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United States Facts #5

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Ground temperatures in Death Valley can be about 40% higher than the surrounding air temperature. The highest ground temperature in Death Valley was 201 on July 15, 1972. - San Diego Union, 3/23/08

The Major League Baseball Florida Marlins are creating an all-male, plus-size cheerleading squad to be dubbed the Manatees. They hope to recruit seven to ten tubby men to dance, cheer and jiggle during Friday and Saturday home games this season. - New York Daily News, 2/23/08

In 1998, a grass fire ignited 7 million discarded tires near Tracy, California - and the fire endured for two and a half years. - Discover Magazine, 2/08

Louisiana is now the third largest movie production center in the United States, after California and New York. - The Week Magazine, 12/7/07

Palm Beach (Florida) Community College employees can get insurance for their pets, but not their domestic partners. - South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/24/07

New York City is on track (in 2007) to have the lowest number of homicides since they started keeping reliable statistics. What's even more striking is that only 35 of the murders have been determined to be committed by strangers - an amazing statistic. - New York Times, 11/23/07

Boy Scouts in Los Angeles can earn a merit badge for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music. - MSNBC.com, 10/20/06

San Francisco, California is now omitting gender from its ID cards to city residents. It'll still include the birthdate, name and a photo, but not the usual "male" or "female" designations. - USAToday, 11/21/07

A sack of money - approximately $15,000 - fell out of an armored car in Stony Brook, New York. The bag burst open, money fluttering everywhere. Bystanders chased down the bills, returning all but $128 of the total. - The Week Magazine, 11/16/07

For every 1,000 people age 65 and older who "retire" to Florida, there are about 481 that leave Florida, usually to go back to their original location. - Marketwatch.com, 10/17/07

For every 100 citizens of the United States, there are 90 guns, making America the most heavily armed country on Earth. India has the second largest civilian gun arsenal tally, with just 4 guns per 100 people. - Time Magazine, 9/10/07

A Chicago man had his house set afire by squirrels twice in eight days. Fire officials think that the squirrels dislodged high-voltage power lines which fell on the house. The second fire apparently killed the offending squirrels. - Chicago Sun-Times, 6/21/07

Kilmer Middle School in Virginia has banned all physical contact between students. This means no high-fives, according to the zero-tolerance rules. - MSNBC, 6/18/07

For Chicago Cubs fans, it was "Michael Barrett Bobblehead Day" at Wrigley Field recently. Trouble is, Michael Barrett was traded from the Cubs to the San Diego Padres two weeks earlier. Cubs management went ahead with the promotion anyway. - San Diego Union, 7/3/07

An estimated 2,000 pounds of marijuana went up in smoke during a warehouse fire in Texas. The 35 firefighters tackling the blaze reported disorientation and extreme lethargy. Fire chief Shawn Snider said that they would probably fail a drug test. - FOX News, 6/22/07

A manager of a Wendy's restaurant in Miami refused to give a customer more than 10 packets of chili sauce, so the customer shot him several times in the arm. - MSNBC, 5/31/07

A single gun shop in New Orleans (Elliot's) has sold 2,300 firearms that police have linked to crimes, including at least 125 murders, over the past five years. - USA Today, 6/13/07

Only 20 miles of Maine's 5,300 mile craggy coastline is open to commercial lobstermen and fishermen. Most fishermen now depend on privately owned docks. - Boston Globe, 6/17/07

The United States divorce rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1970 (3.6 divorces out of 1,000 people). - MSNBC, 5/10/07
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