Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Strange but true

May 25, 2006

It was a Dutch explorer named Peter Minuit who famously purchased all of Manhattan Island from local Native American tribes in 1626. In return for the land, the tribes received some cloth, beads, hatchets and other merchandise; totaled all together, the goods were worth about $24, which comes out to about $1 for every square mile of land. Not a bad deal -- for the Dutch, anyway. Consider current real estate values in the area: In 2005, the cost of a single square foot of living space averaged more than $1,000.
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A bat flying at night is able to bounce a sonar signal off a single mosquito.
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Noted humorist Josh Billings -- often quoted in this column -- was not only funny, he was an astute student of the human race. Another example of his wit and wisdom: "I don't care how much a man talks, if he only says it in a few words."
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The name "Bethlehem" means, literally, "House of Bread."
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Have you ever heard of Worcester Polytechnic Institute? Me, neither -- at least until recently. A few days ago I learned that WPI (as I imagine the Massachusetts school is known, since the full name is rather unwieldy) offers a useful new amenity to students: Wi-Fi washing machines. Students who are washing their clothes can go online to check the status of their laundry on a dedicated Web page.

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