Saturday, June 9, 2012

10 New Things I Learned From "Random Article"

I've done this before, but every now and then, I go to and click on the "Random Article" button to see what new and interesting and useless facts I might be able to find. I'd like to share some of my recent discoveries with you today.

1)  Naura is a town in the Nawanshahr district of Punjab, India. The word "Naura" derives from the ancient Persian words "Nau" and "Ra" which means "technologically advanced" (though the picture below would probably belie that meaning). In 2001, the population of Naura was 3,331.

Downtown Naura

2)  Pat Listach is a former Major League Baseball shortstop, minor league manager, and current third base for the Chicago Cubs. Listach's first year in the big leagues -- 1992 -- was also his best. That year, he accumulated a .290 batting average, 168 hits, 19 doubles, 6 triples, 1 homerun, 47 runs batted in, and 54 stolen bases. He was rewarded for his efforts by giving him the National League Rookie of the Year award. Listach played five more relatively uneventful seasons before retiring in 1998.

Pat Listach, looking like he could still play today

3)  Banding Island is an artificial island within Lake Temenggor, Perak, Malaysia. Formerly, Banding was the highest peak in the Temenggor basin of mountains. In 1974, the mountain rivers were dammed up to flush out the communists, resulting in the formation of Lake Temenggor. Peeking out the center of the lake was Mount Banding, which is now Banding Island.

Banding Island

4)  The Sikorsky CH-53K Super Stallion is a large, heavy-lift cargo helicopter currently being developed by Sikorsky Aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. The design features 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider cabin than previous CH-53 variants. It will be the largest and heaviest helicopter in the U.S. military.

CH-53K Super Stallion -- impressive!

5)  2 Cold Scorpio (born Charles Bernard Scaggs) is an American professional wrestler. Scaggs has competed in Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Pro Wrestling Noah. He is currently one of the name stars in Dragon Gate USA, the American offshoot of the popular Japanese promotion Dragon Gate. Apparently, 2 Cold Scorpio also enjoys dressing like a pimp.

2 Cold Scorpio

6)  Gem squash is a variety of summer squash found in the southern and central United States and Mexico. When fully ripe, the gem squash is roughly the size of a softball. The fruit must be boiled or baked in order to render it palatable. When harvested early, the gem squash has more delicate flavor and texture.

Gem squash

7)  The versorium was the first crude electroscope, the first instrument that could detect the presence of static electric charge. It was invented in 1600 by William Gilbert, physician to Queen Elizabeth I. The versorium is a needle constructed out of metal which is allowed to pivot freely on a pedestal. It is similar to a compass needle, but is not magnetized. The needle is attracted to charged bodies brought near it, turning toward the charged object.

Gilbert's versorium

8)  Richard Achilles Ballinger (1858 - 1922) was mayor of Seattle, Washington, from 1904 to 1906 and U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 1909 to 1911 under President William Howard Taft.

Ballinger, looking quite mayoral

9)  Melon Juice (メロンジュース) is a mini-album by Japanese girl group Melon Kinenbi. It was was releases on December 12th, 2007, and peaked at #67 on the Oricon weekly chart. "Charisma - Kirei" was the first single released from the album. The video for that song can be viewed below:

10)  In 1848 in the United States, the following significant events occurred:  then-President James K. Polk attempted (unsuccessfully) to purchase Cuba from the Spanish government for $100 million; James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California, setting off the California Gold Rush; the Mexican-American War ended, Mexico ceding to the United States virtually all of what we now call the Southwest; the Washington Monument was established; Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as its 30th state; Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage incredibly survived a three-foot-plus iron rod being driven through his head; and the Associated Press was founded in New York. Other important stuff happened that year, too, but I'm tired of typing.

Phineas Gage and the Rod of Doom

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