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The Book of General Ignorance

John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.

The female mosquito is the most dangerous creature in the world. Causes half f all deaths - not just malaria but also yellow fever.

Glass is solid. It's an urban legend that medieval glass has gradually slumped. Simply that early builders always put the thickest edge at base.

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Most dangerous African animal? The hippopotamus. Although it's a vegetarian, it will trample people who get in it's way or upset them, and it can easily outrun a man.

Where do most tigers live? In the US. In captivity. There are less than 7500 tigers in the wild, but 12,000 in captivity in US, 4000 of them in Texas alone. So many breeding that tiger cubs cost less than a pedigree dog.

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Work is 3 times more dangerous than war, drugs and alcohol together.

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Technically Honolulu is the 'largest' city in the world because it encompasses the whole Hawaiian island group of over 2000 square miles (even though 70% of it is sea).

The largest man-made structure on Earth is the Fresh Kills rubbish dump in NY harbour. By volume it's bigger than the Great Wall of China (although some argue that Holland is a man-made entity).

School chalk is not chalk, it's gypsum. Chalk is calcium carbonate (dead skeletons), gypsum is calcium sulphate (or more technically, hydrated calcium sulphate).

Cockroaches would actually be among the first insects to die in a radiation war - 20,000 rads kill them, vs 1000 to kill human. But fruit flies last until 64,000 rads, and a parasitic wasp can handle 180,000 rads. The champ is a bacteria which regenerates after 1.5 million rads, except when it's frozen, when it can cope with twice that amount. This particular bacterium was discovered growing in a can of irradiated meat, and is known as Conan the Bacterium.

Cats have a non-fatal terminal velocity of 60mph. Toss them off a building and as long as it's 7 stories or more, they have time to relax, spread out and 'float' to earth. One cat is known to have survived a 46 storey fall. (Human t.v. is a fatal 120mph).

Most common bid in world is the chicken, all of whom are descended from a type of pheasant called the Red Jungle Fowl from Thailand. There are about 52 billion chickens in the world - around 8 per person.

Guinea pigs are mostly food, not pets or experimental animals. 65 million are eaten every year in Peru alone.

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The first man to circumnavigate the globe wasn't Magellan (he died in the Philippines, half-way round). It was a slave, Henry the Black, who Magellan had collected in a Malaysian slave market n an earlier trip, so that when they got to Malaya, he'd already done the other half. Of Magellan's original 264 crew on 5 ships, only 18 on 1 ship made it back.

The most dangerous American was Thomas Midgely, a chemist who both invented CFCs and put lead in gasoline.

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Eskimos get their Vit C by eating raw meat (cooking destroys it). They freeze uneaten caribou, whale and kelp to get them through winter)

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