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New Trivia Additions

Last update 4-2-2001

- Contrary to most other trivia sites, I can tell you for a fact that a duck's echo does echo, and it's no surprise why.

- Contrary to most other trivia sites, I can tell you for a fact that glass does not flow like a super-cooled liquid. You can make glass flow a visible amount in only 800 years, but you would have to heat it to 414°C to do it. At room temperature, you would have to wait, very roughly, 100 million million times the age of the universe.

- The idea of fibreglass was invented by Frenchman René de Réaumur in 1713. It was refined by the process of spinning & weaving glass fibres in 1836 by another Frenchman, Dubus-Bonnel.

- Practically all plate glass before 1959 had some degree of waviness to it. Modern, flat glass was first made by Alistair Pilkington, of the Pilkington Glass Company at that time when he perfected the process of floating the motel glass on a bath of molten tin, then letting the glass cool on top of it. The end result is very straight glass.

- Triplex Safety Glass was invented by accident (pun intended!) in 1903 by French chemist Édouard Benedictus. His assistant has left some cellulose nitrate in a beaker by accident until it evaporated away, leaving a clear coating inside. Benedictus dropped the beaker, and the glass did not shatter into many pieces as it normally would, with the pieces staying together. He then came up with the idea of making three layers of glass with the plastic in-between. It was first widely used in WW1, in the lenses of gas masks.

- Since 1958, there have been nearly 100 reported cased of women that are allergic to male sperm.

- There have been about 30 reported cases of people that are allergic to water.

- Most white people have a honey coloured ear wax, but it does depend on your race. For example, Mongolians tend to have a grey, dry type of ear wax.

- Most people think that a piece of buttered toast will almost invariably fall on the ground on the buttered side because of Murphy's Law. Not so; from the average kitchen table, a falling piece of toast only has time to rotate half-way round, hence, it always tends to land wet side down. ;)

- The more inbred an animal is, the more asymmetrical the skull is. No-one knows exactly why though.

- Speaking of inbreeding, it is believed that all current-day cheeta's were originally from just seven cheeta's in total, back about 10,000 - 12,000 years ago.

- Explosives are usually divided up into two categories, low explosive & high explosive. Low explosive is used in guns because if you used high explosive the rate of expansion of the gasses would blow the barrel apart. Low explosives have a burn rate between 0.02 - 220mph, and so are below the speed of sound. High explosives have a burn rate between 2220 - 22200mph. High explosives are most impressive at generating energy; 1 kg of dynamite, which is smaller than a litre of milk, will generate 5,000,000,000 watts of power, but only for a few thousandths of a second.
High explosives will also not (generally!) explode if you set them on fire; they'll just fizzle away gently.

- Explosives can also be used to tenderise meat. A very high quality tender meat can be made from even tough old meat by exploding a small amount of high explosive in a tank of water with meat in it. (and careful placing of the meat to catch the shock waves, etc)  Meat can also be tenderised by zapping it with electricity, adding a special enzyme, or simply stretching the meat.

A whole stack of Aussie first & facts ...
-  The first Surf Livesaving Reel was invented and used by Lyster Ormsby in 1906 at Bondi Beach in Sydney.
- The key technology for xerography was first developed by Professor O. Vonwiller at Sydney University in 1907.
- The Anthrax vaccine was discovered by John McGarvie Smith in Australia in 1918.
- The rotary hoe was invented in Australia by brothers Cliff & Albert Howard in 1922.
- The Heart Pacemaker was invented in the Crown Street Woman's Hospital in Sydney in 1926.
- Permanent-crease trousers were invented by Dr Arthur Farnsworth of CSIRO in 1957.
- The inflatable aircraft slide that can also be used as a life raft was invented by Qantas employee Jack Grant in 1965.
- Microsurgery was pioneered by Professor Earl Owen in Sydney when he re-attached a severed index finger in 1970
- The world's first plastic bank notes were invented & used in Australia in 1988. They last a lot longer than conventional paper notes, and are also far more difficult to copy.
- The use of plastic rods instead of metal pins & screws was developed by Dr Stephen Ruff & Dr Michael Ryan at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney in 1991.
- The first multi-focal contact lenses were invented by Stephen Newman, an optical research scientist in Australia, in 1992.
- The world's first anti-influenza drug, Relenza, was invented in Australia by the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, and Biota Holdings in 1996.

Some World War Two trivia ...
- Whilst everyone has heard of the German V-1 'buzz-bomb' and V-2 rocket, not a lot of people know of the V-3 weapon. It's best described from a direct quote from the book I read it from, "The Dam Busters", by Paul Brickhill.
    "But the greatest nightmare of all was the grotesque underworld being burrowed under a 20-foot thick slab of ferro-concrete near Mimoyecques. (Western France)  Here Hitler was preparing his V-3. Little has been told about the V-3, probably because we never found out much about it. V-3 was the most secret and sinister of all - long range guns with barrels 500 feet long!
    The muzzles would never appear above the earth; the entire barrels would be sunk in shafts that dived at 50 degrees 500 feet into the ground. Hitler was putting fifteen of these guns in at Mimoyecques, five guns, side by side, in each of three shafts. They were smooth-bore barrels, and a huge slow-burning charge would fire a 10-inch shell with a long, steady acceleration, so they would be no destructive heat and pressure in the barrel. In that way the barrels would not quickly wear out as Big Bertha did in World War One. These were more monsterous in every way than Big Bertha; they fired a bigger shell, could go on firing for a long time and, more important than that, they had a rapid rate of fire. Thick armour-plate doors in the concrete would slide back when they were ready, and then the nest of nightmare guns would pour out six shells a minute on London, 600 tons of explosives a day. They would keep that up accurately day after day, so that in a fortnight London would receive as much high explosive as Berlin received during the whole war."
The entire site was destroyed by the English 617 Bomber precision bombing squadron, the same squadron that used the Barnes Wallis 'bouncing bomb' to destroy the dams at Moehne and Eder. They were also the only squadron to carry the most powerful conventional bombs of WW2, the 12,000 lb "Tallboy", and 22,000 lb "Grandslam" earthquake bombs.

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