Here’s another edition of Completely Useless Facts of the Week. Go ahead and fill your brain with a plethora of knowledge that really isn’t all that useless. In this week’s edition: Lots of Hot Dogs, A Humming Test, Mel Blanc’s Epitaph, The Last Japanese WWII Soldier, and the Expensive Penny.
The July 4th holiday in the United States usually includes a gastronomical feast, and hot dogs are likely on the menu. How many might you ask? Hold on to your stomach, because it’s estimated that 150 million hot dogs are consumed during the July 4th holiday. That’s roughly 18 million pounds of hotdogs. But buns are needed so that requires 18.75 million packages of 8-count buns to cradle those hot dogs. Now, after consuming those hot dogs, how much heavier did everyone get? A hot dog is approximately 137 calories, so about 20.55 billion calories are consumed just over the July 4th holiday. Better keep on walking or running on that treadmill.
Try this little trick. Try to hum while holding your nose. You can’t do it, can you. What comes out sounds like a whale mating call. Humming is the resonance of air through the nose and throat passages. This breathing is a form of acoustic resonance and the vibrations produce the humming sound. By blocking the exit of air, a hum is stopped.
Mel Blanc, the man of a thousand voices, and the man behind the voices of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Speedy Gonzales (just to name a few), immortalized one of his most famous lines on his epitaph in the Hollywood Memorial Cemetery. It reads: “That’s All, Folks.” Other well-known names in the cemetery are Cecil B. DeMille, Bugsy Siegel, and Rudolph Valentino.
Hiroo Onoda hid in the jungles of the Philippines for 29 years after the end of World War II because he didn’t know, or didn’t believe, the war was finally over. Onoda hid in the jungle with four other soldiers and continued to carry out guerilla activities. One of the soldiers surrendered in 1950 while another was shot and killed in 1954. Onoda and the other remaining soldier, Shoichi Shimada, were in the jungle for another eighteen years before Shimada was killed in 1972 by local police after the pair continued conducting guerilla activities in the area. Onoda finally emerged in 1974 and formally surrendered to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. He was even still wearing his 30-year-old imperial Japanese uniform. But he only gave his formal surrender when his former commander from 1945 flew to the country and reversed his orders. He died in 2014 at the age of 91 in Japan.
The reason the penny just doesn’t make any sense anymore (pardon the pun) is that the U.S. penny costs over 2 cents to make. Nickels didn’t fare much better. For the year 2013, U.S. taxpayers lost $105 million on the production of pennies and nickels. Why the change? Minting cost increased because the cost of the metals used to make the coins went up. Nickel contains copper and nickel, and the penny contains copper and zinc. As the metal prices climbed during the early 2000’s, the cost of minting increased. Since 2006 the penny and nickel have lost the Treasury money due to the production of these coins.
Sorry, that’s it for this week. As always, feel free to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.
Don’t stop there and enjoy more Random Facts of the Week.