Completely Useless Facts of the Week – Issue 34

June 23, 2015

uselessfacts header34The weekly collection of useless and fun facts.  In this week’s edition: A Coast to Coast Trail, Siri’s Little Secret, A Strange Amusement Park Ride, An Important British Cat, and A President’s Unusual Paperweight.
The American Discovery Trail

A Coast to Coast Trail

We’ve all heard of the famous Appalachian trail that runs from Georgia to Maine and vice versa, but there is another trail that is even longer but not quite as famous.  It goes from each coast across the U.S., and it’s called “The American Discovery Trail”.

The American Discovery Trail (ADT) connects Delaware and California.  It’s one continuous trail that is more than 6,800 miles long and consists of multi-use trails that start in Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware, and cross to Point Reyes National Seashore in California.  It connects with five national scenic trails, 12 national historic trails, 34 national recreational trails, and regional and local trails as it crosses across the country.    The trail passes through 14 national parks and 16 national forests as well.  At one point in Elizabethtown, Ohio, the trail splits into a northern route and a southern route.  The north route goes through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, while the south route goes through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas.  The trails meet back again in Denver, Colorado.  The trail continues through Colorado, into Utah, Nevada, and then eventually, California.  In total, the ADT crosses 15 states and the District of Columbia.

The first hikers to walk the whole trail did it out of sequence over a two year period of time.  Joyce and Pete Cottrell finished the entire route in 2003.  The first hikers to cover the trail in one continuous hike were Marcia and Ken Powers from February 27 to October 15, 2005.  They averaged 22 miles per day as they trekked 5,058 miles from Delaware to Point Reyes in California.  The first hiker to cover the entire 6,800 miles of trail, including both the north and south forks, was Mike Daniel.  His trek took place from June, 17, 2007 to November 5, 2008.  I think it’s about time to get those hiking shoes on.  Source

Apple gray logoSiri’s Little Secret

Remember this the next to you have a conversation with your iPhone.  Everything you say to Siri is sent to Apple, analyzed, and then stored for up to two years.  When you talk to Siri, the friendly voice activated assistant on an iPhone, it is instantly sent to an Apple data storage area.  A random number is then assigned that links it to the voice files from your number.  Apple says that once the recording is six months old the random number is deleted that linked the voice file.  They then keep the recording for up to 18 months to use to improve the system or for testing.  If someone chooses to turn Siri off, everything is deleted from the system, including the recording, according to Apple.  I guess we’ll just have to take their word for it.  Source

border 62866 1280A Strange Amusement Park Ride

There is a strange attraction that takes place at a Mexican theme park.  It stages a fake border crossing with a 7.5 mile night hike for about $20 a person.

At the Parque EcoAlberto, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, a fake U.S-Mexico border crossing takes place, complete with a 7.5 mile hike at night, fake border patrol agents, and fake smugglers.  The purpose, according to the park, is to discourage people from making the trip across the border.  The park is almost 800 miles away from the real border, and for $20 per person, patrons can enjoy the fake crossing.  The participants are taken into woods at night, and for three hours, are given a simulation of a real border crossing, which includes an encounter with border patrol agents, and the trek is led by a “coyote”, or human smuggler.

The problem is real for this community since around 80% of people in the area of this part of Mexico have left for the U.S.  Its aim is to show the mostly young participants how difficult and dangerous a journey might be.  Source

Larry the cat No10
Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office   Wikimedia

An Important British Cat

There is a cat that lives at the residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at 10 Downing Street that has the government title of Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.  The cat’s name is Larry, and he’s been living at the residence since February 15, 2011.  He is the first cat to have the title.  Who knew they had such a problem with mice.

John_F._Kennedy,_White_House_color_photo_portraitA President’s Unusual Paperweight

There was an interesting item that sat on President John F. Kennedy’s desk in the oval office.  It was a coconut shell which he had used to inscribe a message after his boat, PT-109, had been hit by a Japanese destroyer.  He and his crew were stranded in the Solomon Islands, and Kennedy carved the message, “NAURO ISL…COMMANDER…NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT…HE CAN PILOT…11 ALIVE…NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY”, into it.  He gave the coconut shell to two natives and asked them to deliver it to the base on Rendova, an island in the Solomon Islands chain.  He had the shell encased in wood and used it as a paperweight in the Oval Office during his time as president.  Source  

That’s it for another edition.  Until next time, use these facts to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

Past Issues of the Completely Useless Facts of the Week

Subscribe to our newsletter for a collection of stories that have been added to the Stew and get our FREE Ebook Quick Facts as a thank you.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites (you can find out how to join below). I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

Follow the Stew

How to Join the Knowledge Stew Ad-Free Subscription Site on Medium

Join Medium now and get access to every story from Knowledge Stew and Fact World plus thousands of others ad-free. Your membership fee directly supports a continued stream of great content on Knowledge Stew and Fact World, and you’ll also get full access to thousands of other writers and stories on Medium. ($5 per month)