Page 9 - Interesting Facts

During a government shut down in 1995, 5 bikes road their mountain bikes down to the very bottom of the Grand Canyon.


The National Park service has a regulation banning the riding of bikes in certain national park wilderness areas.

One of these places is everything below the rim of the Grand Canyon, much to the dismay of mountain bikers.

When the federal government fails to reach a budget in time, everything non-essential is shut down.

The National Park Service falls under this, so when it happened in 1995, some were there to take advantage—or at least try.

On November 19th, five mountain bikers, now known as “The Sedona 5,” snuck their way over to the start of the 14-mile downhill slope to the bottom of the Canyon. They made it down after passing around a marijuana pipe and eating psychedelic mushrooms only minutes before taking off.

The five even got a helicopter ride back up the canyon—although it was a police helicopter on its way to a federal prison. The Canyon may have been shut down, but what they did was still illegal and there were people to see it.

For this, the five received folk-hero status among mountain bikers.

If you think a helicopter escort back up is a little bit extreme for five bikers riding in a prohibited area, you're probably right. But what the police were reacting to was a little more than that. The ranger in charge had called in the helicopter as backup.

They found 18 grams of marijuana and 15 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Plus two of the five turned up in the national law enforcement database with warrants for their arrest, although it was later found out that this was a case of mistaken identity.

The Sedona 5 weren’t the only ones to ride down the canyon during the closure, but their story and media attention has given them the fame they now have. What was their punishment? They made a plea bargain and only had to pay fines and forfeit their (expensive) bikes.

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You could make $5000 from one pound of whale vomit! How?


Thinking of a career change? Apparently, the whale vomit market is really hot right now.

That's right, if you've got a sharp eye and don't mind the beach being your full-time office, you could make as much as $5,000 for a single pound of the stuff.

Of course, it would be a tough sell to get anyone to buy "whale vomit," which is why it was denoted with the much nicer and more common name of ambergris. Its smooth, indescribable scent is a main ingredient in fine perfumes thanks to it's ability to make scents bind to the surface of the skin instead of rapidly evaporating.

It forms in the intestines of a sperm whale, and is quickly chucked up because the whale can't digest it. Some scientists believe it's a protective measure to prevent the whales from scratching their sensitive organs with the sharp squid beaks that they often end up eating.

Initially, ambergris is a disgusting scent and sight. It comes out smelling like cow dung and is squishy from it's travels through the whale. However, after a decade of floating in the salty sea it hardens and turns into a solid, waxy clump that is not so bad to smell.

Because of it's short supply and high demand, a single gram of the stuff can be worth between $10 and $20 depending on the quality. So toss out those metal detectors and start thinking up ways to find whale vomit to ensure your retirement!

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In the early 1900's, farmers used their fences to communicate. How they did it is amazing


There's an old saying that goes "give a farmer some wire and a pair of pliers and he will fix anything". Farmers in the US are a resourceful bunch.

Thus, when US phone companies found it too expensive to run telephone cables to rural areas, the farming communities weighed in to solve the problem.

Communication methods in the early 1900's were primitive and rural ranchers were certainly cut off from the world. There was no way of sharing information regarding weather, fires or general problems, with neighbouring farms.

The invention of the telephone and subsequent roll out of a national system gave these isolated folk a glimmer of hope. However, phone companies were focusing on urban areas first, so in 1902, a group of Montana farmers decided to build their own phone network.

Farmers discovered that if you hooked phone sets to the wires of the barbed wire fences that separated the farms, calls could be made. Thus was born the first distributed "party line."

Farmers were now able to communicate and share important information. Even better, there were no operators, no bills and certainly no long distance charges.

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Some awesome lists!

Archaeologists found 2000 year old seeds in Israel. One of them sprouted and is now a tree that was extinct for 1800 years!


When archaeologists excavated Herod the Great's palace on Masada, Israel between 1963 and 1965, they found some date palm seeds in an ancient jar.

They were stored in a very dry and sheltered space.

Radiocarbon dating was performed at the University of Zurich and it revealed that the seeds dated from between 155 B.C.E. to 64 C.E.!

They were subsequently held in storage at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, until in 2005.

Three of the seeds were planted after being pretreated in a fertilizer and hormone-rich solution and eight weeks later, one of the ancient seeds sprouted.

Three years later, in 2008, the tree was nearly four feet tall and had nearly a dozen leafs.

The tree is now the only living tree of its kind because the Judean date palm was extinct for more than 1800 years until this seed germinated. This type of palm tree used to be a major food source and an export crop of ancient Judea.

It was decided to name the tree Methuselah, after the longest-lived character in the Bible and it grows at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arabah desert in southern Israel.

In 2011 Methuselah flowered and it was established that it is a male.

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There are some facts about corn you did not know, like the fact that it's a grass and is very heavily processed when grown in the United States


America is good at growing corn and they sure do grow a lot of it!

But most American corn differs from corn grown in other countries.

In America, most of the corn grown is a high starch variety that tastes horrible unless it's heavily processed!

So unlike in other countries like South Africa, where you can pick and eat corn right off the land, American corn is literally grown to be processed.

Corn is not a vegetable at all. It's actually a grass and evolved from a grass in Mexico known as the teosinte. Teosinte can actually cross-breed with modern maize varieties to form maize-teosinte hybrids that can go on to reproduce naturally.

Although there is very little health benefits in corn, it is the main ingredient in almost all food in the US. It's used in additives, and High Fructose Corn Syrup has replaced sugar as a sweetener because it is not only sweeter, but also a lot cheaper.

Unfortunately this is very unhealthy, as it raises blood sugar levels much faster and your body converts it to fat faster than any other type of sugar.

In the US 86% of all corn grown is genetically modified—32% is converted into ethanol, 18% is for food additives and 50% is grown to feed animals that will later be served as meat.

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