A collection of strange and unusual facts

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Many people are not only fascinated by strange and unusual facts about almost everything; some also have the time to spend reading and researching the items, many of which can be found online.

I occasionally like to do so myself, so in case you want to hear a few, I am saving you some time by providing a list.

While I cannot confirm any or all these items provided to be true, I have researched some of them and found them to be correct.

Regardless, I hope you enjoy them.

According to Dave Earley of Owlcation.com:

• Scientists have estimated the moon was orbiting the earth only about 35 feet from the planet’s surface some 85 million years ago and it continues to gradually move away at a tiny rate each year.

• The star Antares is 60,000 times larger than our sun, meaning if the sun were the size of a softball, Antares would be as large as a house.

• It has never rained in Calama, a town located in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

• The average lifespan of a major league baseball is only seven pitches.

• A jiffy is an actual unit of time, about 1/100th of a second.

• There is enough fuel in a full jumbo jet tank to drive an average car around the world four times.

• An average of 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.

• Antarctica is the only continent without reptiles or snakes.

From BuzzFeed.com:

• All of the gold mined in the history of the world would fit into a cube 20 feet by 20 feet by 20 feet.

• Half of all humans who have ever lived died from malaria.

• Silent film star Charlie Chaplin once entered a contest for Charlie Chaplin lookalikes and came in third.

• Of all the people in history who have reached age 65, half of them are living right now.

• 54 million people who are alive right now will be dead within 12 months.

• All the humans currently living on earth could fit into one cubic mile.

• The largest air force in the world is the United States Air Force and the second-largest air force in the world is the United States Navy.

According to the book “1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off” by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin:

 • More than 7,000 people die and 1.5 million have their health impaired each year in the United States due to illegible writing by doctors.

According to psychology.about.com:

 • If a man never cut his beard, by the time he dies it would be 30 feet long.

According to americavsgermany.blogspot.com:

• Napoleon Bonaparte was not exceptionally short as most people believe.

The French inch was previously longer than the British inch, so while he was thought to be 5 feet, 2 inches tall by most of the world, in reality he was closer to 5 feet, 7 inches, the average height for a Frenchman.

According to Wikipedia:

 • A mosquito has 47 teeth.

• Vending machines kill four times as many people each year as do sharks.

• The last president who was neither a Republican or Democrat was Millard Fillmore in 1853.

• The population of Ireland is still 2 million less than it was before the potato famine 160 years ago.

• Lighters were invented before matches.

According to longandshortit.com:

• George Washington spent about 7 percent of his annual salary on whiskey.

•A banana is actually a berry but a strawberry is not.

Keith Barnes, a Wilson storyteller and author, is a reporter for the Johnstonian News, a Wilson Times Co. newspaper. Email him at kbarnes.jhn@wilsontimes.com.