The femur, or thighbone, is the biggest bone in the body. The average femur is 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) long. The longest bone ever recorded was 29.9 inches (75.95 centimeters) long. It was from an 8-foot-tall (2.45 meters) German who died in 1902 in Belgium.
The stirrup (also called the stapes) in the middle ear is the smallest bone in the body. A tiny, U-shaped bone that passes vibrations from the stirrup to the cochlea, it weighs about 0.0004 ounces (0.011 grams) and can measure just one-tenth of an inch.
Yes. Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, is called the Red Planet. It looks red because the rocks on the surface contain rusted iron. It has an atmosphere with clouds, winds, and dust storms—its red dust floats in the atmosphere and gives the planet a red sky.
Mars, which has two moons, orbits the Sun every 687 days and rotates on its axis once every 24 hours and 37 minutes.
In 1880, the strong-willed senator John Sherman was testing the water for a presidential nomination. He slipped out of Washington but was followed to his Ohio farm by a reporter who found the senator talking with a high-ranking party official while standing near a fence.
When the reporter asked what they were doing, the response, “We’re mending fences,” gave him his headline, and it became a new phrase for healing relationships. Within a democracy, what are the fourth and fifth estates?
In the Australian song “Waltzing Matilda,” a billabong is a pool of stagnant water. A swagman was someone who carried around everything he owned in a knapsack. Waltzing meant hiking, and Matilda wasn’t a woman but rather an Australian word for a knapsack. So Waltzing Matilda means: walking with my knapsack.
In 1814, after a night in a pub, Francis Scott Key was taken prisoner during the war between Canada and the United States. When he saw the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry he was inspired to write his famous lyrics with one particular barroom song, “To Anacreon In Heaven,” still in his mind.
And so “The Star Spangled Banner” was written to the tune of a traditional old English drinking song.
With the most common coffeemaker, the drip coffee machine, hot water drips down freely onto ground coffee beans to make coffee. The water inside the machine’s water bucket is heated as it passes along a heat-resistant tube. The tube goes into the drip area and releases heated water, just below boiling temperature (212 degrees Fahrenheit [100 degrees Celsius]). The water is heated by a heating element (a resistive heating coil that gives out heat when electricity is passed through it). The heating element has direct contact with the water inside the water bucket, and also heats the heating pad on which the glass coffee container is rested. Today, most models of coffee machines are either semi-automatic or automatic. Buttons and switches have replaced the manual coffee straining and lever-pushing of espresso machines. And some machines now have special features, such as built-in coffee bean grinders and froth makers.
Your spine, also called the backbone, runs down the length of your back from the base of your neck to your pelvis. The spine has 25 joints connecting 33 individual bones. (The bottom four bones of the spine are fused together to form the terminal vertebrae called the coccyx, or tailbone—and the five bones above that are fused together to form the sacrum. They are caged within the bones of the pelvis.) Each bone in the spine is called a vertebra and they are grouped together to perform specific tasks.
The spine supports your head, lets you twist and bend, and holds your body upright. It also protects the spinal cord, a large bundle of nerves that sends information from your brain to the rest of your body.
Machines win modern wars. A 1947 study found that during the Second World War, only about 15 to 25 percent of the American infantry ever fired their rifles in combat. The rest, or three-quarters of them, simply carried their weapons, doing their best not to become casualties. The infantry’s purpose is not to kill the enemy, but rather to advance on and then physically occupy his territory.