2. Jupiter has a hurricane-like storm that is twice the size of our entire planet. Known as the Great Red Spot, the winds blow counterclockwise around this disturbance at about 250 miles per hour, which is twice the strength of terrestrial hurricanes. This strange disturbance has lasted for at least three centuries.
3. Vikings were the ultimate tough guys. They proved it by using the skulls of their enemies as drinking vessels.
4. The color in fireworks come almost solely from pure mineral elements. Strontium yields deep reds, copper produces blue, sodium yields yellow, and iron filings and charcoal pieces produce gold sparks. The bright flashes and loud bangs come from aluminum powder.
5. A new drug developed to treat Angina (the chest pain that occurs when your heart muscle does not get enough blood) went into testing in 1992. Subjects soon noticed an “uplifting” side-effect. The drug-makers then decided to market the drug for a different kind of problem, and Viagra was born.
6. Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, of Libya, isn’t your typical dictator. Though credited with modernizing Libya, he conducts most of the country's affairs from a tent. All of his trained bodyguards are female, symbolizing his progressive view towards women. He once said, "I have nothing but scorn for the notion of an Islamic bomb. There is no such thing as an Islamic bomb or a Christian bomb. Any such weapon is a means of terrorizing humanity, and we are against the manufacture and acquisition of nuclear weapons. This is in line with our definition of—and opposition to—."
7. While in some countries the penalty for driving while intoxicated is death, in Uruguay being drunk while driving is a legal excuse for having an accident. "Please believe me officer, I only drove over those kids because I’m wasted.” Nice.
8. Some say that Shakespeare helped translate the King James Version of the Bible. He would have been 46 at the time. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear. Coincidence? No one knows for sure.
9. Three of the leading artificial sweeteners are “accidents” that reached human lips because scientists didn’t wash their hands after experiments and later noticed a sweet taste on their fingers. Cyclamate (1937) and aspartame (1965) are byproducts of medical research, and saccharin (1879) appeared during a project on coal tar derivatives.
10. Even champagne was an accident. It dates to about 1700 AD when a monk, Dom Pirignon, at the Abbey of Hautvillers near the city of Reims accidentally failed to complete the fermentation before bottling the wine. When spring arrived the contents of the sealed bottles began to warm and produce carbon dioxide that was trapped in the bottle. When Dom noticed that some of the wine bottles in the cellar were exploding, he decided to sample a bottle. The surprised monk then yelled to his collegues, "Come quickly! I'm drinking stars!" Thus, Champagne was born and named after the region where it was discovered.
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