Monday, July 25, 2005

Ten Things I Now Know

They say you learn something new every day. Well, I could recall ten things I learned this week, so I decided to pass them along. This puts me three above the curve, and now I’m passing them onto you, so you can take the rest of the week off.

1. Which universities are Ivy League

I always thought I knew this, but then I recently made a remark about UPenn being an Ivy League school. The person I was talking with asked me if I knew the Ivy League schools and I couldn’t get the last couple. So, in case you are wondering, the answer is Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and the University of Pennsylvania.

2. My approximate odds of developing vision loss

In Canada the odds are one in nine of developing permanent vision loss by age 65 and one in four by age 75. That is from the October 14, 2004 Globe & Mail, which I had lying in my room for some reason.

3. How astronauts poop in space

Watch the video here .

4. Where to find the transcript of Jon Stewart on Crossfire

We all know it, we all love it. It’s a classic bit of TV history. And it can be read, in its entirety, right here.

5. The funniest line ever uttered about Team America: World Police

I recently stumbled across this gem from comedic genius and free-speech victim Bill Maher. "Will people please stop talking to me about Team America? If I was interested in wooden sex with strings attached I'd have gotten married."

6. The date of the birth of the world’s first test-tube baby

Louise Brown was the world’s first baby born through in-vitro fertilisation, which is such a common method of conception that it now accounts for about 1% of the births in the United States. Louise was born at 11:47 PM on July 25th, 1978, hence the connection, in Oldham, England, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe.

7. Who India’s first female police officer was.

India’s first female police officer was Kiran Bedi, who joined the Indian Police Service in 1972. She was born in 1949, and after getting her MA in political science she worked as a university lecturer for two years before joining the Indian Police Service. She served on the force for a number of years, and completed both her LLB and PhD while on the force. Eventually she worked her way up to Inspector General of Prisons, where she instituted several reforms included introducing detoxification programs. Currently she works as a police advisor to the UN peacekeeping department.

8. Who Disneyland’s first guest was

When Disneyland opened on July 18, 1955 the first paid admission was college student Dave MacPherson, now a 72 year-old retired journalist living in Monticello, Utah. MacPherson received a lifetime pass for four to Disneyland and all other Disney parks that opened, a prize that was not announced beforehand. MacPherson decided to attend on the spur-of-the-moment, after watching television coverage the previous day when the park was opened to the media and special guests. He drove his motorcycle up to Anaheim and got in line at 1 AM, which is remarkably late considering the massive lines that now accompany major events. As the crowd swelled to around 6,000 MacPherson held his place, and when the doors opened he became the first paying customer Disneyland ever had. He then promptly went to the washroom and left the park without riding anything or
even buying a souvenir. Unfortunately it seems the heat may have got to MacPherson, as he had his own camera with him but didn't take any photos. Years later he recounted, "Why didn't I shoot pictures. I even forgot to ask Walt Disney for an autograph. I must have been balmy."

9. How many people kill themselves in China, on average, a day

685.

10. What 70 year-old men can do

This weekend the San Francisco Giants played the Florida Marlins, which marked the first time in professional sports history that two teams with managers in their seventies opposed one another. Felipe Alou, the Giants skipper and ex-Expos manager, is 70, while Jack McKeon, the cigar-smoking manager who guided Florida to the 2003 World Series is 74. This is a pretty good accomplishment, if you think about it. I just hope to be alive at 70, and these men are competing with the pressures of managing a professional sports team and the rigours of a 162 game schedule.

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