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World Facts #7

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There are more overweight people in the world than undernourished people, according to the World Health Organization. - BBC News, 8/15/06

Although it was played up as fun in the movie "Borat", the kidnapping of your bride in Kazakhstan is actually an old custom (this custom is now outlawed). - The Week Magazine, 12/1/06

Scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics announced the invention of the first pill to combat stupidity. - The Week Magazine, 8/18/06

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has sent a get well note to Cuba's Fidel Castro, who has undergone stomach surgery. - Reuters, 8/3/06

An entire island composed of trash has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. It is twice as large as Texas. Plastic objects prevail among the trash. The "island" weighs approximately three million tons. - The Week Magazine, 8/18/06

Operators of four-wheel-drive vehicles are four times more likely to forgo wearing seat belts. The drivers think they are safer in such vehicles and so feel freer to engage in this risky behavior. - San Diego Union, 7/4/06

A "grande" latte costs $3.50 in Shanghai, China. The average annual wage in Shanghai is $3,800. If you extrapolate that percentage to an average wage of $50,000 in America, the cost of that latte is over $54.00. - The Week Magazine, 12/15/06

Iran imports most of their gasoline as their country has few refineries. On a net basis, Iran's gasoline imports rank second in the world. - US Government Joint Economic Committee - 3/06

The trails to the top of Mt. Everest are littered with garbage and more than 120 corpses of climbers that didn't make it. - The Week Magazine, 6/30/06

Baggy pants have helped out law enforcement: young male suspects have become much easier to catch because they trip over their own trousers. - ABC News, 6/20/06

One in six Britons have been drunk at work. The most common reason for people under 30 to call in sick is a hangover. - The Week Magazine, 6/16/06

There is currently only one active sperm donor in the entire country of Scotland due to recent changes in the law removing the right to anonymity. - Sunday Times, 5/7/06

The DMZ between North and South Korea is the most fortified border in the world. Because so few people venture into the area, it is also one of the most prolific wildlife areas because of the lack of human interaction. - National Geographic, 6/00

There are 67 elevators in Taipei 101, the world's tallest building. They travel at over 37 miles per hour. They are pressurized to help prevent passengers' ears from popping. - Popular Mechanics, 3/16/04

A pet catfish is suspected to have caused a house fire in the UK. The fish's splashing caused water to spill on an electrical plug, starting a fire that spread to the couch and eventually the entire house. The fish died in the fire. - TimesOnline, 5/9/06

It's not uncommon now for dog owners to claim their pets as "service animals" to allow them entry into restaurants, hotels and airplanes. Owners claim the dog is needed for their "mental health". Airlines say passengers have made similar claims for cats, monkeys and a duck. - The Week Magazine, 5/26/06

Terrorists last year killed more than 14,500 people around the world. Only 56 were Americans. - The Week Magazine, 5/12/06

A television charity event turned deadly when participants in a "test of strength" pulled a train and two carriages on the tracks - and the vehicle gained speed and ran them over. Seven people were killed and there were numerous limbs severed, all while 3,000 children who attended the event watched in horror. - BBC News, 3/18/06

In the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, all seven astronauts died, but hundreds of nematode worms (carried in canisters to study the biology of weightlessness) survived. - Discover Magazine, 4/06

The town of Ismay, Montana briefly changed its name to become Joe, Montana, in 1993 for one football season, then extended the gag for another year. The name change worked out well for what was then the smallest incorporated town in the state. Ismay raised more than $70,000 selling Joe, Montana souvenirs. The Ismayans, or Joeys (whatever you want to call them) used the money to build a combination community hall-firehouse. - Billings Gazette, 11/20/05

Dean Pomerlau has a pet goldfish that can do tricks (such as pushing a little soccer ball into a little net in its tank). - Discover Magazine, 4/06

The fire on Apollo 1 (1-27-1967), the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion (1-28-1986) and the disintegration of Space Shuttle Columbia (2-1-2003) all happened within the same calendar week. - Discover Magazine, 4/06
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