Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Why Is a Book of Maps Called an Atlas?
Atlas was a Greek god who supposedly held up the earth on his shoulders.The Greeks usually represented him supporting two huge pillars that held up the earth, and these pillars rested in the sea we call the Atlantic Ocean, named after Atlas.In later centuries, the figure of Atlas holding up the earth was often used at the front of a book of maps. So, a book of maps became known as an atlas!
Where Is There a Country Without Women?
Athos is a 40-mile-long piece of land jutting out from Greece into the Aegean Sea. But Athos is really not part of Greece.It's ruled by a group of monks who represent the 20 monasteries in Athos. Since 1045, the monks have orbidden women to set foot on their land!It isn't only human women who are not permitted in thos, but females of all animal species. Only recently have exceptions been made — in the case of hens
and female cats!
What Is the Most Valuable Book Ever Printed?
In 1455, a German named Johann Gutenberg became the first person to print a book on a printing press with movable letters.He printed 200 copies of the Bible. Of these, only 21 complete copies exist today.And one of them was sold at auction in 1978 for $2,400,000, making it the most expensive book ever printed
Where Are Two Different Alphabets Used in the Same Country?
The most common language in the nation of Yugoslavia is called Serbo-Croatian. But people in Yugoslavia use two different alphabets to write the same language. One alphabet is the Roman, the one we use; the other is called the Cyrillic, and is the same alphabet as the one used in Russia.During the 9th century, a missionary named Cyril taught Christianity to Slavic people in Eastern Europe. But these people had no written language. So, in order to teach them to read the Bible, Cyril invented an alphabet based on the Greek alphabet.
Who Invented Potato Chips?
According to a story that may or may not be true, the first potato chips were 'invented around 1865 by a chef in Saratoga, New York.The chef made a batch of thin-sliced potatoes for the diners at a guest house, but one of the guests kept sending the potatoes back and asking for thinner slices. So the chef cut a potato into the thinnest slices he could, dropped them into oil, and produced America's first potato chips!The first factory in America built solely to produce potato chips opened in Albany, New York, in 1925.
Why Do We Put Chlorine in Swimming Pools?
Chlorine is a deadly poison in its pure form, yet we eat it all the time! How can that be?Chlorine is an element, just like iron or oxygen, but it never occurs in nature by itself. It's most commonly found mixed with the element sodium in a compound called sodium chloride — which is the chemical name for ordinary
table salt! So when we eat chlorine, we eat it mixed with sodium, and in that form chlorine is harmless.
Can a Boat Sail Across the United States?
By following the rivers of the United States that empty into the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, a boat can travel as far west as the Rocky Mountains, but no farther.An imaginary line — called the Continental Divide — runs through the Rockies. All rivers on the east side of the Divide flow toward the Atlantic, toward
the Gulf, or toward the Great Lakes. But all the rivers on the west side of the Divide flow toward the Pacific Ocean. So there's no way for a boat to travel across America.
Could a Penny Dropped off a Skyscraper Really Kill Someone?
In physics, the momentum, or force, that a moving object can deliver to something it strikes depends on the size of the moving object, its mass, and the speed at which it is moving (its velocity)When we drop a penny from a very high building, its velocity keeps increasing until the penny hits the ground. And even an object
as light as a penny, if dropped from a high enough place, can strike the ground with greater force than a heavy object falling a short distance.So this falling penny, if it hits a person in the right place, can be deadly indeed!
When Was Croquet Popular?
Croquet is a game played outdoors on a lawn.Players use mallets to drive small wooden or rubber balls through hoops, called wickets, that are set in the ground. The winning player or team is the first to drive their balls through the wickets in a certain order.Croquet was first played in France, where it was called paille-maille. In the 17th century, it reached England, where it became known as pall mall. The Pall Mall, a famous street in London, is named after a croquet court that once occupied the site.