Fascinating Facts by David Louis

An excerpt from the book Fascinating Facts by David Louis a collection of random trivia on a variety of subjects.

FASCINATING FACTS by David Louis. New York: Ridge Press/Crown Publishers, Inc., 1977.

About the Book: Oddity books abound, but most of them are tiresome because their facts are poorly presented, incomplete, or misleading. However, this book, published as an oversize paperback, is an exception. The material is well researched and crisply written. It is nicely organized under general subject headings, and some of the short pieces are mind-boggling. The book is a factual feast of desserts.

From the Book: A sampling under their various headings:

AVIATION: The top of the tower on the Empire State Building was originally intended (though never used) as a mooring place for dirigibles.

LAWS: It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.

MEDICINE: Dr. John Cohausen wrote a book in 1743 "proving" that one could live to be 115 years old by inhaling the breath of little girls. In his book, Hermippus Redivivus, Dr. Cohausen gave the following prescription: Take 1 pound of gum olibani, 2 ounces of styrae, myrrh, and several other herbs, mix, burn, and inhale while at the same time imbibing the exhalations of the nearest little girl.

MONEY: One fourth of the world's population lives on less than $200 a year. Ninety million people survive on less than $75 a year.

ROYALTY: Queen Elizabeth I of England was completely bald. She lost her hair after suffering smallpox at the age of 29. To disguise her loss, she always wore a wig, thus creating a vogue for wigs in Europe that lasted several hundred years.

SMOKING: Tobacco is a food. Though hazardous if smoked, its leaves contain a number of nutritional substances that can sustain life for a time if no other food is available.

TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL: In 1928 E. Romer of Germany crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Lisbon, Portugal, to the West Indies in a kayak. The trip took him 58 days.

WAR AND WEAPONS: Karate, generally considered a Japanese martial art, did not come to Japan until 1916. Prior to this time it was practiced solely by the Okinawa islanders, who had developed it centuries earlier as a means of weaponless defense against the Japanese.

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