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Holten: A list of surprising facts

Kevin Holten cartoon

Do you want to know some amazing facts? Here’s one: Did you know that no one can lick their elbow and that 75 percent of the people who read this column will now try to do so?

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Did you also know that because of the granite in its construction, Grand Central Station in New York City produces more radiation than is allowable in a nuclear power plant?

If you already knew these facts, then perhaps you also knew that 50 percent of the people in the world have never received or made a phone call. Or that if you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.

I bet you didn’t know that rats can multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants. Or that wearing headphones for just an hour increases the bacteria in your ears by 700 times.

Here are some more tidbits that you may or may not have known. For example, in every episode of “Seinfeld” there is a Superman somewhere. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match. Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

In addition, in the course of an average lifetime you will, while sleeping, eat 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders. Also, outside of the USA, Ireland is the largest software producing country in the world. Hot water is heavier than cold. A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber. A ball of solid steel will bounce higher than one made entirely of glass, and money isn’t made out of paper; it’s made out of cotton.

The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. And right handed people will live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.

Can you believe this?

More than 30 million of the people with pages on Facebook have already died. Koko, the gorilla who was taught sign language, once lied and blamed a cat for tearing a sink out of a wall. When Koko met Mr. Rodgers, who she used to watch on TV, the first thing she did was to take off his shoes, just like he did at the beginning of each of his episodes.

But this is really crazy.

Between 1939 and 1989 in Spain, 300,000 newborn babies were stolen in hospitals by a human trafficking network made up of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns. They simply told the natural parents of the children that their babies had died.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton only sent out two emails during his entire presidency. A lone tree in the middle of the Sahara desert was struck and killed by a drunk driver. The elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump and one-quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet.

Women blink twice as much as men. It’s against the law to burp or sneeze in a church in Nebraska, and you’re born with 300 bones but by the time you become an adult, you only have 206.

Also, owls are the only birds that can see the color blue, a man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for 69 years, the average person laughs 10 times a day, the strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue, and polar bears are left-handed. Plus, it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery and an apple than they have in them to begin with.

Cleopatra lived closer in time to the first Moon landing than to the building of the Great Pyramid, there are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos, half of all humans who have ever lived, died from malaria, all the humans on the planet could fit into 1 cubic mile, and once Charlie Chaplin entered a contest for “Charlie Chaplin look-alikes” and he came in third.

But what is most amazing is that when two people are meant for each other, no time is too long, no distance is too far, and no one can ever tear them apart.

Holten is the manager of The Drill and the executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Email him at