In many cultures shaving is forbidden. The reason we in the West lather up every morning can be traced directly back to Alexander the Great. Before he seized power, all European men grew beards.
But because young Alexander wasn’t able to muster much facial hair, he scraped off his peach fuzz every day with a dagger. Not wanting to offend the great warrior, those close to him did likewise, and soon shaving became the custom.
There hasn’t been a movie made in Hollywood since 1911, when, fed up with ramshackle sets and the chaotic influence of hordes of actors and crews, the town tossed out the Nestor Film Company and wrote an ordinance forbidding the building of any future studios. Even so, the magic of the name was already established, and so the industry we call Hollywood grew up around that little town in such places as Burbank, Santa Monica, and Culver City — but not in Hollywood.
Skin color—which ranges from light pink to dark brown—is determined by the amount and type of the pigment melanin there is in the skin. Melanin comes in two types: phaeomelanin (red to yellow) and eumelanin (dark brown to black).
Both amount and type are determined by four to six genes. One copy of each of those genes is inherited from your father and one from your mother. Each gene comes in several coding sequences, which results in a variety of skin colors around the world.
All will fall at the same speed in vacuum because there will be no air resistance and the earth?s gravity will exert a similar gravitational pull on all.
When death occurs, blood—which carries oxygen to all the cells of the body— has stopped circulating. This stoppage may be caused by damage to the heart, which is the muscle that pumps blood throughout the body, or by damage to the brain, which gives the signals that direct the heart to do its pumping. (Other circumstances, like severe accidents, also stop blood flow.) But whatever the reason, once blood stops bringing its life-giving oxygen to the body’s billions of cells—the building blocks that make up the human body—the death of those cells starts to occur. When the brain, which is the body’s command center, goes without oxygen for about 15 minutes, all cells there die. While machines can help our lungs breathe or our hearts pump blood, no machine can assume the complex functions of the brain. Without a brain, we cannot live. Soon after a person dies, an official document called a death certificate is filled out and later filed as a record with the local government. It includes such information as time, place, and cause of death.
Sometime during the sixteenth century, British farmers moved from sleeping on the ground to sleeping in beds. These beds were little more than straw-filled mattress tied to wooden frames with ropes.
To secure the mattress before sleeping, you pulled on the ropes to tighten them, and that’s when they began saying, “Goodnight, sleep tight.”
According to statistics from technology research companies such as Gartner Inc., in April 2002 the billionth personal computer (PC) was shipped. The second billion mark (some being ordered as replacements for older PCs) was reportedly reached in 2007. With personal computers becoming more popular around the world, research companies estimate that there will be more than two billion PCs in active use by 2015.
In the United States, more than half of the people who use a computer are also connected to the Internet.
The word “disabled” usually refers to a person who has a physical or mental handicap that keeps him or her from doing certain tasks—or makes performing them unusually difficult. Most physical disabilities, like blindness or paralysis, are easily noticed, but many mental disabilities are harder to detect. Mental disabilities can include diseases like schizophrenia, which causes severe disturbances in people’s thoughts and emotions.
Another type of disability is a learning disability, such as dyslexia, which is a learning disorder that makes reading very difficult because the brain reverses the order of letters and words. Many disabled people prefer the term “differently abled,” a description that doesn’t divide people into categories like “normal” and “disabled” but addresses the idea that every person has different abilities.
A charley horse a muscle cramp, or sudden, uncontrolled contraction of a muscle. This type of pain is generally felt in the legs, sometimes after heavy exercise, and usually lasts just a few minutes.
The expression probably came from the word “charley,” which is used to describe a horse that is lame.
Up until 1564, the French celebrated New Year’s between March 25 and April 1, but with the introduction of the new Gregorian calendar the festival was moved to January 1.
Those who resisted became the victims of pranks including invitations to nonexistent New Year’s parties on April 1. Soon the April 1 celebration of a non-occasion became an annual festival of hoaxes.