Completely Useless Facts of the Week – Issue 4

September 20, 2014

uselessfacts header5Another spanking edition of Completely Useless Facts of the Week. Hold on to your hat and go into the back story behind this week’s facts: Space Diamonds, What M&M’s stand for, Record Sneezing, Nutritious Booze, and Off-Earth Voting.

Saturn_during_EquinoxGeology rocks, and on some planets it rains. Scientists estimate that on Jupiter and Saturn it commonly rains diamonds, about 1000 tons a year. Data suggest that carbon is present in the atmosphere of the planet in its crystal form because lightning storms turn methane into carbon. As it falls it hardens into graphite, and eventually diamonds, until it hits the liquid, molten surface of the planets and melts.

Las_Vegas_M&M's_04We’ve all heard the famous tagline, “melts in your mouth, not in your hands,” for M&M’s candies, but where did the name come from? M&M’s stands for “Mars & Murrie’s,” the last names of the candy’s founders. In 1941 Forrest E. Mars Sr., son of the founder of the Mars company, and Bruce Murrie, son of Hershey’s Chocolate president William F. R. Murrie, had a partnership that allowed the candy to be made with Hershey’s Chocolate. It was just at the start of World War II, and Hershey controlled the rationing of chocolate at the time. Mars came up with the idea of a hard candy shell after seeing soldiers during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s eating chocolate pellets that had a hard chocolate shell. Mars eventually got a patent for making the treats on March 3, 1941.

Sick man sneezeFrom the, “I’m glad I didn’t have that problem” desk comes the world record in the event of sneezing. Donna Griffith of Worcestershire, England is credited with the longest recorded bout of sneezing. It lasted 978 days, from January 1981 to September 1983. She began her sneezing episode at the age of twelve.  It began with a sneeze every minute, but as the months and years went by it increased to every 5 minutes.  Doing some rough math, that’s approximately over 280,000 sneezes if she sneezed every five minutes.  Makes my stomach cramp up just thinking about it.

alcohol-1198643_1280Not recommended, but if you’re stuck on a desert island with only a few hundred cases of booze laying around, you won’t have to talk to a soccer ball to get you by. Most alcoholic beverages contain all 13 minerals necessary to sustain human life; copper, chloride, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine, zinc, selenium and chromium.  And you thought this whole article would be filled with nothing but useless facts.

800px ISS 32 American EVA b3 Aki Hoshide

The last useless fact for this week, but not the least, is Texas is the only U.S. State that allows a resident to cast an absentee ballot from space. In 1997 the Texas legislature passed a bill so the astronauts that lived in the Houston area and trained at NASA’s Johnson Space Center wouldn’t miss out on their right to vote if they were orbiting the earth.

That’s it for this week. Remember to annoy those around you with all you’ve learned in this edition.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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