Many of these earthquakes go undetected because they occur in remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The USGS Earthquake Info Centre locates 12 000 to 14 000 earthquakes each year (about 35 per day). On average, about 60 earthquakes per year are classified as significant, with 19 classified as major. A significant earthquake is one of magnitude 6.5 or higher or one of lesser magnitude that causes casualties or considerable damage. Major earthquakes have a magnitude larger than 7.0.
In August 1999, and earthquake registering 7,4 on the open ended Richter Scale hit Turkey, killing more than 15,000 people. The next month, an earthquake registering 7,6 hit Taiwan. Later the same month, an earthquake registering 7,4 hit Mexico. In November, Turkey was hit again by an earthquake that registered 7,2.
The largest earthquake ever recorded occurred in Chile in 1960: it had a magnitude of 9.5.
The 007 sign originated in the 16th century
Ian Fleming based his character on Dr John Dee, the very first British secret agent. Dee, who lived from 1527 to 1608, was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He was a brilliant mathematician, magician, philosopher, alchemist and astrologer. During his time, England was at war with Spain, and fearing spies, Dee designed the 007 code for his correspondence with the Queen. The 2 zeros indicated "for your eyes only," and the 7 was a cabalistic, or, cryptic number. Dr Dee was not the only secret agent of the time. Seeing Spain amassing a new vast empire in the "New World" (the Americas), Queen Elizabeth secretly sent the pirate-turned-explorer Englishman Francis Drake (1540-1596) west with the added intent to harass the Spanish. It is known that Dr Dee and Drake actually met to discuss strategies.
Author John Gardner took over the writing of Ian Fleming in 1981 with his first novel Licence Renewed. Sixteen years later he reliquished the 007 pen to Raymond Benson who debuted with Zero Minus Ten with his latest offering called The Man With The Red Tattoo.
It once was law to say "God bless you" to one who sneezed
During the 6th Century, it was customary to congratulate people who sneezed because it was thought that they were expelling evil from their bodies. During the great plague of Europe, the Pope passed a law to say "God bless you" to one who sneezed.
There still are some weird laws on the books. In Washington state, it is against the law to boast that one's parents are rich. In Maryland, it's illegal to play Randy Newman's "Short People" on the radio. In Alabama it is illegal to play Dominoes on Sunday. And in Minneapolis, double-parkers can be put on a chain gang.
An old statute in Kentucky states that men who push their wives out of bed for inflicting their cold toes on them can be fined or jailed for a week. A 100-year-old law in Willowdale, Oregon makes it illegal to swear during sex. An odd law in Minnesota makes it illegal to hang male and female underwear on the same washing line. In Melbourne, Australia it is illegal for men to parade in strapless dresses - but they are allowed to cross-dress in anything with sleeves.
An old law in Russia allows a police officer to "beat a peeping tom soundly." In Texas, two categories of men are exempt from peeping tom charges: men over 50 and men with only one eye.
In Normal, Oklahoma you could be sent to prison for "making an ugly face at a dog."
And if you're in Hawaii and laughing at these odd laws, stop! In Hawaii it is forbidden to laugh after 10pm.
(R) thedailystar.net 2006