Archive for February, 2012


90% of Americans consume some caffeine every day

and 9 other oddball facts about your morning kick-off




The interesting, the incredible and the irritating

1.       Caffeine may make men more fertile — a study at the University of Sao Paolo found significantly higher sperm motility in male coffee drinkers vs. non-coffee drinkers.

2.      Logan Warren created and ordered the most expensive Starbucks drink ever this week — $23.60 for a “Java Chip Frappuccino in a Trenta cup, 16 shots of espresso, a shot of soy milk, caramel flavoring, banana puree, strawberry puree, vanilla beans, Matcha powder, protein powder and a drizzle of caramel and mocha (via Time)

3.      Brazil produces about 30% of all the coffee grown around the world — more than any other single country (via Professor’s House).

4.      Americans take the gold when it comes to coffee consumption — every day, more than 400 million cups of coffee are drunk in the U.S.A., or 146 billion cups a year (via Inquisitr).

5.      Coffee was discovered by a goat — or, more exactly, by an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi, who in the 9th century, put together his goats’ excited behavior with their munching on the red berries of a certain shrub — or so the legend goes. (via Gaggia Coffee).

6.      Lighter roast beans have more caffeine than darker roasts — the longer the beans are roasted, the darker they became and the more caffeine is baked out of them. (via Coffee Cup News).

7.      “I’ll have a Venti Dirty Hippie, please.” There is a secret Starbucks menu — next time you stop in, try ordering a Dirty Chai Tea (a chai latte with a shot of espresso) a Zebra Mocha (combination of a white chocolate mocha and a regular mocha, sometimes called a Penguin Mocha or a Black and White Mocha), a Widow Maker (half iced black tea, half iced black coffee), a Dirty Hippy (a Dirty Chai with soy milk) or a Green Eye (adding 3 shots of espresso to your coffee – if you want one added, that’s a Red Eye; two is a Black Eye). For more of the secret menu, visit The Daily Meal).

8.      Excedrin® is actually a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine — caffeine constricts the blood vessels in the brain. If your headache is vascular, caffeine will help alleviate it.

9.      Coffee reached Rome in the 16th century, where a group of Christian clerics pronounced it the drink of the devil and tried to have it banned. Pope Clement VIII would not agree to the ban until he had tried the drink himself — one sip and he was hooked. In fact, he had the drink baptized to become a true Christian drink. (via Galla Coffee)


Except for February, Which Has 28…

1.         According to Irish tradition, February 29th is the one day women have the right to propose to men

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2.        Born on February 29th, Frederic, the hero in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance,” discovers that although he is 21 years old, his indenturement requires he serve until his 21st birthday — at which point he would be over 80.

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3.        In Welsh, February is called the little month — y mis bach — because it normally has only 28 days.

4.        Moving from a lunar-based calendar to a solar-based, each year is 365 and 1/4 days long — therefore every fourth year requires an additional day for the calendar to stay on schedule.

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5.        If we stopped observing leap year, in about 200 years, we would be dreaming of an orange Christmas, as the holiday would fall in the middle of autumn, about when Halloween falls now.

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6.        “What is a frog’s favorite time?” “Leap Year”

7.         Traditionally, February 29th was the best time to commit a crime in England — according to English law, the day is ignored and has no legal status, so crimes on that day were not prosecuted. How can you commit a crime on a day that doesn’t exist?

8.        In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar decreed that the lunar based calendar would be replaced with a calendar based on the cycle of the earth’s rotation around the sun (which governs the seasons) — and that every fourth year would contain an extra day, as his astronomers informed him that the solar cycle was 365 1/4 days long.

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9.        In Scotland, it was once illegal for a man to turn down a proposal of marriage on February 29th.

10.      In 2012, February 29th is being recognized by 56 countries as “Rare Disease Day” — supporting research into uncommon illnesses.

11.        How to tell if it’s a leap year? a) the year must be divisible by 4, b) the year must NOT be divisible by 100, and c) unless it’s divisible by 400, in which case it is still a leap year.

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12.      Dinah Shore, Ja Rule and Jimmy Dorsey were all born on February 29th.

13.      The odds of being born on February 29th are 1,461 to 1.

14.      Hattie McDaniel was the first black person to win an Academy Award, which she did on February 29, 1940.


15.      The technical term for a leap year is “bisextile” — in ancient Rome, the extra day wasn’t added to the end of the month, but on the sixth day before the Calends of March (typically February 24th). Therefore this day would occur twice in a leap year — hence “bi” (for twice) and “sex” (for six).

16.      In the 16th century, the Catholic church noticed that Easter was falling too late and realized that the solar year is 11 minutes shy of a full 365 1/4 days and this was causing a seasonal shift. Pope Gregory XIII adjusted the Julian calendar to account for this by eliminating three leap years in every 400 years — which is why there is no leap year in years divisible by 100, unless they are also divisible by 400.

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17.      The year 46 B.C. was 15 months long to make up for the seasonal discrepancy that had accumulated to that point.

18.      The Julian calendar became the Gregorian calendar in 1582, upon Pope Gregory XIII’s decree that the Julian calendar was still accumulating a seasonal discrepancy and to account for it, three leap years would be eliminated every four centuries going forward.

19.      Karin Henriksen of Norway gave birth to three children on three consecutive leap days — in 1960, 1964 and 1968.

20.     People born on leap day are called “leaplings” or “leapers.”

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21.      February 2012 is a month of Wednesdays — there are five.

22.     It is considered unlucky in Scotland to be born on leap day.

23.     In 1928, Henry Craddock — the head bartender at the Savoy Hotel in  London — introduced the Leap Year cocktail (1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part orange liqueur and 4 parts gin, with a dash of fresh lemon juice).

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24.     All leaplings are born under the sign Pisces, and according to astrologers, have unusual personalities and talents.

25.     It is called a “leap year” because in England the extra day was not recognized under law, the day was ignored — or “leapt over.”

26.     According to legend, it was a nun, St. Bridget, who campaigned in the 5th century for women’s right to propose marriage — something previously unheard of. St. Patrick finally relented — and permitted women to propose to men on one day every four years.

27.     In 1712, Sweden had two leap days, February 29th and February 30th — to facilitate the country’s switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

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28.     In America, the role reversal of girls asking boys takes place on “Sadie Hawkins Day.” Sadie Hawkins is a character in Al Capp’s famous cartoon strip, L’il Abner. Sadie Hawkins Day traditionally occurs in November, when schools around the country hold Sadie Hawkins Dances.

29.     The beginning of this century, the year 2000 will be the last century to start with a leap year until 2400.




Light Up Chicago For the Next 10 Years

Some surprising facts about recycling and conserving resources

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Have you ever wondered what reading your newspaper online or using reusable bags really accomplishes? Here’s some perspective:

1. Paper

  • If everyone in America reduced their paper use by 10%:
  • enough energy would be saved to power all the households in Chicago for more than five years
  • the water saved would provide all the water used by San Francisco households for a year and a half
  • the same amount of trash the entire population of California creates in nearly half a year would be eliminated

2. Newspaper

  • Even as the newspaper industry ponders its future in the modern world of technology, tablets and TV, the paper consumption stats are staggering:
  • Americans throw out about 44 million newspapers every day — or about  two million trees a month


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3. Recycling

  • In 2010, according to the EPA, Americans recycled more than 60% of the paper they used — almost 45 million tons
  • Every ton of 50% post-consumer content plain copy paper purchased saves about 12 trees

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4. Margins

Decreasing your standard margin on printed documents to .75” on all sides would reduce your paper usage by nearly 5%. If everyone in the U.S. reduced their margins, more than 5 million trees would be saved.

5. Mail

The average adult in the U.S. receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year — almost half of that goes straight to the land fill unopened. Services like Catalog Choice, 41 Pounds, and the DMA’s Do Not Mail list can cut down on your unwanted catalogs and junk mail

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6. Shopping Bags

Switching to reusable bags reduces the use and discarding of plastic bags:

  • More than 10 percent of debris on the US coastlines consists of plastic bags
  •  It is not cost-effective to recycle plastic bags; most recycling plants won’t accept them — meaning discarded bags simply go to landfills where they take anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to decompose
  • In a single year, Americans use nearly 1 billion shopping bags — creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste

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Super Bowl Super Trivia

7 facts that might surprise you

Consecutive and defeated

The Buffalo Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls (1990-1993). The Bills have never won a Super Bowl title.

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Super Bowl and sitcoms

Of the top ten most watched TV shows of all time, only two are not Super Bowls: the M*A*S*H series finale in 1983 and the Cheers 100-minute series finale special in 1993. Last year’s Super Bowl is to date the most watched TV show ever aired in the U.S. with 111 million viewers.

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It’s the national anthem — how hard can it be?

Kelly Clarkson is on tap to sing the anthem at this year’s game. In the past year, this song has not fared well at NFL events: first mangled by Christina Aguilera at Super Bowl XLV, the words then eluded Lauren Alaina at the Packers/Lions Thanksgiving game, while the melody seemed to escape Steven Tyler at the AFC Championships.

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What’s a second worth?

More than $100,000. That’s what advertisers are paying to air their commercials during this year’s game — $3.5 million for a half-minute spot. In 1967, a 30 second spot cost $42,000.

Overtime is over-rated

There has never been an overtime game in Super Bowl history.

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Super stomach ache

Antacid sales reportedly are 20% higher than normal on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

Three time winner

Joe Montana is the only player in NFL history to win Super Bowl MVP three times.

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