Amazing Facts

 Over the past three weeks, I have chosen 63 'statements' from Amazing Facts, a quiz I was given last Christmas. The makers

have given permission for me to share these statements with you on The Forum. Here are the answers in four parts! 

17. The ‘K’ in author J K Rowling’s name was added only when the first Harry Potter book was published.

TRUE. It stands for Kathleen, the name of the author’s paternal grandmother. Her publisher believed that books by ‘J K Rowling’ would be more likely to be read by boys than ones written by ‘Joanne Rowling’.

18. The usually abstemious Attila the Hun dies, aged 47, of a nosebleed after overindulging on the night of his wedding to his young bride.

TRUE. After conquering most of Asia, the great warlord succumbed to a mundane nosebleed. Unused to drink he didn’t notice his nose was bleeding; the story has it that he drowned in his own blood. Yuck.

19.The world’s largest frog, the goliath frog, is three feet long and can make a call louder than any human voice.

FALSE. And it was going so well until the voice thing. The goliath frog is three feet long but is also entirely mute.

20. Byron Nelson lost the 1946 US Open because his caddie trod on the ball.

TRUE. Nelson incurred a two stroke penalty over the incident as the ball moved forward; this forced him into a play-off against Lloyd Magnum which he lost.

21.The Irish first name Sean is simply another variant on the name James.

FALSE.It is a variant of John. All such variants are derived from the Hebrew term meaning ‘God is great’. They include Ian, hans, Juanito and Shane.

22. Minnesota resident Christopher Roller believes he is God. and consequently brought a court case against two celebrity magicians for stealing his powers.

TRUE. Roller claimed that David Blaine and David Copperfield used godly powers in their acts, and were thus infringing on his territory. He claimed 10% of their income in a $2m lawsuit.

23. Allan Pinkerton, founder of Pinkerton's Detective Agency, was, by a cruel quirk of fate, killed by friendly fire during an agency investigation.

FALSE. But Pinkerton's death was bizarre, he stumbled and bit his tongue and died of the subsequent infection.

24.The Canary Islands get their name from the large numbers of birds that live on the islands---so many that fertiliser made from bird dung is a primary export of the Canaries.

FALSE. The name comes from Insula Canaria ( Island of Dogs ), the Roman name for Gran Canaria. The canary gets it's name from the islands, not vice versa. It is native to the Canaries, Azores and Madeira.

25. Indiana Jones got his name from producer George Lucas' dog.

TRUE. In the movie, young Henry Jones Jr decides to call himself Indiana after his dog--- a reflection of Lucas's use of his own dog's name.The surname was changed from Smith to Jones at the last minute.

26.In 1958 Weird Tales magazine had its own weird tale when the publisher's printing press disappeared overnight and was never seen again. No one ever admitted responsibility.

FALSE. Sorry, but this one is no more true than most of the stories which appear in the magazine.

27.It is possible to be swallowed whole by a whale and survive for a number of days.

FALSE. The story of Jonah is certainly untrue--- a blue whale has a throat only large enough for a large orange. A sperm whale could possibly swallow a man, but it's stomach contents would be fatally acidic.

28. It is impossible to belch in space.

TRUE. Just as gravity dictates that heavier items fall to earth,it also determines that light gases in the stomach rise to the surface and cause belching. No gravity means no wind, so no cola for the astronauts!

29. Lord Byron, the romantic poet, once swam the strait between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, called the Hellespont.

TRUE.But it cost him, as it was during this escapade that he first developed the chill that eventually finished him off.

30.Marine James Gray, who served an honourable five years in the British navy in the 1740’s, was none other than Mrs Harriet Snell.

TRUE.Harriet joined the navy to search for her missing husband. She served well, and on one occasion dug a bullet out of her own groin to avoid close scrutiny by the naval surgeon.

31. Dancer Isadora Duncan died on stage. She was performing a new ballet that required she undergo a staged hanging. The hanging went horribly wrong and Duncan was strangled in front of a live audience.

FALSE. Although it is true that Isadora Duncan was strangled in bizarre circumstances. Her long, trailing scarf caught in the wheel of the car she was driving and she was pulled from the vehicle and throttled.

32. The ‘Blue Peter’ tortoise Freda was originally called Fred until someone realised he was a she.

TRUE. Fred went in for a health check and the vet announced that the cute (but slow-moving) pet was actually a lady tortoise.

See Part 3 here

{module comment link}