Other Useless Facts 19

  • Only sixteen Concordes were ever made, the last in 1980. On New Year’s Eve 1994, one Concorde plane carried wealthy revelers on a 32-hour trip to nowhere. These travelers, who paid $23,000 apiece for the trip, rang in the New Year twice because they twice crossed the International Date Line.
  • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the English utilitarian philosopher, had very decided views on what should happen to bodies after death. He even wrote a book on the subject: Auto-Icon, or the Uses of the Dead to the Living, in which he suggested that “If all bodies were embalmed, every man might be his own statue.” Bentham, who had been a founder of University College, London, bequeathed his body to the college so that his remains could be used for medical research. That was done, but the college authorities went a step further. Bentham’s skeleton was reconstructed, given a wax head, dressed in a suit of Bentham’s best clothes, and placed in a glass case. Thus for many years the deceased Bentham presided over meetings of the college committee – and was always described in the minutes as “present, but not voting.”
  • There are 296 steps to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • In third century China, kites were used as games, ritual objects, musical instruments, transmitters of messages, distance measuring devices, weapons, and parachutes.
  • Nine pennies weigh exactly one ounce.
  • Catherine de Medici was the first woman in Europe to use tobacco in a mixture of snuff.
  • The hundred billionth crayon made by Crayola was Periwinkle Blue.
  • A crack in the glass can travel as fast as 3,000 miles per hour.
  • It’ll take you 2,749 years to spend 1 billion dollars with 1000 dollars each day.