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Sunday, 27 July 2014


It is believed that the term “cowboy” originated as a derogatory term used to describe black cowhands.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists the satirist Jonathan Swift as the first person to use the word “cowboy”.

The traditional cowboy look arose from Mexican vaqueros and the word buckaroo came about as a mispronunciation of the word vaquero.

A 19th century breakfast for an American cowboy included salt pork or bacon, and eggs, which being shipped west for considerable distances, sometimes went bad.

Dinner (the noontime meal) and supper was similar to breakfast, with the addition of beef and beans and canned or dried fruit for dessert.

Cowboys everywhere liked fresh beef especially steaks, fried well-done in a cast iron skillet, piled high. Accompanying this would be soda biscuits made from sourdough and gravy.

During cattle drives, cowboys often had to make do with less appealing cuts of meat such as pork butt, pork ribs, beef ribs, venison and goat. These tough pieces of meat were slow cooked at a low temperature for five to seven hours over wood or charcoal.

Cattle drive cooks had to serve three meals a day, seven days a week. They kept alert to find and pick up wood for the fire as they traveled in the chuck wagon. They had to constantly go ahead of the cattle drives and prepare food in all types of weather, holding a tarp over the fire, if necessary.

Cooks were also "jacks of all trades," often playing the roles of doctor, barber, and even dentist for the drive hands.

American cowboy, 1887

The cowboy's clothing was suited to his job. He wore a woolen or cotton shirt and heavy woolen trousers. Over his trousers were his chaps (pronounced shaps, from the Spanish chaparajos). These leggings were of heavy leather for summer wear and of fur for the cold northern winters. They protected his legs from brush, cactus, and frost.

Around the cowboy's neck a big handkerchief was tied to protect him from the sun. It could also be pulled up around his mouth and nose when dust was thick.

A high-crowned, broad-brimmed felt hat, the sombrero, shielded the cowboy from the sun and rain. Some preferred the bowler hat, because of its practicality and strength

The cowboy's soft-legged boots had high heels set far under the instep to hold his ankle clear of the heavy stirrup.

The world record for the largest cowboy boots ever made was awarded for a pair measuring 2.5 meters tall and 2.38 metres long – they were made from five cows’ worth of leather.

Sources Cool Trivia, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce



People probably domesticated cows somewhere in southwestern Asia during the early part of the New Stone Age. It most likely occurred when they were attracted to the fields of grain and robbed the locals of their food. Captured and bred the cows were farmed both for their meat and their milk.

Until the 1850s, nearly every family in the U.S. had its own cow.

Pauline Wayne, supplied President Taft with milk during his time in the White House. Pauline was allowed to freely roam the White House grounds and became a common sight and press favorite.

Elm Farm Ollie was the first cow to fly in an aeroplane. The milk she produced during an air-trip on February 18, 1930 was dropped by parachute over the city of St Louis.

When John Wayne used to stay at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Hollywood, he kept a cow on the balcony of his apartment there. When he served visitors coffee the king of the cowboy actors would wave towards the window and say: "Help yourself to milk."

During the Blitz in World War II, some British farmers painted their cows with white stripes in case they wandered onto roads in the dark during blackouts.

A Charolais cow called Charlene Mooken was slated to meet her end at an Ohio slaughterhouse. On February 15, 2002 Charlene Mooken  jumped a 6 foot fence at a slaughterhouse in Cincinnati, and evaded pursuers for almost two weeks, making national news headlines. Impressed with her show of spirit, she was given a stay of execution and allowed to live out her days at an animal welfare sanctuary.

Charlene Mooken


Cows have "stay apparatus" in their legs -- tendons and ligaments that allow them to remain standing with minimal muscular effort. However, while this allows them to doze while standing, they can enter REM sleep and dream only while lying down.

The sweat glands in a cow are in the nose.

All cows all over the world have different patterns of spots and not a single one has identical spots to another.

Cows only have teeth on their lower jaw. Their upper jaws just have tough pads of skin.

Holstein female cow Blosom was the tallest cow ever standing at 190 centimeters, or just a little over 6.2 feet. Blosom passed away on May 25, 2015 in Illinois from an irreparable leg injury.


A cow will always get up rear legs first.

Cows show their emotions through the posture of their ears.

Cows 'moo' in regional accents.

Cows only sleep for four hours a day.

When they are isolated from their companions, cows experience separation anxiety.

A lactating mother cow will consume about 70 pounds of feed per day.

Cows eat only grass but have 25,000 taste buds: two and a half times as many as humans.

A cow on a dairy farm drinks as much as 50 gallons of water daily.

When eating, a cow chews at least 50 times a minute. It eats about 100 pounds of food a day.

The average cow makes more than 40,000 jaw movements a day and produces 15-20 gallons of saliva.

The CDC estimates that cows kill 22 people a year in the US — and 75% of those are known to be deliberate attacks.


There are approx. 1.5 billion cows in the world of which roughly a quarter are in India.

All the cows in the world weigh almost twice as much as all the people.

The Sanskrit word for “war” means “desire for more cows.”

Cows have their own Bill of Rights in India.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil  New Zealand,and Uruguay are the only countries with more cows than people.

Vermont has the greatest number of dairy cows in the US in ratio of cows to people.

A cow is not a cow until it has had at least one calf. Until then it is called a heifer.

Twelve or more cows are known as a "flink."


A cow can produce 25 gallons (95 liters) of milk per week.

Sixty cows can produce a ton of milk a day.

In Somerset, England in 1841, 737 cows were milked to make a 9ft-diameter cheese for Queen Victoria.

A study found that farmers who called their cows by name had a 454 pints (258 liters) higher milk yield over its annual 10 month lactation period than those who did not.

Happy cows produce more milk. Higher levels of serotonin (a chemical associated with feelings of happiness), lead to improved blood calcium in cows, reducing chance of disease and improving nutritional quality of the milk.

A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

Cows produce five times as much saliva as milk.

1 out of 3 of all cows in the US used for food purposes (beef) are used by the McDonald’s Corp.

60% of a cow is used for food, and parts of the other 40% can be made into antifreeze, blood thinners, insulin, marshmallows, and toothpaste.


Cows can walk upstairs but not downstairs.

On average a cow releases 70-120kg of methane per year. The global warming effect of this is equal to burning about 220 gallons of petrol.

Sources,  Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, Daily Express.


As a sport, dog racing has its origin in a kind of race called coursing, in which hounds chased game by sight, not by scent.

The popularity of coursing dates back many centuries. It was fully described by the Greek writer Arrian about AD 150.

Many of the European hound breeds were developed in the Middle Ages, when coursing was popular with the nobility.

In coursing, the prey is pursued until exhausted. Then it is killed. Coursing was eventually replaced by fox hunting, which was considered less cruel.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.


Coca-Cola inventor John Pemberton offered tickets to try his new fangled soda pop for free in 1888 (see below). They are believed to be the first coupon ever.

C.W. Post introduced the grocery coupon in 1895 when he offered “once cent off” to kick off sales for his new cereal, Post’s Grape Nuts.

305 billion coupons were circulated in 2012 in the US and 2.9 billion were redeemed.

Of the 305 billion  coupons distributed throughout the country, 38 percent of them were attributed to food products.

88 percent of consumers use some coupons at the grocery store

The average amount of weeks before a coupon expires is nine.



Cornwall has the longest coastline of any English county, measuring about 433 miles.

The name Cornwall originates from the words “Cornovii” and “Waelas,” meaning hill dwellers and strangers.

Located in south-west England some say the name Somerset derives from Seo-mere-saetan meaning "settlers by the sea lakes".

Devon is the only county in Britain to have two coasts.

All states in the US are divided into counties, with two exceptions: Louisiana, which consists of parishes, and Alaska, which uses boroughs.

Four out of the five richest counties in the US are in the DC Metropolitan area.

The smallest county in America is New York County, better known as Manhattan.

Half of the US population lives in just 146 counties out of the 3007 total.

The Los Angeles County in California has a higher population than 43 US states. It holds the same amount of people as the 1,171 smallest counties.

Texas is made up of 254 counties. The largest, Brewster, is bigger than Northern Ireland.

The Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is a census area located in the state of Alaska.  It has the largest area of any county or county-equivalent in the United States and is roughly the same size as Germany.

Country and Western

Country and Western Country music grew from the folk music that was brought to North America by Anglo-Celtic settlers in the 1700s and 1800s.

In 1922 radio stations WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas and WSB in Atlanta, Georgia, broadcast shows called barn dances, modeled after the informal social dancing of the frontier.

Fiddler Eck (A.C.) Robertson traveled to New York City and in 1922 made the first recording of rural Appalachian folk music, “Arkansas Traveller” and “Sallie Goodin,” sett the stage for the development of country music .

In its early years these recordings were known as “hilbilly music.”

Automaker Henry Ford had an intense hatred of what he saw as the urban decadence of couples jazz dancing. In response he pumped huge amounts of money in the 1920s into fiddling contests and promoted square dances across the US to encourage more wholesome forms of entertainment.
His funding helped establish country music culture as we know it today.

In 1924 Vernon Dalhart's "The Prisoner's Song" became the first commercially-successful country single.

The Grand Ole Opry begun broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee, as the WSM Barn Dance. On the evening of November. 28, 1925, on Nashville’s WSM-AM radio station, announcer George D. “Judge” Hay introduced famed fiddle player Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer for the new show. The show was first called the Grand Ole Opry on December 10, 1927.

World War II accelerated country music's growth away from an exclusively Southern and rural phenomenon. Southern servicemen took the music with them to far-flung parts of the nation and the world, while civilian defense workers from the South brought their love of the music into the various centers of war production.

Dissatisfied with the pejorative connotations of the term "hillbilly music" in the mid forties, Ernest Tubb coined the term "country" music to include string bands, fiddling bands, and old time singing and dance bands. Decca executives decided cowboy music didn't quite fall in that category, so Tubb came up with "country & western". By 1948, the record industry had stopped using "hillbilly music" altogether.

Billboard magazine published its first country and western album chart on January 11, 1964. At #1: Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire album.

Album cover art for Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash Wikipedia

The first ever CMA Awards were held on October 20, 1967 hosted by singers Sonny James and Bobbie Gentry. The big winning song was Jack Greene’s "There Goes My Everything."

Wanted: The Outlaws by Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessi Colter became in 1976 the first country album to go platinum.

Garth Brooks' mainstream success with his 1991 third album, Ropin' the Wind, set the stage for the pop-country of the rest of the decade. It was the first country album to debut at #1 on the pop charts.

Garth Brooks By Steve Jurvetson -Wikipedia

Garth Brooks' “More Than a Memory” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Song charts in September 2007, the first song to do so in its history.

In 2013 Country was the #1 commercial radio format in the U.S., with 2,042 stations.

One in five country music songs refer to "alcohol," one in three to "tears," and one in seven  to "mama."

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.


There are 196 countries in the world, populated by 7.3 billion people speaking roughly 6,500 different languages.

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world by both area and population. The whole country is only 108.7 acres, which a population of just 1,000

The republic of Carpatho-Ruthenia existed for just one day, in 1939.

On December 30, 2012 a British man, Graham Hughes, set a new Guinness World Record by becoming the first person to visit all 193 countries of the United Nations - without using a plane. Mr Hughes spent four years travelling around the world, visiting 201 countries in total.

Apart from Vatican City, which has only 451 residents, the country with the lowest population is Tuvalu in the Pacific with around 10,000.

The seven largest countries in the world (Russia, Canada, USA, China, Australia, Brazil and Argentina) take half of our planet’s territory.

The youngest country in the world is Uganda, where 49% of the population is under 15.

One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, the island's first European settlers. It is the only country in the world named after a woman

The only countries that are double-landlocked—landlocked by countries that also landlocked—are Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan.

Lesotho, Vatican City, and San Marino are the only countries completely surrounded by one other country. Lesotho is the largest - it's located in South Africa.

Here is a list of songs with names of countries in their title.

The Council Of Trent

In 1545 the Holy Roman emperor Charles V persuaded Pope Paul III to call the Council of Trent with four cardinals, four archbishops and twenty-one bishops present. The Catholic emperor was concerned about the activities of the Protestant reformers and he wished to inaugurate a Catholic Counter-Reformation to counter activities of the Reformation. Pope Paul III convened the council at Trento (at that time a free city of the Holy Roman Empire under a prince-bishop), on December 13, 1545.

After meeting intermittently for eighteen years The Council of Trent finally finished in 1563 with over 200 bishops are present at the final sessions.

On adjourning, the Council asked the supreme pontiff to ratify all its decrees and definitions. This petition was complied with by Pope Pius IV, on January 26, 1564, in the papal bull, Benedictus Deus, which enjoined strict obedience upon all Roman Catholics. Pope Pius appointed a commission of cardinals to assist him in interpreting and enforcing the decrees.

At Trent a number of abuses were remedied and the Catholics accepted as deuterocanonical several works that Protestants labelled as Apocrypha and considered outside the canon. Tradition was declared coequal to Scripture as a source of spiritual knowledge and the Catholic Church recognized the seven sacraments as official. The council formally declared that in the Eucharist, bread and wine was really changed into the body and blood of Christ in a manner that could be expressed by the word “transubstantiation”. The religious education of priests was improved and the education of children encouraged with the help of the Jesuit order who were asked to set up a school in every town in which they had influence.

At the Council of Trent the Catholic Church absolved Jews of responsibility for Jesus’ death.

Pius IV's Counter-Reformation eliminated all instrumentation except the organ, as well as all secular elements, harmony and folk melodies.

The Catholic Church emerged revitalized from the Council of Trent, the certainty of their identity was strengthened and the Jesuits established flourishing schools all over Europe where young people were taught how to be good Catholics.

The Council of Nicaea

In 319 tall, handsome Arius, a presbyter in Alexandria claimed that, in the doctrine of the Trinity, the Son is not co-equal or co-eternal with the Father. Instead, he stated, Christ is only the first and highest of all finite beings, created out of nothing by an act of God's free will. As Christ had a beginning he isn't eternal and because he isn't eternal he is inferior to God the Father.

The charismatic Arius has won some support for his controversial views but in 321 he was deposed and excommunicated by a synod of bishops at Alexandria.

The Council of Nicaea was called by the Emperor Constantine in 325 to deal with the first major doctrinal controversy of the Christian Church. Arius of Alexandria was still denying the divinity of Christ but Alexander, the Bishop of Alexandria, maintained the orthodox view that the Son is one substance with the Father. Both had their supporters. It opened on May 20, 325 in present-day Iznik, Turkey.

The Council of Nicea was the first general council of the church and 318 Bishops from mainly the eastern parts of the empire attended. Many of them were without various limbs or blinded eyes for they bore the scars of having lived through the various persecutions.

16th-century fresco depicting the Council of Nicaea

The chief protagonists were Arius and the tiny, dark skinned Athanasius, a young deacon also of Alexandria who supported Alexander’s views. Because of his lower rank Athanasius was not eligible to be part of the council and he had to wait outside and whisper what to say to a sympathetic bishop. If a difficult problem cropped up, his friend would step outside and Athanasius murmured the answer.

To loud doctrinal cheers Arius was banished and the council declared Christ by an overwhelming majority to be “of one essence of the Father, not made, being of one substance. The bishops championing Athanasius introduced their own creed, “We believe in one God the father-all sovereign, maker of Heaven and Earth…”

Another result of the council was a decision that Easter would be celebrated on the same Sunday throughout the Church. It was agreed that it would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the spring equinox.


Root Beer was created by pharmacist Charles E. Hires in 1876 on his honeymoon. He marketed it as an herbal tea made of various roots, berries, and herbs for cough and mouth sores.

Heroin was introduced in 1898 by Bayer as its new "sedative for coughs."

The speed of a cough is around 60mph.

Coughing can cause air to move through your windpipe faster than the speed of sound – over a thousand feet per second.

About 3,000 droplets of saliva are expelled in a single cough, and some of them fly out of the mouth at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.


In Ancient Greece the multipurpose couch was used for sleeping and for reclining at mealtime.

The Romans produced the same basic forms as the Greeks, and again the couch was popular. It eventually reached a characteristic form with a high back and high scrolled ends that terminated in carved animals' heads.

Source Encyclopedia of Britannica

Cotton Swab

Cotton swabs or Q-Tips® were invented in the 1920's by a Polish-born American named Leo Gerstenzang.

Gerstenzang got the idea after watching his wife clean their baby's ears with cotton stuck onto a toothpick.

Gerstenzang developed a machine that wound cotton uniformly around each end of a specially cured birch wood stick. The machine sterilised the swabs and then packaged them in a sliding box.

The phrase "untouched by human hands" became widely known in the production of cotton swabs.

Cotton Swabs were originally called "Baby Gays." It was changed in 1926 to Q-Tips, the "Q" standing for "quality."

The term "Q-tips" is often used as a genericized trademark for cotton swabs in the USA.

Cotton Picking

American inventor Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin on March 14, 1794. This simple device quickly removed the tiny seeds from cotton. Prior to the cotton gin, a slave produced one pound of lint in ten hours.

The cotton gin (see below) increased the yield to nearly 1,000 pounds per day, which caused the cotton-producing American states to increase their yield ten times over.

The unwillingness of planters to pay for the rights to use the gin brought many lawsuits. Whitney's machine was copied, his patent was infringed, and his factory was set on fire.

Though Eli Whitney eventually won in court (1807), he profited very little from his invention. He made more money as a gun manufacturer than he did from the cotton gin.

 Eli Whitney's cotton gin is short for "cotton engine".

By 1800 cotton production had increased from about 3,000 bales a year to 73,000. Whitney's cotton-cleaning invention brought prosperity to the South.

In 1944  a mechanical cotton picker was invented. By this stage only 5% of the Cotton crop was picked by hand.

Source Europress Encyclopedia


Cotton begun to be used and worn by the Ancient Egyptians in around 4000 BC.

Alexander the Great established cotton growing in Greece.

Cotton, which is called mian or mumian in Chinese, was first produced in China from an area now known as Yunnan, some time around 200 BC.

Raw cotton appeared in Italy about the middle of the 12th century. Traders from Genoa and Venice brought it from Antioch and Sicily and from the Orient by way of Alexandria. Weavers used it to make fustian, a coarse material combining cotton and linen.

By 1767  James Hargreaves had invented the spinning jenny. The machine called for considerable hand labor, however, and Hargreaves' jenny produced inferior yarn.

With the help of a clockmaker, Richard Arkwright constructed a spinning machine that produced a stronger yarn. He set up his spinning-frame in Preston in 1868. It was the first machine that could produce cotton thread of sufficient strength to be used as warp.

In 1777 Arkwright leased the Haarlem Mill in Wirksworth, Derbyshire where he installed the first steam engine to be used in a cotton mill.

Arkwright faced opposition on the grounds that his inventions reduced the need for labour, and in 1779 his large mill near Chorley was destroyed by a mob.

By 1785 about 30,000 people were employed in factories using Arkwright's patents.

Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin on March 14, 1794. This made it easier to separate the fibers from the seeds, making it possible to clean 50 pounds of cotton a day, compared to a pound a day before Whitney’s invention.

The first cotton mill to combine all the processes for making cloth under one roof was built in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1814. This coupled with Eli Whitney’s innovation of the cotton gin made so much cotton cloth available that for the first time in history inexpensive, ready-to-wear clothing could be made for working-class people.

The cotton fiber is from the cotton plant’s seed pod The fiber is hollow in the center and, under a microscope looks like a twisted ribbon.

Thomas Edison’s first light bulb filament was made of cotton (1879).

Paper money is not made from wood pulp but from cotton. This means that it will not disintegrate as fast if it is put in the laundry.

The USA is the world's largest exporter of cotton. Its "cotton belt" is made up of 17 states.

The world currently has enough cotton stockpiled to make 127 billion t-shirts.

It can take 2,700 liters of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single T-shirt.

The Chinese government owns 40% of the world's stock of cotton.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner was born in Lynwood, California on January 18, 1955. He is the youngest of three boys (the middle of whom died at birth) of Bill and Sharon Costner.

At 18, Kevin Costner built his own canoe and paddled his way down the rivers that Lewis and Clark followed to the Pacific.

Despite his present height of 6' 1", Costner was only 5'2" when he graduated high school. Nonetheless, he still managed to be a basketball, baseball and football star.

In 1978 he graduated from university with a BA in marketing and finance.

Before hitting it big in the acting business Kevin Costner worked as a skipper on the ride, the Jungle Cruise, at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  Funnyman Steve Martin once held the same job.

Costner also gave bus tours to the Los Angeles homes of stars, before he found fame.

His first film role was in the 1981 low-budget softcore film Sizzle Beach (aka. Malibu Hot Summer).

Costner's break came with The Big Chill (1983), even though his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor -- he was remembered by director Lawrence Kasdan when he decided to make Silverado (1985).

Costner at the premiere of Hidden Figures, December 2016

He won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture in 1990 for Dances With Wolves

The Sioux nation gave Costner a tract of land after making Dances with Wolves. Costner built a golf course on that land.

A skilled equestrian, Costner did his own riding in The Postman (1997).

He founded Kevin Costner & Modern West in 2007. The band's debut album, Untold Truths was released on November 11, 2008 by Universal South Records and peaked at #61 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Whilst better known as a movie actor and director, Kevin Costner made one huge contribution to popular music when he convinced Whitney Houston to cover Dolly Parton's country tune, "I Will Always Love You."

Costner spent years funding oil-water separation technology that was used to help clear up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. 

Sources Songfacts, IMDB

Costa Rica

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before it came under Spanish rule in the 16th century.

Officials in Panama used the name Costa Rica (Rich Coast) for the first time in 1539 to distinguish the territory between Panama and Nicaragua.

Costa Rica never fought for independence from Spain. On September 15, 1821, after the final Spanish defeat in the Mexican War of Independence (1810–21), Costa Rica declared independence from Spain jointly with Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

September 15th is celebrated as Independence Day in Costa Rica even though, technically, under the Spanish Constitution of 1812 that had been readopted in 1820, Nicaragua and Costa Rica had become an autonomous province with its capital in León.

The Costa Rica flag was officially adopted on November 27, 1906. It was updated to reflect concurrent modifications to the national coat of arms in 1964 and 1998. The flag of Thailand is similar to the Costa Rican flag, except the blue and red stripes are reversed.

Flag of Costa Rica

Costa Rica permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of a few sovereign nations without a standing army. The Costa Rican government stated that the army "would be replaced with an army of teachers." Today, the country has free universal public education and a literacy rate of 97%.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica first in its 2012 Happy Planet Index. The index takes life expectancy, happiness and environmental sustainability into consideration.

In 2012, Costa Rica became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin.

While Costa Rica has only about 0.03% of the world's landmass, it contains 4% of all known living species of flora and fauna.

Costa Rica is amongst the world´s biggest exporters of pineapples. The country´s pineapple industry is worth US$ 800 million to the national economy.

Around 25% of Costa Rica's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.

All five volcanoes in Costa Rica are active. They are known as the Poás, the Irazú, the Arenal, the Rincón de la Vieja, and the Turrialba.

Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 2.2 million foreign visitors in 2011.

Costa Rica’s national symbol is the clay-colored robin known as the yigüirro.



The word “cosmetic” comes from the same root as “cosmos” meaning order or adornment.

The earliest cosmetics known to archaeologists were in use in Egypt in the fourth millennium BC, as evidenced by the remains of artefacts probably used for eye make-up and for the application of scented ingredients

Ancient Egyptians first wore paints, especially around the eyes, as protection from the sun; soon personal adornment became a statement of status.

One of the earliest references to cosmetics is in the Old Testament 2 Kings 9:30, which tells of Jezebel putting on eye make-up.

The immoral and effeminate Assyrian monarch Sardanapalus is reputed to have allowed his passion for cosmetics free rein, thereby emphasizing his penchant to dress and paint himself like a woman; when threatened by the rapid advance of a ruthless enemy, he is said to have ordered a pile of aromatic woods to be lighted and to have placed himself upon it with his concubines and treasures, to be suffocated by the fragrant smoke.

Ancient Greeks kept their cosmetics in intricate boxes. Rouge reddened the cheeks, and various white powders (white lead and chalk) were used for a fair complexion.

The Romans were the most extravagant users of aromatics in history. It was quite customary for men to be heavily perfumed and even the legionaries reeked of the fragrances of the East.

Gladiator sweat and fats of the animals fighting in the arena were sold in souvenir pots outside of the games to improve women's beauty and complexion.

Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century AD encouraged the proclamation of a law to prevent women from tricking husbands into marriage by means of cosmetics.

Cosmetics were regarded in the later Middle Ages as a health threat because many thought they would block vapours and energy from circulating properly. Because men's make-up wasn't as obvious as women's (women wore egg whites over their faces to create a glazed look), it was seen as even more deceptive than women's.

In sober colonial New England makeup was strictly regulated. Tradespeople and poorer citizens were forbidden to wear cosmetics, and those who did were condemned as devil's disciples. Women used chalk, beetroot, crushed rose petals, and ground corn to beautify or protect their complexions.

Men, as well as women, used cosmetics heavily during the mid-18th century. The effect was not a natural one, however, as complexions were made to resemble porcelain. The face was stark white, with lips of bright red.

After the French Revolution the French wanted nothing to do with the aristocracy and gave up elaborate hairstyles and painted faces.

Back in the 1880s, New Yorker David H McConnell spent his school vacations selling Bibles. But he soon realized that the small samples of rose oil perfume, which he gave out with God’s Word, were received with greater enthusiasm than the Bibles themselves. So he founded the California Perfume Company, the forerunner of Avon.

The world's largest cosmetics company is L'Oréal, which was founded by Eugene Schueller in 1909 as the French Harmless Hair Colouring Company

The California Perfume Company, Inc. of New York filed their first trademark application for Avon on June 3, 1932 with the USPTO. McConnell called it Avon because he had visited Stratford-on-Avon and loved the countryside there.

In 1976 certain ingredients were banned from use by the cosmetics industry because of endangered species legislation that was passed as part of a growing environmental movement.

Of the estimated 1,000 cosmetic companies in 1990, 31 percent of sales were made by the top three--Avon, Revlon, and Estee Lauder.

The average woman puts 168 chemicals on her body every day through the use of make-up and other beauty products.

Europe has banned more than half the cosmetics Americans use on a daily basis due to health risks.

Sources Encyclopedia Britannica, Daily Express, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc, The Book of Spices by Frederic Rosengarten

Monday, 21 July 2014

Bill Cosby

When Bill Cosby (b 1937) was cast in 1965 alongside Robert Culp in the I Spy espionage adventure series, Cosby became the first African-American co-star in a dramatic television series.

Cosby in 1957. By Navy Medicine from Washington, DC, USA - 14-0007, CC BY 2.0, $3

Cosby met his future wife, Camille Olivia Hanks, while he was performing stand-up in Washington, DC, in the early 1960s, and she was a student at the University of Maryland. They married on January 25, 1964.

Bill and Camille had five children: four daughters and a son. Their son Ennis was murdered on January 16, 1997 while changing a flat tire on the side of Interstate 405 in Los Angeles.

Ennis Cosby, 1992

All of Bill Cosby's children have names beginning with an E, to represent "excellence."

The title character of Bill Cosby's Little Bill book series and animated children's television series (see below) was based on Ennis.

An avid musician, Cosby is best known as a jazz drummer.

Bill Cosby's 1967 musical comedy single, "Little Ole Man" peaked at #4 on the Hot 100. A note-for-note re-recording of Stevie Wonder's “Uptight, Everything's Alright” was used as the backing track.

The Cosby Show was the number one show in America for five straight years (1985–89).

Adam Sandler started his acting career as a recurring character on The Cosby Show in the 80s.

Fatherhood by Bill Cosby, published by Doubleday/Dolphin in 1986, became the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time. It remained for over half of its fifty-four weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List at #1.

Cosby's  next Doubleday/Dolphin title, Time Flies, broke the record with the largest single first printing in publishing history with 1.75 million copies.

Bill Cosby has more than a dozen honorary degrees.

Cosby's career and image were seriously damaged in the mid-2010s by over 60 sexual assault accusations by women, the earliest of which date back decades. He was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault in April 2018, and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison on September 25, 2018.

Source Wikipedia

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hernando Cortés

Hernando Cortés (1485-1547)  was born in Medellin in the South East of Estremadura, South West Spain.

He was the only child of Martín Cortés, a military captain in the infantry.and Catalina Pizarro Altamirano.

Through his mother, he was second cousin to Francisco Pizarro, who later conquered the Inca empire of modern-day Peru.

Cortés studied at Salamanca but in 1501 he abandoned his law studies to take up a life of adventure.

Cortés was a soldier and farmer until 1511 when he sailed under Diego Velasquez to help conquer Cuba.

He was elected in 1511 alcalde, a sort of mayor/judge of Santiago the then capital of Cuba.

In 1519 he was sent by the governor of Cuba to look for a relative of his whom had not yet returned from a voyage to the Gulf. But Cortés had other ideas.

On his first expedition to Mexico in 1519,  he landed with only 650 men and 16 horses, 13 muskets and seven small cannons, Cortés and his men burnt their ships on landing.

They gained support from the Tlaxcalan people who were enemies of the Aztecs. The Tlaxcalans provided Cortés with most of his troops.

Armour, crossbows, guns, cannons and horses were all unknown to the Aztecs.

When the Aztecs first saw Cortés with his black beard and pale skin, they weren't sure if he was a man or a god.

When Cortés arrived in Tenochtitlan, Mexico in November 8, 1519, the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, received him as a god. (Their god, Zalcoati, had disappeared across the Atlantic and was due to return in 1519.) Cortés told the emperor that he came as an ambassador from the King of Spain with instructions to preach true religion and end their cannibalistic practices.

Cortés destroyed the Aztec fashion industry of jaguar skins and feather cloaks.

He brought silkworm eggs and mulberry trees to Mexico from Spain thus introducing silk to America.

The Spanish conquistador introduced vine growing to Mexico, which then slowly spread north via the Spanish missions.

His first wife the Cuban Catalina Suárez Marcaida, died at Coyoacán in 1522 without issue.

Cortés took numerous captives, one of whom, Malinche (baptised Marina), became his mistress; out of loyalty to him she acted as the interpreter, guide, and counsellor for the Spaniards.

Cortés married his second wife doña Juana Ramírez de Arellano de Zúñiga in 1529. She was the daughter of don Carlos Ramírez de Arellano, 2nd Count of Aguilar and wife the Countess doña Juana de Zúñiga.

Cortés left his many Indian and white children well cared for in his will, along with every one of their mothers.

In 1521, after four months of siege Cortés captured the flower-covered Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan which was five times larger than London at the time. Cortés replaced it with Mexico City.

In 1522 Cortés was promoted to Governor and Captain-General of Mexico after the sacking of Tenochtitlan.

He lived  in the broad fertile plains of the South of Mexico where he called himself the Marquis of the Valley of Oaxacha.

Portrait of Cortés at Museo del Prado.

In 1526 Cortés was sacked as governor of Mexico so ruthless were his methods and he spent the remainder of his life pleading his cause.

After Cortés bought back chocolate from Mexico, it became a profitable industry for Spain, which planted cocoa trees in its overseas colonies.

Cortés always kept a chocolate pot on his desk.

Cortés was devoted to the Virgin Mary, always keeping a statuette of her upon his person. He said his prayers and attended Mass daily.

Cortés returned to Mexico in 1530 with new titles and honors, but with diminished power.

In 1536, Cortés explored the northwestern part of Mexico and discovered the Baja California peninsula.

Cortés served as a volunteer in 1541 in the unsuccessful Spanish expedition against Algiers, lost a large part of his remaining fortune, and was shipwrecked.

He died in Castilleja de la Cuesta, Seville province, on December 2, 1547, from a case of pleurisy at the age of 62.

Cortés conquered 315,000 square miles in total, defeating the Aztecs, seizing southern and central Mexico and later subjugating Guatemala and Honduras to Spanish rule.


The corset has been around since Neolithic times when women wore laced bodices made of animal hides.

The fashion for the corset is attributed to Catherine de Médicis, wife of King Henry II of France. In the 1550's she enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance's and started over 350 years of whalebones, steel rods and midriff torture.

In the 16th century, corsets showed a person’s social standing and, at the French court, no lady-in-waiting was allowed a waist of more than 13 inches.

The authoress Louisa Alcott protested against the corset.

Queen Victoria lamented  the 19th century fashion for the waist being whittled away by the corset into the space that could fit between a man’s hands.

Some Victorian physicians argued that women needed corsets to support their internal organs.

Corsets were often made with whalebone. In the 1800s, the baleen whale was crucial to corset-making.

Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced' wore a tightly tied lace.

World War I dealt the corset a fatal blow when the American War Industries Board called on women to stop buying corsets in 1917, freeing up some 28,000 tons of metal!

Source Inventors.about.


A New York fishing company became the first corporation to be chartered in the United States in 1675.

U.S. Steel, the first billion-dollar corporation and once the world's largest producer of steel, was incorporated by industrialist J. P. Morgan in 1901.

The General Motors Corporation becomes the first U.S. corporation to make over US$1 billion in a year in 1955.

Corporal Punishment

The medieval school boy princes of Europe employed “whipping boys” to take their punishment for them. When Edward VI of England was a student, his whipping boy was a certain Barnaby Fitzpatrick.

Roger Ascham was a schoolmaster who was tutor for two years to the future Elizabeth I. His book The Schoolmaster, published by his widow in 1570, laid out his liberal ideas, which included him being against corporal punishment.

Poland was the first nation to outlaw corporal punishment in schools in 1783.

Flogging in the British army was abolished in 1859.

The United States Army abolished flogging in 1861.

The Eastbourne manslaughter (R v Hopley) was an 1860 legal case in Eastbourne, England, about the death of a teenage pupil at the hands of his teacher, Thomas Hopley. Reginald Cancellor's parents gave Hopley permission to use corporal punishment to overcome what he perceived as the boy's stubbornness. After the boy died, the teacher insisted that the beating was justifiable and that he was not guilty of any crime. An inquest into Cancellor's death began when his brother requested an autopsy. As a result of the inquest Hopley was arrested and found guilty of manslaughter.  The judge Sir Alexander Cockburn, who was the Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, sentenced him to four years in prison.

Cockburn's requirement for "moderate and reasonable" punishment was established as a legal limit to corporal punishment and is still employed in modern legal scholarship,

The Hopley trial was sensationalized by the Victorian press and incited debate over the use of corporal punishment in schools.

1888 cartoon depicting J.S. Kerr, an Australian proponent of punishment by caning

Physical discipline was officially banned in state-funded schools, throughout the United Kingdom, in 1986

Coronation Street

The first episode of Coronation Street, the world's longest-running television soap opera, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on December 9, 1960. It was expected to last just 13 weeks.

Within six months of its start in 1960, Coronation Street was the most-watched program in the UK.

Research in 1997 showed that the mortality rates of Coronation Street characters are worse than those of oil rig divers or bomb disposal men.  New characters in their twenties had a 10 per cent chance of being killed off within five years.

The Rovers Return Inn in Coronation Street takes its name from the Rover’s Return in Withy Grove, Manchester, which was demolished in 1958.

William Roache has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since it was first started in 1960 by Tony Warren.

Prince Charles made an appearance in Coronation Street, for its 40th anniversary in 2000.

The video of the 1984 Queen single "I Want to Break Free" parodied the show's female characters.

Source Daily Express


The basic English coronation service was devised by St Dunstan for the coronation of King Edgar in 973.

Edward V (abducted) and Edward VIII (abdicated) were the only English monarchs who never had coronations.

Charles II of England wore stilettos to his Coronation.

The coronation of Napoleon as Emperor of the French took place on Sunday December 2, 1804 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (see below). It was was a sacred ceremony held in the great cathedral in the presence of the Pope Pius VII. Napoleon was vested in a long white satin tunic embroidered in gold thread and Josephine similarly wore a white satin empire style dress embroidered in gold thread.

In 1821 George IV excluded his unpopular wife Queen Caroline from his coronation.

As Queen Victoria was being crowned on June 28, 1838, the Archbishop of Canterbury forced the Coronation Ring on to the wrong finger. She didn't complain, but had to ice her bruised finger later.

An emergency royal appendectomy led to the postponement of Edward VII’s coronation in 1901.

The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, was taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students on Christmas Day 1850. It later turned up in Scotland three and a half months later.

The first outside broadcast on UK television was the Coronation of George VI in 1937.

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was crowned in Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI in 1953. It was the first coronation to be televised and millions watched worldwide.

Coronation Chicken was first made for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

 A “coronation spoon” has been used at every English coronation since 1349 to anoint the monarch with a secret mixture of oils.

Only one of the 17 wives of Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Republic was allowed to attend his lavish coronation in 1977.

Source Daily Express

Cornish Pasty

The Cornish Pasty originally evolved to meet the needs of tin mining, in Cornwall. These pasties contained meat and vegetables wrapped in pastry, sometimes one end contains jam or fruit as well thus giving the hard-working men a very practical lunch (or "croust”, as they called it) down in the dark and damp tunnels of the mine.

Cornish housewives would mark their husband's initials on the left-hand side of the pastry casing, in order to avoid confusion at lunchtime.

Henry VIII's queen, Jane Seymour, is known to have enjoyed a Cornish pasty on several occasions.

The earliest known reference to a ‘Cornish pasty’ was in 1877.

The largest-ever Cornish pasty weighed 1,900lb and was 15ft long. It was made in Bodmin, Cornwall in 2010.

The world's only Cornish Pasty museum can be found in the Mexican mountain town of Real De Monte, over 4500 miles away from Cornwall.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

Corned Beef

Corned beef (preserving beef with "corns" or large grains of salt)  was developed in Europe in the 11th century. In the Irish text Aislinge meic Con Glinne there is a reference to “perpetual joints of corned beef”.

The word “hash” for a fried left-overs dish came into English in around 1677 from the old French word 'hacher', meaning to chop. Corned beef hash has its origins in being a particularly delicious combination of odds and ends.

Source Food For Thought by Ed Pearce


Corn used to be a bitter fruit 19mm short – human manipulation changed it to the size and taste we are used to today.

Some early forms of corn were only edible as popcorn. The Aztecs were making popcorn from wild corn prior to making flour from corn.

Christopher Nolan grew an actual corn field for the movie Insterstellar, and actually turned a profit on it

An ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows.

A pound of corn consists of about 1,300 kernels.

The corncob (ear) is actually part of the corn plant's flower.

An ear of corn almost always has an even number of rows (twelve, fourteen, or sixteen).

Contrary to popular belief, you do actually break down and absorb the nutrients in corn—you just don't digest the kernels.

About 70 per cent of Canadian corn is grown in Ontario.

40% of corn is used for ethanol to add to fuel; another 40% is used for livestock feed.

Corn has an incredibly long shelf life. Archaeologists have been able to pop 1,000-year-old popcorn.

The Indian word maiz means "sacred mother" or "giver over life". Some ancient tribes believed that corn is afraid to be cooked so a woman must warm it first with her breath.

Farmers grow corn on every continent except Antarctica.

6,726 boxes of cornflakes are produced from one acre of harvested corn.

Popcorn is the only type of corn that will pop.



Cork is made from the bark of a tree, Quercus suber, or the cork oak.These trees have thick, rugged bark from which cork is made.

In cork cultivation you don’t have to chop down a tree to make corks, you can harvest the bark without harming the tree, and repeat it again in another 7-10 years.

At the turn of the sixteenth century, The Italians sealed their wine bottles by topping the wine with olive oil, which filled the neck of the bottle. When a fresh bottle was used for serving drinks, the host would after pouring away the oil, fill his glass first before his guests in case there were any drops of oil left in the wine.

One day in around 1568 Alexander Nowell, the Dean of St Paul's in London, left a glass bottle of beer with a cork stopper behind on a fishing trip. When he returned a week later to retrieve it and opened the bottle, he found “no bottle, but a gun, so great was the sound.” However he found the contents had improved, and some claim this to be the original of bottled ale in England

Dom Pierre Pérignon, the inventor of champagne, used cork stoppers made of the outer bark of an oak tree, which previously had been used by Spaniards to seal their wineskins. They replaced the existing hemp-wrapped wooden stoppers.

The corkscrew was invented by M.L. Byrn of New York in 1860. Its design was derived from a similar device used by musketmen to remove stuck bullets from rifles.

During World War a famous inhabitant of the Cheshire Cheese pub just off Fleet Street in London was a parrot. On Armistice night it repeated some 400 times its trick of imitating the pop of a champagne cork, before collapsing from temporary exhaustion.

The mosaic Homage to Mediterranean Life was created from 229,764 wine corks.

An agraffe is the wire cage that keeps the cork in a bottle of champagne.

The pressure inside a champagne bottle can launch a cork at 50 miles per hour - fast enough to shatter glass.

You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi originated as the Bronant Corgi of the Celts (corgi is Celtic for "dog") from Central Europe, who brought the dog into Wales in about 1200 BC.

According to folk legend, corgis are a gift from the woodland fairies; the breed's markings were left on its coat by fairy harnesses and saddles.

The word “corgi” comes from two Welsh words meaning “dwarf” and “dog”.

Some Welsh purists may insist that the plural of corgi is “corgwn”.

These Corgi dogs were used by Welsh farmers to herd cattle onto grazing pastures.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi was bred to have short legs so they could run under cattle and avoid their dangerous kicks.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi are also called yard-long dog because it is the same length from the tip of its nose to the end of its outstretched tail as a Welsh yard.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog was brought to Wales by Flemish weavers in 1107.

Pembroke Corgi Image 

In 1933 the first Welsh Corgis were brought to the United States by American breeder Mrs. Lewis Roesler, for her Merriedip Kennels in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts. She purchased a Pembroke bitch, Little Madam, at London's Paddington Station followed by a mate named, Captain William Lewis.

Princess Elizabeth was given her first corgi as an 18th-birthday gift on April 21, 1944. She named her Susan and adored her pet corgi so much that she took her on honeymoon.

Queen Elizabeth II is one of the longest-established Pembroke corgi breeders on the planet. For nearly 70 years, Windsor Castle was home to her corgi breeding program, which she shut down in 2015.  Everyone of them were descended from Susan.

The corgis eat chicken and rice cooked by chefs served by a butler on battered silver and porcelain dishes. The Queen feeds them one by one, in order of seniority,.

Footman Matthew King was demoted in 1999 for spiking the corgis’ food and water with whisky and gin as a prank.

Sometimes the Queen allows her pets to sleep in her room, but mostly they spend the night in their own room, next to the Page's Pantry, in wicker baskets raised slightly off the ground to avoid draughts.

In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II decided not to breed any more corgis, so she wouldn't leave them behind when she passed away. Her last corgi died in April of 2018.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc,  Daily Mail


In 1842 Charles Darwin has formulated the first accurate basic explanation of the origin of coral reefs in his The Structure & Distribution of Coral Reefs.

Coral reefs make up only 1% of the ocean floor, but are home to 25% of all ocean life.

Coral reefs support the most species per unit area of any of the planet’s ecosystems, rivaling rain forests.

Coral Reefs are the largest living structures on Earth — with some visible even from space.

Reefs such as The Great Barrier Reefs are called “barriers” when they run parallel to the coastline, in a way that they protect the shallow waters from the open sea.

The Black Sea Rod Coral contains large quantities of a lipid, prostaglandin A, which deters predatory fish from feeding on it by making them vomit.

14,000 tons of sunscreen are discharged into coral reefs each year, and a drop of it contains enough oxybenzone to disrupt coral growth.


The Statute of Anne, the first fully-fledged law regulating copyright, entered into force in Great Britain on April 10, 1710. Consisting of 11 sections, the Statute of Anne is formally titled "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of Copies, during the Times therein mentioned."

The Statute of Anne
The United States enacted its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790 on May 31, 1790. It protected books, maps, and other original material.

Unscrupulous publisher Stellovsky contract with Fyodor Dostoyevsky stated that he would obtain copyrights to all of the Russian author's past work if he did not produce a new novel by a certain date.

Thomas Edison's one-and-a-half second film, The Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, which showed comedian Fred Ott sneezing was the first film to be registered for a copyright.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was established in New York City in 1914 to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members.

A map making company in the 1930s placed a made up an hamlet (village) in their maps as a copyright trap. Years later the village started showing up on Rand McNally maps. The originator of the map sued for copyright infringement, but in fact locals and government had adopted and used the name.

Rudolph is copyrighted - Chuck Berry had to pay up when he wrote a rock song about the famous reindeer ("Run Rudolph Run").

17-year-old Kenny Loggins wasn't going to be able to record his song "House at Pooh Corner" because Disney was enforcing their copyright to Winnie the Pooh. Upset, he mentioned this to his girlfriend, only to find out her dad was the CEO of the Disney corporation– he soon got permission.

In 1984 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that using a home video recorder to tape movies and television shows for non-commercial purposes did not violate federal copyright law.

The Guinness Book of Records is the world's most sold copyrighted book, earning it an entry within its own pages.

Georgia State Law is copyrighted. You can be sued for publishing it.

Texts more than 70 years old, and thus out of copyright, can be downloaded for free on a E-Reader from Project Gutenberg.

The Golden Records on the Voyager probes includes copyrighted material that aliens will be able to access and use completely for free, but we can't.

Cartographers protect their intellectual property by slipping fake streets, or even entire towns, into their maps. If the street/town shows up on another map, they know it was stolen. Dictionary writers have been known to do the same thing with fake words.

Clowns paint their faces onto eggs to copyright them so other clowns can't use the same face. There is a registry of egg faces in both Europe and in the United States.

The only 15 letter words that can be spelled without repeating a letter are 'uncopyrightable' and  'dermatoglyphics' (study of fingerprints). 


Copper was the first metal to be worked by ancient people as it is easy to locate, can be easily worked with stone tools, and requires no smelting or refinement.

Some early cultures used copper for ornamentation, some used it for tools and weapons, and some used it for all three.

The oldest customer service complaint—which was about inferior copper ingots—was written on a clay tablet in Mesopotamia 4000 years ago.

Sweden's 17th century currency was copper. After it fell in value, Swedes had to carry huge chunks to pay for goods.

Copper was in such short supply in the US during the First World War that the government started to make coins out of glass.

The country of Chile is the world’s largest producer and exporter of copper.

Copper and brass are self-sterilizing materials capable of killing harmful microbes within two hours or less. When used as door knobs in hospital they kill bacteria, even antibiotic ones such as MRSA far faster than steel and aluminium due to this effect.

Slugs dislike copper; their slime  reacts with it and gives them an electric shock.

Copper ore

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

Octopuses have copper-based blood instead of iron-based blood, which is why their blood is blue rather than red.

Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus was born on February 19, 1473 in the Polish city of Toruń, His father Nikolas, was a wealthy businessman and copper trader, Nicolaus was ten years of age when his father died.

Little is known of his mother, Barbara Watzenrode, but she appears to have predeceased her husband.

His maternal uncle, Lucas Watzenrode, a church canon (a church administrator) and later the Prince-Bishop governor of Warmia, raised Nicolaus and his three other siblings after the death of his father.

His brother Andrew became canon in Frombork. A sister, Barbara, became a Benedictine nun and the other sister, Katharina, married a businessman and city councillor, Barthel Gertner.

His uncle saw to it that his nephew obtained a solid education at the best universities. Copernicus entered the University of Kraków in 1491, studied the liberal arts for four years without receiving a degree, and then, like many Poles of his social class, went to Italy to study medicine and law.

Copernicus encountered astronomy for the first time at the University of Kraków, thanks to his teacher Albert Brudzewski. This science soon fascinated him, as his books (stolen by Swedes during The Deluge, and now in Uppsala's library) show. In 1503 he received his doctoral degree in canon law.

Through his Bishop uncle's influence, he was appointed a canon in the cathedral of Frauenberg in 1495 remaining in that office for the rest of his life without being ordained.

Copernicus worked for years with the Prussian diet on monetary reform and published some studies about the value of money.

He lived at Frauenberg from 1514 in a house belonging to one of the canons. It is said there can be still be seen the holes in the walls of his apartment through which Copernicus used to watch the stars.

Nicolaus Copernicus portrait from Town Hall in Toruń - 1580)

He invented a hydraulic machine to supply the houses of the canons he lived with in Frauenberg with water from an adjacent stream.

Copernicus completed his revolutionary book On the Revolutionary of Heavenly Bodies by 1532 but feared the reaction to his theory that the Earth revolves round the Sun rather than the current established teaching that the Earth is at the center of the universe..

His friend Georg Rhaethicus kept a copy of the book until Copernicus was virtually on his deathbed when it was finally published.

Cropped version of title page

On the Revolutions of the Earth Through the Heavens included the first use of the word "revolution" in that context. His publisher claimed that this theory was merely a mathematical contrivance.

Copernicus was correct in his concern as it was greeted with a hostile reception as many claimed this meant that man no longer can be viewed as the ultimate creation. The Pope forbade Christians from reading it and Luther referred to Confucius’ theory as “anti Biblical and intolerable.”

Astronomer Copernicus, or Conversations with God, by Matejko. In background: Frombork Cathedral.

On the Revolutionary of Heavenly Bodies was a financial flop as in 1543 over priced and allowed to go out of print.

Copernicus was seized with apoplexy and paralysis in late 1542, and he died aged 70 on May 24, 1543.

Little attention was paid to Copernicus' system until Galileo a century later discovered evidence to support it. On March 5, 1616, On the Revolutionary of Heavenly Bodies was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books by Roman Catholic Church (more than 70 years after its publication).